U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Azerbaijan
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||3 June 2005|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Azerbaijan, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d82f23.html [accessed 29 January 2015]|
Azerbaijan (Tier 2 Watch List)
Azerbaijan is primarily a country of origin and transit for women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Azerbaijani, Russian, Ukrainian, and Central Asian women and girls were trafficked from or through the country to the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Turkey, Pakistan, and India. Internal trafficking of women and girls appeared to be an increasing problem. There were some reports of men trafficked to neighboring countries (e.g., Turkey and Russia) for forced labor.
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. The Government of Azerbaijan is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for a second consecutive year because of its inability to show evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking over the reporting period. The government's efforts remained in preliminary stages of implementation. However, government recognition and acknowledgement of the problem increased and progress was made in a few notable areas, particularly in the drafting of anti-trafficking legislation and amendments to the criminal code. In addition, the government increased the number of its trafficking investigations and established an anti-trafficking police unit. The Government of Azerbaijan should ensure full implementation of its national action plan, formalize a victim referral and protection system, provide adequate anti-trafficking training for police, and properly vet officers on the anti trafficking unit.
Anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts in Azerbaijan remained anemic during the last year. The government drafted anti-trafficking legislation and amendments to the criminal code, but did not officially adopt them during 2004. The government continued its use of trafficking-related charges of slavery, rape, coercion into prostitution and inducing a minor into prostitution to investigate trafficking crimes. The government in 2004 reported 106 trafficking-related investigations, ten of which resulted in convictions – a decrease from 20 convictions in 2003. Eight perpetrators received one-year prison sentences and two female offenders were reportedly released because they had children. The government created a special anti-trafficking police unit and developed operational guidelines for the unit, though the unit's members were not vetted according to international standards. Reports of official complicity continued during the reporting period, yet the government failed to investigate or prosecute any new cases of official corruption during the year. In January 2005, a new anti-corruption law adopted by the Government of Azerbaijan came into force; it aims to reduce corruption and increase professionalism, particularly among police and customs officials.
During the reporting period, the government did not show evidence of employing a formal referral mechanism or specialized protections for trafficking victims but did informally refer victims to state healthcare facilities, international organizations, and some local NGOs for assistance. The government continued to provide mandatory health screening and treatment to women in prostitution, many of whom the government believes fit the trafficking profile. As previously recommended, the government did not provide these individuals with information on trafficking. The Cabinet of Ministers identified property that will be used to house a shelter for trafficking victims.
In May 2004, the President issued an official decree ordering all government bodies to implement Azerbaijan's National Action Plan and named the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs as National Coordinator for Trafficking. International organizations and NGOs conducted the bulk of anti-trafficking prevention activities; however, cooperation and participation from local government officials increased slightly. A local NGO provided some anti-trafficking training to police. For the first time in 2004, Azerbaijani consular officers began to report potential trafficking cases to international organizations. The government targeted prevention efforts at populations vulnerable to being trafficked and funded the construction of permanent housing for internally displaced persons. The government continued its communication with neighboring governments on transnational crime issues, including trafficking in persons.