A delegation of the Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) carried out an evaluation visit to Austria from 3 to 7 June 2019 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, with Austria being among the first three countries to be monitored by GRETA, is on trafficking victims’ access to justice and effective remedies. Prior to the visit, the Austrian authorities provided a reply to GRETA’s questionnaire for the third evaluation round. In addition to the new thematic focus, GRETA verified how the main recommendations made in its second evaluation report have been implemented.
During the visit, the GRETA delegation met the National Co-ordinator on Combating Human Trafficking, Ambassador Petra Schneebauer (Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs) and members of the Task Force on Combating Human Trafficking. Amongst the officials met by GRETA were representatives of the Federal Chancellery, the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the Federal Ministry for Constitution, Reforms, Deregulation and Justice, the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection, and the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum. Further, the GRETA delegation met officials from the federal states of Styria, Tyrol and Vienna. Discussions were also held with members of the Human Rights Advisory Council of the Austrian Ombudsman Board.
In addition, meetings were held with representatives of non-governmental organisations and trade unions, victims of human trafficking, lawyers and researchers. The GRETA delegation also met representatives of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
In the course of the visit, the delegation visited the Drehscheibe Centre, an institution of assisted living for unaccompanied foreign children, operated by the City of Vienna, and the detention centre for foreigners in Vordernberg (Styria). Further, the delegation visited a workshop for presumed victims of trafficking ran by the NGO Hope for the Future in Vienna.
The visit was carried out by Mr Frédéric Kurz and Ms Dorothea Winkler, members of GRETA, who were accompanied by Ms Petya Nestorova, Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention, and Ms Ursula Sticker of the Secretariat of the Convention.
Following the visit, GRETA will prepare a draft report which will be sent to the Austrian authorities for comments. GRETA will subsequently adopt a final report, to be published in 2020.