The Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) has urged Romania to ensure that human trafficking offences lead to effective and dissuasive sanctions and that victims of trafficking have access to compensation.
In a new report evaluating access to justice and effective remedies for victims of trafficking in human beings, GRETA notes that Romania has continued to develop the legislative and policy framework relevant to action against trafficking. The Criminal Code was amended in 2020 to increase the minimum penalty for trafficking in children, and the authorities have adopted a new national strategy against human trafficking for 2018-2022.
Whilst welcoming that the Minister of Justice has asked the Prosecutor General to prioritise action against human trafficking, GRETA notes that a significant number of sentences are suspended, and the use of plea bargaining or similar agreements allows offenders to have their punishment reduced. GRETA considers that plea bargaining procedures should only be used exceptionally in human trafficking cases and that it should be ensured that offences lead to proportionate and dissuasive sanctions.
Romania remains predominantly a country of origin of victims of trafficking in human beings. Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom have been the main countries of destination. The number of victims identified by the Romanian authorities has fallen over the years. A total of 2,613 victims were identified in the period covered by the report (2016-2019). Three out of four were women and half of them children, sexual exploitation remaining the most common purpose of trafficking.
Romania urged to effectively prosecute human traffickers and to ensure access to compensation for their victims