What we do

The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings was adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 3 May 2005, following a series of other initiatives by the Council of Europe in the field of combating trafficking in human beings. The Convention 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.



New Online Training
     Course Available

A free online course on human trafficking has been developed by the European Programme for Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) of the Council of Europe.

The course is designed to equip judges, prosecutors, lawyers, law enforcement officials and other professionals to effectively apply the standards developed under the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings in their daily work. It is built up from a human-rights perspective and focuses on victim protection.

The course consists of nine substantive modules:

  1. Introduction and legal framework
  2. Definitions and legal concepts
  3. Identification of victims of human trafficking
  4. Assistance for victims of human trafficking
  5. The non-punishment principle  
  6. Investigation, prosecution and victims’ rights
  7. Sentencing
  8. Compensation for victims of human trafficking
  9. Return and repatriation  

These topics are explored by using presentations, interactive screens, knowledge tests and reflective exercises.

Click here to take the course in English >>

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