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MALTATODAY 31 July 2022

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5 NEWS maltatoday | SUNDAY • 31 JULY 2022 criminality. Five others were identified as victims of sex trafficking, and two were victims of both sex and labour trafficking. Two of the potential victims were male, while 16 were female. Most victims originated from the Philippines. For comparison, only six po- tential trafficking victims were identified in 2020, while 11 were identified in 2019. How- ever, total identifications in 2021 were still fewer than the 24 found in 2018, 30 in 2017, and 35 in 2016. Immigration Approximately 830 undoc- umented migrants arrived in Malta in 2021, marking a sig- nificant decrease compared with 2,300 in 2020 and 3,100 in 2019. Migrants arriving to Malta are generally placed in one of the four government-run de- tention centres. The report points to a new government policy which, ac- cording to civil society, pre- vented asylum-seekers from Bangladesh from obtaining a work permit for nine months, in turn increasing their vulner- ability to trafficking. Additionally, the US State Department said that the ap- proximately 9,000 refugees and 4,000 asylum-seekers re- siding in Malta are vulnerable to trafficking in the country's informal labour market, in- cluding within the construc- tion, hospitality and domestic work sectors. Trafficking profile In a more general profile of Malta's trafficking situation, the US state department iden- tified that sex traffickers tend to exploit foreign national and Maltese women and children, while labour traffickers exploit foreign men and women. Labour trafficking victims largely originate from Chi- na, Eastern Europe, Central America and Southeast Asia, with increasing numbers from the Philippines. Several other women popula- tions in Malta are highly vul- nerable to trafficking. These include women from South- east Asia working as domes- tic workers, foreign women working in massage parlours, and women from Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and Ukraine working in nightclubs A 2019 government campaign on anti-trafficking awareness has lost steam since then

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