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.