European Network Against Trafficking in Human Beings

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News | New publication of OSCE SR

The OSCE Office of the Special Representative on and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings has launched a new publication Policy and legislative recommendations towards the effective implementation of the non-punishment provision with regard to victims of trafficking in consultation with the Alliance against Trafficking in Persons Expert Co-ordination Team.

The principle of non-punishment of victims is affirmed in a number of international standards, including legally and politically-binding instruments. In the OSCE region, participating States committed to endorse a human rights-based and victim-centred approach to anti-trafficking action, an approach that respects the dignity and human rights of trafficking victims at all times. Such a human rights approach calls for governments and parliaments to take the lead in their national jurisdictions to ensure that legislation and policy are not negatively impacting on the protection of rights of trafficked persons. The non-punishment of victims of trafficking for offences they have committed as a consequence, or in the course, of being trafficked is an essential element of such a human rights approach. With a view to supporting participating States in the implementation of these  commitments, the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in  Human Beings (hereinafter SR), in close consultation with partners in the Alliance against Trafficking  in Persons, has engaged in the development of policy guidance to assist States in the translation into  practice of the commitment on the non-punishment of victims of trafficking.

This paper examines the principle of non-punishment in international law, explores the scope of its application and discusses the challenges in its practical implementation. It includes a number of practical examples and court cases which were made available by national agencies, NGOs and legal  professionals who have been examining these issues extensively, in particular the Belgian Centre for  Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, the Bureau of the Dutch National Rapporteur on  Trafficking in Human Beings, as well as UK courts and lawyers. The paper concludes with the  provision of practical guidance, and the formulation of policy and legislative recommendations,  towards the effective implementation of the non-punishment provision with regard to victims of  trafficking.

(photo by OSCE/Susanna Lööf)

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