Action against Trafficking in Human Beings

Europe must not stay an El Dorado for human traffickers

Link to the report

Strasbourg, 17 October 2013 -  On the occasion of the publication of its third general report of activities, the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), responsible for monitoring the respect of the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, urges European governments to boost their efforts. “Human trafficking and the worst forms of exploitation that go with it call for governments and parliaments to up their game”, states Nicolas Le Coz, President of GRETA. “Europe must not stay an El Dorado for human traffickers”.

In light of its on-the-spot findings in the 10 European countries evaluated between 1 August 2012 and 31 July 2013 (Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Latvia, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom), the Council of Europe anti-trafficking watchdog stresses the need to combat all forms of trafficking in human beings. Trafficking for the purpose of slavery, forced labour, removal of organs or forcing victims to commit criminal offences takes place every day in Europe, but is seldom investigated and punished”, underlines the President of GRETA.

GRETA takes the opportunity of its general report to stress the obligation of states to prevent trafficking in human beings and address the root causes of this phenomenon, such as discrimination towards certain social groups and inadequate labour legislation enforcement. “The involvement of the private sector and the media must be expanded in order to reinforce prevention”, underlines the President of GRETA in the introduction to the report. “States must pursue policies in favour of groups vulnerable to human trafficking, including Roma and asylum seekers, who should benefit from integration measures to avoid them being targeted by criminal networks”, he adds.

GRETA also puts the finger on the low compensation rate for victims of trafficking, even though they have suffered severe psychological and physical trauma. Further, it is concerned by the inadequate protection of victims from intimidation and reprisals.

“The five years since the Convention's entry into force have only made us even more determined to lead the fight against trafficking in human beings. It is GRETA's reason for existing and, more broadly, the duty of each and every one of us”, concludes Nicolas Le Coz.