Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 - Lithuania
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||14 June 2010|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 - Lithuania, 14 June 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c1883e0c.html [accessed 14 March 2014]|
LITHUANIA (Tier 1)
Lithuania is a source, transit, and destination country for women and girls subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution. Forty percent of identified Lithuanian trafficking victims are women and girls subjected to sex trafficking within Lithuania. Lithuanian women are also subjected to forced prostitution in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, France, and the Czech Republic. A small number of women from Russia and Belarus are transited through Lithuania and are subjected to forced prostitution in Western Europe.
The Government of Lithuania fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government did not provide funding for assistance to victims of trafficking during the reporting period; however, the government proactively identified and referred more than half of the trafficking victims assisted by foreign funded NGOs in 2009. A majority of convicted traffickers continued to serve significant time in prison. The government also demonstrated good cooperation with anti-trafficking NGOs.
Recommendations for Lithuania: Improve efforts to identify, investigate, and prosecute forced labor offenses; allocate some funding or in-kind support to NGOs providing victim protection services; continue to proactively identify victims of trafficking and refer them to NGO service providers; continue to ensure a majority of convicted traffickers serve some time in prison; vigorously investigate instances of labor trafficking; and increase public awareness efforts targeted at potential adult victims of trafficking.
The Government of Lithuania sustained its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Lithuania prohibits all forms of trafficking through Articles 147 and 157 of its criminal code, which prescribes penalties ranging from a fine up to 15 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape.
Lithuanian authorities initiated 11 sex trafficking investigations in 2009, compared with16 sex trafficking investigations and three labor trafficking investigations initiated in 2008. Two of the three labor trafficking investigations initiated in 2008 were on- going at the end of the reporting period. Authorities prosecuted 14 individuals for sex trafficking offenses during the reporting period, compared with 20 individuals prosecuted in 2008. In 2009, fourteen trafficking offenders were convicted, compared with 13 convictions in 2008. Twelve of the 14 convicted traffickers were issued sentences ranging from two to nine years' imprisonment, while two traffickers were ordered to serve no time in prison. During the reporting period, the Government of Lithuania forged partnerships with six European governments to cooperate in 44 separate trafficking investigations. The government extradited one person accused of trafficking offenses to Finland during the reporting period.
The Lithuanian government demonstrated mixed progress in its efforts to assist victims of human trafficking over the reporting period. The government provided no funding for anti-trafficking NGOs to conduct victim assistance and rehabilitation compared with $150,000 allocated in 2008. However, the government continued its important victim identification and referral efforts; the government identified and referred more than half of the victims assisted within the country during the reporting period. In 2009, law enforcement identified 57 trafficking victims and referred them to NGOs for assistance, compared with 86 victims referred in 2008. Approximately 170 victims were provided with assistance by privately funded NGOs during the reporting period. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) referred nine Lithuanian victims identified abroad to local anti-trafficking NGOs for shelter and social support and also provided approximately $2,100 to facilitate their travel back to Lithuania, compared with 17 victims similarly assisted by the MFA in 2008. The government encouraged victims to assist in trafficking investigations and prosecutions; in 2009, 57 Lithuanian victims assisted with trafficking investigations and prosecutions. Foreign victims who participated in court proceedings were eligible for temporary residency and work permits; however, the government did not identify any foreign victims in 2009. The government did not penalize identified victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked.
The Lithuanian government demonstrated some efforts to prevent trafficking during the reporting period. In November 2009, law enforcement officials, in partnership with a local NGO, organized a human trafficking awareness event including the viewing of a film and the distribution of brochures for over 200 children living in orphanages. Police officers from four counties organized a series of anti-trafficking discussions, reaching an audience of approximately 400 students. The government adopted its 2009-2012 national anti-trafficking action plan in July 2009, although the government did not allocate funding to implement the plan during the reporting period.