U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Azerbaijan
|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 - Azerbaijan, 14 June 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d805c.html [accessed 7 July 2015]|
Azerbaijan (Tier 2 Watch List)
Azerbaijan is primarily a country of origin and transit for trafficked men, women, and children for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Azerbaijani, Russian and Central Asian women and girls were trafficked from or through the country to the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Turkey and Pakistan for sexual exploitation. Men were trafficked to Turkey and Russia for forced labor and boys were trafficked internally for begging. Women and girls, some from orphanages, were trafficked internally from rural areas to the capital city for sexual exploitation.
The Government of Azerbaijan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. A more complete picture of trafficking in Azerbaijan warrants its inclusion in this report for the first time. In the absence of government identification, local and international experts catalogued a significant number of victims trafficked from or through Azerbaijan during the reporting period. The government merits the designation of Tier 2 Watch List because its efforts are in initial stages and progress is expected in the near future. Law enforcement officers were neither trained nor instructed on victim identification and did not adequately investigate trafficking, nor the extent to which government corruption facilitates it. The government should promptly adopt and fully implement its national action plan and undertake and implement necessary legal reform.
Trafficking was not specifically criminalized in the Azerbaijan criminal code. Slavery, rape, coercion into prostitution and inducing a minor into prostitution were used to prosecute trafficking crimes. In the absence of the crime of trafficking, the government reported 23 trafficking-related arrests, 20 of which resulted in convictions with sentences of imprisonment or fines. The government did not provide sentences, but most trafficking-related crimes carry maximum penalties between three to six years' imprisonment, except rape, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years' imprisonment. Corruption was a continuing problem during the reporting period and the government dismissed the chief of a regional passport registration office and two inspectors for issuing illegal citizenship identification cards to several individuals.
The government had no measures in place to protect victims or to refer them to NGOs. The government provided mandatory health screening and treatment to prostitutes, many of whom fit the trafficking profile. The government did not provide these individuals with information on trafficking, nor did they have a method for systematically referring such information to law enforcement authorities.
While the Ministry of Interior coordinated the government's anti-trafficking activities, international organizations and NGOs conducted the bulk of anti-trafficking prevention. A government working group, under the leadership of international organizations, drafted elements of a comprehensive national action plan. The plan had not been finalized by March 2004. The Ministry of Interior improved its capacity to track potential traffickers and victims transiting through the airport. The government regularly communicated with neighboring governments on transnational crime issues, including trafficking in persons.