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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                            

Republic of Malta

Malta produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited fresh water supplies, and has few domestic energy sources. Malta's geographic position between the EU and Africa makes it a recipient of illegal immigration, which has strained Malta's political and economic resources. The financial services industry has grown in recent years, but is not fully modernized. Malta's economy is dependent on foreign trade, manufacturing - especially electronics and pharmaceuticals - and tourism all of which have been negatively affected by the global economic downturn.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Malta

Malta is a destination country for women from Russia, Ukraine, Romania, and other European countries trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. In addition, irregular migrants from African countries arrive in Malta en route to Italy and elsewhere and may be vulnerable to human trafficking. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here and possibly a full TIP Report here


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Malta.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

Human trafficking hotline
Country code: 356 –



Malta ratifies treaty banning sale, prostitution of children during annual UN event

UN News Centre, 28 September 2010

[accessed 20 February 2011]

A top United Nations official today hailed Malta’s ratification of a global treaty banning the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography as a critical step towards protecting the rights of young people.

The treaty, one of two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, extends the obligations of States parties to guarantee the protection of children from sale, pornography and prostitution, through explicit prohibition of these acts in their laws.

It strengthens the protection of the rights of child victims and consolidates international cooperation to fight impunity for crimes against children, including the sale of children, trafficking and sexual exploitation.


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Malta

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 16 June 2021]


There were reports of men and women in bonded labor and domestic servitude. Many victims of labor trafficking borrowed large sums of money to travel to Malta where they were recruited for certain work and salary. In reality, however, terms of their employment fell short of promises, and the borrowed money was used to keep the victims enslaved. Both foreign domestic workers and irregular migrant workers were vulnerable to forced labor in various sectors that included cleaning, construction, and caring.


The government generally enforced the law in most formal sectors of the economy.

No assessment was available on the effectiveness with which Jobs Plus monitored the unregistered employment of children as domestic employees and restaurant workers.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 3 May 2020]


Residents generally enjoy fair access to economic opportunity and protection from labor exploitation, though migrant workers in particular are vulnerable to labor and sex trafficking or conditions that amount to forced labor. In July 2019, approximately 100 migrants were found to be living in substandard conditions in Marsa.1 The leader of a leading Maltese trade union claimed that some migrants are being paid less than one euro an hour for their labor.

Publication of anti-human trafficking action plan ‘imminent’

David Lindsay, The Malta Independent, 02 October 2011

[accessed 3 October 2011]

Between 2002 and 2010, there were 10 cases of human trafficking in Malta, which resulted in the conviction of 14 people. All of the cases were related to human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

Malta is to ratify six international conventions

The Malta Independent

[accessed 20 February 2011]

[accessed 5 February 2018]

The Cabinet has approved the ratification of six international conventions. These are: The Convention for Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between European Union Member States of 29 May, 2000, and the relevant protocol, the protocol for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography; the European Council’s Convention on Money Laundering, and the Financing of Terrorism; The United Nations Convention against Corruption; the Convention for the Protection of Financial Instruments of the European Communities, and the relevant protocols; and the European Council’s Convention for Action against Human Trafficking.

Renewed call for Malta to sign anti-human trafficking convention

David Lindsay, The Malta Independent, 28 October 2007

[accessed 20 February 2011]

[accessed 3 May 2020]

Despite Malta being placed right in the centre of one of the world’s densest human trafficking centres, the Mediterranean, it still has to sign the declaration, which sets out a range of minimum requirements that states must conform with in order to respect and protect the rights of trafficked persons.

In Malta, there has been a noted prevalence of foreign women being forced into prostitution in recent years. Criminals responsible for the practice, usually operating under the radar in the underbelly of Maltese society, are also said to buy and sell such women through “owners” simply by exchanging the passports of such exploited women.

“Frequently,” Amnesty International points out, “their rights to physical and mental integrity; liberty and security of the person; freedom from slavery, slavery-like practices, torture and other inhuman or degrading treatment; family life; freedom of movement; privacy; the highest attainable standard of health; and safe and secure housing are violated.”

But rather than being treated as victims, when trafficked persons come to the attention of the authorities they are typically treated as criminals, illegal immigrants or as tools for the judicial system as authorities seek to bring charges against traffickers.

Palestinian man wanted in Italy over charges of human trafficking

Juan Ameen, The Malta Independent

[accessed 20 February 2011]

A 42-year-old Palestinian man was arraigned under arrest after the Maltese authorities received a European Arrest Warrant asking for his extradition to face charges in Italy in connection with human trafficking and crimes related to organised crime

Prosecuting inspector Chris Pullicino told the court that on 23 March 2005, a number of Chinese migrants were abandoned in the waters between Malta and Sicily. One of these identified Mr Ebeid. Furthermore, he added, six Chinese migrants had died as a result.

Italian police disrupt Chinese human trafficking ring

The Malta Independent, 4 Aug 2007

[accessed 20 February 2011]

[accessed 5 February 2018]

Italian police have arrested five people of Chinese origin who are said to have been involved in an organisation that allegedly arranged to bring irregular migrants to Malta en route to Italy, Alice Notizie and Capri News reported yesterday.

Residence permits for immigrants who snitch on human traffickers

Matthew Vella, Malta Today, 15 July 2007

[accessed 20 February 2011]

The government will be offering a temporary residence permit to immigrants who cooperate with the authorities in the fight against human trafficking, in a bid to retain key informants on the island for the duration of their investigations.  A legal notice published this week introduced a six-month renewable residence permit for persons described as “victims of trafficking and illegal immigration” who are ready to cooperate with the police in investigations into illegal immigration networks.  They will be generally expected to furnish the police with names of traffickers, their accomplices and details related to departure points, information witch will contribute significantly to the tracing and prosecution of traffickers.

EPP leader urges crackdown on human trafficking

Martin Banks, August 3, 2007 -- Source:

[accessed 20 February 2011]

The leader of parliament’s biggest group has called on the European commission to 'immediately' resume a scheme aimed at combating human trafficking into Europe.  The commission’s Nautilus II mission, as it is commonly called, is a continuation of a successful patrolling exercise carried out last year.  

"It appears that the mission has been effective in reducing the number of illegal immigrants heading to Malta," said EPP leader Joseph Daul.  "Certainly, when one compares the latest figures to those in the same period in June, the number of arrivals in Malta are 50 per cent down."

Over recent years, the Mediterranean has been experiencing an increasing number of crossings from the northern shores of Africa, with Malta being directly on the route.  Uncounted numbers die every year.

Patrols ‘deterring human trafficking’ - All year round mission from January - Frattini

Herman Grech, Times of Malta, 6 July 2007

[accessed 20 February 2011]

[accessed 3 May 2020]

The flow of illegal migrants in the Mediterranean has dropped by 40 per cent since the start of the patrols by EU border agency Frontex, according to Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini.

Four boats with a total of 99 immigrants on board were stopped by Frontex vessels since the start of the operation on June 25, but three of the boats decided to venture to Malta and another to Lampedusa, Mr Laitinen said.

Mr Frattini did not mince words and reminded home affairs ministers from 19 member states that they had committed to contribute a total of 115 boats, 25 helicopters and 25 aircraft for patrol missions.  The commissioner, however, refused to single out any particular culprit and instead poured praise on the Maltese forces.  Asked whether he stood by critical comments levelled at Malta last May in the aftermath of the notorious tuna pen incident, when migrants were forced to cling on to the pen for three days, he replied vaguely: “It’s impossible for Malta to patrol the region alone. While it’s absolutely necessary to save human life, I have to acknowledge that Malta still deserves our help. From May until now, the situation is changing. My idea is to help Malta, not to blame it.”

Court: Man charged with human trafficking

The Malta Independent

[accessed 20 February 2011]

[accessed 15 February 2019]

A 32-year-old man from St Paul’s Bay was yesterday charged with human trafficking and with conspiring to traffic people in or out of Malta.  The police said yesterday that the arraignment followed the arrest of a Maltese man and six foreigners on the night between 13 and 14 May. The police had also seized a speedboat.

Court: Romanian woman charged with human trafficking

Juan Ameen, The Malta Independent

[accessed 20 February 2011]

A 22-year-old Romanian woman, residing in Malta, was placed in preventive custody yesterday after she pleaded not guilty to human trafficking for the purposes of prostitution.  Simona Ortansa Bostan was charged with trafficking people under the age of 21 for prostitution purposes and conspiring with other people to commit a crime in November and before.

Chinese man jailed six months for involvement in human trafficking

di-ve news, Valletta, March 21, 2007 -- Source:

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 September 2011]

[scroll down]

A 35-year-old Chinese man was sentenced for six months imprisonment after he admitted to being involved in the trafficking of human persons to and from Malta.  Liu Xin, who is also in possession of an Australian passport, admitted to aiding other persons to enter or depart from the country illegally on November 19th, 2006 and the days before.

In the Law Courts

The Malta Independent

[accessed 20 February 2011]

Five Chinese nationals were charged yesterday with involvement in the trafficking of human beings and with assisting people to leave Malta illegally by the use of false passports.

20 charged with human trafficking, 83 refused entry to Malta

MaltaMedia, May 3, 2005

[accessed 20 February 2011]

The minister said that out of the 20 persons charged for human trafficking, nine were sentenced. Of these, only three were handed a prison term. The rest were given a suspended sentence.

Article 5   Prohibition of Slavery and Forced Labour

European Parliament Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs

[accessed 20 February 2011]


CONSTITUTION OF MALTA - Article 35  (1) No person shall be required to perform forced labour.

UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons [PDF]

UN Office on Drugs and Crime UNODC & Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking UN.GIFT, February 2009

[accessed 20 February 2011]

[page 264]

SERVICES PROVIDED TO VICTIMS - The State provides legal protection, temporary stay permits, medical/psychosocial support and housing/shelter exist to support victims of trafficking in persons who cooperate with the law enforcement authorities.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION - All the victims identified in 2006 and 2007 were trafficked for sexual exploitation.  Victims originated from Eastern Europe and South East Europe.


Freedom House Country Report

2018 Editiion

[accessed 3 May 2020]


Residents generally enjoy fair access to economic opportunity and protections from labor exploitation, though migrant workers in particular are vulnerable to labor and sex trafficking or conditions that amount to forced labor.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 10 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Reliable law enforcement sources reported that women were recruited for prostitution from eastern European countries and essentially "purchased" by Maltese men, sometimes pimps intent on exploiting them for commercial sex or by individuals for exploitative sex only with the purchaser. These women were often "sold" to other pimps or individuals who then continue the cycle; it is typical for a woman to be "sold" every three months under these schemes. The victims of this type of sexual exploitation will typically arrive in the country legally on a tourist visa and often with understanding that they will be employed in the sex trade. The degree of the cooperation of these victims with the "purchasing schemes" once they arrive in the country, or whether any coercion or force was used to ensure that they remained in this trade, was unknown.

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