OSCE Special Representative calls for stronger criminal justice response to human trafficking, including through confiscation
( OSCE ) - The OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, said at an international seminar for judges in Haifa, Israel that took place from 5 to 8 August 2013 that trafficked people's legal rights must be upheld in court and that the overall criminal justice response must be strengthened.
In her keynote speech, Giammarinaro said the crime of human trafficking is rarely recognized; usually only in situations in which extreme violence has been used. Very often, when victims are coerced by taking advantage of their personal vulnerability, including by threatening to report their immigration status which would result in deportation, traffickers still go unpunished.
"When an emerging crime threatens the whole society, the jurisprudence should avoid a conservative approach," Giammarinaro said. "It is time to be innovative in the interpretation of new legal provisions and apply severe penalties allowing confiscation of the proceeds of crime."
Confiscating funds and property belonging to human traffickers can also promote the victim's right to compensation since such assets can be used to finance restitution for unpaid labour. Compensation remains one of the most neglected aspects of providing justice in human trafficking cases, she said.
The event was attended by more than 25 judges from across the globe including representatives from OSCE participating States Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Serbia and the United States. High-level Israeli officials, including Merav Shmueli, National Anti-Trafficking Co-ordinator and Daniel Carmon, the head of Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV), also took part in the seminar.