Activists take part take part in a rally titled "Walk for Freedom" in protest against human trafficking, in Athens, Greece | Photo: EPA/Orestis Panagiotou
Activists take part take part in a rally titled "Walk for Freedom" in protest against human trafficking, in Athens, Greece | Photo: EPA/Orestis Panagiotou

The Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings says more help is needed for victims. Ten years after a law against trafficking was introduced, the group says victims are still not getting adequate medical, social and legal support.

The Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), in its 8th annual general report, stressed the need for states across Europe to provide a wide range of assistance to victims of human trafficking. It said there are "continuing and serious gaps in the protection of the rights of victims of trafficking" in European countries. 

The report sets out a series of legal requirements included in the Council of Europe's anti-trafficking convention, including providing victims with appropriate accommodation, medical treatment, psychological assistance and material support as well as information on their rights, legal assistance and help with reintegration into society.

'Still a lot of work to do'

"Victims who manage to break free from their traffickers generally find themselves in a position of great insecurity and vulnerability, which increases their risk of being further exploited," said GRETA President Davor Derenčinović. "Countries across Europe have a legal obligation to help victims of trafficking rebuild their lives, regardless of who they are, where they come from or what has happened to them. Our monitoring work has identified many examples of good practice, but unfortunately there is still a lot of work to do and many people who have been subjected to these horrendous abuses are still not getting the assistance they need or that they are entitled to."

'Serious gaps in the protection of victims' rights' 

The GRETA report includes a detailed summary of the work by the group of experts from January 1 through December 31, 2018. The report provides a series of country-by-country examples of positive changes in the past ten years in legislation, policies, and practices through the Convention on Action against Trafficking. 

"Ten years after the entry into force of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, GRETA's monitoring work shows that there are continuing and serious gaps in the protection of the rights of victims of trafficking, and in particular the availability of assistance measures adapted to the needs of victims," the report's conclusions said.
 

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