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5. Victim protection and data protection

International regulations

Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings

Article 11 – Protection of private life

1. Each Party shall protect the private life and identity of victims. Personal data regarding them shall be stored and used in conformity with the conditions provided for by the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (ETS No.108).

2. Each Party shall adopt measures to ensure, in particular, that the identity, or details allowing the identification, of a child victim of trafficking are not made publicly known, through the media or by any other means, except, in exceptional circumstances, in order to facilitate the tracing of family members or otherwise secure the well-being and protection of the child.

3. Each Party shall consider adopting, in accordance with Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights, measures aimed at encouraging the media to protect the private life and identity of victims through self-regulation or through regulatory or co-regulatory measures.

EU Framework decision on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings (2001)

Article 8 -Right to protection

1. Each Member State shall ensure a suitable level of protection for victims and, where appropriate, their families or persons in a similar position, particularly as regards their safety

and protection of their privacy, where the competent authorities consider that there is a serious risk of reprisals or firm evidence of serious intent to intrude upon their privacy.

4. Each Member State shall ensure that, where there is a need to protect victims — particularly those most vulnerable — from the effects of giving evidence in open court, victims may, by decision taken by the court, be entitled to testify in a manner which will enable this objective to be achieved, by any appropriate means compatible with its basic legal principles.

Article 13 - Specialist services and victim support organisations

1. Each Member State shall, in the context of proceedings, promote the involvement of victim support systems responsible for organising the initial reception of victims and for victim support and assistance thereafter, whether through the provision of specially trained personnel within its public services or through recognition and funding of victim support organisations.

Nordic Baltic standards - key elements in a victim-centred approach

- The data and identity of all women victims of trafficking must be protected throughout assistance, in case of legal proceedings, as well as in any return process.

- Witness protection should encompass physical protection, psychological protection (avoiding re-victimisation, not causing any further trauma and stress, special psychological support, etc), and also protection from unfair treatment. All victims engaged in a criminal proceeding should be entitled to their own witness legal adviser.

- National witness protection schemes must be adapted to ensure the safety and security of women VOT, taking into account the specific control mechanisms, violence, and criminality that pimps and sex industry actors are involved in. Witness (and victim) support, not only protection, is needed.

- In order to respect the well-being and safety of the victim, procedural adaptations in court proceedings should be ensured (exclusion of the defendant and of the public, use of third party testimonies, non-testimonial prosecutions, etc).

- Social workers and support personnel should be entitled to keep confidentiality if they believe that disclosing certain information, which they have acquired in confidence, could be detrimental or dangerous for the woman.