Role of NGOs
Pursuant to Article 35 of the Convention, Parties shall encourage state authorities and public officials to co-operate with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), other relevant organisations and members of civil society, in establishing strategic partnerships with the aim of achieving the purpose of the Convention.
Civil society plays an important role in the implementation of the Convention, through awareness raising, research, training, detecting victims of trafficking, providing them with accommodation and other assistance, and supporting them through the criminal justice process and in order to claim compensation. The input of civil society in evaluating the implementation of the Convention is therefore crucial.
The Rules of Procedure for Evaluating Implementation of the Convention contain provisions concerning information from civil society. Prior to each country evaluation visit, GRETA seeks information directly from civil society, based on GRETA’s questionnaire. NGOs can provide information by answering some or all of the questions in the questionnaire. NGOs can also decide to provide a joint report. GRETA treats information received from civil society as confidential unless the respondent requests publication. With a view to assisting NGOs to get involved in monitoring implementation of the Convention, two international NGOs, La Strada International and Anti-Slavery International, have developed guidance for NGOs to report to GRETA.
In the course of each country evaluation visit, GRETA holds meetings with civil society representatives (specialised NGOs, trade unions, research institutes, and so on). GRETA also visits shelters for victims of trafficking run by NGOs.
Further, GRETA periodically organises hearings with NGOs active in the field of action against trafficking in human beings. The Committee of the Parties can also invite international NGOs as observers to its meetings.
- International and national NGOs continued to provide information to GRETA in the context of the preparation of country evaluation reports. The number of NGOs sending information in response to GRETA’s questionnaire has progressively increased since the beginning of the first monitoring round. In the course of each country visits, GRETA held meetings with representatives of NGOs and other civil soceity actors (trade unions, Bar Associations, research institutes, etc.). GRETA also visited shelters and other assistance facilities for victims of trafficking run by NGOs.
- Furthermore, NGOs provided feedback on GRETA’s reports and the follow-up given to them. In particular, NGOs participated actively in the round-table meetings on the follow-up to be given to GRETA’s report and the Committee of Parties recommendations on the implementation of the Convention (see paragraph 26).
- In addition, GRETA participated in a number of international and national events organised by NGOs. By way of example, GRETA members and Secretariat made presentations at the conference on human trafficking organised by the NGO Saúde em Português on 18 October 2012 in Coimbra, Portugal; the conference “Bringing Human Trafficking Out of the Shadows” organised by BAWSO on 21 November 2012 in Cardiff, UK; the final conference of the Project REVENI “Towards a unified child protection response to trafficking and exploitation of children in Europe?” on 12-13 December 2012 in Budapest, Hungary; the conference on discovering trafficking for the purpose of forced labour and labour exploitation organised by La Strada Czech Republic in Prague on 22-23 April 2013, etc.
- GRETA is grateful for the contributions made by NGOs and is committed to continuing the existing co-operation with civil society.