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OSCE Special Representative highlights role of parliamentarians in combating human trafficking

(OSCE)- The OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, in her address to the Committee for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid of the German Bundestag, stressed the critical role that Parliaments can play in changing the perception of trafficking, especially in the field of labour exploitation.

Giammarinaro highlighted that trafficking in human beings “is not a marginal phenomenon, but a new form of slavery on a massive scale in which people lose their freedom of choice, and are reduced to commodities for the benefit of their exploiters”.

“Germany has achieved remarkable results in the prevention and fight against trafficking for sexual exploitation. We need now to strengthen efforts to combat trafficking for labour exploitation and other forms of trafficking including for forced begging and forced criminality,” she said.

Giammarinaro suggested establishing a federal-level co-ordination mechanism to deal with all forms of trafficking in human beings, and an independent National Rapporteur in charge of measuring the results of anti-trafficking action and reporting to the Parliament.

The Special Representative emphasized how prevention is at the core of any comprehensive and long-term strategy against trafficking in human beings addressing poverty, social exclusion and lack of opportunities as root causes of trafficking, and promoting full protection of workers’ rights.

She also stressed that the protection of the victim should take first place when law enforcement find an indication of trafficking, be it on the border or within the destination country in which exploitation takes place: “EU and national legislation should be brought in line with the 2011 EU Directive, which clearly adopts a human rights-centred approach to the prevention and fight against human trafficking, and provides for unconditional assistance to its victims before, during and after criminal proceedings.”

The Special Representative also met with the Director of the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs and the Managing Director of the KOK, a co-ordination group of activist organizations across Germany combating trafficking and abuse of women in the process of migration.

(9 November 2011)

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