Last Updated: Friday, 27 November 2015, 12:04 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Estonia

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 - Estonia, 11 June 2003, available at: [accessed 27 November 2015]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Estonia (Tier 2)

Estonia is a source country for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation both internally and abroad. Victims are usually trafficked to Finland, Sweden and the other Nordic countries, as well as Germany and Italy. There are also indications of internal trafficking typically from the northeast border region to the capital for prostitution. Those most at risk for being trafficked are unemployed Russian-speaking non-citizens with little or no high school education.

The Government of Estonia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Within the last year, the government passed anti-trafficking legislation and participated in regional anti-trafficking efforts; however, protection efforts were relatively weak and it did not engage in concrete preventive efforts in Estonia.


Estonia was active in regional cooperation efforts on prevention, including the Nordic Baltic Council of Ministers anti-trafficking campaign; however, the government did not recognize the full extent of the trafficking problem within the last year, nor did it provide specific resources to prevention efforts.


The Government of Estonia passed new amendments to its Penal Code to criminalize trafficking in persons and enslavement, with a maximum penalty of 12 years imprisonment. Eight people were arrested under the new legislation, and 12 other cases were under investigation; but no cases proceeded to prosecution. Police and government officials participate in NGO-sponsored trainings, and trafficking issues are part of the curricula for the Police and Border Guard Schools, and in the Public Service academy. Estonia has a cooperative agreement with Finland to focus on border security and mutual assistance in prosecution, which may provide a framework for anti-trafficking cooperation, although currently the agreement is used to combat drug trafficking and prostitution. Two persons were extradited to Finland for procurement of prostitutes, but the relevance to trafficking was not determined


The government does not provide assistance for programs specifically focused on trafficking victims, but it provides limited funds to centers that provide shelter and volunteer training to assist victims of all crimes. Victims may apply for financial assistance under the 2001 State Compensation of Victims of Crime Act, although education and awareness campaigns about the services were not reported. The Ministry of Social Affairs is introducing a new general victim support system with the Evangelical Lutheran Church, which may be utilized for victims of trafficking. Victims may file civil suits or seek legal action against traffickers, but victim restitution is lacking. The government has no special programs or shelters specifically for trafficking victims and the government relies on assistance by international organizations, NGOs, and foreign governments for trafficking victim assistance programs.

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