France Should Take Additional Steps to Protect Human Trafficking Victims
International Justice and Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
The Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) in its third report, published on the 18th of February 2022, welcomed the steps taken by the French authorities in tackling the phenomenon of human trafficking. However, the report calls on France to “take additional steps” in combatting human trafficking. Proactive actions are necessary, according to GRETA, as France is a “country of destination for victims of trafficking in human beings, but is also a country of origin and transit”.
Within its report, GRETA noted that law enforcement officers should have more knowledge regarding human trafficking to better inform victims of their rights. Moreover, GRETA urged France to “systematically” provide legal aid to victims of human trafficking and provide legal interpreters to the victims who wish to commence procedures or lodge complaints. The report also outlined that since 2016 the number of investigations and prosecutions initiated by France had risen but the number of convictions remained “low”. GRETA therefore suggested that France should “ensure that cases of trafficking are investigated proactively and prosecuted effectively, leading to effective, proportionate and dissuasive sentences”. An essential next step that France has been urged to take by GRETA concerns the implementation of a national mechanism which identifies victims of trafficking as the current lack of such a mechanism “makes it difficult to have an accurate picture of the situation”.
France is legally bound by the Council of Europe’s Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings since 2008 and although the steps it has taken to implement the Convention have been welcomed, GRETA’s third report clearly demonstrates that further action taken on behalf of the French public authorities is required.
Sources and further reading:
Council of Europe. (2022, February 18). France Should Improve the Identification, Protection and Compensation of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings. Council of Europe Newsroom. Retrieved February 21, 2022, from https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/france-should-improve-the-identification-protection-and-compensation-of-victims-of-trafficking-in-human-beings
Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. (2022, February 18). France – Third Evaluation Round: Access to Justice and Effective Remedies for Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings. https://rm.coe.int/3rd-greta-evaluation-report-france-access-to-justice-and-effective-rem/1680a58fa2