CoE says Montenegro has to secure access to justice for trafficking victims

NEWS 02.06.2021 16:32
Source: Frederick Florin/AFP

The Council of Europe (CoE) said on Wednesday that the Montenegrin authorities have to punish human traffickers and secure justice and compenstation for their victims.

A report by the CoE anti-trafficking body GRETA said that Montenegro has made some progress since including the adopting of standard operating procedures to identify victims and forming an operational team to combat trafficking.

“GRETA urges the authorities to make further steps to guarantee access to justice for victims of trafficking, including by ensuring that the lawyers providing legal aid to victims of trafficking undergo the necessary training and specialisation. The Montenegrin authorities should take steps to guarantee child-sensitive procedures when investigating, prosecuting and adjudicating cases of human trafficking, including measures to ensure a sufficient number of child-friendly interview rooms across the country,” the report said.

It added that none of the victims of trafficking who filed property claims in criminal proceedings have been awarded compensation from the perpetrators, and there were no human trafficking cases in which the defendant’s property was seized or confiscated. “GRETA urges the authorities to make concrete efforts to guarantee effective access to compensation for victims of trafficking, including by bringing into force without further delay the Law on Compensation for Damages for Victims of Violent Crimes, which would enable victims of trafficking to claim compensation from the State,” it said and recalled that final sentences have been passed in just two trafficking cases since 2014. “GRETA stresses that the requalification of human trafficking offence into other offences carrying lighter penalties, as well as failure to convict traffickers engenders a feeling of impunity and undermines efforts to support victims to testify,” the report said.

The report said that Montenegro is a country of origin, destination and transit of trafficked persons.