Legislation on violence against women should provide safety, aid, and empowerment for survivors through criminal and civil provisions that include a broad range of remedies and reparations.
Drafters should include provisions for restitution, asset forfeiture, civil liability or causes of action for sex trafficking, a crime victims’ rehabilitation fund, orders for protection or harassment restraining orders, protections for privacy, and a victim-advocate caseworker privilege.
Drafters should add victims of trafficking to any classification or definition of “crime victim” to ensure that victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation receive all of the services and benefits available.
In 2012, the Human Rights Council conducted a panel discussion on women’s human rights, including the theme of remedies and reparations for women subjected to violence. A Summary of the Human Rights Council panel discussion on the theme of remedies for women subjected to violence: Report of The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights sets forth some general principles, challenges, and promising practices in providing effective, just, and culturally sensitive reparations for women who have been subjected to violence in different contexts.
The following summary of points made during the panel discussion may guide creation of promising reparation programmes:
(See: Summary of the Human Rights Council panel discussion on the theme of remedies for women subjected to violence, Human Rights Council, 2012)
Drafters should review Module 13 of the UNODC Anti-Human Trafficking Manual for Criminal Justice Practitioners, which explains the different forms of compensation for victims: through the assets of offenders (civil liability) or through state-funded compensation schemes. (See: UNODC Anti-Human Trafficking Manual for Criminal Justice Practitioners, Module 13, 2009)
Promising Practice: Reparations Extended to More Victims of Sexual Violence in Peru
After six years of limiting reparations for sexual violence only to victims of rape, Peruvian congress passed a law in 2012 making victims of other forms of sexual violence eligible for civil war reparations. According to Peru’s truth and reconciliation commission, the newly recognized forms of sexual violence – including sexual slavery, forced abortion, forced prostitution and kidnapping – were widespread during Peru’s twenty-year conflict. The law will extend reparations to at least 500 more women, who now will be eligible for monetary compensation and free healthcare, therapy, and even education, since many women who experienced sexual violence during the civil war were not able to continue in school. (See: Mattia Cabitza, “Peru Widens Civil War Compensation for Victims of Sexual Violence,” The Guardian, 28 June 2012; Womankind Worldwide, Press Release, 2012 in English; DEMUS, Press Release, 2012 in Spanish).
COMP.ACT Project Case Study-
Anti-Slavery International and La Strada International initiated and led the European campaign, COMP.ACT to increase awareness and implementation of compensation measures for victims of human trafficking. The campaign lists several goals: to raise awareness and to insert compensation into the international anti-trafficking agenda; research the current options and obstacles victims face when attempting to access compensation; make recommendations for improved implementation of compensation strategies; and ensure greater access to compensation for trafficking victims in Europe.
The campaign was based on the premise that victims of trafficking have a right to seek compensation, as established in international law, and that such measures not only empowers victims and supports recovery, but also can be seen as a prevention mechanism. The COMP.ACT coalition engaged partners in 14 countries throughout Europe to conduct research on the current measures for compensation available to victims on a national level and the various obstacles that victims face when accessing compensation. Each country-based coalition then made recommendations to address the obstacles victims face and conducted awareness raising activities in country. Internationally, partners raised awareness in the international community and conducted advocacy to include compensation measures in national, regional and international law.
In their report, COMP.ACT: Findings and Results of the European Action for Compensation for Trafficked Persons, the coalition reports a number of results in the first three years of the project. Examples of reported successes include:
In addition to the above listed results, The COMP.ACT coalition produced a toolkit for practitioners working with trafficking victims. The toolkit includes a research template; awareness raising materials, including posters; and guidance for lawyers on representing trafficking persons in compensation claims.
(See: COMP.ACT: Findings and Results of the European Action for Compensation for Trafficked Persons, COMP.ACT Project, 2012)
Note: While restitution, asset forfeiture and crime victims’ rehabilitation funds are typically part of the criminal law scheme addressing sex trafficking, they are included here because they should be reviewed with provisions such as civil liability claims and other means of compensating victims for harm.
Next Topic Restitution