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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.
We have a moral and legal duty to help people who have been trafficked
Davor Derenčinović, President of GRETA, for New Europe
(on the occasion of the publication of GRETA's 8th General Report, 31 May 2019)
Trafficking in people – usually for sexual or labour exploitation, but also for other forms of exploitation such as forced marriage, forced begging or the removal of organs – is a horrendous form of abuse and a scourge on Europe’s conscience.
Victims who manage to break free from their traffickers generally find themselves in a position of great insecurity and vulnerability. They have often been physically abused, mentally scarred and find themselves in strange surroundings with nowhere to live and little in the way of money or possessions.
In such circumstances, there is a high risk of further exploitation, re-victimisation and abuse.