Justice at Last / Quotes

Criminal Justice Actors, including the Judiciary should be encouraged to develop criteria for the calculation of damages when dealing with trafficking cases to ensure the principles of legal equality and certainty. Also existing barriers concerning eligibility criteria for victims’ access to State compensation funds for victims of violent crime should be removed, in line with the obligations under the European Anti-Trafficking Convention (Article 15.3) and the EU Trafficking Directive (Article 17)

It should be ensured that financial investigation is initiated from the very beginning, together with the criminal investigation, since this is crucial for actual (proof and calculation of) payment of compensation awards. Capacity should be increased to identify, trace, seize and confiscate proceeds of crime at an early stage of the investigation to secure both sufficient evidence (of profit made from the exploitation of the victim), and their availability for compensating victims directly, or for contributing to a victim compensation fund.

Governments should ensure sufficient state funding for legal aid for trafficked and exploited persons, removing barriers based on means test, legality of residence and reasonable chance of case success. Legal aid and representation should be provided for the whole duration of criminal, civil and/or administrative proceedings, including pre- and post-trial: from first interview through trial and eventual execution of the award. Specialization of legal professionals should be promoted. Moreover governments should ensure that state schemes are available to compensate victims of crime, in particular also when no money can be claimed from the perpetrator for various reasons.

Victims of trafficking should receive information on their legal rights including on how to claim compensation in a language and manner that they understand. The limited trust and possible other urgent concerns at first contact should be taken into account. Still often victims do not receive adequate and timely information.