Protocol against the trafficking of people
Decision 2006/618/EC on the EU’s conclusion of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women And Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime — within the scope of Articles 179 and 181a of the Treaty
Decision 2006/619/EC on the EU’s conclusion of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women And Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime — within the scope of Part III, Title IV of the Treaty
They ratify, on behalf of the EU, the Protocol on trafficking in persons which supplements the Convention against Transnational Organised Crime adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) on 15 November 2000.
Annexes II to Decisions 2006/618/EC and 2006/619/EC specify the competence of the EU with regard to matters governed by the protocol.
The purposes of the protocol are to:
prevent and combat transnational trafficking in persons*, especially women and children*, by organised criminal groups;
protect and assist the victims of exploitation*;
promote cooperation among countries in this domain.
Each signatory country must adopt the necessary laws and other measures to establish as criminal offences the acts defined as trafficking in persons, including acting as an accomplice in such acts.
Disputes between the signatories regarding the interpretation or application of the protocol should be settled by negotiation and, failing that, by arbitration.
Where a dispute goes for arbitration, if an arrangement has not been agreed within 6 months, any of the parties may refer the dispute to the International Court of Justice.
Preventing trafficking in persons
Signatory countries should adopt measures to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, in cooperation with relevant civil society organisations. These measures may include information and media campaigns and social and economic initiatives.
It is also important to address the factors that render people vulnerable to trafficking, such as poverty, underdevelopment and lack of equal opportunity, through bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
Signatory countries are required to:
protect theprivacy and identity of victims of trafficking;
give them information on relevant court and administrative proceedings;
provide for their physical, psychological and social recovery, e.g. housing, appropriate care, employment, educational and training opportunities;
allow victims of trafficking to remain in their territory, temporarily or permanently, giving appropriate consideration to humanitarian and compassionate factors;
assist victims to return to their country of origin or to reach another country, with due regard for their safety.
Information exchange and cooperation
The relevant services of the signatory countries agree to exchange information on certain aspects including:
the types of travel documents used for the purpose of people trafficking,
the means and methods used by organised criminal groups for this purpose.
The countries also undertake to strengthen cooperation between their border control services.
They apply from 24 July 2006.
The UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 15 November 2000, came into force on 23 September 2003.
It is supplemented by 3 protocols:
the Protocol against trafficking in persons, which came into force on 25 December 2003,
the Protocol against the smuggling of migrants by land, air and sea, which came into force on 28 January 2004, and
the Protocol against the illicit manufacture of and trafficking in firearms, which came into force on 3 July 2005.
Trafficking in persons: the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability, or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation.
Children: persons under 18 years of age.
Exploitation: exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.
Council Decision 2006/618/EC of 24 July 2006 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women And Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime concerning the provisions of the Protocol, in so far as the provisions of this Protocol fall within the scope of Articles 179 and 181a of the Treaty establishing the European Community (OJ L 262, 22.9.2006, pp. 44-50)
Council Decision 2006/619/EC of 24 July 2006 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women And Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime concerning the provisions of the Protocol, in so far as the provisions of the Protocol fall within the scope of Part III, Title IV of the Treaty establishing the European Community (OJ L 262, 22.9.2006, pp. 51-58)
Procedural safeguards for vulnerable persons in criminal proceedings
This recommendation calls upon Member States to enhance certain procedural rights of vulnerable suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings.
Commission Recommendation of 27 November 2013 on
Procedural safeguards for vulnerable persons suspected or accused in criminal proceedings.
The recommendation aims to strengthen the procedural rights of suspects or accused persons who are not able to understand and to effectively participate in criminal proceedings due to age, mental or physical condition or disabilities (vulnerable persons). It also applies to vulnerable persons subject to European arrest warrant proceedings.
Identification of vulnerable persons
Vulnerable persons should be promptly identified as such. After an initial assessment by law enforcement or judicial authorities, an independent medical expert shall determine the degree of their vulnerability, their specific needs and the appropriateness of any measures taken or envisaged against them.
Rights of vulnerable persons
They should not be subject to any discrimination in the exercise of their procedural rights.
Persons with serious mental disorders or physical/sensorial impairments should be presumed vulnerable.
Vulnerable persons and their legal representative (e.g. a court appointed guardian) or an appropriate adult (e.g. a relative) should be informed of their specific procedural rights. The latter should also be present at the police station and during court hearings.
The right of access to a lawyer should not be waived if a vulnerable person is unable to understand the proceedings.
They should have access to medical assistance throughout criminal proceedings if they are deprived of liberty.
Police questioning should be audio-visually recorded.
Deprivation of liberty of vulnerable persons before their conviction should be a measure of last resort, proportionate, and take place under conditions suited to their specific needs.
Their privacy, personal integrity and personal data should be protected throughout the criminal proceedings.
Law enforcement and judicial authorities competent in criminal proceedings conducted against vulnerable persons should receive appropriate training.
OJ C 378 of 24.12.2013
Directive 2013/48/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and in European arrest warrant proceedings, and on the right to have a third party informed upon deprivation of liberty and to communicate with third persons and with consular authorities while deprived of liberty (OJ L 294, 6.11.2013).