Compensation payments are a form of justice that can have a positive effect on the victim’s ability to come to terms with what they have experienced. Such payments may also have a restorative and preventive effect, since they allow victims to build a new life for themselves on their return to their country of origin and counter the danger that they will fall into the hands of human traffickers again.
A key element in the ability to compensate a victim is the prospect of securing compensation from the perpetrator. The following three potential areas of claims should be considered with regard to victims of trafficking:
- Compensation for personal suffering due to physical and psychological distress (non-material damages);
- Damages due to material losses suffered; and
- Compensation for withheld earnings.
The primary goal should be compensation from the perpetrator who has caused the suffering and distress. Where compensation of the victim by the perpetrator cannot be secured, for example, in situations where the perpetrator has insufficient means or the perpetrator’s means cannot be detected, there may be ways of compensating victims by the State. For example, countries may establish victim funds, to which affected persons may make a claim for compensation payments. (NRM Handbook, pp 83 ff). The Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, as well as the OSCE Action Plan on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings recommend the establishment of such trafficking victims compensation funds, or allowing the access by victims of trafficking to funds set up for victims of violent crimes.
Forced Labour and Human Trafficking: Casebook of Court Decisions