Nordic Baltic Network - support to women victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation
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International regulations and Nordic Baltic network standards for implementation

During the last decade several international regulations addressing trafficking in human beings, and in particular women and children, have been developed. On the basis of these international regulations, the Nordic Baltic pilot project have developed standards for implementation of protection and assistance for women who have been trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Among the most important international regulations on trafficking in human beings, and in particularly women and children, are the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children (2000) and the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (2005). Both these international regulations contain important provisions outlining the right to protection and assistance for victims of trafficking, and are legally binding for the State parties that have signed up to them.

In addition, the European Union has developed some binding polices in the area of victim assistance and protection: the EU Framework decision on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings (2001); and the EU Directive on the residence permit issued to third-country nationals who are victims of trafficking in human beings who cooperate with the competent authorities (2004).

In order to efficiently combat trafficking in human beings, it is necessary to differentiate between different forms of trafficking, without establishing a hierarchy. These different forms require targeted policies – both when it comes to prevention, prosecution, and protection.

The needs of protection and assistance vary considerably depending on what form of exploitation a victim of trafficking has been subjected to. Women trafficked for sexual exploitation in the sex industry have specific assistance needs, and the following standards for implementation focus on addressing these. The standards have been developed as part of the Nordic Baltic pilot project, which aims to reinforce and support victim assistance for women victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation in the region. The standards for implementation were outlined at the first regional Nordic Baltic inter-agency network meeting (Riga, 18-20 June 2006), which brought together national teams from all 8 Nordic and Baltic countries.

On the basis of the provisions laid down in the UN Protocol and the Council of Europe Convention, six key areas of victim assistance and support have been identified. Concrete actions need to be developed in all these areas in order to ensure a human rights-centred system of support and assistance for women victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation:

1. Identification of women victims of trafficking

2. Residence/legal status and reflection delay

3. Shelter and specialised services

4. Referrals and Safe returns

5. Victim protection and data protection

6. Compensation and Financial assistance

References

- United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children (2000).

- Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (2005).

- 29/4/2004 Council Directive 2004/81/EC of 29 April 2004 on the residence permit issued to third-country nationals who are victims of trafficking in human beings or who have been the subject of an action to facilitate illegal immigration, who cooperate with the competent authorities.

- Council Framework decision 2001/220/JHA of 15 March 2001 on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings (2001).