This transnational project aimed to identify and analyse Early Legal Intervention (ELI) for victims of trafficking in five member states namely Bulgaria, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Scotland and the United Kingdom. The project set out to develop models of best practice regarding the provision of ELI which will be transferable across member states. The concept of ELI incorporates the provision of confidential legal counsel and advocacy at first encounter between victims and authorities, risk assessment of immediate protection needs, decision on the best/most appropriate route for protection by the State, ensuring the obtaining of recovery and reflection (R&R) prior to interviews, assessing criminalisation risks e.g. immigration offences, alternative protection routes in case the exploitation is not part of a human trafficking crime, in the full legal term.
The project recognised that in order to analyse ELI in the six member states it was necessary to gather an overall picture of the response to trafficking and how legal aid and legal intervention functioned within that. Consequently, this comparative research report examines a number of aspects of the legislative and policy frameworks in each country including the ratification and transposition of international instruments and European directives; national legislation and national structures to address trafficking; the identification of victims of trafficking and the provision of services; the right to legal aid and legal intervention; training and inter-agency cooperation; monitoring and evaluation.
The findings of this report will inform the development of a model of best practice and three pilot projects on ELI. It is intended that the outcomes of this project will impact on national and EU anti-trafficking responses to enhance the support and protection of victims, including their key role as witnesses and to improve the civil society/state cooperation in upholding the victims’ human rights.