The Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) has issued a Guidance Note on the entitlement of victims of trafficking, and persons at risk of being trafficked, to international protection.
The Guidance Note analyses the application of the principles of international protection in the context of human trafficking, building upon earlier UNHCR guidelines.
The guidance emphasizes that there should be a possibility for presumed victims of trafficking to apply for asylum while they are in the process of being identified. It also stresses the principle of non-punishment of trafficking victims for offences they were compelled to commit.
Furthermore, the guidance emphasizes the need for risk assessments in order to prevent victims of trafficking being returned to the country where they first applied for asylum, pursuant to the Dublin Regulation, but where they face the risk of being re-trafficked
The guidance notes the particular vulnerability of child victims, who should be promptly referred to child protection authorities and appointed legal guardians.
The launch of this publication coincides with the annual World Refugee Day (20 June) and it is hoped that the information contained in it will assist relevant authorities and organisations in providing protection to vulnerable victims of human trafficking.