Resolution - Trafficking in Human Beings (Seville, Spain, on 3 June 2001)
The General Assembly of the European Women Lawyers Association, held from 1 - 3 June 2001 in Sevilla, Spain, has unanimously adopted the following
Resolution on Trafficking in Human Beings regarding the Draft Council Framework Decision on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, based on the Commission proposal of 21 December 2000 (COM (2000) 854 final):
trafficking in human beings constitutes a grave human rights violation disproportionately affecting women and girls,
human beings are being trafficked not only to the sex sector but also to other areas of informal labour, such as work in private households or sweat shop labour, as well as the commercial marriage market,
all these forms of trafficking have in common that use is made of deception, coercion or debt bondage for the purpose of holding the victims in slavery-like conditions or forced labour,
trafficked persons should not be criminalised because of their irregular status, but be treated as victims and provided with necessary assistance and protection as well as access to civil compensation,
the immediate expulsion of trafficked persons prevents them from access to assistance facilities, protection and legal redress as well as from acting as witnesses against the traffickers,
trafficking is a crime with complex causes, involving human rights, migration, labour issues as well as organised crime,
any effective anti-trafficking action is to be based on a multidisciplinary approach, including legal and non-legal measures in the areas of prevention, prosecution and protection, and involving all relevant actors (national authorities, international organisations, NGOs) in the countries of origin, transit and destination,
the lack of legal harmonisation in the national criminal law systems is a major obstacle for effective anti-trafficking strategies, especially regarding the legal definition of trafficking in human beings,
the following measures are recommended to the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament:
1. The Framework Decision should oblige member states to undertake preventive anti-trafficking measures. This should include an obligation to encourage and support efforts in the countries of origin in order to address the root causes of trafficking, such as feminisation of poverty, gender discrimination at the labour market and violence against women, as well as an obligation to support information campaigns for potential victims, in the field of bilateral or international cooperation.
2. Given the need for a clear and harmonised definition, the Framework Decision should define “trafficking in human beings” according to the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, which supplements the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime.
3. The Framework Decision should oblige member states to take the necessary measures to establish its jurisdiction over the offences covered by the Decision, without regard to the location where the offence was committed and to the law applicable in the state where the offence was committed.
4. The criminal sanctions established under the Framework Decision should include the seizure and confiscation of proceeds derived from trafficking in order to compensate the victims for any damages suffered as a consequence of trafficking.
5. The Framework Decision should oblige member states to refrain from the immediate expulsion of trafficked persons because of their irregular residence and/or labour status. Persons who decide to give testimony in criminal proceedings should be entitled to residence permits for at least for the duration of such proceedings. Whether or not trafficked persons decide to make a witness statement, they should be entitled to remain in the member state’s territory for an adequate period of time in order to take control of their lives, which should be at least six months (as foreseen by the Italian legislation). This should include the right to have access to the labour market. If required by humanitarian reasons, permanent humanitarian residence permits should be issued to trafficked persons, whether or not they have decided to act as witnesses in criminal trials.
6. The Framework Decision should require member states to provide appropriate assistance to trafficked persons, including accommodation in a safe shelter, medical, psychological and social care, legal counselling in their native language, access to vocational training and employment programmes. Member states should also undertake adequate measures to protect the victims against intimidation, threats of reprisals or reprisals. Such measures of assistance and protection should be undertaken for the duration of the stay of trafficked persons within the member state´s territory, and whether or not the persons concerned decide to act as witnesses. If necessary, protection measures should be extended to the victims´ family members as well as members of NGOs providing assistance to the victims.
7. The Framework Decision should also oblige member states to cooperate with countries of origin, transit and/or destination, in order to facilitate the safe and humane repatriation of trafficked persons and their reintegration in their home states. For this purpose, psychological counselling, medical treatment, legal advice, financial support as well as vocational training should be made available.
8. The Framework Decision should include a non-discriminatory clause, obliging member states to ensure that all anti-trafficking measures should be carried out in a non-discriminatory manner, without any distinction of any kind, such as discrimination based on nationality, sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation, property, birth or other status.