The article focuses on the barriers facing victims of human trafficking accessing compensation despite the existence of numerous legal obligations and guidelines on access to compensation at an international level. These include lengthy procedural processes, referral to civil proceedings and difficulty in executing compensation order for a number of reasons such as the inability to track offenders’ assets or the disappearance of the offender. The article discusses access to compensation using the research from the Justice at Last Project as well the case-study of a specific human trafficking case held in Austria.
The article closes with a number of recommendations. It highlights the need for accurate indicators to identify victims of human trafficking as often, stereotypes of public perception of what victims look like interfere with the detection of victims. The article also highlights the importance of good contact and cooperation between organisations serving victims of human trafficking and law enforcement authorities.
The experiences in the case discussed earlier have underlined that a well-functioning cooperation between law enforcement authorities and organisations for the protection of victims is essential in order to enforce claims for compensation. Moreover, this case has shown that the involvement of the respective units responsible for financial investigations is of great importance in order to obtain a comprehensive picture of the existing cash flows of the offenders and the assets generated by their exploitation. This is an important factor in determining the claims amount of the victims.
The article furthermore examines the barrier in accessing compensation following an execution order as well as the need for expert opinions in criminal proceedings to assess pain to assist with compensation calculations. The article closes by recommending the Dutch model which provides victims with compensation if compensation is not received from the offender within 8 months.
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