On Friday 4th of June, the Committee of the Parties to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings elected Professor and former prosecutor Svala Ísfeld Ólafsdóttir from Iceland as new GRETA member. At the same meeting, the Committee elected Ambassador Christian Meuwly (Switzerland) and Ambassador Marie Fontanel (France) as, respectively, its new Chair and Vice-Chair, for a first term of office of one year. During the meeting recommendations concerning Bulgaria, Denmark, Georgia, Montenegro and Romania were adopted, based on GRETA’s third round evaluation reports.
The same day, La Strada International organised a side event for the members of the Committee in cooperation with the GRETA secretariat which focussed on the importance of improved access to residence for victims of trafficking, on the basis of a recently launched research report Residence Permits, International Protection and Victims of Human Trafficking. The REST study provides best practice examples and recommendations on how States can ensure that trafficked persons can access residence and international protection.
These findings confirm GRETA’s monitoring conclusions on the issue. Out of the 42 countries evaluated by GRETA, 22 had legislation envisaging the issuing of residence permits to victims of trafficking both owing to their personal situation and for the purpose of their co-operation in the investigation or criminal proceedings. A further 14 countries granted residence permits to victims of trafficking exclusively for the purpose of their co-operation with law enforcement, and two had legislation providing for the issuing of a residence permit to victims of trafficking on humanitarian grounds.