Back GRETA publishes first report on Czech Republic

photo: jo Crebbin/Shutterstock

photo: jo Crebbin/Shutterstock

The Czech Republic has taken important steps to combat trafficking in human beings, but improvements are needed through legislative, policy and practical measures, notably in respect of the identification, protection and compensation of victims, as well as the effectiveness of investigations and prosecutions, says the Council of Europe´s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) in a report issued today.

The report, which evaluates the implementation of the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, ratified by the Czech Republic in 2017, welcomes the adoption of relevant legislation and national strategies over the years, the setting up of co-ordinating and specialised structures, the training of relevant professionals, and the strong cooperation with civil society. Five national strategies have been implemented since 2003, the last covering the period 2016-2019.

GRETA urges the Czech authorities to ensure that the identification of victims and the provision of assistance to them are not linked to the initiation of criminal proceedings. It also calls for greater efforts in the proactive identification of victims of trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation, as well as of victims among asylum seekers and persons in administrative detention.

The authorities should step up their efforts to ensure that the recovery and reflection period is applied to all presumed foreign victims of trafficking and that foreign victims can benefit in practice of the right to obtain a renewable residence permit. Further, GRETA calls on the authorities to adopt measures to facilitate effective access to compensation for victims of trafficking. GRETA also stresses the need to ensure compliance with the provision of non-punishment of victims of trafficking for their involvement in unlawful activities, when they were compelled to do so.

With regard to preventive measures, the report underlines that the authorities should continue to raise awareness of human trafficking among persons and groups vulnerable to trafficking, in particular the Roma community and migrant workers, and to adopt measures to discourage demand for the services of trafficked persons.

Finally, GRETA underlines the need to improve the effectiveness of investigations and prosecutions with a view to securing proportionate and dissuasive convictions for human trafficking offences, in respect of trafficking of labour exploitation, where there have been few convictions.

Strasbourg 11/02/2020
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