2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Slovenia
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||19 June 2012|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Slovenia, 19 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fe30c98c.html [accessed 27 December 2014]|
SLOVENIA (Tier 1)
Slovenia is a transit and destination country and, to a lesser extent, a source country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Women and children are subjected to sex trafficking and men, women, and children to forced labor in Slovenia. Victims of labor exploitation in Slovenia come from Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sometimes these persons migrate through Slovenia to Italy, Austria, and Germany, where they are subsequently subjected to forced labor. Women and children from Slovenia, as well as Moldova, Serbia, Croatia, Ukraine, Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and the Dominican Republic, are subjected to forced prostitution in the country and also transit through Slovenia to Western Europe (mainly Italy and Germany), where they face the same form of exploitation.
The Government of Slovenia fully complies with the minimum standards for combating trafficking in persons. The government increased funding for victim protection and identified significantly more victims during the year. It also demonstrated strong prevention efforts, developing a biannual National Action Plan, implementing a multimedia awareness campaign, and conducting training programs on victim identification for social workers and school employees. The government prosecuted more suspected trafficking offenders under its comprehensive human trafficking law than in the previous year. However, it reported convictions only under its forced prostitution law, as judges frequently reclassified trafficking cases.
Recommendations for Slovenia: Vigorously investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses and convict and punish trafficking offenders under the trafficking in persons law, including complicit public officials and those involved in forced labor; bolster training for investigators, prosecutors, and judges in applying the Law on Trafficking in Human Beings; increase efforts to identify victims of both sex and labor trafficking; increase the number of victims referred to NGOs for assistance; ensure that proper and safe facilities exist to assist child victims of trafficking; continue prevention outreach to vulnerable populations, such as Roma children; and continue efforts to raise awareness of forced labor and forced prostitution among the general public.
The Government of Slovenia demonstrated mixed anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts in 2011. Slovenia prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through Article 113 of its criminal code, which prescribes penalties ranging from one to 15 years' imprisonment for violations. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Continuing a downward trend, the government conducted four trafficking investigations in 2011, a decline from 12 investigations in 2010 and 28 investigations in 2009. Authorities prosecuted 16 suspected trafficking offenders but did not convict any trafficking offenders under Article 113 in 2011, compared with 12 prosecutions and eight convictions in 2010 and four prosecutions and two convictions in 2009. The government applied Article 175, which prohibits participation in exploitation through prostitution, to convict six offenders who were initially prosecuted under Article 113. There were some reports that judges were not sufficiently aware of the complexity of the crime of trafficking and often reclassified human trafficking cases as exploitation through prostitution. The Ministry of Interior's Interdepartmental Working Group conducted a variety of anti-trafficking training programs, including training for police officers on labor exploitation and for prosecutors and judges on prosecuting trafficking in persons. The government focused several training programs on the early detection of trafficking victims for key actors in Slovenia, including consular and asylum officials, border guards, and labor inspectors. During the reporting period, the government convicted a policeman charged in 2010 with providing information to a trafficking offender in furtherance of a trafficking offense; he received a suspended jail sentence. There were no other investigations against public officials in the reporting period.
The Government of Slovenia sustained its efforts to protect victims of trafficking in 2011, although there were reports that care and housing for child victims of trafficking were inadequate. The government funded comprehensive victim protection provided by two NGOs, including health care, psychological care, accommodation, and physical security. Assistance was available to both male and female victims of trafficking and foreign and domestic victims. Following a three-month reflection period, foreign victims of trafficking were allowed to receive victim protection if they participated in criminal proceedings. Local experts noted that foreign victims who chose not to participate in criminal proceedings had no access to health care beyond basic emergency treatment. In 2011, the government allocated the equivalent of approximately $138,000 for victim protection, an increase from $120,000 in 2010. The government identified 20 victims of trafficking in 2011, in contrast to 10 victims identified in 2010 and 23 victims identified in 2009. One of the 20 identified victims was a victim of labor trafficking. NGOs reported assisting 18 victims of trafficking, including one minor. Altogether, the government assisted eight victims in 2011, compared to 12 victims in both 2010 and 2009; six of these victims received emergency accommodation, one was placed in a safe house, and one continued living in a safe house from 2010 due to her cooperation with law enforcement. Victims housed in government-funded shelters were permitted to leave unchaperoned and at will. Although the government reported that child victims of trafficking were generally cared for in emergency centers, there were reports that facilities for housing and assistance were inadequate and presented risks that the minors would be re-trafficked. Police officers were required to employ a referral procedure – reflecting a previous agreement between police and the Ministry of the Interior – to refer identified trafficking victims to one of the two NGOs receiving government funds to provide services. According to an NGO, however, in practice police often failed to refer victims to their services or notify them of potential victims. There were no identified victims punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
The government sustained strong efforts to prevent human trafficking during the reporting period. The government coordinated its anti-trafficking efforts through the Ministry of Interior's Interdepartmental Working Group against Trafficking (IDWG), which brought together representatives of the relevant ministries, the National Assembly, the state prosecutor, and NGOs to develop national policy. The working group met six times during the year and developed a national action plan for 2012-2013, to be released during the first half of 2012. The plan will identify key problem areas, assign responsibility to actors, allocate appropriate funding, and establish deadlines for completion of tasks. The government encouraged regional efforts to combat trafficking in persons through its annual regional ministerial conference on law enforcement cooperation. Similar to past years, the IDWG continued its anti-trafficking outreach campaign using television, radio, Internet, and in-person outreach programs to target potential trafficking victims, particularly young women and men. The IDWG also conducted several training programs on identifying human trafficking victims in vulnerable populations for key actors, including social workers, teachers, and public school counselors. There were anecdotal reports, however, that Roma children were vulnerable to trafficking by family members and that government outreach efforts to this group were inadequate. The government did not take significant measures during the reporting period to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.