Ukraine, Italy and Iceland: Human Trafficking Progress Reports
Monday, October 6, 2014 7:35 AM

Ukraine, Italy and Iceland have made progress in combatting human trafficking, but many challenges remain, according to reports issued in September by the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA). Positive steps include Ukraine’s creation of “comprehensive anti-trafficking laws” and a formalized mechanism for identifying victims; Iceland’s two national action plans for combatting trafficking; and Italy’s long term assistance programs for victims as well as a strong civil society network.

However, the current crisis in Ukraine has increased the vulnerability of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to trafficking. IDPs are mostly women, children, and persons with disabilities. GRETA advised Ukraine to focus on specialized training of law enforcement, judges and prosecutors to more effectively investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes. GRETA also recommended that Ukraine offer victims a legally protected “recovery and reflection period.” In contrast, GRETA praised Iceland for its more comprehensive legal protections for victims. 

However, GRETA also noted that the number of legally recognized victims of trafficking in Iceland is very low, with just one victim identified in 2010. GRETA advised both Iceland and Italy to develop more effective systems for identifying trafficking victims, including migrant workers and persons seeking asylum. Additionally, GRETA advised Italy to tackle demand for trafficked persons by increasing public awareness of trafficking and discouraging the use of services by trafficked workers in agriculture, construction, textiles, tourism and domestic services.

GRETA is the expert body charged with monitoring compliance with the Council of Europe’s Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. The Ukraine, Italy and Iceland reports are GRETA’s first comprehensive evaluations of the measures taken by each country to combat human trafficking. The reports also highlight ongoing challenges faced by each country and offer recommendations to improve efforts to eliminate human trafficking and protect victims.

Compiled from: Group of Experts on Trafficking in Human Beings, GRETA publishes first report on Iceland, Council of Europe (September 23, 2014); Group of Experts on Trafficking in Human Beings, First GRETA report on Italy, Council of Europe (September 22, 2014); Group of Experts on Trafficking in Human Beings, GRETA publishes first report on Ukraine, Council of Europe (September 19, 2014).