Tuesday, November 24, 2020

VI. Victims’ access to justice 6/7


42.    Trafficked women and girls, including those who do not hold an immigration status, must be ensured access to justice on the basis of equality and non-discrimination including the prosecution of their perpetrators and provision of remedies. However, existing justice systems may be more likely to violate women’s rights than to protect them, including by subjecting victims to criminalization, stigmatization, revictimization, harassment and possible retribution.

          A.     Remedies for victims of trafficking

43.    Article 2(b) of the Convention obligates States parties to provide appropriate and effective remedies, including restitution, recovery, compensation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition, to women whose Convention rights have been violated. Victims of trafficking often encounter significant difficulties in claiming compensation and other forms of reparation, including damages, for the harm suffered for reasons including where: it is made conditional upon cooperation with law enforcement authorities; victims do not have access to high-quality, gender-sensitive, trauma informed legal aid and representation; residency permits are tied to criminal justice processes and repatriation occurs prior to seeking or obtaining civil remedies; the victim bears the burden of proof in civil claims; survivors of trafficking are not identified as victims of a crime for the purpose of reparations owed under law; or where monetary compensation is unavailable or the proceeds of crimes are not redistributed to victims.

          B.     Investigations, prosecutions and punishment of perpetrators

44.    Obstacles to prosecution include lack of special court procedures to accommodate victims’ needs, deficiencies in the quality of justice systems including gender bias and victim-blaming rhetoric in courts resulting in discriminatory judgments or decisions, explicit or implicit social acceptance of gender-based violence against women, delays and excessive length of proceedings, corruption of State officials and their implication in crime and ignorance of demand for all forms of exploitation, including sexual exploitation.

45.    The Committee acknowledges the complexity and the high level of skill required to investigate and prosecute allegations of trafficking in women and girls that may implicate criminal networks operating transnationally. The transnational nature of human trafficking and migration requires cooperation by all affected countries and their participation in an effective and appropriate international response to protect the rights of victims. States parties have a duty to accept and facilitate the voluntary return of their nationals trafficked abroad.

46.    The Committee condemns the use of anti-trafficking interventions to justify violence against specific groups of women, particularly in the case of violent raids and entrapment operations by law enforcement authorities conducted with a view to dismantling trafficking networks.


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