On 11 September 2023, 30 prosecutors from different regions of Ukraine, as well as representatives of the Prosecutor General's Office and the Prosecutor`s Training Centre of Ukraine, took part in the launch of an in-depth training within the HELP course "Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Protection of Victims". The training will last 11 weeks and is organised by the Council of Europe Project "HELP (Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals) for Ukraine, including during wartime" in partnership with the Prosecutor`s Training Centre of Ukraine.
The international HELP course "Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Protection of Victims" has been adapted to the Ukrainian legal system and context and will be delivered by Andriy Orlean, HELP tutor and Deputy Director of Prosecutor`s Training Centre of Ukraine.
New risks and forms of exploitation have emerged during the war. The vast majority of people who have fled Ukraine because of the war are women and children, as well as the elderly and people with disabilities. These groups are particularly vulnerable to exploitation. Among the identified victims of human trafficking in EU countries, the vast majority are Ukrainians, according to the UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2022. The possibility remains that the Russian war in Ukraine could lead to unprecedented numbers of victims of human trafficking unless measures are taken to mitigate the consequences.
The course was presented in Kyiv, at the premises of the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine, with the participation of representatives of the Council of Europe HELP Project in Ukraine.
The participants were welcomed by Olesia Otradnova, Director of the Prosecutor`s Training Centre of Ukraine, and Erlend Falch, Deputy Head of the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine. Mr Falch spoke about the Council of Europe's activities aimed at combating human trafficking. He stressed the importance of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, which aims to prevent trafficking in human beings, protect victims and prosecute traffickers. The main advantage of the Convention is that it focuses on human rights and victim protection. The Convention has established an independent monitoring mechanism to assess how well its provisions are applied in practice. The mechanism consists of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) and the Committee of the Parties.
Andriy Orlean said: "We have launched a basic course adapted to Ukrainian legislation and national practices, which allows the participants to freely navigate the available anti-trafficking instruments and avoid typical difficulties and problems. Among other things, the course graduates will understand the peculiarities of applying a victim-centred approach. Participants will have no doubt that consent to exploitation does not exclude the offence in the presence of other signs of human trafficking, and that a victim who refuses to testify against the offender is not deprived of the right to assistance and compensation."
The course will provide tools for identifying victims of human trafficking and protecting their rights. It also aims to ensure that the crime of human trafficking is effectively investigated and perpetrators are brought to justice, which would ensure that proportionate punishment is applied.
Iryna Horban, Head of the Department for Organisation of Procedural Management of Pre-trial Investigation and Support of Public Prosecution in Criminal Proceedings Related to Human Trafficking of the Prosecutor General's Office, spoke about the problematic issues in registering and investigating cases of human trafficking.
The participants got acquainted with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights on the protection of the rights of victims of human trafficking, presented by Olha Poedynok, PhD in Law, attorney, Associate Professor of the Department of International Law at the Institute of International Relations of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.
NGOs working in the field of combating human trafficking record many more cases of human trafficking, as Kateryna Cherepakha, President of the NGO La Strada Ukraine, described.
All participants received the publications from the Council of Europe Project “Support to the functioning of justice in the war and post-war context in Ukraine", including an overview of the ECHR case law for 2016-2021 and documents of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE).