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Council of Europe and OSCE recall the responsibility of businesses and governments to prevent exploitation and combat human trafficking
 

The Council of Europe and the OSCE organised a joint side event in Vienna on 4 November 2014 on measures that businesses, civil society and governments can take to prevent trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation. [More...]

OSCE side event page
 

World Bank Law, Justice and Development Week 2014: GRETA President at session on human trafficking
On 22 October 2014 a session entitled “Human Trafficking: Development Threat and Human Rights Violation” took place as part of the World Bank’s Law, Justice and Development (LJD) Week 2014 in Washington, USA. This session discussed trends, good practices, gaps and the way forward to combat this phenomenon. [More...]

Link to event website

8th European Anti-Trafficking Day - “It is traffickers in human beings that must be brought to justice and not their victims”
18 October 2014 – On the eighth European Anti-Trafficking Day the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) draws attention to a major difficulty encountered in most of the 35 European states it has monitored so far: the lack of proper procedures to identify victims of trafficking. [More...]

Protecting the Victims of Human Trafficking in Canada and Europe

On 16 October 2014 the conference “Protecting the Victims of Human Trafficking in Canada and Europe” will take place at the University of Ottawa. It is organised jointly by the Swiss and Austrian Embassies, in collaboration with the Centre for International Policy Studies, and will feature experts from the Council of Europe, the OSCE, European and Canadian governments and universities, and NGOs.
View the conference programme
Link to conference website

Council of Europe and OSCE join forces to protect human trafficking victims’ rights
Strasbourg, 9 October 2014 – The Council of Europe and the OSCE launched today a joint two-day workshop that brings together judges and prosecutors to discuss key challenges in supporting the legal rights of human trafficking victims.[More...]
Programme

List of participants

Presentations

Greece becomes 42nd party to the Convention
On 11 April 2014 Greece ratified the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. The Convention will enter into force as regards Greece on 1 August 2014.
The Convention has been ratified by 41 Council of Europe member States: Albania, Andorra, Armenia,  Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, LithuaniaLuxembourg, Malta, Republic of MoldovaMontenegro, the Netherlands, Norway Poland, Portugal,  Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, SwedenSwitzerland, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Ukraine and the United Kingdom. Late last year Belarus acceded to the Convention as the first non-member State.
The Convention has also been signed but not yet ratified by two Council of Europe member States:  Estonia and Turkey.

Belarus becomes the first country outside the Council of Europe to join the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings

Belarus
acceded to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings on 26 November 2013, thus becoming the first country outside the Council of Europe to join this treaty. The Convention will enter into force as regards Belarus on 1 March 2014.

The Convention has been ratified by 40 Council of Europe member States: Albania, Andorra, Armenia,  Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, LithuaniaLuxembourg, Malta, Republic of MoldovaMontenegro, the Netherlands, Norway Poland, Portugal,  Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, SwedenSwitzerland, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Ukraine and the United Kingdom. Another three Council of Europe member States – Estonia, Greece and Turkey – have signed but not yet ratified the Convention.

7th European Anti-Trafficking Day
Victims of trafficking: “Human beings with human rights that must be protected”

18 October 2013 – Three key international anti-trafficking expert mechanisms today called for a concerted global response to fight the transnational scourge of trafficking in persons.[more...]

UN and European anti-trafficking experts join forces to fight trafficking in persons in Europe and beyond

STRASBOURG / GENEVA (5 July 2013) – Two key international anti-trafficking expert mechanisms have combined forces to strengthen the fight against trafficking in human beings in Europe and beyond. Nearly 21 million people are victims of forced labour exploitation, including human trafficking, across the world, of which almost a million in the European Union member States, according to estimate by the International Labour Organisation. [more...]

40th ratification of the Convention by Hungary on 4 April 2013

On 4 April 2013 Hungary ratified the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. The Convention will enter into force as regards Hungary on 1 August 2013.

The Convention has now been ratified by 40 Council of Europe member States Albania, Andorra, Armenia,  Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, LithuaniaLuxembourg, Malta, Republic of MoldovaMontenegro, the Netherlands, Norway Poland, Portugal,  Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, SwedenSwitzerland, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

The Convention has also been signed but not yet ratified by another three Council of Europe member States: Estonia, Greece and Turkey.

Publication of the proceedings of the Round table on action against trafficking in human beings (St Petersburg on 18 April 2012)

The proceedings of the Round table on action against trafficking in human beings which took place in St Petersburg on 18 April 2012 are now available in English and in Russian. This event, which was organised jointly by the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the Interparliamentary Assembly and the Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), brought together some 100 participants, including parliamentarians, public officials from CIS countries, prosecutors, law enforcement officials, researchers and representatives of non-governmental and intergovernmental organisations. [ More...]


 

The president of GRETA meets the director of FRONTEX

On 16 May 2012 the President of the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), Mr Nicolas le Coz, met with the Director of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX), Mr Ilkka Laitinen, at the FRONTEX headquarters in Warsaw. Ms Hanna Machinska, Head of the Office of the Council of Europe in Warsaw, and Mr David Reisenzein, External Relations Officer of FRONTEX, also participated in the meeting.

The Director of FRONTEX stressed that action against trafficking in human beings is a priority for the agency and presented the tools and recent initiatives developed in this field. The President of GRETA, recalling that the Council of Europe Anti-trafficking Convention already binds 20 of the 27 EU Member States and contains far-reaching provisions on the identification and protection of victims of trafficking, presented the Council of Europe’s anti-trafficking work and GRETA’s role. Recalling the links already established with the Anti-trafficking Co-ordinator on behalf of the European Commission, EUROJUST and other international organisations active in the field of action against trafficking in human beings, he stressed the importance of institutional and operational co-operation between the main stakeholders, as well as the transmission of information to GRETA for the establishment of its evaluation reports.

M. Laitinen and Mr Le Coz agreed, in the framework of the mandates of FRONTEX and GRETA, to implement co-operation between the two institutions.


A national co-ordinating body with the necessary authority is an efficient tool to prevent trafficking in human beings


The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) organised in Warsaw on 14-16 May 2012 a Human Dimension Seminar on the Rule of Law Framework
for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. More than 150 representatives of OSCE Participating States, international organisations and non-governmental organisations attended the seminar.

ODHIR Director Ambassador Janez Lenarčič opened the seminar by recalling that anti-trafficking policies will only be successful if they are ”governed by the principles of rule of law and centered on the protection of the rights of the victims to access justice and regain their human dignity”. Ms Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, underlined the necessity for States to evaluate the impact of their policies on the human rights of trafficked persons.

Speaking at the session on prevention of trafficking, the President of the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), Nicolas Le Coz, recalled that the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings is the only international legal instrument providing for the setting up of national co-ordinating bodies which bring together the actions of various anti-trafficking actors. The Convention also encourages state authorities to co-operate with non-governmental organisations in establishing strategic partnerships. He stressed the importance of giving such co-ordination bodies the authority necessary to fulfil their mission and called upon OSCE Participating States which have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Council of Europe Convention.

The President of GRETA put forth five recommendations concerning co-ordination of action against human trafficking, protection of groups and persons vulnerable to trafficking, support of research, protection of anti-trafficking actors from the influence of traffickers, and monitoring of national anti-trafficking systems.


The Council of Europe Anti-trafficking Convention and GRETA’s monitoring reports strengthen the support provided by Eurojust in the prosecution of traffickers


On 26 and 27 April 2012, the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) participated in a strategic seminar on trafficking in human beings organised by Eurojust in The Hague, Netherlands. The seminar brought together national practitioners, experts, representatives of Eurojust, Europol, the European Commission and the Council of Europe.

Michèle Coninsx, President-Elect of Eurojust, and Ola Laurell, Chair of the Trafficking and Related Crimes Team (TRCT), recalled the assistance Eurojust can provide to States with a view to improving the number and quality of prosecutions. Ms Coninsx stressed the need to freeze, seize and confiscate the assets of organised criminal gangs involved in human trafficking and highlighted the enhanced role that Eurojust can play if used effectively by EU Member States. Mr Laurell announced a project launched by TRCT to uncover obstacles to the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking crimes.

Nicolas Le Coz, President of GRETA, explained that the provisions of the Council of Europe Anti-trafficking Convention and GRETA’s evaluation reports, which promote efficient criminal investigations and prosecutions as well as mutual legal assistance, are an added-value for action against trafficking in human beings and provide strong support to the work of Eurojust. Mr Le Coz recalled that the Convention, which has been ratified by 35 Council of Europe Member States (20 of which are also EU Member States), provides in its Article 23(3) for the confiscation of traffickers’ assets. GRETA has stressed in its reports that the confiscation of criminal assets is crucial as a way of reinforcing the effects of the penalty, as well as ensuring the compensation to victims.

The findings of the seminar will be incorporated into a report on best practices and an action plan for Eurojust.

18 October: European Anti-Trafficking Day
 
 A human being cannot be merchandise
 and Europe must be the guarantor of this rule of civilised society
 

 In Madrid today to attend the international seminar "Combating trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation", organised by the IOM and the Spanish government to mark the European Day against Trafficking in Human Beings, Mr Nicolas Le Coz, President of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), declared: "A human being cannot be merchandise and Europe must be the guarantor of this rule of civilised society."
 
 The President of GRETA recalled that the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, which is evaluated by GRETA, contributes effectively to ensuring that, on the one hand, every woman, man or child victim of human trafficking is identified, protected from reprisals and compensated for the serious damages suffered and, on the other hand, that the traffickers are punished.
 
 Mr Nicolas Le Coz recalled that the European Court of Human Rights, in its judgment Rantsev v. Cyprus and Russia, had emphasised the obligation of member States of the Council of Europe to investigate acts of trafficking in human beings, including through effective co-operation with other States on criminal matters.
 
 Participating in the seminar along with Ms Laura Seara Sobrado, Spanish Secretary of State for Equality, and Ms Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, the President of GRETA welcomed the strengthening of co-ordination of anti-trafficking action by international organisations, thus permitting greater complementarity and synergy while avoiding duplication of efforts in the actions undertaken.
 
 "The time when victims of human trafficking were ignored or, even worse, wrongfully considered as criminals, while their traffickers were able to come and go, profiting from their ill-gotten gains with impunity, is at an end," stressed the President of GRETA. He concluded in saying that the efforts undertaken by States must by no means be relaxed and that the Council of Europe's Anti-Trafficking Convention must be signed and/or ratified without delay by the Council of Europe member States which have not already done so. This will not only serve to eliminate zones of impunity on the continent, but will also avoid undermining the important efforts made by the 34 member States which are Parties to the Convention.

Pan-European Campaign on Compensation for trafficked persons

The Council of Europe has granted its institutional support to the COMP.ACT Project (“European Action for  Compensation for Trafficked Persons”) and the Pan-European Campaign on Compensation for Trafficked Persons, undertaken by Anti-Slavery International and La Strada International,  together with partners in 14 countries (see www.compactproject.org). This initiative is based on Article 15 of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, which is the first and only international binding provision recognising the right of the victims of trafficking in human beings to be compensated for the damaged suffered, as well as the obligation for States to guarantee this compensation in their internal law. 

The COMP.ACT Project and Campaign will be launched in Prague on 2 July 2010, with the participation of the Executive Secretary of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. A video message from the Secretary General of the Council of Europe will be broadcasted at this launching event.

Information Meeting on the first evaluation round

An Information Meeting for the “contact persons” on the first evaluation round of the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings by the parties took place in Strasbourg on 31 March 2010.

The aim of this meeting was to provide the “contact persons” appointed by the parties to the Convention, with information concerning the Convention and its monitoring mechanism, as well as with guidelines for completing the Questionnaire for the evaluation of the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings by the parties – first evaluation round.

In addition, the Secretariat of the Convention gave a presentation of the Trafficking Information Management System (TIMS), which should, as far as possible, be used when replying to the questionnaire.

European Union Ministerial Conference "Towards EU Global Action against Trafficking in Human beings", Brussels, 19-20 October 2009
 
 
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe called on the EU to become party to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings: Link to speech.
 Link to video
 
 Contribution of the Secretariat of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings to the European Union Ministerial Conference. Link to document.
  

General Assembly Thematic Debate on Human Trafficking, United Nations Headquarters, New York, 3 June 2008
The Deputy Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Ms Maud de Boer-Buquicchio participated in the United Nations' General Assembly Thematic Debate on Human Trafficking and moderate a panel session on Protecting victims of trafficking and cross-border cooperation in prosecuting traffickers in persons.  Programme

Adoption of the Rules on the election procedure of the members of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) 

On 11 June, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a Resolution establishing the election procedure of the members of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA).  This is an important first step in the setting up of an effective and independent mechanism to monitor the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.  (more....)
Resolution CM/Res(2008)7 on rules on the election procedure of the members of the
Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA)

Background Document on the Council of Europe's action to combat trafficking in human beings

1st February 2008:  Entry into force of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings [CETS no. 197]

On 1 February 2008, the ground-breaking Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, the first European treaty in this field, entered into force. This is a significant achievement and a major step forward in the fight against this modern form of slavery.

Countries now have a comprehensive treaty setting out measures not only to prevent trafficking in human beings and to prosecute the traffickers but also to give real protection to victims of trafficking and safeguard their human rights.

Council of Europe leaders and Ján Kubiš, Slovak Foreign Affairs Minister and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers made statements to welcome the entry into force.  Amnesty International, Anti-Slavery International and La Strada International made a joint statement.

The Convention is not restricted to CoE member states; non-member states and the European Community also have the possibility of becoming Party to the Convention.

Background Document on the Council of Europe's action to combat trafficking in human beings