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Office of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings (NRO)
Legal Framework and NRO’s mandate: Greece has stepped up efforts to fight Trafficking in Persons, through the introduction of three pivotal legal instruments: 1) the ratification of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol/the “Palermo Protocol” (Law 3875/2010), 2) the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (Law 4216/2013) and 3) the transposition of the anti-trafficking EU Directive (2011/36/ΕC/ Law 4198/2013). The Office of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings (NRO) was officially established in 2013, within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, following the transposition of the EU anti-trafficking Directive.
The Office is mandated to cooperate closely with all competent Ministries as well as with International Organizations and civil society stakeholders and is active in all four pillars of the strategy to combat trafficking (Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnerships).
Moreover, the Office represents the country in the Network of National Rapporteurs or equivalent mechanisms of the European Union as well as in international organizations active in combating trafficking in human beings and drafts annual national reports.
The Office cooperates also with national and international authorities, with the aim of participating and optimizing funded or co-funded European programs relative to research, operational and developmental actions of the Office.
Preventing and Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings:
1) Formal Establishment of the National Referral Mechanism (NRM): Greece has initiated a formal national identification and referral Mechanism for victims and presumed victims of trafficking with the Ministerial Decision 3003/2016, published in the Official Government Gazette on 20.09.2016. The Office of the National Rapporteur supervises the National Referral Mechanism which operates as a hub for coordinated action and partnership building, among all actors involved in combating trafficking in persons. This does not merely concern law enforcement (police and prosecutors), but involves additional front-line professionals, such as labor inspectors, health providers, migration services, local administration authorities and other stakeholders who may come across vulnerable to THB populations. The Mechanism is managed by the National Centre for Social Solidarity of the Ministry of Labor/ EKKA.
2) Trainings: Training of professionals on first-level identification is an intrinsic part of Greece’s anti-trafficking policy. The Office of the National Rapporteur on THB is stepping up efforts to facilitate capacity-building activities through a strategic partnership with the State Institute of Training (National Center of Public Administration & Local Government) for the implementation of annual anti-trafficking seminars. At the same time, cooperation with leading international organizations, namely the UNODC, is under way for realizing a number of specialized trainings for law enforcement and front line professionals.
3) Awareness Raising Campaigns: The Office’s strategic planning is to combine a two-fold emphasis, both on the law enforcement imperative and on addressing the root -causes of trafficking. In this respect, Greece has embarked on large-scale campaigns to reduce ‘Demand’ for services or products extracted from THB victims. This concerns primarily Human Rights’ Education in schools; partnerships with the private sector for a zero tolerance consumer ethic; and synergies with the cultural sector.
“BREAK THE CHAIN- BtC” is an on-going awareness raising platform that brings in the private and the cultural sector into a strategic partnership with the anti-trafficking community in Greece. Part of the Campaign is the “Break the Chain Festival”, an international two-day multidisciplinary festival against Human Trafficking that takes place annually in October, on the occasion of the EU Anti-Trafficking Day. It involves the participation of artists and stakeholders from state authorities, International Organizations, NGOs, universities and the private sector.
The Office of the National Rapporteur, in accordance with international standards and best practices, works towards engaging key private stakeholders for the promotion and establishment of “slave-free” supply chains. In this framework, the NRO has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Corporate Social Responsibility Hellas Network (CSR Hellas), aiming at raising awareness among businesses, consumers and employees by conducting trainings, organizing workshops and events and by engaging social media tools in order to reach out to broader audiences.
Furthermore, the Office of the National Rapporteur aims at promoting human rights education at schools, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. The main objective is to educate students at a young age about fundamental rights, sexual and reproductive health and the fact that the human body is not for sale. In the same context, the Office participates in the National Council against Racism and Intolerance of the Ministry of Justice.
4) Establishment of parliamentary sub-committee against human trafficking (June 2016): The Hellenic Parliament has set up a sub-committee on human trafficking under the hub of the Special Permanent Committee for Equality, Youth & Human Rights issues. The Committee is responsible for monitoring developments, legislative updates and the overall implementation of counter-THB policies and measures.