2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Georgia
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||27 June 2011|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Georgia, 27 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e12ee7c2.html [accessed 12 July 2014]|
Georgia (Tier 1)
Georgia is primarily a source country and, to a lesser extent, a transit and destination country for women and girls subjected to sex trafficking, and for men and women subjected to conditions of forced labor. In 2010, women and girls from Georgia were subjected to sex trafficking within the country and also in Turkey and Egypt. In recent years, cases of forced prostitution of Georgian victims were also documented in the United Arab Emirates, Greece, Russia, Germany, and Austria. Men and women are subjected to conditions of forced labor within Georgia and also in Libya, Egypt, and Turkey. In recent years there were reports of Turkish men forced to labor in the separatist region of Abkhazia, which was outside of the central government's control.
The Government of Georgia fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government continued its training and awareness programs, ensuring that all police officers and border guards receive specialized anti-trafficking training. The government continued to fully fund two government shelters and conduct numerous prevention campaigns. However, the total number of prosecutions and convictions decreased significantly in 2010 and fewer victims were identified than in 2009.
Recommendation for Georgia: Increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict both labor and sex trafficking offenders; increase efforts to identify and refer victims for assistance; continue strong funding for victim assistance programs; continue to ensure that victims are not fined or otherwise penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; maintain and strengthen cross-border cooperation between law enforcement bodies; improve training of consular officers in trafficking destination countries in victims' assistance; continue to proactively screen for victims at border points and increase efforts to identify victims at the border; and focus training efforts on making these officers a more active part of the referral process.
The Government of Georgia continued law enforcement efforts to combat human trafficking during the reporting period. Georgia prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through Article 143 of its criminal code, which prescribes penalties ranging from seven to 20 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and are commensurate with those for other serious crimes, such as rape. In 2010, the government initiated 11 trafficking investigations of 18 individuals, compared with 12 investigations of 33 individuals initiated in 2009; 10 of those investigations initiated in 2010 were still in progress at the end of the reporting period. Authorities prosecuted five individuals for trafficking – including one individual for forced labor – compared with 40 individuals prosecuted for trafficking in 2009. One trafficking offender was convicted in 2010, a significant decrease from the conviction of 37 offenders in 2009. The trafficking conviction resulted in a sentence of 16 years' imprisonment. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences of public officials for trafficking complicity; NGOs and the government did not report any allegations of such complicity during the year. The government provided training to all Georgian police and immigration officials through its police academy curriculum on identifying and assisting victims of trafficking. The Prosecution Service conducted four training sessions on investigative techniques, identification of victims, and cooperation with the victim service providers for 163 prosecutors. In cooperation with NGOs and international organizations, the government organized or facilitated anti-trafficking training for 503 consular officers, police, judges, and lawyers. Georgian officials participated in dialogues and trainings with international counterparts through programs funded by international sources.
The Government of Georgia demonstrated sustained efforts to identify and protect victims of trafficking during the year. The government continued to implement a formal mechanism for its officials to identify victims and refer them to organizations providing assistance. Through this mechanism, government officials and NGOs identified and assisted 19 victims in 2010, a decrease from 48 trafficking victims identified in 2009. The government provided two victims with one-time payments of $650 in 2010; the government received no applications for payments in 2009. The government allocated $127,000 for two fully-funded government-run shelters for trafficking victims. These shelters provided medical aid, psychological counseling, and legal assistance to nine victims of trafficking in 2010, compared with 15 victims sheltered and assisted in 2009. Victim assistance was not contingent upon cooperation with law enforcement. The Government of Georgia provided foreign victims with legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they would face hardship or retribution; foreign victims were eligible for temporary residence permits, though no foreign victims received a residence permit in 2010. The government fully funded the repatriation of two foreign victims during the reporting period and cooperated with IOM in the repatriation from Egypt of six Georgian victims of trafficking. Victims were encouraged to assist law enforcement with trafficking investigations and prosecutions; all 19 victims identified by the government assisted law enforcement during the reporting period. There were no reports that victims were penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. Although the Government of Georgia cooperated closely with NGOs, it did not provide any funding or in-kind assistance to anti-trafficking NGOs for victim identification or protection services during the reporting period.
Georgia increased its trafficking prevention efforts during the reporting period. The government conducted several trafficking prevention campaigns, including distributing 29,000 informational pamphlets in all 11 regions of the country. The government also introduced a mandatory trafficking course for law students, produced and aired a trafficking awareness public service announcement, and organized a televised conference on trafficking for university students throughout Georgia. With assistance from international donors, the government provided 612 high school teachers with trafficking prevention training. During the reporting period, the government conducted two-day training sessions for 102 journalists on anti-trafficking issues. Billboards, produced in partnership with an NGO, advertised a government-operated hotline for victims of trafficking in persons. The government-funded hotline received 69 calls in 2010. The government partnered with NGOs to produce seven anti-trafficking radio programs, educate over 320 children in care of the state on human trafficking prevention, and develop and pilot a trafficking education program for Georgian secondary school children. The government demonstrated efforts to reduce the demand for both commercial sex acts and forced labor by informing the public of Georgia's law that punishes "clients" who exploit trafficking victims through television ads and media interviews given by government officials.