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GRETA publishes report on Montenegro

Link to GRETA’s report

Strasbourg, 13 September 2012 - The Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) has published today its first evaluation report on Montenegro.

In the report, GRETA welcomes the important steps taken by the Montenegrin authorities to prevent and combat trafficking in human beings, such as the signing of a Memorandum of Co-operation defining the responsibilities of each stakeholder for handling human trafficking cases. That said, GRETA stresses that all signatories of the Memorandum should effectively fulfil their responsibilities. Furthermore, co-ordination needs to be strengthened to ensure that civil society is involved in the planning and implementation of national anti-trafficking policy.

An important message from GRETA’s report is to improve the identification of victims of trafficking. Law enforcement officials, social workers, labour inspectors and other relevant actors should adopt a more proactive approach and increase their outreach work to identify potential victims of trafficking, including for labour exploitation. GRETA also urges the Montenegrin authorities to review the definition of “victim of trafficking”, which is too narrow as it is linked to the outcome of criminal proceedings. As a consequence, the number of formally identified victims of trafficking is low.

The report stresses that more needs to be done to make sure that the overall anti-trafficking approach is focused on the victims of trafficking and their human rights. A recovery and reflection period of at least 30 days should be specifically defined in law and victims should be systematically informed of the possibility to use such a period. Moreover, given that no victims of trafficking have received compensation from the perpetrators, the authorities should set up a State compensation scheme accessible to victims of trafficking.

As regards investigation and prosecution, GRETA urges the Montenegrin authorities to take measures to ensure that crimes related to human trafficking are investigated and prosecuted effectively, leading to proportionate and dissuasive sanctions.

Prior to drawing up its evaluation report, GRETA held consultations with the relevant authorities and non-governmental and international organisations active in the field of combating trafficking in human beings in Montenegro. A confidential first draft of the report was sent to the Montenegrin authorities and their comments were taken into account in the final evaluation report adopted by GRETA. This report is published together with the final comments of the Montenegrin authorities, as provided for by the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.

On the basis of GRETA’s report, the Committee of the Parties to the Convention will consider adopting recommendations addressed to the Government of Montenegro.