Legal education is an important instrument for building mutual trust and cooperation among legal practitioners in the EU Member States. It is needed both for protecting human trafficking victims and for preventing this criminal phenomenon. The webinar ‘Legal framework and procedures for granting financial compensation to third country nationals - victims of human trafficking’ held on 11-12 June 2020 by the Center for the Study of Democracy, together with the Attorneys’ Training Center Krastyu Tzonchev and the National Legal Aid Bureau, aimed to contribute to raising the knowledge of lawyers, prosecutors and judges on the legal frameworks and functioning of the justice system on EU and national level. The webinar was part of the initiative Training lawyers, prosecutors, judges to ensure better rights protection for migrants and refugees victims of human trafficking (TRAIN-PRO-RIGHTS), co-ordinated by the Pro Refugiu Association in Romania in partnership with the Center for the Study of Democracy, Bulgaria, the Centre for European Constitutional Law, Greece, the Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights and the Trabe Association, Spain.
Lawyers, judges and prosecutors, representatives of their professional organisations, as well as of training institutions and NGOs from Bulgaria, Romania and Greece took part in the two-day online training.
Among lecturers were prominent international human rights lawyers from Bulgaria and Romania, academics, specializing on the subject, representatives of the National Anti-Trafficking Commission and human rights organisations. They presented a detailed overview of the EU and national legal framework on financial compensation of victims of crime, the challenges in the area, the compensation of non-pecuniary damages resulting from human trafficking in the European Court of Human Rights and national courts. Presentations discussed the issue of third country nationals and the legal systems of Member States, difficulties in identifying, supporting and compensating foreign victims of trafficking, gender aspects of supporting and compensating such victims.
Lecturers and attendees shared the opinion that countering human trafficking as a serious transnational crime and grave human rights violation requires common effort from all interested parties within the context of prosecution, prevention and protection. Priority attention was given to the legal framework and its practical application, regarding the rights of refugees and migrants as particularly vulnerable victims of trafficking. The need was stressed for legal practitioners from Member States to receive better knowledge on the instruments for cooperation, based on mutual trust, as well as on the exchange of promising practices for tackling victim protection.