Council of Europe : Recommendation No. R (2000) 11 on action against trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation

COUNCIL OF EUROPE
COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS


Recommendation No. R (2000) 11
of the Committee of Ministers to member states
on action against trafficking in human beings
for the purpose of sexual exploitation
footnote 1

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers
on 19 May 2000,
at the 710th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

 

The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 15.b of the Statute of the Council of Europe,

Bearing in mind that Europe has recently experienced a considerable growth of activities connected with trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation, which is often linked to organised crime in as much as such lucrative practices are used by organised criminal groups as a basis for financing and expanding their other activities, such as drugs and arms trafficking and money laundering;

Considering that trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation extends well beyond national borders, and that it is therefore necessary to establish a pan-European strategy to combat this phenomenon and protect its victims, while ensuring that the relevant legislation of the Council of Europe's member states is harmonised and uniformly and effectively applied;

Recalling the Declaration adopted at the Second Summit of the Council of Europe (October 1997), in which the heads of state and government of the member states of the Council of Europe decided "to seek common responses to the challenges posed by the growth (…) in organised crime (…) throughout Europe" and affirmed their determination "to combat violence against women and all forms of sexual exploitation of women";

Bearing in mind the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950) and its protocols;

Bearing in mind the European Social Charter (1961), the Revised European Social Charter (1996) and the Additional Protocol to the European Social Charter providing for a System of Collective Complaints;

Bearing in mind the following recommendations of the Committee of Ministers to member states of the Council of Europe: Recommendation No. R (91) 11 on sexual exploitation, pornography and prostitution of, and trafficking in, children and young adults; Recommendation No. R (96) 8 on crime policy in Europe in a time of change, and Recommendation No. R (97) 13 concerning intimidation of witnesses and the rights of the defence;

Bearing in mind the following texts of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: Recommendation 1065 (1987) on the traffic in children and other forms of child exploitation, Recommendation 1211 (1993) on clandestine migration: traffickers and employers of clandestine migrants, Resolution 1099 (1996) on the sexual exploitation of children and Recommendation 1325 (1997) of the Council of Europe on trafficking in women and forced prostitution in Council of Europe member states;

Recalling also the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (1979) and other international conventions such as the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (1949);

Considering that trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation, which mainly concerns women and young persons, may result in slavery for the victims;

Condemns trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation, which constitutes a violation of human rights and an offence to the dignity and the integrity of the human being,

Recommends that the governments of member states:

1. review their legislation and practice with a view to introducing, where necessary, and applying the measures described in the appendix to this recommendation;

2. ensure that this recommendation is brought to the attention of all relevant public and private bodies, in particular police and judicial authorities, diplomatic missions, migration authorities, professionals in the social, medical and education fields and non-governmental organisations.

 

Appendix to Recommendation No. R 11

I. Basic principles and notions

1. The basic notions should be as follows: trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation includes the procurement by one or more natural or legal persons and/or the organisation of the exploitation and/or transport or migration – legal or illegal – of persons, even with their consent, for the purpose of their sexual exploitation, inter alia by means of coercion, in particular violence or threats, deceit, abuse of authority or of a position of vulnerability.

On this basis, the governments of member States are invited to consider the following measures:

II. General measures

2. Take appropriate legislative and practical measures to ensure the protection of the rights and the interests of the victims of trafficking, in particular the most vulnerable and most affected groups: women, adolescents and children.

3. Give absolute priority to assisting the victims of trafficking through rehabilitation programmes, where applicable, and to protecting them from traffickers.

4. Take action to apprehend, prosecute and punish all those responsible for trafficking, and to prevent sex tourism and all activities which might lead to forms of trafficking.

5. Consider trafficking in human beings for the purposes of sexual exploitation as falling within the scope of international organised crime, and therefore calls for co-ordinated action adapted to realities both at national and international levels.

III. Basis for action and methods

6. Take co-ordinated action using a multidisciplinary approach involving the relevant social, judicial, administrative, customs, law enforcement and immigration authorities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

7. Encourage co-operation, involving both national authorities and NGOs, between countries of origin, transit and destination of the victims of trafficking, by means of bilateral and multilateral agreements.

8. In order to ensure that these actions have a firm and reliable basis, encourage national and international research concerning, in particular:

– the influence of the media, and above all new information and communication techniques on trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation;

– the clients of the sex trade: trends in demand and their consequences for trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation;

– the origin of the phenomenon of trafficking and the methods used by traffickers.

9. Consider the establishment of research units specialising in trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

10. Take steps to develop, both at national and international level, data and statistics that will help to shed more light on the phenomenon of trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation and, if possible, compare the way the phenomenon is developing in the Council of Europe's different member States.

IV. Prevention

i. Awareness-raising and information

11. Organise information campaigns with a gender perspective in order to increase public awareness of the hazardous situations that may lead to trafficking and the negative effects of such trafficking and, in particular, discredit the notion that there are easy gains to be made from prostitution; these campaigns should be directed at all parties concerned, particularly female immigration applicants and women refugees.

12. Organise information campaigns intended to discredit sex tourism and discourage potential participants from joining in such activities.

13. Provide appropriate information, such as documentation, videos and leaflets on trafficking in and the sexual exploitation of women, children and young persons to diplomatic representatives, public authorities, the media, humanitarian NGOs and other public and private bodies working in the countries of origin of potential victims.

14. Disseminate widely, in every country, information on the health risks associated with sexual exploitation.

15. Encourage and organise activities to make media professionals more aware of issues relating to trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation and the influence the media can have in this field.

ii. Education

16. Introduce or step up sex education programmes in schools, with particular emphasis on equality between women and men and on respect for human rights and individual dignity, taking into account the rights of the child as well as the rights of his or her parents, legal guardians and other individuals legally responsible for him or her.

17. Ensure that school curricula include information on the risks of exploitation, sexual abuse and trafficking that children and young people could face and ways of protecting themselves; this information should also be circulated to young people outside the education system and to parents.

18. Provide both boys and girls with an education that avoids gender stereotypes and ensures that all teachers and others involved in education are trained in such a way as to incorporate a gender dimension into their teaching.

iii. Training

19. Organise special training for social workers, as well as for medical, teaching, diplomatic, consular, judicial, customs and police personnel to enable them to identify cases of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and respond appropriately.

20. Introduce and/or develop training programmes to enable police personnel to acquire specialised skills in this field.

21. In particular, set up specific training programmes and exchanges of experiences in order to improve co-operation between the police and the NGOs specialising in victim protection.

22. Also introduce training programmes for immigration officials and frontier police so that they can contribute to prevention by making sure that persons travelling abroad, particularly young persons not accompanied by a parent or guardian, are not involved in trafficking.

iv. Long-term action

23. Combat the long-term causes of trafficking, which are often linked to the inequalities between economically developed countries and those that are less developed, particularly by improving the social status as well as the economic condition of women in the latter.

24. Take into account in economic, social, migration or other policies, the need to improve women's condition and prevent trafficking in human beings and sex tourism.

25. Disseminate information on the possibilities of legal migration in order to make women aware of the conditions and procedures for obtaining visas and residence permits.

V. Assistance to and protection of victims

i. Victim support

26. Encourage the establishment or development of reception centres or other facilities where the victims of human trafficking can benefit from information on their rights, as well as psychological, medical, social and administrative support with a view to their reintegration into their country of origin or the host country.

27. In particular, ensure that the victims have the opportunity, for example through the reception centres or other facilities, to benefit from legal assistance in their own language.

ii. Legal action

28. Provide, where possible, victims of trafficking, particularly children and witnesses, with special (audio or video) facilities to report and file complaints, and which are designed to protect their private lives and their dignity and reduce the number of official procedures and their traumatising effects.

29. If necessary, and particularly in the case of criminal networks, take steps to protect victims, witnesses and their families to avoid acts of intimidation and reprisals.

30. Establish victim protection systems which offer effective means to combat intimidation as well as real threats to the physical security of the victims and their families both in countries of destination and countries of origin.

31. Provide protection when needed in the country of origin for the families of victims of trafficking when the latter bring legal proceedings in the country of destination.

32. Extend, where appropriate, this protection to members of associations or organisations assisting the victims during civil and penal proceedings.

33. Enable the relevant courts to order offenders to pay compensation to victims.

34. Grant victims, if necessary, and in accordance with national legislation, a temporary residence status in the country of destination, in order to enable them to act as witnesses during judicial proceedings against offenders; during this time, it is essential to ensure that victims have access to social and medical assistance.

35. Consider providing, if necessary, a temporary residence status on humanitarian grounds.

iii. Social measures for victims of trafficking in countries of origin

36. Encourage and support the establishment of a network of NGOs involved in assistance to victims of trafficking.

37. Promote co-operation between reception facilities and NGOs in countries of origin to assist the return and reintegration of victims.

iv. Right of return and rehabilitation

38. Grant victims the right to return to their countries of origin, by taking all necessary steps, including through co-operation agreements between the countries of origin and countries of destination of the victims.

39. Establish, through bilateral agreements, a system of financing the return of victims and a contribution towards their reintegration.

40. Organise a system of social support for returnees to ensure that victims are assisted by the medical and social services and/or by their families.

41. Introduce special measures concerned with victims’ occupational reintegration.

VI. Penal legislation and judicial co-operation

42. Enact or strengthen legislation on trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation and introduce, where necessary, a specific offence.

43. Introduce or increase penal sanctions that are in proportion to the gravity of the offences, including dissuasive custodial sentences, and allow for effective judicial co-operation and the extradition of the persons charged or convicted.

44. Take such steps as are necessary to order, without prejudice to the rights of third parties in good faith, the seizure and confiscation of the instruments of, and proceeds from, trafficking.

45. Facilitate police investigation and monitoring of establishments in which victims of trafficking are exploited and organise their closure if necessary.

46. Provide for rules governing the liability of legal persons, with specific penalties.

47. Provide for traffickers to be extradited in accordance with applicable international standards, if possible, to the country where evidence of offences can be uncovered.

48. Establish rules governing extra-territorial jurisdiction to permit and facilitate the prosecution and conviction of persons who have committed offences relating to trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation, irrespective of the country where the offences were committed, and including cases where the offences took place in more than one country.

49. In accordance with national laws concerning the protection of personal data, as well as with the provisions of the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, set up and maintain information systems which could be useful for the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offences.

VII. Measures for co-ordination and co-operation

i. At national level

50. Set up a co-ordinating mechanism responsible for drawing up the national policy on combating trafficking and organising a multidisciplinary approach to the issue.

51. Use this mechanism to encourage the exchange of information, the compilation of statistics and the assessment of practical findings obtained in the field, trends in trafficking and the results of national policy.

52. Use this mechanism to liaise with mechanisms of other countries and international organisations in order to co-ordinate activities, and to monitor, review and implement national and international strategies aimed at combating trafficking;

ii. At international level

53. As far as possible, make use of all the available international instruments and mechanisms applicable to trafficking, particularly regarding the seizure and confiscation of profits earned from trafficking.

54. Set up an international body to co-ordinate the fight against trafficking, with particular responsibility for establishing a European file of missing persons, in accordance with national laws concerning the protection of personal data.

55. Increase and improve exchanges of information and co-operation between countries at bilateral level as well as through international organisations involved in combating trafficking.

56. Governments are invited to consider signing and ratifying, if they have not already done so, the Council of Europe's Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime (1990), the Revised European Social Charter (1996) and the Additional Protocol to the European Social Charter providing for a System of Collective Complaints (1995), the European Convention on the Exercise of Children's Rights (1996), the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against Women (1979) and its Optional Protocol (1999), as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and/or to consider withdrawing existing reservations to these instruments.

57. Governments are invited to incorporate into their national systems all the measures necessary to apply the principles and standards laid down in the Action Programme adopted at the 4th World Conference on Women (Beijing, 4-15 September 1995), and in particular Part IV.D, and the agreed conclusions adopted at the 42nd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the resolution adopted regularly by the General Assembly of the United Nations on the Traffic in Women and Girls, the declaration adopted at the Ministerial Conference containing European Guidelines for Measures to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Women for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation (The Hague, 24-26 April 1997), as well as in the following recommendations of the Committee of Ministers to the member states of the Council of Europe: Recommendation No. R (80) 10 on measures against the transfer and the safekeeping of funds of criminal origin, Recommendation No. R (85) 11 on the position of the victim in the framework of criminal law and procedure and Recommendation No. R (87) 21 on assistance to victims and the prevention of victimisation.

 


1 When adopting this Recommendation, the Representatives of Germany and the Netherlands indicated that, in accordance with Article 10.2.c of the Rules of Procedure for the meetings of the Ministers' Deputies, they reserved the right, for their respective governments, to comply or not with paragraph I.1 of the Appendix to the Recommendation.


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