What we do

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.

 

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New publication available

To mark the 10th European Anti-Trafficking Day, the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) has published a new guidebook for national authorities based on examples of good practice from across the continent.

“Human trafficking is a modern-day scourge, but over the last few years our member states have taken many really important steps to help prevent trafficking, to protect victims and to prosecute offenders,” said Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland.

“Examples of good practices have been gathered from countries of origin, countries of transit and countries of destination for victims of trafficking. For the first time, these have been brought together in one place to help authorities put an end to this horrendous abuse of human rights.”

GRETA is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Council of Europe’s anti-trafficking convention, which has been signed by 46 of the organisation’s 47 member states plus Belarus.

This compendium of good practices highlights positive initiatives identified in over 50 country-by-country evaluation reports published by GRETA since the convention came into force in 2008.

Examples include:

  • Awareness-raising measures in Romania – using both classical and online tools, and targeted towards particular areas – which have reached many potential victims of trafficking
  • Training courses on human trafficking for police officers, border guards, prosecutors, judges, labour inspectors, social workers and healthcare professionals in Portugal
  • A multidisciplinary system in the Republic of Moldova where the authorities work together with NGOs to identify victims and refer them for assistance
  • A six-month reflection period for victims in Norway entitling victims to a residence permit, safe accommodation, legal advice, healthcare and information on assisted voluntary return
  • A system of advanced payment of compensation to victims of trafficking by the state in the Netherlands when a perpetrator does not pay the full amount within eight months
  • A requirement for businesses in the United Kingdom to produce a statement for each financial year on the steps taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in any of their supply chains or any part of their own business

download the report