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Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings

Friday 14 January 2011

Convention signed in Warsaw on May 16th, 2005, by the States members of the Council of Europe,

-  The Convention does not specify a minimum valid period for provisional residence permits delivered to the victims of human trafficking. The directive adopted in 2004 by the European Union in regard to issuing a residence permits for third countries citizens, victims of illegal immigration or human trafficking, ensures a minimum period of six months.
-  Absence of minimum sentences whereas the framework-decision concerning human trafficking adopted in 2002 by the European Union provides minimum sanctions,
-  The aggravating circumstances list is restricted (for instance : torture or barbarism are not mentioned while those acts are common in human trafficking; the violation is committed toward individuals with particular vulnerability because of their age, illness, disability, physical or psychic deficiencies or a pregnancy , apparent or known by the perpetrator). To define aggravating circumstances, the French Penal Code could be used as an example.

-  The ability of States not to impose sanctions to the victims for taking part to illegal activities when forced to do so,
-  The Convention forces States to take minimum measures concerning assistance to the victims. This is a significant progress in so far as the Palerme protocol only conferred an incentive manner to the helping measures, precisely regarding access to accommodation, medical assistance and more.


To the government

1. Reinforcing the means of the psychological helping centers and the shelters, often managed by charities helping the victims. Budget accorded to those associations services needs to be increased and sustained, as to help preservation of the continuity of actions.

2. Acknowledge the possibility for the victims to be granted a provisory authorization of extendable residency, nay a resident card when the two followings conditions are reunited:

  • their personal situation justifies such an action and/or when their security is jeopardized.
  • their rehabilitation is supported by a charity association for victims (1)
  • Granting an authorization of residency must not only be limited to cases where the victims collaborates in a judicial procedure, as it is the case in our current legal system.

3. Launching to the national level a reflection on the instrumentations of the fight against the demand in coordination with the NGOs and the civil. Without a demand, human trafficking would not exist. This phenomenon answers to the mercantile laws of offer and demand.

4. Give the sense of responsibility to clients of the prostitution

  • The trade for sexual favors with an victim of the human trafficking is criminally sanctioned.
  • The already existent violation of trading for sexual services with a vulnerable individual (article 225-12-1 French Penal Code) is the judicial basis.

The penal code will be modified as followed : Article 225-12-1 : Is punished by the same punishment the act of solicitation, accept or obtain, in exchange of remuneration or a promises of remuneration, sexual activities from a person who engages prostitution, even on occasional basis, when the individual shows a particular vulnerability, apparent or known by the perpetrator, because of their age, illness, disability, physical or psychic deficiencies or a pregnancy or an exploitation situation by a human trafficking network.

The adoption of this new incrimination is supported by a sensitization campaign aiming specifically the clients resorting sexual services to victims of the human trafficking for prostitute purposes.

5. Initiate a real sensitization campaign by public opinion and establish a national information and actions against human trafficking day.

6. Appoint an independent national reporter in charge of following up the activities of fights against human trafficking. The national reporter’s mission would be to assess the adequacy and effectiveness of the government policy regarding the fight against human trafficking, monitor its implementation and make recommendations to government. He would also write reports establishing a global balance sheet of the political government in the fight against human trafficking manners, in police, justice, social matters and health aspects. The reporter will present conclusions to the Council of Ministers and the Parliament once a year.

7. Reinforce targeted professional’s education, particularly in order to improve identification of victims of public services agents ( embassies, health services in hospitals, etc…) and others ( staff of Western Union, social assistants, educators, school nurses…).

8. Create a special funding intended to finance, either organisms, or allowing the opening of new shelters and/ or special welcoming centers, or help directly victims to finance professional education or grand micro-loans to encourage professional projects. This funding is financed partially by products of the trafficking or exploitation of individual for prostitution confiscated during the procedure (quid of the sequester of property procedure).

9. Signing of bilateral agreements to ensure the safety return of the victims of human trafficking between charity organizations of destination and origin countries.

10. Discharge the debts of the victims ( taxes, fine), often consisting of an obstacle to rehabilitation, under the condition of parting from the prostitute system and engage in an social rehabilitation program.

(1)The victim must have left the prostitution field and integrate a rehabilitation process restricted by a charity.


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