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Report concerning the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings by the United Kingdom

Second Evaluation Round

The Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) has been set up pursuant  to Article 36 of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (“the Convention”), which entered into force on 1 February 2008. GRETA is composed of 15 independent and impartial experts coming from a variety of backgrounds, who have been selected on the basis of their professional experience in the areas covered by the Convention. The term of office of GRETA members is four years, renewable once.

GRETA is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Convention by the parties and for drawing up reports evaluating the measures taken by each party. In accordance with Article 38, paragraph 1, of the Convention, GRETA evaluates the implementation of the Convention following a procedure divided into rounds. At the beginning of each round, GRETA selects the specific provisions on which the evaluation procedure is to be based and defines the most appropriate means to carry out the evaluation. GRETA adopts a questionnaire for each evaluation round which serves as the basis for the evaluation and is addressed to all parties.

The first evaluation round was launched in February 2010 and the questionnaire for this round was sent to the parties according to a timetable adopted by GRETA, which reflected the time of entry into force of the Convention for each party. GRETA organised country visits to all parties in order to collect additional information and have direct meetings with relevant actors, both governmental and non-governmental.

Following the first round of monitoring, which provided an overview of the implementation of the Convention by each party, GRETA launched the second evaluation round of the Convention on 15 May 2014. During this new evaluation round, GRETA has decided to examine the impact of legislative, policy and practical measures on the prevention of trafficking, the protection of the rights of victims of trafficking, and the prosecution of traffickers. The adoption of a human rights-based approach to action against trafficking in human beings remains at the centre of the second evaluation round. In addition, particular attention is paid to measures taken to address new trends in human trafficking and the vulnerability of children to trafficking. The questionnaire adopted by GRETA for the second evaluation round is sent to all parties which have undergone the first evaluation round, following a timetable approved by GRETA.

GRETA’s reports are based on information gathered from a variety of sources and contain recommendations intended to strengthen the implementation of the Convention by the party concerned. In its recommendations, GRETA has adopted the use of three different verbs - “urge”, “consider” and “invite” - which correspond to different levels of urgency of the recommended action for bringing the party’s legislation and/or practice into compliance with the Convention. GRETA uses the verb “urge” when it assesses that the country’s legislation or policy are not in compliance with the Convention, or when it finds that despite the existence of legal provisions and other measures, the implementation of a obligation of the Convention is lacking. In other situations, GRETA “considers” that it is necessary to make improvements in order to fully comply with an obligation of the Convention. By “inviting” a country to pursue its efforts in a given area, GRETA acknowledges that the authorities are on the right track.

As regards the procedure for the preparation of reports, GRETA examines a draft report on each party in a plenary session. The process of confidential dialogue with the national authorities allows the latter to submit, within two months, comments on GRETA’s draft report with a view to providing additional information or correcting any possible factual errors. These comments are taken into account by GRETA when establishing its final report. The final report is adopted by GRETA in a plenary session and transmitted to the party concerned, which is invited to submit any final comments. At the expiry of the time-limit of one month GRETA’s report, together with eventual comments by the party concerned, is made public and sent to the Committee of the Parties to the Convention.