NGOs Call for Strengthening of the Draft European Convention Against Trafficking
Thursday, October 14, 2004 12:10 PM

One hundred twenty non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including Amnesty International and Anti-Slavery International, from Europe and elsewhere are calling on the 45 member states of the Council of Europe to strengthen the protection of the human rights of trafficked persons. The Ad Hoc Committee on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings ("CAHTEH") began its penultimate meeting in Strasbourg, France on September 28 to draft a European Convention against Trafficking in Human Beings. The last decade has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people affected by human trafficking, and very often these people are misidentified and treated as criminals by authorities.

The NGOs are calling for the strengthening of certain provisions of the draft treaty in order to ensure that the treaty designs a "comprehensive framework for the protection and assistance of trafficked persons and witnesses."  The NGOs want to ensure that the European Convention against Trafficking recognizes trafficking as a human rights violation and requires states to meet several requirements. Among the desired requirements are: prompt and accurate identification of trafficked persons by trained individuals; no prosecution of victims for illegal entry or residence in a country, or for illegal activities resulting from their situation as a trafficked person; access to assistance and protection services; a process of granting victims permission to legally remain in the country during a 3-month Reflection and Recovery Period; a further 6-month renewable and permanent residence permit for trafficked persons; and the assurance that they will not be returned to any country where their life or safety is at risk. 

For the complete text of Amnesty International's and Anti-Slavery International's recommendations, click here.

Compiled from: "120 NGOs Stress that the Draft European Convention against Trafficking must be strengthened," Balkan Human Rights Digest, Press Release 28 September 2004.