European Network Against Trafficking in Human Beings

New publication

IMPROVING ACCESS TO JUSTICE FOR TRAFFICKED PERSONS - Conclusions and proposals for future action Lawyers Networking Meeting, 22 and 23 November 2016

Document number
3312
Date
2018
Title
IMPROVING ACCESS TO JUSTICE FOR TRAFFICKED PERSONS - Conclusions and proposals for future action Lawyers Networking Meeting, 22 and 23 November 2016
Author/publisher
Marjan Wijers - for Council of Europe
Availability
View/save PDF version of this document
Document type(s)
Meeting Documentation/Conference Reports,
Keywords
lawyers network compensation trafficking in human beings Council of Europe
Summary
On 22 and 23 November 2016, the Council of Europe, in co-operation with the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, organised a meeting of lawyers and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) providing legal assistance to victims of trafficking in human beings in Strasbourg, France. The aims of the meeting were to bring together experienced lawyers representing trafficking victims as a start for the setting up of a network of such lawyers and to contribute to the improvement of access to legal assistance and representation of trafficked persons, from their first contact with the authorities, as an integral part of national assistance systems.

The meeting brought together 46 lawyers and representatives of NGOs from 26 states parties to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. The topics included an examination of the current challenges in the protection of the rights of trafficked persons, the role of lawyers in preventing secondary victimisation and protecting victims’ rights, the need for strategic litigation, and national models of legal aid to trafficked persons. The working groups gave participants the opportunity to actively exchange experiences and discuss barriers trafficked persons face in accessing justice. The participants also discussed what action would be needed to improve access to legal aid for trafficked persons, as well as the possible gains of a European network of lawyers for trafficked persons.

The overarching theme was the recognition of access to legal assistance and representation as a key element of access to justice. The meeting concluded with a discussion on the next steps, the main topics of common interest identified and a first set of proposals for future action. This report presents the main conclusions of the meeting linked to specific challenges identified by the participants, based on the presentations, the panel discussions, the outcomes of the working groups and the plenary discussions.