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OSCE Special Representative encourages Romania to continue its anti-trafficking efforts

( OSCE ) - The OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, and a group of legal experts underscored the importance of protecting trafficking victims' rights during a side event at the OSCE's annual Human Implementation Meeting in Warsaw on 30 September 2013.

 

The OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, speaking at the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Rome, 18 July 2013. (Umberto Battaglia/Italian Chamber of Deputies)

Dalia Avramoff, Senior Deputy to the Tel Aviv District Attorney; Parosha Chandran, Human Rights Barrister in London; Radmila Dicic, Judge at the Supreme Court of Cassation in Serbia; and Lorenzo Trucco, President of the Association for Legal Studies on Migration (ASGI) in Italy presented cases from their work practice and looked at what public institutions and support organizations can do to improve the human rights situation surrounding human trafficking victims.

Ensuring that victims are not punished, and that trafficked and exploited people have access to information about their rights, legal assistance, and in particular compensation, is essential to effectively protect victims' rights, event participants concluded.

"Very often, for example when trafficked persons use false documents, they are treated not as victims but rather as offenders," Giammarinaro said. "They are placed in detention and deported, without any consideration for the fact that they had been compelled to use forged documents by their traffickers. This situation is a further violation of their rights and must be stopped."

 "With the help of committed lawyers, the principle of non-punishment has already been acknowledged by some prosecutors' offices and some national courts. This is the right direction. The fair treatment of trafficked and exploited persons, including legal counselling and compensation remains paramount in a human rights based approach to anti-trafficking," she said.

Giammarinaro has been a judge at the Criminal Court in Rome since 1991. Earlier this year, she published a series of policy and legislative   recommendations  to help ensure that judicial and law enforcement officials do not prosecute trafficking victims for crimes they have been compelled to commit by their exploiters.