Parliamentary Assembly

Migration connected with trafficking in women and prostitution
Recommendation 1610 (2003)

Doc. 10039
24 January 2004

Reply from the Committee of Ministers
adopted at the 869th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (21 January 2004)

1.         The Committee of Ministers has given careful consideration to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1610 (2003) on migration connected with trafficking in women and prostitution.  The Committee of Ministers shares the Assembly’s view that trafficking in human beings is an intolerable affront to human dignity.  It recognises that it has become a matter of great concern to Europe’s citizens.

2.         In these circumstances, at its 112th Session in May 2003, it called for increased action by the Council of Europe in this area and expressed support for the preparation of a European Convention on combating trafficking in human beings.

3.         More recently, at its 113th Session in Chisinau on 6 November 2003, it examined the progress of the work done in this area and “stressed that the protection of the victims of trafficking and the prosecution of traffickers must be paramount objectives of the action of the Council of Europe against this scourge, underlining the importance of close co-operation and co-ordination with the European Union, the OSCE and the United Nations.”

4.         The Committee of Ministers agrees with the Assembly that such criminal trafficking cannot be combated effectively by member states acting on their own.  The problem affects all countries, whether they are countries of origin, transit or destination.  For this reason, in the final communiqu� of their 113th Session, “the Ministers encouraged the member states of the Council of Europe to pay special attention to it at all levels.  They reiterated their commitment to pursue actively the negotiation of the draft European Convention on action against trafficking in human beings, with the prospect of adopting this instrument as soon as possible.”

5.         In order to make sure that the Assembly’s comments are taken into account in the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (CAHTEH), which is responsible under the authority of the Committee of Ministers for drawing up a European Convention on action against trafficking in human beings, Recommendation 1610 (2003) has been forwarded to the CAHTEH.  As the Assembly is represented on that committee, it will have noted that the committee’s discussions are moving in the direction recommended.  It may also wish to consider the comments by the CAHTEH, which are appended to this reply.

6.         The Committee of Ministers underlines the importance of the contribution of the Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG) members for the CAHTEH’s work, in order to give it both a human rights and a gender perspective. To this end, multidisciplinary co-ordination units could be created at national level, which could lead to richer participation of member States in the preparatory work of the Convention.

7.         The Committee of Ministers also wishes to recall that, in the framework of its monitoring meeting on 27-28 October 2003, devoted to the theme “Equality between women and men”, matters relating to the protection of women against violence and the action against trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation were examined; document CM/Monitor(2003)15 which gives an overview of existing national equality mechanisms, was declassified and put at the disposal of the Parliamentary Assembly.

8.         Moreover, the Committee of Ministers wishes to underline that the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) pays particular attention to the situation of women deprived of their liberty.  In this connection, it would underline that, in addition to the fundamental principles the CPT has laid down on the way all individuals deprived of their liberty should be treated, in its 10th General Report (CPT/Inf(2000)13, paragraphs 21 to 33), the CPT set out guidelines to be followed by the States Parties to the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment regarding specific aspects of the treatment of female prisoners, irrespective of the nature of the relevant place of detention.  The Committee of Ministers also underlines the leading role played by the CPT in examining the situation of individuals - both men and women - held in airport and other holding and detention centres, as well as procedures involving the use of force for the deportation of foreign nationals[1].

9.         Lastly, the Committee of Ministers wishes to inform the Assembly that it has also forwarded Recommendation 1610 (2003) to the Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG), the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC) and the European Committee on Migration (CDMG) to enable them to take proper account of the Assembly’s suggestions in their future activities.


Information and comments by the Ad hoc Committee on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (CAHTEH) on Recommendation 1610 (2003) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on migration connected with trafficking in women and prostitution

The experts examined the above-mentioned recommendation.  They took note that paragraph 3, sub-paragraphs i., ii. (sect. 1, b and c) and iii., deals directly with the drafting of the future European convention, in particular regarding the criminalisation of the offence of trafficking, the harmonisation of penalties, the questions of jurisdiction and international co-operation.

The experts thanked the Assembly for its suggestions and its active participation in the first meeting of the CAHTEH. They stressed that all topics mentioned by the Assembly will be examined in-depth during the drafting of the future Convention, as it was shown by the issues discussed under items 4 and 5 of the agenda of the CAHTEH meeting.  The experts shared the opinion of the Assembly on the importance of the issues mentioned in this recommendation.

[1] See in this connection document CM/AS (2003) Rec 1547 final - reply by the Committee of Ministers to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1547 (2002) and the CPT’s 7th and 13th General Reports (CPT/Inf (97) 10, paragraphs 24 to 36, and CPT/Inf (2003) 35, paragraphs 27 to 45).