Lucha contra la explotación infantil en Europa

A team of legal minds at the law firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek has provided the children’s rights-focused organisation Terre des Hommes Netherlands with know-how on legal instruments to influence policies that protect children from exploitation.

The goal was to support Terre des Hommes Netherlands to voice their opinion at a national and European level, and to give feedback on a major amendment to EU anti-trafficking rules in 2023.

Terre des Hommes is an international umbrella organisation that advocates for children’s rights and fights child exploitation. Their Netherlands branch contacted The Good Lobby with a request for assistance in June 2022.

Growing digital dimension

Their team working on preventing and combating child trafficking wanted advice on avenues to influence EU legislation, for example the Commission’s proposed revision of the Anti-Trafficking Directive (Directive 2011/36) and decision-making at the EU Council level.

In particular, Terre des Hommes requested advice on the rights and framework for NGOs to advocate on the growing digital dimension of child trafficking.

The Good Lobby matched them with pro bono experts at De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, a leading international law firm that advises on corporate transactions, disputes and regulatory enforcement. De Brauw’s experts offered their services on a voluntary basis through to the autumn of 2023.

“The Good Lobby has been of great help making this pro bono collaboration happen, and facilitating our communication with De Brauw and the legal passages required to manage our case.”

Eva Notté, Technical Advisor at Terre des Hommes Netherlands.

Influencing the policy process

De Brauw provided Terre des Hommes with information on the legislative process, which included a summary on how NGOs can influence this process both in the EU and at the national level in the Netherlands, and the statutory information rights that NGOs can use.

“Through The Good Lobby Pro Bono, we created a practical guide for Terre des Hommes on how to navigate the EU legislative process and what are the formally established ways for an NGO to influence it, or at least be heard, and stay informed both at the EU and national levels.”

Anastasiia Kutakh, Associate at De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek.

Coordinating pressure

The final outcome was a presentation that addressed the different aspects of the legislative process at the EU and Dutch level. This outlined the necessary tools available to influence its revision, such as public consultations and citizens’ initiatives.

Terre des Hommes Netherlands provided their feedback to the European Commission’s proposal to amend the Directive in February 2023.

“We appreciate the comprehensive overview that De Brauw provided; it is helpful for the
whole organisation”, said Eva Notté.

National governments are an important element in driving EU legislation and policymaking, so influencing them can provide indirect influence at the EU level.

Are you a civil society actor working to have your opinion heard on proposed revisions to EU rules? Get in touch with our pro bono team at The Good Lobby to request legal or non-legal assistance.