24 September 2001
Campaign against trafficking in women
Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights
Rapporteur: Mrs Renate Wohlwend, Liechtenstein, Group of the European People’s Party
I. Conclusions of the Committee
1. The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights fully supports the draft recommendation tabled by the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, but would like to further strengthen the text, in particular as regards the proposed elaboration of a convention on traffic in women.
II. Proposed amendments
2. The Committee thus proposes the following amendments to the draft recommendation:
Replace sub-paragraph 10 i. by the following sub-paragraph:
“to make it a criminal offence under national law to traffic women or to knowingly use the services of a trafficked woman, and to strengthen legislation and enforcement mechanisms which punish traffickers and clients of trafficked women;”.
Replace sub-paragraph 10. viii. g. with the following sub-paragraph:
“granting residence permits to victims of trafficking, of a permanent nature for those who are willing to testify in court and need protection, and of a temporary but renewable nature for all others on humanitarian grounds;”
Add at the beginning of sub-paragraph 10. ix. a. the following text:
and add at the end of the same sub-paragraph the following text:
“and irrespective of whether there has been a complaint from that country or those countries”.
In sub-paragraph 10 ix. b., replace “for clients of victims of sexual exploitation” with the following text:
“for knowingly using the services of a trafficked woman”
Add the following sub-paragraph after sub-paragraph 10 ix. d.:
“providing legal assistance to victims of trafficking and considering the introduction of special rules in civil proceedings engaged by victims against their traffickers, such as lightening the burden of proof on the use of force;”
Replace sub-paragraph 11. ii. with the following text:
“elaborate a European convention on traffic in women, open to non-member states, based on the definition of traffic in women included in Recommendation No R (2000) 11 on action against trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation. This convention should:
a. focus on assistance to and the protection of victims of trafficking, by obliging the State parties to grant legal, medical, and psychological assistance to such victims, to ensure their physical safety and that of their families, and to grant special residence permits to victims on humanitarian grounds, and permanent residence permits to those willing to testify in court and in need of witness protection;
b. stipulate repressive measures to combat trafficking through harmonisation of laws especially in the penal field, and opening new channels for improved police and judicial co-operation across borders;
c. include a non-discrimination clause modelled on the one proposed by the Assembly in Opinion 216 (2000) on draft Protocol No 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights;
d. establish a control-mechanism to monitor compliance with its provisions.
e. be submitted in its draft form to the Assembly for opinion.”
III. Explanatory memorandum
by Mrs Wohlwend, Rapporteur
1. I would like to congratulate Mrs Err on her very detailed and exhaustive report. Her views and recommendations deserve the full support of our Committee.
2. Since my last report on the subject four years ago, the situation in Europe has further deteriorated. While women are still trafficked mainly for purposes of sexual exploitation, new forms of exploitation – such as domestic slavery – have unfortunately had to be added to the list. There is no doubt that traffic in women remains one of the most urgent problems which Europe has to solve.
3. The Committee of Ministers followed my recommendation made in 1997 to adopt, as a provisional measure, a recommendation dealing specifically with traffic in women: Recommendation (2000) 11. This was an important step in the right direction, and should be applauded as such. The main recommendation of the Assembly, formulated in Recommendation 1325 (1997), has, however, so far not been followed up: the elaboration of a convention on traffic in women and forced prostitution, complete with a control-mechanism to monitor compliance with its provisions. In its reply to the Recommendation, the Committee of Ministers declared that “the question of elaborating a draft convention could be reconsidered once the draft Recommendation has been completed”. It is thus very important that the Assembly re-emphasises the importance of drafting such a Convention.
4. It is for this reason that I propose strengthening the draft Recommendation proposed by the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, regarding the elaboration of a convention with a control-mechanism, and regarding the criminalisation of knowingly using the services of a trafficked woman, be it of a woman forced into marriage, prostitution, or domestic slavery.
Reporting committee: Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men
Committee for opinion: Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights
Reference to committee: Doc 7868 and Reference No 2293 of 26 May 1998, Doc 8405 and Reference No 2388 of 26 May 1999
Opinion approved by the committee on 24 September 2001
Secretaries to the committee: Mr Plate, Ms Coin, Ms Kleinsorge and Mr Ćupina
1 See Doc 9190 tabled by the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men.