U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Armenia
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||11 June 2003|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Armenia, 11 June 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d7b423.html [accessed 31 May 2016]|
Armenia (Tier 2)
Armenia is a country of origin for international trafficking of girls and women for the purposes of prostitution, to destination countries such as Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Additional suspected destinations are Germany, Greece, the United States and various Western European countries. Experts are concerned by trafficking from orphanages and by individual families who allegedly press their daughters to sell themselves into prostitution.
The Government of Armenia does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government increased its focus on trafficking as a domestic and international issue, and focused more law enforcement resources on the problem. Protection remains weak.
In the past year, the Armenian government acknowledged trafficking and the need for increased action. A new inter-agency task force coordinated public awareness efforts throughout the country, including pamphlet distribution at the borders. The government's Refugee and Migration Service included information on trafficking in an edition of its journal on legal migration and houses an IOM-funded Migration Service Point with a hotline, allowing people to call in or come in to ask about migration issues, including trafficking. The Office advertises the hotline in newspapers.
In April 2003, Armenia amended its criminal code to include a specific criminal prohibition against trafficking for sexual exploitation. Before then, traffickers could be prosecuted under such articles as illicit seizure, falsification and selling of personal documents, extortion, bogus marriages and divorces, and coercion into sexual intercourse. The government instituted anti-corruption efforts in the Customs Committee and upgraded the technology at the borders to combat trafficking. In 2002, 26 criminal cases were brought against pimps, including four charges against traffickers involved in organizing illegal border crossings with false documents; these four suspects reside in the UAE. The government is currently investigating several other suspected traffickers, three of whom trafficked women to the UAE. The government cooperates with the UAE in the above investigations, and cooperated with the Government of Germany regarding a criminal gang trafficking women from NIS Countries to Germany. Long-term sentences were secured against defendants in both countries. The government has mutual legal assistance agreements with the UAE, other countries of the former Soviet Union, Bulgaria and Romania. An investigation from 2001 against two police officers asserting control over a group of traffickers was completed in the past year and the suspects are in detention.
No shelters or other reintegration services exist for victims and many police still do not recognize trafficking victims as such. Preliminary steps toward protection measures began, such as establishment of an anti-trafficking sub-commission of the National Commission on Women's Issues focusing on social, rehabilitative and health issues of trafficking victims, but the government does not have any effective witness protection program. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not have specific training programs for its staff, but it directed its consular officers in 2002 to follow any reported trafficking cases and report them to the MFA. In 2002, some victims reported to Armenia's consulate in Abu Dhabi, and the government took limited steps to assist them in returning.