On 12th of March 2021, La Strada International organised a webinar to launch and reflect on the findings of the research report “Residence permits, international protection and victims of human trafficking”.
This report has been developed in the framework of the REST project which aims to strengthen the rights to residence and international protection for third-country nationals trafficked in Europe, by examining promising practices, gaps and challenges in their actual access to these rights in 6 European countries (Austria, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Moldova and Serbia).
Trafficked persons’ access to long-term or permanent residence is an integral part of their right to effective remedies. Securing a long-term residence for trafficked persons is one way to guarantee their dignity and foster their access to justice. A durable solution in terms of residence provides trafficked person with a foundation for safety and stability, and hope for a future perspective. Two speakers, Marta González, Lobby and Advocacy coordinator of Proyecto Esperanza and Liliana Sorrentino, Board member of LSI and independent human rights expert – and one of the two researchers involved, presented the main conclusions of the of the report.
One of the main concerns expressed by them refers to the common European practice of linking access to residence permits for victims of trafficking to their cooperation with law enforcement authorities. This practice is not only in conflict with the human rights-based approach proclaimed in both the European Union and the Council of Europe treaty law, but also contradicts some of the most important provisions for the protection of trafficked persons. The application of a human rights-based approach requires delinking residence from cooperation and obliges States not only to grant victims of trafficking the right to remain in the destination country during legal proceedings against their perpetrators, but also later on personal grounds, if the safety of the person requires this. Trafficked persons should also have full access to apply for international protection.
The last speaker Venla Roth, Anti-Trafficking Coordinator in Finland, commented on the report findings. While reflecting on the situation in Finland and measures taken to assess and improve access to residence for trafficked persons, she echoed the call to improve access to residence for victims of trafficking. You can still listen to the recording of the webinar.
Earlier this year on Victim Rights Day, La Strada International addressed the members of the European Parliament to commit to 10 points of action to improve access to residence for victims of trafficking.