Europe: Last Chance to Protect Victims of Trafficking - Amnesty International & Anti-Slavery International

Trafficking, for both sexual and labour exploitation, is a huge problem in the UK, affecting Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, Children's rights and men throughout the country. Recent research found that trafficked Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights from countries including Moldova, Romania, Albania, Thailand and Nigeria have been forced to work as prostitutes in every London borough (1). According to ECPAT UK research this year, social services in 32 out of 33 London Boroughs are currently concerned about trafficked Children's rights within their care (2). Protection and support for trafficked people however are very weak and fail to protect trafficked peoples’ basic human rights.

Negotiations on the European Convention Against Trafficking are now reaching a critical stage in Strasbourg. This Convention provides an opportunity to establish minimum binding standards for the protection and support of trafficked people. Amnesty International and Anti-Slavery International urge the Convention’s drafting committee to include the following essential measures:

  • trafficked persons to be treated as victims of crime, and at no point detained, charged or prosecuted for criminal offences which are a consequence of being trafficked
  • access to medical, educational and vocational assistance for all victims of trafficking that is not made conditional on victims testifying against traffickers and includes
  • a specified 'reflection period' of at least 3 months, during which time trafficked people can receive appropriate care and counselling
  • residence permits for victims who may be in danger if returned to their country of origin.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Stephen Bowen said: 'The trafficking industry brutalises Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls and destroys lives all over Europe on a daily basis. Victims of trafficking have had all of their very basic human rights violated – we must turn the system around so that they are recognised as the victims and not the perpetrators of crime.

'Fine words about protecting Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls are all very well in treaty pre-ambles, but they must be backed up by clear, enforceable provisions. The new European Convention is an opportunity to make protection for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls obligatory, and to stop the practice of sending them back to places where they face great danger.'

Mary Cunneen, Director of Anti-Slavery International, said: 'People who have been trafficked are victims of a terrible crime. If their rights are to be protected from further violation it is vital that the Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, Children's rights and men who are trafficked throughout Europe are properly identified and ensured effective protection, regardless of whether they have been trafficked into prostitution or labour exploitation. The Council of Europe's convention on trafficking provides an opportunity to achieve this which must not be missed.'

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