2022 Assembly


International Collaborative Efforts to Promote the Non-Punishment Principle


The Council of Europe and the Organisation for Social Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), held a joint conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, entitled ”Not For Sale- Joining Forces against Trafficking in Human Beings’’, 17 – 18 February 2014.
The Conference identified that promoting the Non-Punishment Principle is one of the important areas to facilitate enhanced co-operation between both the Council of Europe and the OSCE. The Non-Punishment Principle holds that victims of human trafficking should not be punished for unlawful activities they were forced to commit by their exploiters.
Eight months later in October, the Council of Europe and the OSCE launched a joint two-day workshop in Strasbourg, France, which brought together judges and prosecutors to discuss the key challenges in supporting the legal rights of human trafficking victims. A fundamental premise was the implementation of the Non-Punishment Principle by all law enforcement agencies, from the police officer right through to the highest court in the land.
‘’Upholding the Non-Punishment Principle is a key step to increasing the number of successful prosecutions in the OSCE region as it encourages victims of trafficking to testify in court by ensuring that they will not also be imprisoned or deported’’, stated Ambassador Madina Jarbussynova, OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.
Despite the agreement earlier in the year on promoting the Non-Punishment Principle, legal experts, judges, lawyers, prosecutors and even a judge from the European Court for Human Rights, heard that it was not universally implemented throughout the region. Petya Nesterova, Executive Secretary of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, said that ‘’Despite the existence of binding, legal provisions, victims of trafficking are still imprisoned or deported. This contravenes the State’s obligation to protect and assist victims and contributes to the impunity of traffickers.’’
Building upon the need to standardise best practice when attending to human trafficking cases, before Christmas the OSCE provided a training seminar for judges from regional courts, in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan.
Thus a review of the past year indicates a concerted effort from all parties, funded and supported by the OSCE, the United States embassy in Kazakhstan, the Civil Service Academy and the Supreme Court, to ensure extensive training in the implementation of the Non-Punishment Principle, with the explicit hope that victims of human trafficking will find the courage to break free, confident that they will not be punished.
Training of judges continues during 2015, with a focus on best legislative and judicial practices to combat human trafficking. National and international experts play their part in the training, to improve understandings and enhance co-operation between law enforcement, judicial authorities and civil society.
It is encouraging to see formal attention to training measures which will improve professional skills in both judicial and administrative areas which will go a long way towards heling combat human trafficking.
It is early days yet, but clearly significant plans are being made for the future and the implementation of best practice in order to break the chains that bind victims of human trafficking.
Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person

Unite to Fight Against Modern Day Slavery


GENEVA, Switzerland, 17 October 2014 – Heads of three international organizations have issued a call to citizens from all walks of life to join the fight against modern day slavery ahead of tomorrow’s European Anti-Trafficking Day.
“Everyone has a part to play in this struggle, from shoppers in supermarkets who demand more information about the origins of the produce sold, to high-level executives, legislators and judges who can write and enforce laws to eliminate modern-day slavery from corporate supply chains and bring traffickers to justice,” the heads of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said.
In 1948, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed: “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”
Unfortunately, in the decades since this landmark declaration was adopted, new forms of slavery such as human trafficking have emerged and multiplied, leading the ILO to estimate in 2012 that there are 20.9 million people in situations of trafficking and forced labour globally, with around 880,000 in the European Union. These numbers cover a broad range of practices, from those trafficked in the sex trade, forced to hand over their income to their exploiters, to construction workers or agricultural labourers toiling for little or no pay on isolated sites that they cannot leave.
“Forced labour violates the human rights and dignity of millions of women and men, girls and boys. It contributes to the perpetuation of poverty and stands in the way of the achievement of decent work for all. The ILO Protocol to Convention No. 29 on Forced Labour adopted this year reaffirms the obligation to punish perpetrators of forced labour and to end the impunity that is still pervasive in so many countries,” Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General said.
“The responsibility to increase our joint efforts to fight trafficking in persons concerns each one of us, international organizations like IOM, states, private sector companies large and small, civil society, as well as private citizens,” said IOM’s Director-General, Ambassador William Lacy Swing.
The IOM recently launched the Missing Migrants Project, documenting more than 40,000 fatalities among migrants since 2000 (see:
OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier said, “As we remember all trafficking victims on this day, the OSCE remains firmly committed to continuing to work towards the elimination of this crime in our region and beyond.”
For more information on the International Labour Organization’s work on forced labour:
International Organization for Migration:
OSCE – The Office of the Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings: