Step by step
Based on the conclusions of a parliamentary commission, a national policy to fight trafficking in human beings was adopted. It featured a coordinated inter-agency approach involving the judiciary, law enforcement, social services, and rehabilitation centers. Payoke also highlighted the importance for victims to be granted a residence permit to legally stay in the country when their traffickers are under investigation and trial, and, whenever possible, even after. The so-called “Payoke’s scheme”, reflected in a Belgian Law Decree of 1994, has since been adopted by other countries, and it is now considered best practice in counter-trafficking legislation throughout Europe.
Belgium had developed a multi-disciplinary support system for victims of human trafficking 10 years before Europe reacted to the phenomenon. Not bad for what had begun as kitchen talk in Patsy Sörensen’s house !
In 1994 and 1995, Payoke’s mandate was officially extended, allowing the organizations to act as plaintiff against traffickers in court proceedings.