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Final declaration

Paris declaration

Parliaments united against human trafficking

“Trafficking in human being is a human rights violation affecting thousands of people in Europe, from which no Council of Europe member state is immune.

Being sincerely concerned with the growing problem represented by trafficking in human beings, the participants in the conference reiterate the primacy and relevance of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, as the international binding instrument reflecting the highest standards in the field of prevention of trafficking, protection of the victims and their rights and prosecution of the offenders, and based on a human rights approach.

They express their resolve to promote the further signature and ratification of the Convention by all Council of Europe member states, and its accession by non Council of Europe member states.

They agree that accession by the European Union (EU) to the Convention would ensure that its high standards and human rights approach are uniformly applied throughout Europe and decide to take up this issue further in their relations with EU institutions, in particular the European Parliament.

The participants believe that the effective implementation of the Convention provisions by the state parties is the main challenge ahead. In this context, they underscore the importance of the work undertaken by the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) and the need to endow it with the necessary means to carry out its monitoring tasks.

In addition, the participants express the conviction that national parliaments should play an active role in monitoring the effective implementation of the Convention, in complementarity to GRETA, as well as in ensuring compliance by Council of Europe member states with obligations stemming from the European Convention on Human Rights and relevant for the issue of trafficking.

The participants also reiterate the essential role played by civil society and non-governmental organisations who, acting as a liaison between individuals affected by trafficking and the institutions, ensure the timeliness and relevance of the activities carried out by national and international institutions and contribute to their oversight.

In the light of good practices identified during the Conference, the participants recommend that Council of Europe member states:

• sign and ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (if they still have not done so) and fully cooperate with its monitoring mechanism;

• introduce Action Plans on human trafficking and closely involve parliaments in their preparation, implementation and monitoring of the implementation;

• appoint a National Coordinator on trafficking in human beings;

• set up a national programme for victims of trafficking, aimed at creating a nationwide system for providing them with legal, medical, psychological and financial assistance;

• consider criminalising the purchase of services from victims of trafficking, as already recommended in Assembly Resolution 1702 (2010);

• grant residence permits to victims of trafficking irrespective of their co-operation with the authorities in the context of investigations or court procedures, on humanitarian grounds;

• consider former victims of trafficking as a “particular social group” for the purposes of the 1951 Geneva Convention on the status of refugees;

• harmonise criteria for admission of evidence at the European level;

• sign and ratify the Palermo Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and ensure cooperation with the United Nations and its specialised bodies in the field of trafficking, in particular the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons.

The participants in the Conference also recommend national parliaments to:

• ask to be systematically involved in the monitoring of policy and legislative measures in the field of trafficking, including the implementation of the Convention;

• be pro-active in asking parliamentary questions to government ministers as regards trafficking in human beings, and the implementation of the Convention and its co-ordination with other legal instruments, including the future European Union directive;

• support the work of GRETA, by ensuring that the national experts appointed to it respond to the requirements of independence and competence;

• ask their government to provide GRETA with the necessary staffing and financial resources for its effective functioning;

• demand that their governments give prompt execution to the relevant judgements of the European Court of Human Rights and comply with the relevant case-law of the Court;

• set up parliamentary groups/committees on trafficking in human beings;

• strengthen co-operation and partnership with civil society and non-governmental organisations.

Finally, the participants thanked the organisers for this initiative and reaffirmed their willingness to co-operate in the fight of this form of modern slavery.”