U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Estonia
|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 - Estonia, 14 June 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d80919.html [accessed 9 October 2015]|
Estonia (Tier 2 Watch List)
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. There are also indications of internal trafficking typically from the northeast border region to the capital for prostitution. Estonia is a destination for foreign sex tourists, especially from neighboring countries.
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. The government is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for lack of evidence of progress. High-ranking government officials condemned trafficking during the past year, but were slow to support such statements with institutional support or priority. The government should identify relevant focal points in each ministry and promptly establish a referral system for victim assistance, protection and increased outreach.
The government's prosecution record was unchanged from the previous reporting period. Trafficking in persons is prohibited in Estonia under related criminal articles on enslavement and abduction, with basic penalties of one to five years' imprisonment and increasing penalties up to 12 years for aggravated circumstances. Prosecutors prepared the government's very first trafficking case for trial during the reporting period, but as of April 2004, the trial had not commenced. The government conducted four abduction and enslavement investigations, and convicted eight organized crime figures for organized prostitution. A new police anti-trafficking task force investigated organized prostitution rings with trafficking-related elements. The government cooperated with neighboring countries on transnational and organized crime, and cooperated with at least one destination country prosecuting an Estonian trafficker in its jurisdiction.
The government increased its funding to crime victim programs, which would be applicable to trafficking victims, but no trafficking victims reportedly benefited from such protections. The government's new Crime Victims Compensation Act of 2003 enlarged the system of victim support and increased the amount of compensation the government could provide victims. The three Baltic States made a joint agreement on witness protection, and the 10 Baltic Sea States agreed to a region-wide witness protection program, which could apply to trafficking victim-witnesses. The government did not institute a referral system to NGOs for assistance, shelter or repatriation, although victims would be entitled to support under general (non-trafficking-specific) assistance programs.
Estonia's efforts were slow and the government did not finalize a central strategy on prevention or law enforcement during the reporting period. The government led public discourse over the link between trafficking in persons and prostitution to determine a strategy for future action, but it did not institute a policy or plan during the reporting period. The National Anti-Trafficking Roundtable was formed as an informational clearinghouse and a central coordinating body with responsibility for drafting a national action plan. Lack of inter-agency coordination and identification of relevant focal points in each ministry hindered concrete actions. Funded by the Nordic-Baltic Campaign Against Trafficking in Women, the Ministry of Social Welfare conducted training and awareness-raising for social workers and schools nationwide. The Ministry of Social Welfare appointed two employees to coordinate the training sessions and support the National Roundtable. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs participated in various international anti-trafficking activities, including the Council of Europe and regional fora.