In the current situation in which Europe is faced with an influx of refugees, it becomes increasingly important to identify victims of trafficking among asylum-seekers, including unaccompanied children. This was one of the central themes in the most recent general report of the monitoring body to the Convention, namely the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) It was also the main theme of a conference co-organised by the Council of Europe Secretariat to the Convention and held in Sofia in June 2015.
In most European countries the majority of identified victims of trafficking are migrants. The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings recognises that trafficking in human beings is largely a transnational crime and therefore contains articles on international police co-operation against trafficking and assistance measures that are specific to foreign victims of trafficking. These include the obligation of authorities to grant a residence permit to foreign victims for the duration of their recovery and reflection period and to provide general assistance and counselling in a language that victims can understand. The Convention also contains articles about the safe and dignified return of victims to their home countries.
GRETA monitoring reports always examine the extent of the risk of falling victim to trafficking faced by asylum-seekers and irregular migrants and the support given to identified foreign victims of trafficking in those European States that are parties to the Convention. GRETA makes about 10 evaluation visits to Council of Europe member states each year. The next countries which GRETA will visit are Belgium, France, Greece, Ireland and Poland.