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GRETA publishes 11th General report on its activities

The Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) today published its annual report for 2021.

During 2021 GRETA was able to achieve a number of milestones in spite of the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and continued to develop its cooperation with other Council of Europe bodies, other international organisations and civil society to prevent and combat human trafficking.

It carried out ten country evaluation visits and adopted third round evaluation reports on six countries (France, Latvia, Malta, Montenegro, Romania and the United Kingdom). Israel became the second Council of Europe non-member state to accede to the anti-trafficking convention.

In the report, GRETA’s president Helga Gayer stresses that child trafficking has continued to increase despite legislative and policy measures taken by states parties to the anti-trafficking convention. “The Covid-19 pandemic has made children even more vulnerable to trafficking, including exploitation online. All actors involved in action against human trafficking need to step up efforts to combat child trafficking and develop innovative approaches to protect children”, she said.

The report contains the key findings and recommendations of a study on online and technology-facilitated trafficking in human beings based on information provided by 40 states parties to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, 12 NGOs and two IT companies.

The study assesses the extent to which technology impacts human trafficking, the operational and legal challenges in detecting, investigating and prosecuting online and ICT-facilitated human trafficking offences, and contains a set of recommendations.

The study also explores strategies, tools and good practices adopted by states parties to overcome such challenges. These include Internet monitoring, web-scraping tools and social network analysis. The involvement and co-operation of a wide range of agencies and knowledge sharing are crucial, as is cross-border co-operation in securing electronic evidence.

Technology-based tools to identify victims of trafficking, such as facial recognition and web-crawlers, can be valuable in performing data reduction and handling large volumes of information; however, the study points out that they raise ethical concerns and should only be employed by well-trained operators with knowledge on human trafficking.

Online self-reporting mechanisms and helplines enable victims to seek assistance and disseminate information to communities at risk. The study recommends enhancing online confidential reporting mechanisms and working with private companies to set up mechanisms to flag up suspicious activities and advertisements. Countries should also develop data-sharing procedures and co-operation protocols with companies holding relevant data.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and ICT developments have produced structural changes in human traffickers´ modi operandi, which requires countries to adapt and equip their law enforcement agencies and criminal justice systems with capabilities to tackle the changing environment. To counter the use of ICTs by human traffickers, it is essential that governments invest in the training of law enforcement, provide adequate resources and enhance their cooperation with private companies and with other national authorities”, said GRETA’s President Helga Gayer.

Strasbourg 13 July 2022
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Anti-Trafficking Convention

The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, in force since1 February 2008, is an international treaty which provides a comprehensive framework for combating human trafficking following a human-rights based and victim-centred approach. The Convention has been ratified by all 46 member States of the Council of Europe, as well as by two non-member States, Belarus and Israel [more...]

Thematic work

 Over the years, GRETA has focused on different aspects of combating trafficking in human beings, such as labour exploitation, international protection, online and technology facilitated trafficking and the risks related to the war in Ukraine. [more...]


 The Anti-Trafficking Convention provides for a monitoring mechanism to evaluate the implementation of its provisions by States Parties through a procedure divided into cycles. The monitoring mechanism is made up of two bodies: the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) and the Committee of the Parties [more...]


 Drawing on GRETA’s findings and recommendations, the Council of Europe Anti-Trafficking Division implements co-operation projects in selected countries aimed at strengthening the implementation of the Convention. The Council of Europe also organises round-tables as follow-up to the recommendations made by GRETA and the Committee of the Parties, promotes partnerships and facilitates specialised networks [more...]

Facts and figures


State Parties

+ 130

Monitoring Visits

+ 130

Country reports

+ 20

Co-operation projects