The Council of Europe Anti-Trafficking Division, together with the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, organised a meeting of lawyers and NGOs providing legal assistance to victims of trafficking in human beings. The meeting brought together some 50 legal professionals from 26 states parties to the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings who exchanged experiences in the provision of legal assistance to trafficked persons in criminal, civil and administrative proceedings, discussed current challenges and identified future steps necessary for enabling such assistance.
“Bringing together legal professionals from all over Europe to share experiences and pool resources is of the highest importance for enabling victims of trafficking to exercise the rights enshrined in the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings”, said Nicolas le Coz, President of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA).
The meeting concluded that access to justice remains an important challenge for victims of trafficking in human beings and that the setting up of a lawyers’ network can strengthen the implementation of the provisions of the Convention. The Council of Europe will continue building the capacity of legal professionals and exploring ways to improve access to justice for trafficked persons, including access to compensation and the implementation of the non-punishment provision.