Following a visit to the United Kingdom last year, the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Maria Grazia Giammarinaro published recommendations to the government on improving anti-trafficking action and the protection of human rights of trafficked persons, together with the UK official response, on 18 January 2012.
Giammarinaro recommends that legal counselling and legal aid should be provided as soon as there is an indication of trafficking and a review mechanism should be established to ensure that victims are not punished for their involvement in crimes which they have been compelled to commit as a direct consequence of being trafficked. Regular monitoring of the human rights impact of anti-trafficking policy and legislation is also recommended.
While acknowledging the achievements of the UK National Referral Mechanism, through which hundreds of victims have been identified, Giammarinaro highlights the gap between the number of potential victims referred by the services, and those ultimately being recognized as victims. To increase the number of victims identified and assisted, she recommends a more effective multi-agency approach and an increased role of NGOs in the identification process.
Labour exploitation could be further prevented by enhancing the role of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority and extending its competence to sectors other than agriculture. To prevent domestic servitude, domestic workers should be allowed to change employer, including when they are employed by diplomats.
Giammarinaro commended the high-level political commitment of the UK Government, the adoption of a new government strategy on human trafficking in July 2011 and the co-operative process initiated on the occasion of her visit, which will have a follow-up in 2012.