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In time of emergency the rights and safety of trafficking victims must be respected and protected

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) draws attention to the particular difficulties experienced by victims of human trafficking, who generally find themselves in a position of great insecurity and vulnerability.

In addition to having suffered incapacitating psychological trauma and physical injuries, many of these women, men and children have no means of subsistence and may be in an irregular migration or employment situation, without medical or social protection, and with no documents and resources to enable them to return to their home countries.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, their situation can only deteriorate and criminals may actively use this global crisis to exploit vulnerability to increase the financial profit human trafficking generates.

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WHAT WE DO WHAT WE DO

The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings 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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