Rapporteur advises on implementation of the CoE Convention on violence against women and domestic violence

The Dutch National Rapporteur has published her advice about the Dutch bills related to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating of violence against women and domestic violence. The Rapporteur stresses the importance of attention for the intertwinement of these subjects with the issues of trafficking in human beings and sexual violence against children.

The convention contains measures to combat violence against women and domestic violence. It covers issues such as forced marriage, forced genital mutilation and forced abortion. 

In her advice, the Rapporteur emphasizes the link between these issues and trafficking in human beings. A situation of forced marriage, for example, may constitute a situation of human trafficking when the purpose of the marriage is exploitation of the woman. Furthermore, women forced to marry often find themselves in a position vulnerable to exploitation. A forced marriage may develop into exploitation and as such, constitute trafficking in human beings. Forced abortion can also be part of human trafficking. The violence stemming from a forced abortion can be used by human traffickers to maintain their control over victims.

Awareness and training

The Rapporteur underlines the importance of training and awareness on the issues covered by the treaty. During trainings about these subjects, participants should pay attention to the relationship between these issues and human trafficking. Law enforcement officials, public prosecutors and judges should be trained in the effective application of the criminal law provisions that are in place to combat the different issues (in particular Article 284 of the Dutch Criminal Code).

Criminalisation of luring with the purpose of a forced marriage

Article 37 under 2 of the treaty obliges Member States, including the Netherlands, to criminalise the luring of an adult or a child to the territory of a Party or State other than the one she or he resides in with the purpose of forcing this adult or child to enter into a marriage. In the explanatory report accompanying the bill, the Dutch government should specifically address the vulnerable position in which (future) victims of forced marriages find themselves when being lured. This will provide judges with guidance when interpreting the new offence (expected to be criminalised in Article 285 of the Dutch Criminal Code).