Parliamentarians get involved in combating trafficking in Human Beings


Handbook for parliamentarians A 111-page handbook published by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly sets out ways parliamentarians can press for the ratification and the application of the new Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Beings by introducing legislation, allocating funding and lobbying their governments.
Handbook for parliamentarians: the Council of Europe Convention against trafficking in Human Beings


This ground-breaking treaty sets out ways to prosecute traffickers and protect victims, overseen by a monitoring mechanism. It entered into force on 1 February 2008. It has been ratified by 26 members states of the Council of Europe to date.

"With the coming into force of our convention, we hope at last to wage a more effective fight against this intolerable modern-day barbarity, which can only be countered if a collective effort is made on a Europe-wide basis. The greater the number of countries that ratify this convention, the better the protection that will be afforded to the victims”, said Lluís Maria de Puig, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

Summary of the convention
List of ratifications
Texts of reference of the Parliamentary Assembly
Website of the Council of Europe Action against trafficking in Human Beings


News
 

Human trafficking: EU accession to the CoE Convention would ensure a uniform implementation in Europe
The accession by the European Union to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings would ensure that “the Convention’s high standards and human rights approach are uniformly applied throughout Europe”, today said the participants in the Conference 'Parliaments united against trafficking in human beings', organised in Paris by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) Committee on Equal Opportunities. To that purpose, the participants decided “to take up this issue further in their relations with EU institutions, in particular the European Parliament”.
The final declaration also underlines that “the effective implementation of the Convention provisions by the state parties is the main challenge ahead”, and stresses the conviction that “national parliaments should play an active role” in monitoring the effective implementation of the Convention.
"Trafficking in human beings affects us all as members of parliament. Victims of trafficking are powerless. We have the power to change their situation. We have the power to give them a voice", said José Mendes Bota (Portugal, EPP/CD), Chairman of the PACE's Committee on Equal Opportunities. "Each of us has an individual political responsibility: let us not tolerate slavery. Let us not be powerless witnesses but fight against it", he added.
In the light of good practices identified during the conference, the participants recommended that the Council of Europe member states and national parliaments take a number of measures to promote the Convention.

Final declaration
Human trafficking: "Let's not be powerless witnesses but fight against it"

 

Human trafficking: "Let's not be powerless witnesses but fight against it"
"Each of us has an individual political responsibility: let us not tolerate slavery. Let us not be powerless witnesses but fight against it", today said Jose Mendes Bota (Portugal, EPP/CD) at the opening of the Interparliamentary Conference 'Parliaments united against trafficking in human beings', organised in Paris by PACE's Committee on Equal Opportunities. "Trafficking in human beings affects us all as members of parliament. Victims of trafficking are powerless. We have the power to change their situation. We have the power to give them a voice", he added. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, underlined PACE's role in promoting the Council of Europe Convention against trafficking in human beings. "The Parliamentary Assembly has been at the forefront of promoting this Convention and today’s event again testifies to its continued effort in this respect. Your action is crucial", she underlined. "Trafficking in human beings affects all countries, in Europe and beyond. This is why it is so essential that we co-operate and co-ordinate our action at regional and global level in order to design successful anti-trafficking policies", she added. Speakers in the conference include Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, Hanne Sophie Greve, Chairperson of GRETA, and Baroness Butler-Sloss, member of the House of Lords (United Kingdom) and Co-President of the Parliamentary Inter-Group on Trafficking in Human Beings.

Speech by José Mendes Bota
Speech by Maud de Boer-Buquicchio
Announcement of the Conference


PACE and EP cooperation in the field of women’s rights: towards common standards

Evoking the drafting of the future EU directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, José Mendes Bota (Portugal, EPP/CD), Chairperson of the PACE Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, today expressed his concern “regarding duplication of Council of Europe and the European Union’s work, and a possible proliferation of monitoring processes”, while addressing the EP Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality in Brussels.

“Duplication of monitoring mechanisms is costly, and this is likely to be unaffordable for our States in times of financial restrictions,” he pointed out. “We must also avoid that the new legal instruments that may be developed by the European Union […] result in less demanding standards,” he added.

Mr Mendes Bota also underlined that the Lisbon Treaty in force since December 2009, raises a number of legal challenges for the conventional system of the Council of Europe and offers new opportunities for co-operation between the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly. “I believe this is a political momentum we have to use to join our forces,” he said. “Gender equality is obviously an issue of common interest; our respective political assemblies seek the same objectives, namely providing women with more rights, more equality and equal opportunities,” he added.

Statement by Mr José Mendes Bota

 

Handbook for parliamentarians

PACE encourages the EU to accede to the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings

“The Parliamentary Assembly strongly encourages the European Union to accede to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings as soon as possible, so that the same standards can be applied here throughout Europe, including the European Union,” said Lydie Err (Luxembourg, SOC) in Brussels today at a seminar on combating and preventing trafficking in human beings held by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament.

“At a time when the European Union is drawing up a directive on combating and preventing trafficking in human beings, I consider it imperative that the standards which the European Union is intending to set out are neither incompatible with, nor less demanding than, those of the Council of Europe in this area. We must co-operate and co-ordinate our work if we wish to set up effective systems to protect victims,” she added, and announced that the PACE would be holding an international parliamentary conference on action against trafficking in human beings in Europe on 3 December 2010.

Speech by Lydie Err
Agenda of the seminar


Kent Olsson

Participation of Mr Olsson in a Seminar on Human Trafficking, London

[22-02-2010] “The Council of Europe Convention on action against trafficking in human beings will reach its full potential when it is ratified by other countries in Europe and beyond. The wider the ratification of the Convention is, the better the protection for victims will be. The role of parliamentarians is crucial to this end,” today recalled Kent Olsson (Sweden, EPP/CD), at a seminar on trafficking in human beings organised in London by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the British Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

In its resolution adopted last January, the Assembly called on Council of Europe member states which had not yet done so to sign and/or ratify this convention, and encouraged the European Union to accede to it.

Speech by Kent Olsson
Agenda of the seminar
Final declaration

 

  Trafficking in human beings: victim’s father speaks

Rantsev

As part of a parliamentary debate on action against trafficking in human beings and the need to promote the Council of Europe convention on trafficking, PACE's Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men organised a press conference with Nikolay Mikhaylovich Rantsev, the father of a victim of trafficking. Mr Rantsev took his case to the European Court of Human Rights and on 7 January 2010, the Court found against Cyprus and Russia. The applicant’s lawyer, Ludmila Churkina, was also present, together with Gisela Wurm (Austria, SOC), PACE rapporteur on action against trafficking, and José Mendes-Bota, Chairperson of the Committee.

Link to the Video recording of the press conference

 

Action against trafficking in human beings: PACE advocates widest possible signature and ratification of the convention

In a resolution adopted today, the Assembly called on Council of Europe member states which had not yet done so to sign and/or ratify the Council of Europe Convention on action against trafficking in human beings, and encouraged the European Union to accede to it. It also spoke out in favour of intensified co-operation with other international organisations, taking special care to avoid all risk of duplication between the different monitoring mechanisms.

The parliamentarians also asked that the GRETA – the Group of independent experts responsible for looking after the implementation of the convention – be able to command the financial and human resources needed for its activity. Finally, in line with the recommendations of Gisela Wurm (Austria, SOC), rapporteur of the Equal Opportunities Committee, PACE proposed to organise a conference in 2010 on action against trafficking, involving all partners

Link to the Resolution 1702 (2010)

Kent Olsson

[10-12-2009] Kent Olsson (Sweden, EPP/CD) represented PACE on 10 December 2009 at the European regional conference on "Migration and violence against women in Europe", co-organised by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Paris

Link to the speech
Link to the programme of the conference

Lluís Maria de Puig


PACE President invites the EU to join the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings

[19/10/2009] To mark the 3rd European day against human trafficking and the EU conference on the subject in Brussels from 19 to 20 October, PACE President Lluís Maria de Puig today called on Council of Europe member states that had not already done so to sign and/or ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. He welcomed the establishment of mechanism to monitor this Convention - the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Being, or GRETA - and invited the EU to continue to co-operate with the Council, to avoid any duplication of monitoring arrangements, and to accede to the anti-trafficking convention as soon as possible.  





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