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                                                Key points
                                                
The fight against Trafficking in Human Beings

                                                    Every year, thousands of women, children and men fall victim to human
                                                    trafficking, whether for sexual exploitation or other purposes, both within and
                                                    beyond the borders of their own country. This phenomenon has taken on such
                                                    unprecedented proportions that it can be described as a new form of slavery.

                                                   The Council of Europe has drawn up a powerful legal tool in the Convention on
                                                    Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. Fourteen countries have so far
                                                    ratified the convention, which enters into force on 1 February 2008, and
                                                    24 others have signed it.

                                                   This new convention, the first European treaty in the field, is a comprehensive
                                                    treaty focusing mainly on protecting the victims of trafficking and safeguarding
                                                    their rights. It also aims to prevent trafficking and to prosecute traffickers. In
                                                    addition, the convention provides for an effective and independent monitoring
                                                    mechanism capable of controlling the implementation of the measures contained
                                                    in the convention.




                                                Summary
                                                Trafficking in human beings is the modern form of the old worldwide slave trade. It
                                                treats human beings as a commodity to be bought and sold. Victims are mainly
                                                exploited in the sex industry but they are also put into forced labour in the
                                                agricultural sector or in sweatshops, and a paid a pittance or nothing at all.
                                                Trafficking in human beings directly undermines the values on which the Council of
                                                Europe is based.

                                                The Council of Europe convention is the first international legally-binding instrument
                                                which affirms that trafficking in human beings constitutes a violation of human rights
                                                and an offence to the dignity and integrity of the human being.

                                                In 2006, the Council of Europe Campaign to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings
                                                was launched under the slogan Human being – not for sale. The campaign aimed to
                                                raise awareness - among governments, parliamentarians, local and regional
                                                authorities, NGOs and civil society - of the extent of the problem and highlighted the
                                                different measures which can be taken to prevent this new form of slavery, as well
                                                as measures to protect the human rights of victims and to prosecute the traffickers.

                                                The campaign, which also aimed to promote the widest possible ratification of the
                                                convention, will end with the entry into force of the convention on 1 February 2008.




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Questions and Answers
What is human trafficking?

Trafficking in human beings consists of a combination of three basic components, as
defined in the convention:

       the action of “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of
        persons”;
       by means of “the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of
        abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of
        vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve
        the consent of a person having control over another person”;
       for the purpose of exploitation, which includes “at a minimum, the exploitation
        of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced
        labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the
        removal or organs”.

Who are the victims?

Every year, an increasing number of people fall victim to trafficking, mainly for sexual
exploitation (43%), but also for forced labour or services (32%). The International
Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates the numbers at over 2.45 million. Most of the
identified victims of trafficking are women, but men and children are also victims. All
are desperate to make a living, only to have their lives ruined by exploitation. They
are lured by adverts in their home countries for jobs abroad as fashion models,
waiters, household employees, etc. Victims are very often trafficked from the poorer
countries towards richer countries.

Who are the traffickers?

Organised crime is behind much of the trafficking in human beings. But isolated
individuals can also be traffickers. Criminals have benefited from the growing ease
of travel and communications technology. The convention applies even if trafficking
does not involve any organised criminal group.

Is the Council of Europe the best platform for fighting this scourge?
Given that one of the primary concerns of the Council of Europe is safeguarding and
protecting human rights and human dignity, and that trafficking in human beings
directly undermines the values on which the Council of Europe is based, it is logical
that finding solutions to this problem is a top priority for the organisation. It is all the
more relevant as the Council of Europe has, among its 47 member states, countries
of origin, transit and destination of trafficking victims.

What does the Convention do?

The Convention is a comprehensive treaty focussing on protecting victims of
trafficking and safeguarding their rights. It also aims to prevent trafficking and to
prosecute traffickers. In addition, the convention sets up an effective and




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independent mechanism to check that states respect their obligations.

What is the content of the convention?

The main measures provided for by the Convention are the following:

•     Awareness-raising for people vulnerable to trafficking and actions aimed at
      discouraging "consumers" are among the main measures to prevent trafficking
      in human beings.

•     Victims of trafficking must be recognised as such in order to avoid the police
      and public authorities treating them as illegal migrants or criminals.

•     Victims of trafficking will be granted physical and psychological assistance and
      support for their reintegration into society. Medical treatment, counselling and
      information as well as appropriate accommodation are all among the
      measures provided for. Victims are also entitled to receive compensation.

•     Victims are entitled to a minimum of 30 days to recover and escape from the
      influence of the traffickers and to take a decision regarding their possible
      cooperation with the authorities. A renewable residence permit may be
      granted if their personal situation so requires or if they need to stay in order to
      cooperate in a criminal investigation.

•     Trafficking will be considered a criminal offence: traffickers and their
      accomplices will therefore be prosecuted.

•     The private life and the safety of victims of trafficking will be protected
      throughout the course of judicial proceedings.

What form has Council of Europe’s campaign taken?

The Council of Europe Campaign to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings was
launched in 2006 under the slogan Human being – not for sale. Its aim has been to
raise awareness - among governments, parliamentarians, local and regional
authorities, NGOs and civil society - of the extent of the problem of trafficking in
human beings in Europe today. It has highlighted the different measures which can
be taken to prevent this new form of slavery, as well as measures to protect the
human rights of victims and to prosecute the traffickers. Its main aim has been to get
governments to sign and ratify the convention as soon as possible to provide a real
defence against traffickers and real hope for victims. The campaign will end with the
entry into force of the convention on the 1 February 2008.

What have been the key activities of the campaign?

A series of seminars and specialised meetings in different countries have been
carried out to spread the message to key players such as governmental and police
officers, parliamentarians and non-governmental organisations. At the same time,
the campaign has targeted the general public through television and radio spots and
specially-targeted material, including a comic strip entitled “You´re not for sale”




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specially designed for children and young people, distributed to schools and colleges
in 16 languages in countries where traffickers recruit. Material has also been made
available at border points in those countries, helping to raise awareness of the issue
both amongst vulnerable prospective victims and the general population.

How many countries have ratified the convention?

Fourteen countries have so far ratified the convention: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Georgia, Malta, Moldova,
Norway, Romania and Slovakia. The convention will enter into force on 1 February
2008, following its tenth ratification, which was Cyprus on 24 October 2007.

The convention has been signed by 24 other Council of Europe member states:
Andorra, Armenia, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy,
Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, San
Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia",
Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

The convention is also open to non-member states and the European Community.

Contacts
Cathie Burton, Team Leader Campaigns Tel : +33 (0) 3 88 41 28 93
cathie.burton@coe.int

Jaime Rodríguez, Press Officer, Tel. +33 (0) 689 99 50 42
jaime.rodriguez@coe.int

www.coe.int                                                                 22.01.08

www.coe.int/trafficking




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