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ASTRA at the side event of the 22nd Conference of the Alliance against Trafficking in Persons

The Alliance against Trafficking in Persons, which brings together all key European actors involved in the fight against trafficking in human beings, will hold the 22nd Alliance Conference entitled “PROTECTION: upholding victims’ rights and strengthening assistance” in Vienna from 4 to April 6. The conference is organized by the OSCE Office of the Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. A special focus is on implementing a victim-centered approach and preserving their rights.

As one of the side events of the conference, on April 5, from 9:30 to 11:00, there will be a meeting entitled UNCONDITIONAL SUPPORT AND ACCESS TO RESIDENCE ON PERSONAL GROUNDS IS NEEDED TO UPHOLD TRAFFICKED PERSONS’ RIGHTS. The event is organised by La Strada International − a European NGO platform against human trafficking in cooperation with LSI’s member LEFO IBF and the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented migrants (PICUM), and with the support of the Council of Europe / GRETA Secretariat.

Description of the event: Following identification, victims of trafficking are often in a situation of high vulnerability, and may risk being removed immediately if their status is irregular. However, access to support and residence for victims of human trafficking is currently very closely tied with the criminal legal system. Access depends first on identification, and then on cooperation with, and the needs of, law enforcement. This leaves many people without the protection, support and assistance they need and are entitled to. It leads to repeat victimisation. The Council of Europe Convention on Acton against Trafficking in Human Beings requires that assistance to victims is not made conditional on their willingness to act as witnesses or co-operate with competent authorities in the investigations and criminal proceedings. It foresees unconditional assistance and renewable residence permits on account of the personal situation of victims of trafficking. This event will provide an analysis of the state of play and spotlight country examples that highlight both the need and policy options for a human rights-centred approach to trafficking in human beings.

This side event should provide insight into the analysis of the current situation and examples of countries that are moving towards fulfilling policies whose focus is on the human rights of victims of trafficking. One of the speakers at this event will be the ASTRA CEO, Marija Andjelković, who will acquaint the attendees with the official policies of Serbia in this area and how they are implemented.

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