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OSCE Special Representative calls for victim protection at UK Parliament's Modern Slavery Bill Evidence Review

( OSCE) - The OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, today urged UK lawmakers to enhance the criminal justice response and simultaneously the protection of victims' rights at the Modern Slavery Bill Evidence Review in Westminster.

British lawmakers are reviewing evidence on human trafficking as they work to create the Modern Slavery Bill.

"This modern slavery bill can pave the way towards a new phase of anti-trafficking action," Giammarinaro said. "When we talk about eradicating slavery, today as in the past, the first imperative is to free people who have been enslaved. In order to strengthen the criminal justice response, we need a multifaceted range of criminal and social measures, which should include strengthening victims' access to assistance, support and compensation."

The Special Representative provided her views to British Parliamentarians on what is needed in the bill to combat human trafficking. She noted that financial investigation, confiscation and asset recovery have so far been underutilized in efforts to disrupt trafficking networks and compensate victims.

"The bill should adopt a comprehensive approach to making anti-trafficking action more effective." Giammarinaro said at the Evidence Review. "This should include seizing and confiscating the proceeds of crime, strengthening prevention efforts by engaging with the private sector, and enabling victims to obtain restitution of unpaid salaries through legal counselling."

Giammarinaro carried out an official country visit to the UK in 2011 and published her report to the government the following year. In this report, she called on the government to combine its criminal justice response to human trafficking with a human rights-centred approach, noting that victim protection helps enhance the effectiveness of investigations and prosecutions.