European Network Against Trafficking in Human Beings

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Human Traffic, Human Rights: Redefining Victim Protection

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Human Traffic, Human Rights: Redefining Victim Protection
Elaine Pearson, Anti-Slavery International
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Document type(s)
Reflection period, Residency permit, Identification, Social assistance, Victim protection, Shelter, Repatriation, Empowerment, Redress, Advocacy, Civil society, NGO, Human Rights approach, Identification (of Victims) Protection, Victims of trafficking, Trafficked persons, Integration, Social Inclusion,
This report is based on research reports conducted in ten countries, by Stana Buchowska of La Strada Foundation Against Trafficking (Poland), Bruno Moens of Payoke (Belgium), Fanny Polania Molina (Colombia), Usa Lerdsrisantud of Foundation for Women (Thailand) and Inna Shvab of International Women's Rights Centre La Strada (Ukraine). In the Netherlands, Nigeria, Italy, United Kingdom and the United States, Elaine Pearson conducted the research. ËXECUTIVE SUMMARY EXTRACT: Increasingly, governments have responded to trafficking through restrictive immigration policies. These not only render migrants more vulnerable to traffickers, but often lead to trafficked persons being swiftly returned to their home countries as undocumented migrants, returned to the very same conditions from which they left, rather than being identified as victims of crime. This fails to give trafficked persons opportunities for recovery and redress, and further deprives them of access to justice, through the possibility of criminal or civil action against traffickers. Measures for protection and assistance to trafficked persons are included in the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (2000). However, unlike the criminal provisions in this Protocol, which are obligatory on State Parties, the human rights protections are discretionary under the Protocol. How to ensure that governments place victim protection at the core of their anti-trafficking policies was the objective of Anti-Slavery International's twoyear research study investigating various measures to protect victims, especially those who act as witnesses in the prosecutions of traffickers. We carried out research in collaboration with local non-governmental organisations in ten countries: Belgium, Colombia, Italy, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States. Of particular interest to Anti-Slavery International was the effectiveness of providing residency permits to trafficked persons to enable them to access their basic human rights, recover from their situation and secure prosecutions of traffickers. Our research found that the countries which fared better in prosecuting traffickers for various crimes (Belgium, Italy, Netherlands and United States) were the four countries which also had the most comprehensive measures for assisting victims, including temporary residency permits for those prepared to testify against their traffickers.
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