A delegation of the Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) held a series of online meetings with stakeholders across Latvia on 11, 14 and 17 December 2020, as part of the third evaluation round of the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. The focus of this evaluation round of the Convention is on trafficking victims’ access to justice and effective remedies. In addition to the new thematic focus, GRETA is examining how key recommendations made in its second evaluation report on Latvia have been implemented.
GRETA launched the third round of evaluation of the Convention in respect of Latvia by sending the questionnaire for this round to the Latvian authorities on 1 October 2019. The Latvian authorities’ reply to the questionnaire was received on 31 January 2020 and published on GRETA’s website. Subsequently, GRETA was prevented from carrying out a physical visit to Latvia due to the COVID-19 sanitary and travel restrictions. Mindful of the importance of proceeding with the third evaluation of Latvia without further delay, GRETA decided to hold as many online meetings as possible, reserving itself the possibility of organising a targeted physical visit whenever possible.
GRETA held online meetings with the National Anti-Trafficking Co-ordinator, Ms Lāsma Stabina (Senior Expert at the Sectoral Policy Department of the Ministry of the Interior), as well as with officials from the Ministry of the Interior, the State Police, the State Border Guard, the Prosecutor’s Office, the State Labour Inspectorate, the Ministry of Justice, the Legal Aid Administration, the Judicial Training Centre, the Ministry of Welfare, the Children Rights Protection State Agency, the Ministry of Education and Sciences, the National Centre for Education, and the Ombudsman’s Office.
Separate meetings were held with representatives of civil society.
The meetings were conducted by Ryszard Piotrowicz, first Vice-President of GRETA, Antoaneta Vassileva, member of GRETA, Alexandra Malangone, independent expert assisting GRETA during the evaluation of Latvia, Petya Nestorova, Executive Secretary of the Convention, and Alexander Bartling of the Secretariat of the Convention.