U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Czech Republic
|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 - Czech Republic, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d83dc.html [accessed 24 November 2014]|
Czech Republic (Tier 1)
The Czech Republic is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, China, and Vietnam into and through the Czech Republic mainly for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Czech victims and those transiting the country are trafficked to Western Europe and the United States, sometimes via third countries. Internal trafficking occurs from low employment areas to Prague and regions bordering Germany and Austria. Ethnic Roma women are at the highest risk for internal trafficking, and almost always are trafficked by a relative or someone known to them previously.
The Government of the Czech Republic fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In 2004, the Czech Government strengthened its anti-trafficking legislation and turned its pilot victim assistance program into a nationwide government-funded program. While enforcement statistics improved during the reporting period, sentences imposed on traffickers remained low.
The Czech police increased its capacity to investigate and convict traffickers over the reporting period, although the overall numbers of cases prosecuted pursuant to anti-trafficking legislation remained low and sentences imposed remained weak. Amendments to the Czech Penal Code went into effect in November 2004, making all forms of trafficking illegal, including labor exploitation and internal trafficking. Maximum trafficking penalties were increased from 12 to 15 years, with a minimum penalty of two years. In 2004, Czech authorities investigated 30 individuals and prosecuted 19 under the trafficking statutes. The courts convicted 12 traffickers under those statutes, an increase from five in 2003. Of the 12 convicted, three received unconditional prison sentences of three to five years, and nine received conditional or suspended sentences. Police training curricula included segments on trafficking, and a new internal website for police provided trafficking awareness information. While no government officials were indicted or convicted for complicity in trafficking, allegations continued about the involvement of individual border police officers facilitating illegal border crossings. Czech law enforcement conducted joint anti-trafficking investigations with Germany, Slovakia, Austria, Poland, and Ukraine in 2004.
The Czech Government continued to improve trafficking protection and assistance over the last year. In November 2004, the Model of Support and Protection of Victims of Trafficking in Persons was expanded to a permanent, government-funded program that is open to all foreign and Czech victims. This program involves close cooperation between the government and NGOs, and allows the victims a 30day reflection period to receive assistance and consider whether to assist in prosecuting their traffickers. From January 2004 to January 2005, 14 trafficking victims – including one forced labor victim – took part in the program. Many victims chose to apply for asylum, which allows them legal status in the Czech Republic until their cases are decided – a process involving months to years. The government houses victims and potential victims applying for asylum with other at-risk groups in guarded asylum centers to prevent unwanted contact with traffickers. The government funded several NGOs and international organizations for sheltering and care of victims; two of the Czech Republic's principal organizations provided shelter to 68 trafficking victims in 2004.
The Ministry of Interior is currently collaborating with IOM to produce a demand-reduction campaign targeting clients of commercial sex outlets along the Czech-German border area. A government-fund-ed NGO conducted awareness campaigns among potential trafficking victims at schools and asylum centers. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs continued to provide trafficking information to applicants for Czech visas from identified trafficking source countries. The Crime Prevention Department continued awareness programs at schools. In addition to the Czech National Action Plan on trafficking adopted in 2003, the government in July 2004 adopted a plan to combat commercial sexual abuse of children.