International legal framework - Council of Europe
Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings
The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings was adopted in 2005 and came into force in 2008. This is an important binding treaty to effectively fight trafficking in human beings. It sets out a series of minimum measures that states which become parties to this treaty are obliged to take with a view to ensuring the protection of the human rights of trafficked persons, the prevention of trafficking and the prosecution of those responsible for it. The assistance and protection measures required include a recovery and reflection period as well as a range of assistance and protection measures for persons reasonably believed to have been trafficked that are not conditional on a person’s agreement to cooperate in any law enforcement efforts against the traffickers, and in some circumstances, a renewable residence permits to trafficked persons.
Monitoring mechanism: GRETA
The strengths of the treaty’s provisions are reinforced by the fact that parties to the treaty have all agreed to have their implementation of its provisions monitored by GRETA, the Group of experts on action against trafficking in human beings. GRETA is becoming an important and influential instrument in the protection of the rights of trafficked persons and in that capacity can promote the human rights based approach to trafficking in human beings.
GRETA has developed a questionnaire for States to report their progress on the implementation of the Convention. In addition to this written procedure, GRETA has also decided to visit all the countries that are subject to the evaluation. The report it prepares, the conclusions it draws and the recommendations it makes to the governments will be based on all the information it has gathered.
In the past years, GRETA has shown to be keen to receive input from NGOs for their evaluations and to cooperate. For NGOs who want to engage with GRETA, La Strada International and Anti-Slavery International have developed a Guidance.
For more information on the Council of Europe Convention and the reports of GRETA visit the website of the Council of Europe.