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24 November - States worldwide have a human rights obligation to remedy the wrongs suffered by trafficked persons, according to an independent United Nations human rights expert.

The UN's Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, told a gathering of anti-trafficking experts in Bratislava this week that countries at every stage of the trafficking process must find effective avenues of redress for victims.

“All countries of origin, transit and destination, have the duty to provide for the right to an effective remedy for trafficked persons,” she said.

“This is a fundamental human right and should be guaranteed to all victims of human rights violations including trafficking.”

Experts, gathered from a variety of sectors, discussed how better help can be given to trafficked people, with the discussions intended to form the basis of Ms. Ezeilo's report to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011 on the rights of trafficked persons.

Discussions focused on the existing normative framework and the content and scope of the right to find effective remedies.

“Trafficked persons must be able to access competent and independent authorities and receive reparations for the harms they have suffered, including compensation,” said Ms Ezeilo.

“Access to information, legal assistance including free legal aid, and regularization of their residence status while seeking remedies are necessary pre-conditions for trafficked persons to exercise their right to an effective remedy.

“States' responses in this field should also be tailored to fulfil the human rights of specific groups of trafficked persons such as children.”

The Special Rapporteur, who assumed her position in 2008, works in an independent and unpaid capacity, presenting an annual report on the subject of human trafficking to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council.