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24.11.2021 03:56 News >> EU Proposes Sanctions Framework Against Travel Firms Engaged In Human Trafficking

EU Proposes Sanctions Framework Against Travel Firms Engaged In Human Trafficking

European Commission promises $3.9M support for voluntary returns from Belarus in response to border crisis.

The European Commission proposed a new act on Tuesday to sanction transport operators involved in human trafficking in response to the migration crisis at the bloc's borders with Belarus.
As part of a package to deal with the crisis, the new legal framework allows sanctions against all transport operators engaged in smuggling or trafficking people into the bloc.
The move came after EU members Lithuania, Latvia and Poland reported more than 8,000 people attempting to enter the bloc from Belarus in 2021, up sharply from just 150 in 2020.
The bloc accuses the Belarusian regime of reaching out to potential travelers via seemingly official channels, through diplomatic representations or travel agencies, and inviting them to Belarus by offering visas and guiding them to the EU border.
"A particularly cruel form of hybrid threat has emerged with the state-sponsored instrumentalization of people for political ends," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at the European Parliament's plenary session in Strasbourg, France.
"This is not a migration crisis. This is the attempt of an authoritarian regime to try to destabilize its democratic neighbors," she said.
According to the draft, the EU would impose tailor-made measures on airlines, travel agencies and other companies that facilitate trafficking, such as suspending licenses to operate within the EU, denying rights to refuel or carry out maintenance, prohibiting transit or fly over the EU.
The European Commission will also mobilize €3.5 million ($3.9 million) to support voluntary returns from Belarus in addition to €700,000 ($787,500) in humanitarian aid already announced for migrants stranded in Belarus.
The EU budget will also grant an extra €36.7 million to Lithuania to help improve reception centers and asylum procedures.
EU foreign ministers are expected to adopt a fifth round of sanctions against the Belarusian regime in the coming days. -



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