Step up fight against human trafficking, France urged

The Council of Europe’s group of experts on action against trafficking in human beings (GRETA) has urged the French authorities to take a number of steps to improve the country’s fight against trafficking in human beings.

In its first report on human trafficking in France, GRETA urged the authorities to launch a coordinated national action plan on trafficking as a matter of priority. The expert group also recommended that a nation-wide referral mechanism be set up to formally identify victims of trafficking and ensure that they are helped and protected.

The report underlined difficulties in identifying emerging trends – especially with regard to labour exploitation. Nevertheless, there are indications that there may be several thousand victims every year. The number of child victims of trafficking is also thought to be increasing, notably with regard to children of Roma origin trafficked from South East Europe to take part in forced begging and theft.

GRETA urged the French authorities to ensure that their approach to trafficking is based on protecting the human rights of victims. Identification and access to support should not depend upon their willingness to co-operate with the authorities, and protection of victims and witnesses during investigations and trials should be strengthened to prevent them facing intimidation or retaliation.

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