01 Jul 2022 10:15:00Strasbourg 27 June - 1 July 2022
The Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) held its 44th meeting...
21 Jun 2022 11:52:00Strasbourg 28 June 2022
In its third-round evaluation report published today, the Group of Experts on Action against...
17 Jun 2022 15:43:00Strasbourg 17 June 2022
The 30th meeting of the Committee of the Parties to the Council of Europe Convention on Action...
16 Jun 2022 09:57:00OSCE Vienna 13-14 June 2022
Addressing current challenges related to human trafficking and implementing international...
12 Jun 2022 08:39:00Strasbourg 13 June
The Council of Europe’s expert group on human trafficking, GRETA, has urged the Portuguese...
New judgment of the European Court of Human Rights: Zoletic and Others v. Azerbaijan
The case of Zoletic and Others v. Azerbaijan (application No. 20116/12) concerns 33 Bosnia and Herzegovina nationals who were recruited in 2009 and taken to work in Azerbaijan as temporary foreign construction workers by representatives of the company Serbaz Design and Construction LLC. The Court found that the totality of the applicants’ arguments and submissions made both before the domestic courts in their civil claim and before the Court (concerning excessively long work shifts, lack of proper nutrition and medical care, physical and other forms of punishments, retention of documents and restriction of movement) constituted an “arguable claim” that the applicants had been subjected to human trafficking and forced labour. The Court stated that even though the applicants’ claims concerning the alleged forced labour and human trafficking had been sufficiently and repeatedly drawn to the attention of the relevant domestic authorities in various ways, no effective investigation had taken place and, therefore, Azerbaijan had failed to comply with its procedural obligation under Article 4, paragraph 2, of the Convention. Each applicant was awarded compensation for non-pecuniary damage in the amount of 5,000 euros.
In its decision, the Court referred to the findings of GRETA’s 2014 report on Azerbaijan, in particular to the fact that law‑enforcement officials in Azerbaijan had a tendency to see potential cases of human trafficking for labour exploitation as mere labour disputes between the worker and the employer, and that there seemed to be a confusion between cases of human trafficking for labour exploitation and disputes concerning salaries and other aspects of working conditions.
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.