memorandum by Ms Wurm, rapporteur
1. Trafficking in human beings, a modern form of slavery,
constitutes a violation of human rights and an affront to the dignity
and integrity of the human being.
2. The actions of various national and international organisations
and NGOs are beginning to bear fruit in so far as there is less
ignorance of this phenomenon than formerly. But can we claim that
there is sufficient citizen awareness for it to be decried throughout
the world? We have certainly not yet reached that point, and that
is where action must be taken. The fight against this evil must
continue at all levels, by means of awareness-raising campaigns
and intensified co-operation at national and international level
as well as effective legislation. Likewise, does the kind of fate
in store for victims of this crime occur to anyone today? For example,
are the victims who are forced into prostitution perceived as prostitutes
or as victims of trafficking? The answer is often interspersed with
misunderstandings or misreadings of the phenomenon. Even today,
the authorities seldom see these human beings as victims of trafficking,
whereas in fact very many of them are. Trafficking for the purposes
of sex slavery does not seem to be on the wane. On the contrary,
the criminals, whether acting individually or in rings, are increasingly
well informed of the possible obstacles to their highly lucrative
trade in human beings, and the impact of the current economic and
financial crisis on women is making them ever more vulnerable.
Trafficking in human beings is one of the criminal phenomena
that have developed most in recent decades, chiefly owing to its
high profitability. According to the United States Government, each
year 800 000 persons are victims of trafficking outside national
(not counting domestic trafficking).
4. Nothing can justify trafficking in human beings. Action by
parliamentarians is necessary, even vital, in our democratic societies
in order to condemn and prevent all types of crime. The Council
of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings
(CETS No. 197) is a tool at their disposal to promote this cause. The
rapporteur is convinced that its implementation will make it possible
to strengthen prevention and stem the demand.
value of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking
in Human Beings
5. The rapporteur recalls that the Council of Europe
Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings was adopted
by the Committee of Ministers on 3 May 2005 and opened for signature
in Warsaw on 16 May 2005 on the occasion of the 3rd Summit of Heads
of State and Government of the Council of Europe. It entered into
force on 1 February 2008. So far, it has been ratified by 26 member
states, and a further 15 have signed it.
2.1 General presentation
of the convention
6. The convention against trafficking is a comprehensive
treaty concentrating essentially on protection of victims of trafficking
and defence of their rights. It also concerns prevention and prosecution
7. It applies to all forms of trafficking, whether national or
transnational and whether or not linked with organised crime. It
applies irrespective of the victims, be they women, men or children,
and whatever the form of exploitation, whether sexual or involving
forced labour or services.
8. It provides for the establishment of independent monitoring
machinery guaranteeing the parties’ compliance with its provisions.
2.2 The added value
of the convention
9. The Council of Europe Convention on Action against
Trafficking in Human Beings seems to be the most advanced among
the international instruments. In particular, it goes further than
the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons,
Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations
Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which was adopted
by the United Nations General Assembly on 15 November 2000, and
which is the principal relevant international instrument on prevention
of trafficking. The Council of Europe convention lays down more
binding provisions on the protection of victims and witnesses and
provides for an independent monitoring mechanism guaranteeing its implementation.
In order to inform her colleagues as fully as possible, the
rapporteur wishes to itemise the main differences between the United
Nations protocol and the Council of Europe convention.
a As the Assembly wished, the convention
adopts an approach founded on human rights which creates a positive
obligation for states to prevent trafficking and protect victims,
and this goes beyond the individual criminal responsibility provided
for in the United Nations protocol.
b The convention is broader in scope, since it applies to
trafficking both at national and at international level, whether
or not linked with organised crime.
c The convention contains a definition of the victim of
trafficking, tending towards harmonisation of measures of protection
and assistance throughout Europe.
d The measures to protect the victim’s rights are mandatory
under the convention. Victims must be identified so as not to be
confused with illegal immigrants or criminals. They are afforded
material and psychological assistance and measures to help their
rehabilitation in society. Other measures such as medical attention,
counselling and housing are prescribed. Victims can also apply for
e The convention envisages the possibility of not penalising
victims who are compelled to commit offences because of their situation.
f The convention contains provisions specific to children
in respect of their identification, the provision of measures to
assist them, and the granting of a residence permit.
Thanks especially to the Assembly’s requests,Note
allows a minimum of thirty days to enable victims to recover, reflect
and take a decision on whether or not to co-operate with the judicial
h The convention provides for the penalisation of clients
using the services of victims of trafficking. The objective is to
stem the traffic by curbing demand.
i As will be seen below (paragraph III – ii), the convention provides for
setting up a monitoring mechanism – GRETA – which is definitely
one of the most notable improvements on the United Nations protocol.
These examples prompt the rapporteur to advocate the signature
and ratification of the Council of Europe convention without delay,
in order to eradicate this phenomenon, while taking into consideration
the victims’ state of distress and while helping them become rehabilitated.
In order to achieve maximum impact, the convention’s geographical
coverage should embrace Europe as a whole, but also be as wide as
12. Parliamentarians must act, and speedily. The fight
against trafficking in human beings must become a political priority
for the European democracies.
role in promoting acceptance of the convention in all Council of
Europe member states and beyond
For many years the Assembly has unremittingly combated
trafficking in human beings. It has long condemned this crime and
repeatedly called on states to fight it. Specifically in 1997,Note
but also in 2002,Note
called for the preparation of a Council of Europe convention and
fought to ensure that the convention would set the highest standards
for the protection of victims. It was involved in the Council of
Europe campaign against trafficking in human beings which culminated
in the entry into force of the convention on 1 February 2008 following
its 10th ratification. The convention’s effectiveness depends on
its widest possible application throughout Europe, in the countries
of origin, transit and destination of victims of trafficking. It
is therefore more necessary than ever to promote the widest possible
ratification of the convention.
14. National parliamentarians should do their utmost to ensure
that their governments and national parliaments sign and ratify
The rapporteur further considers that, as in the case of the
United Nations protocol, the international community should take
the utmost interest in the convention. She firstly envisages asking
the Assembly’s observer states to do so, as well as all third states.
Indeed, the Assembly, which maintains good relations with the OSCE
and also the United Nations,Note
for the ratification of the United Nations protocol and the convention,
which are complementary instruments at the international level.
Moreover, the rapporteur stresses that, unfortunately, at
the present time, the victims of trafficking are still sometimes
not being treated as such by the authorities,Note
which constitutes an additional violation
of their fundamental rights. At the very least, pending ratification,
parliamentarians should ensure that the most important provisions
of the convention are implemented at national level in order to
ensure that victims of trafficking receive treatment compatible
with their fundamental rights.
role in actuating GRETA
17. The rapporteur is banking on the importance of the
Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA)
in implementing the convention. An effective, independent monitoring
mechanism will firmly guarantee that the convention is implemented
both at national and at international level. The monitoring system
is indubitably one of the convention’s strengths.
3.2.1 The monitoring
mechanism set up by the convention
18. This rests on two pillars: GRETA and the Committee
of the Parties.
19. The first pillar, GRETA, is a technical body made up of independent
experts highly qualified in the spheres of human rights, assisting
and protecting victims, and fighting trafficking in human beings.
It is mandated to adopt a report and conclusions on the implementation
of the convention by each party. Thirteen independent experts were
elected by the Committee of the Parties, at its meeting on 5 and
8 December 2008, as the first members of GRETA. Members are elected
for a term of office of four years, beginning on 1 January 2009.
President: Hanne Sophie Greve (Norwegian)
- 1st Vice President: Nicolas
Le Coz (French)
- 2nd Vice President: Gulnara Shahinian (Armenian)
The other members:
- Vessela Banova (Bulgarian)
- Louise Calleja (Maltese)
- Josie Christodoulou (Cypriot)
- Davor Derencinovic (Croatian)
- Vladimir Gilca (Moldovan)
- Alexandra Malangone (Slovak)
- Nell Rasmussen (Danish)
- Leonor Maria Da Conceição Cruz Rodrigues (Portuguese)
- Robert Stratoberdha (Albanian)
- Diana-Florentina Tudorache (Romanian).Note
20. GRETA met four times in 2009, has put its structures
in place and has begun preparing a questionnaire for an initial
evaluation. It is planning to work in four-year cycles. The questionnaire
is due to be adopted by the end of 2009 and GRETA hopes to receive
the first replies in January 2010. Members would then travel to
the countries concerned to check the information, with five country
visits in 2010.
21. The second pillar, the Committee of the Parties, is a more
political body composed of the representatives in the Committee
of Ministers of the parties to the convention and representatives
of the parties non-members of the Council of Europe. It may make
recommendations to a party on the basis of the GRETA report and conclusions.
It has also met three times so far. At its forthcoming meetings,
the Committee of the Parties is planning to hold debates on specific
topics with the relevant NGOs, starting with the question of prevention.
On 22 June 2009, the Committee on Equal Opportunities for
Women and Men held an exchange of views on the mechanisms of the
convention with the outgoing chairperson of the Committee of the
Parties, Ambassador Pēteris Kārlis Elferts, and the President of
GRETA, Ms Hanne Sophie Greve, and another on the latest developments
with the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Ms Maud
On 28 September 2009, the
Sub-Committee on trafficking in human beings held an exchange of views
in camera with Ms Greve and Mr Zurab Chiaberashvili, the new chair
of the Committee of the Parties, on the proposed Framework Decision
of the Council of the European Union on preventing and combating trafficking
in human beings, and protecting victims. During this exchange of
views, concerns were expressed about possible duplication of various
instruments with GRETA. It is hoped that the situation will be such
as to enable all parties to exercise their responsibilities within
a framework of harmony and co-operation in order to prevent duplication.
The exchanges of views were very constructive and should be repeated
at regular intervals until the monitoring mechanisms have become
3.2.2 What parliamentarians
can do for an independent and effective GRETA
23. In order for the monitoring system to be strong and
effective, GRETA must, in particular, be independent and above suspicion
as regards its expertise, since it is the body primarily responsible
for watching over the convention’s implementation by the parties.
The convention stresses the need to ensure gender and geographical
balance and multidisciplinary expertise in nominating GRETA members.
GRETA consists of a minimum of 10 members and a maximum of 15 members
(it currently has 13).
24. Parliamentarians can raise the question of financing GRETA
in their parliaments in order to ensure that it functions effectively.
They will accordingly satisfy themselves that GRETA has adequate,
settled and predictable human and financial resources at its disposal.
3.3 The parliamentarians’
role in ensuring fruitful co-operation with other international organisations
The Council of Europe has a special responsibility
due to its pioneering role in drafting a binding European legal
instrument with a strong and independent monitoring mechanism. This
is why the rapporteur is somewhat concerned about two new European
Union proposals which may threaten the acquis
the Council of Europe in the area. At its meeting in Luxembourg
on 4 June 2009, the Council of the European Union decided to establish
an informal European Union network of “national rapporteurs or equivalent
mechanisms” on trafficking in human beings. At the same time, the
European Commission put forward a proposal for a Council Framework
Decision on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings,
and protecting victims, in March 2009. The European Parliament has
yet to give its opinion on the latter proposal. The proposal was examined
and revised on 23 October 2009. Article 15 of the revised proposed
framework decision stipulates that each member state must appoint
a national rapporteur or equivalent mechanism who is mandated to gauge
the effects of anti-trafficking measures and to report on them.Note
Such an informal European Union Network of national rapporteurs
or equivalent mechanisms could, in fact, turn out to be a positive
development, provided that the network and its constituting mechanisms
do not interfere with the work of GRETA, but, on the contrary, co-operate
with GRETA and provide information (for example, data and statistics)
the Council of Europe and the European Union do not yet apply the
same standards to trafficking in human beings (with the Council
of Europe and its convention taking a much more victim-oriented,
human rights approach).Note
27. Similarly, some of the provisions of the proposed Council
Framework Decision on preventing and combating trafficking in human
beings, and protecting victims seem to establish supervision mechanisms which
overlap with those of the convention. In particular, the rapporteur
does not exclude the possibility that Article 15 of the proposed
framework decision may ultimately duplicate Council of Europe monitoring
already in place. The wording of this provision is sufficiently
vague so as not to exclude this possibility: it does not stipulate
to whom the national rapporteur or equivalent mechanism is supposed
to report. The important thing is for the European Union and the
Council of Europe, which are both involved in combating trafficking
in human beings, to find a means of harmonising their action in
order to combat this scourge and protect the victims effectively.
28. The ideal solution would be for the European Union (in whatever
legal form, depending on the entry into force of the Lisbon treaty)
to accede without delay to the Council of Europe convention and
submit to its monitoring mechanisms in so far as the convention’s
“disconnection clause” allows.
29. Both national parliamentarians and European parliamentarians
can play a decisive role here. For example, they could put questions
to their government and parliament and to the European institutions
on the possible risk of duplication of monitoring instruments in
the field of trafficking. I would therefore suggest that the competent
committees of the Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament
take joint action before the end of this year.
4.1 A firm appeal to
sign and/or ratify the convention
The convention must have the widest possible cover,
and in order to secure its optimum effectiveness, the rapporteur
proposes specifically inviting the Council of Europe member states
which have neither signed nor ratified the convention to do so.Note
applies to the countries which have signed but not yet ratified it.Note
31. The rapporteur invokes the individual responsibility of parliamentarians
whose member states have not yet signed and/or ratified the convention.
They can place the issue on the national political agenda. They
can put questions to the government, and schedule the question of
ratification for parliamentary debate. They can initiate activities
to raise awareness among their colleagues and also the public. In
that respect, the Sub-Committee on trafficking in human beings can
contribute its expertise in order to counter any obstacles by organising
seminars for the pooling of good practices.
Furthermore, the Assembly should invite its observer parliaments
to accede to the convention.Note
33. As the convention is open to non-member states, it is also
clear that a wider appeal should be made to the international community
to ratify not only the United Nations protocol but also the Council
of Europe convention.
34. Lastly, the Assembly should reiterate its appeal to the European
Union for an early accession to the convention.
4.2 Guaranteeing GRETA’s
independence and effectiveness
35. The Assembly should ensure the independence of the
GRETA experts, based on gender and geographical balance. The Assembly
should request that the financial and human resources needed for GRETA
to function properly are made available to it. The urgent need for
this emerged at the meeting of the Sub-Committee on trafficking
in human beings on 28 September 2009, when Ms Greve reported on
the current lack of resources in GRETA and the need to provide it
with adequate staffing and financial resources.
4.3 Updating of the
Handbook for parliamentarians on the Council of Europe Convention
on Action against Trafficking in Human BeingsNote
36. In order to help parliamentarians and all persons
interested in promoting the convention, the committee prepared a
handbook, a practical guide to the convention, in December 2006.
The rapporteur welcomes that it has been updated in December 2009
to take account of the consequences of the convention’s entry into
force on 1 February 2008, and of the good practices which have enabled
the parliamentarians to promote the convention effectively with
their governments and parliaments.
4.4 Strengthening relations
with the partners
37. The rapporteur welcomes the relations of the committee
and the Sub-Committee on trafficking in human beings with its OSCE,
European Parliament and UNODC partners. She strongly encourages
the pursuit and enhancement of these relations in order to co-operate
effectively towards a single goal, that of stamping out trafficking.
She proposes that the Assembly organise a major conference, to be
held in 2010, on prevention of trafficking in human beings and the
Council of Europe convention, to which all partners involved in
this struggle should be invited, but that the competent committees
of the Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament take joint
action before the end of this year.
38. Lastly, the Assembly should recommend that the Committee of
Ministers become fully involved in promoting the signature and ratification
of the convention.
39. In conclusion, therefore, the rapporteur submits the appended
draft resolution and recommendation for adoption. She proposes examining
them during the Assembly’s first part‑session in 2010 (25 to 29
Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men
Reference to committee: Doc.11401, Reference 3401 of 21 January 2008
Draft resolution and recommendation unanimously
adopted by the committee on 30 November 2009
Members of the committee:
Ms Pernille Frahm (Chairperson),
Mr José Mendes Bota (First
Vice-Chairperson), Ms Ingrīda Circene (Second Vice-Chairperson),
Ms Anna Čurdová (Third Vice-Chairperson),
Ms Sonja Ablinger, M. Francis Agius, Mr Florin Serghei Anghel,
Ms Magdalina Anikashvili, Mr John Austin,
Mr Lokman Ayva, Ms Marieluise Beck, Ms Déborah Bergamini, Ms Oksana
Bilozir (alternate: Ms Olha Herasym’yuk),
Ms Rosa Delia Blanco Terán (alternate: Ms Luz Elena Sanín Naranjo), Ms Olena Bondarenko,
Mr Han Ten Broeke, Ms Anna Maria Carloni, Mr James Clappison, Ms Diana Çuli, Mr Kirtcho Dimitrov, Ms Lydie Err, Ms Catherine Fautrier, Ms
Mirjana Ferić-Vac, Ms Sónia
Fertuzinhos, Ms Doris Frommelt, Ms Alena Gajdůšková, Mr
Giuseppe Galati, Ms Gisèle Gautier,
Mr Neven Gosović, Ms Claude Greff, Mr Attila Gruber, Ms Carina Hägg,
Mr Håkon Haugli, Ms Francine John-Calame, Ms Nataša Jovanoviċ, Ms
Charoula Kefalidou, Ms Birgen Keleş,
Ms Krista Kiuru, Ms Elvira Kovács, Mr Terry Leyden, Ms Mirjana Malić,
Ms Assunta Meloni, Ms Nursuna Memecan,
Ms Danguté Mikutiené, Mr Burkhardt Müller-Sönksen, Ms Hermine Naghdalyan,
Ms Yuliya Novikova (alternate: Mr Ivan Popescu),
Mr Mark Oaten, Mr Kent Olsson, Ms Steinunn Valdis Óskarsdóttir,
Ms Antigoni Papadopoulos, Ms Mª del Carmen Quintanilla
Barba, Mr Stanislaw Rakoczy, Mr Frédéric Reiss, Ms Mailis Reps, Ms Maria Pilar Riba Font,
Ms Andreja Rihter, Mr Nicolae Robu, Ms Marlene Rupprecht, Ms Klára Sándor, Ms
Albertina Soliani, Ms Tineke Strik, Mr Michał Stuligrosz, Ms Doris Stump, Ms Elke Tindemans, Mr Mihal
Tudose, Mr Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Ms Tatiana Volozhinskaya, Mr
Paul Wille, Ms Betty Williams,
Mr Gert Winkelmeier, Ms Gisela Wurm,
Mr Andrej Zernovski, Mr Vladimir Zhidkikh
NB: the names of the members who took part in the meeting
are printed in bold
Secretariat of the committee: Ms Kleinsorge, Ms Affholder,