On 30 June, the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) adopted a new questionnaire for evaluating states’ implementation of the CoE Anti-Trafficking Convention in the fourth monitoring round.
The focus of this round is on addressing vulnerabilities to trafficking in human beings and measures taken by states to prevent them, detect and support vulnerable victims, and punish the offenders.
The questions governments will have to respond to include:
- Which groups of people, geographic regions, and economic sectors are identified as particularly vulnerable to human trafficking and how they are addressed in the national anti-trafficking strategy and/or action plan.
- What measures are taken to reduce the vulnerability to trafficking of migrant workers (including seasonal workers, seconded/posted workers, domestic workers, diplomatic household employees)? These include questions related to access to decent work and housing, healthcare, social services, the possibility to change employer, access to confidential complaints mechanisms, right to join trade unions and to engage in collective bargaining, and legal avenues for regularising their stay in the country.
- How do states prevent and sanction abuses of legal constructions such as self-employment, letter-box companies, sub-contracting, and posting of workers, which may be used to commit human trafficking?
- How do states’ migration legislation and policies seek to prevent THB by enabling lawful migration and legal employment opportunities accompanied by decent work conditions?
La Strada International advocated for a more explicit focus on vulnerable groups and is pleased to see it reflected in the questionnaire. We hope this will help states to acknowledge that more needs to be done to support vulnerable persons, including by ensuring the prevention of their exploitation; identifying risks sectors and situations; and ensuring safe reporting, complaint mechanisms and remedies to those facing exploitative practices.
Similarly to previous monitoring rounds, states will be asked to respond to GRETA’s previous recommendations and provide data on various issues, including compensation and access to residence permits, assets recovered, number of trafficked persons who received free legal aid; number of victims who were returned or repatriated; and number of persons given refugee status or complementary protection on the grounds of being victims etc.
The calendar of visits is not published yet; however, LSI believes that it will follow the same order as the previous evaluation rounds, which was Austria, Cyprus, Slovakia, followed by Albania, Croatia, and Moldova.