U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Armenia
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||14 June 2004|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Armenia, 14 June 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d804a.html [accessed 4 May 2016]|
Armenia (Tier 2)
Armenia is primarily a source and transit country for women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation mainly to the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and Turkey, as well as Russia, Greece, and other European countries. Trafficking to Russia, Turkey and the U.A.E. for the purposes of labor exploitation was an increasingly significant problem. There were a few cases of trafficking in women from Uzbekistan to Armenia for sexual exploitation. Advocates expressed concerns about internal trafficking and trafficking of orphans, but no confirmed cases were uncovered.
The Government of Armenia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Cooperation between police and NGOs increased the number of investigations, and provided police a greater under-standing of international and domestic sources of trafficking. The government should improve legal instruments to create more effective tools for law enforcement and should improve the transparency of its anti-corruption programs.
While prosecution efforts improved and victim identification increased, courts handed down few convictions, and only on related crimes with low sentences. Article 132 of the criminal code, adopted in August 2003, prohibited trafficking in persons for "mercenary purposes" with a maximum penalty for aggravating circumstances of four to eight years of imprisonment. These penalties were not commensurate with other grave crimes, such as rape. Previous reports highlighted trafficking to the U.A.E., and during the reporting period, police investigated suspected trafficking operations to Dubai involving an estimated 90 women. Police initiated two criminal investigations under Article 132 on trafficking in persons and 17 under Article 262 (operating a brothel), nine of which referred to pimping abroad or trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation. The sentences handed down ranged from substantial fines and correctional labor to one year imprisonment. Prosecutors noted a continuing problem with definitional elements and weak penalties; the National Assembly was expected to consider amendments to the criminal code. Corruption was a problem, and two police officers and two airport officials received administrative penalties for abuse of power related to a trafficking operation to the U.A.E. Police conducted in-service training using examples from actual trafficking investigations. The government cooperated with Georgia and the U.A.E. in investigating and apprehending traffickers, including cooperating in the return of a suspected trafficker from the U.A.E. to stand trial in Armenia.
Law enforcement improved its record of victim identification and referrals to a service-providing NGO. In one operation, police identified eight foreign prostitutes, suspected they were victims and referred them to an NGO for assistance. Armenian NGOs provided most victim assistance, but cooperated well with police. In order to alleviate vulnerabilities of an at-risk group, the government adopted a program to provide apartments to children who graduated from orphanages, and provided assistance to poor families with needy children.
Prevention activities increased during the reporting period, especially through the use of mass media. The National Police were featured in several training films and TV shows on trafficking, and the Ministry of Education approved anti-trafficking educational lectures for secondary and university students. In January of 2004, the government approved an anti-trafficking national action plan for 2004-2006. The government contributed the equivalent of $11,000 of its own funds to support the work of the National Anti-Trafficking Commission, and foreign donors provided the remaining funds. The government's Department for Migration and Refugees conducted extensive outreach on migration issues, which prevented a significant number of individuals from succumbing to trafficking, according to an independent survey.