On 20 May 2022, the Anti-Trafficking Division of the Council of Europe organised a round-table meeting to discuss progress made by Austria in the implementation of the third report of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), published on 10 June 2020, and the related Committee of the Parties’ recommendation to the Austrian authorities.
The meeting was opened by Ambassador Petra Schneebauer, Austria’s National Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, who highlighted the efforts made by the Austrian authorities in the two years following the publication of GRETA’s report, including the reactions to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the rapid response to the arrival of persons fleeing the war in Ukraine.
Some 20 representatives of relevant federal ministries, the City of Vienna and civil society organisations discussed progress made and remaining challenges as regards trafficking victims’ access to justice and effective remedies, which is the focus of the third evaluation round of the Convention. Victims’ access to information, legal aid and compensation, the implementation of the non-punishment provision, and the criminal justice response to trafficking were at the centre of the discussions.
The round-table meeting was also an occasion to discuss progress made on the implementation of previous GRETA recommendations. Particular attention was paid to data collection, the identification of victims of trafficking, the granting of a recovery and reflection period, measures to combat trafficking for labour exploitation and measures to discourage demand.
Austria is expected to report to the Committee of the Parties to the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings on measures taken to comply with the recommendations by 12 June 2022.