The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings was adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 3 May 2005, following a series of other initiatives by the Council of Europe in the field of combating trafficking in human beings. The Convention entered into force on 1 February 2008, following its 10th ratification. While building on existing international instruments, the Convention goes beyond the minimum standards agreed upon in them and strengthens the protection afforded to victims.

The Convention has a comprehensive scope of application, encompassing all forms of trafficking (whether national or transnational, linked or not linked to organised crime) and taking in all persons who are victims of trafficking (women, men or children). The forms of exploitation covered by the Convention are, at a minimum, sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude and the removal of organs.

The main added value of the Convention is its human rights perspective and focus on victim protection. Its Preamble defines trafficking in human beings as a violation of human rights and an offence to the dignity and integrity of the human being. The Convention provides for a series of rights for victims of trafficking, in particular the right to be identified as a victim, to be protected and assisted, to be given a recovery and reflection period of at least 30 days, to be granted a renewable residence permit, and to receive compensation for the damages suffered.

Another important added value of the Convention is the monitoring system set up to supervise the implementation of the obligations contained in it, which consists of two pillars: the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) and the Committee of the Parties.

The Convention is not restricted to Council of Europe member states; non-members states and the European Union also have the possibility of becoming Party to the Convention.

Signatures and ratifications

Status of Signature and Ratification of the Convention (entered into force 1 February 2008) 

46 ratifications/accessions

1 signature not followed by ratification

The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings [CETS No. 197] was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 3 May 2005 and opened for signature in Warsaw on 16 May 2005, on the occasion of the 3rd Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe member states.


Chart of signatures and ratifications of Treaty 197

Text of the Convention

Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and its Explanatory Report (Warsaw, 16.V.2005)

Council of Europe Treaty Series - No. 197


Details of Treaty No.197

Text of the Convention (HTML)

Explanatory report (PDF)

Text of the Convention (PDF)

Translations sorted by non-official languages