U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Georgia
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||12 June 2007|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Georgia, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3b35.html [accessed 26 May 2015]|
Georgia (Tier 1)
Georgia is a source and transit country for women and girls trafficked primarily to Turkey and the U. A. E. for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Women and girls from Ukraine, Moldova, Russia, and other former Soviet states are trafficked through Georgia to Turkey, Greece, the U. A. E. , and Western Europe. Men are trafficked for the purpose of forced labor; victims are trafficked for the purpose of forced labor in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The Government of Georgia fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Over the past year, the government made considerable progress in the prosecution and punishment of traffickers, protection and assistance for victims, and prevention of trafficking. Georgia developed and implemented a victim-centered national referral mechanism, provided a building for the country's first trafficking victims' shelter, dedicated on-going funding for victim assistance, passed comprehensive trafficking legislation, aggressively prosecuted and toughened penalties for traffickers, and initiated multiple proactive prevention programs. The government should ensure proactive identification of all potential and returning trafficking victims and ensure consistent implementation of its national referral mechanism.
The Government of Georgia made appreciable progress in its law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Georgia prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through its Law on the Fight Against Trafficking in Persons, adopted in April 2006, which prescribes penalties ranging from 7 to 20 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and are commensurate with those for other grave crimes. The government investigated 28 cases in 2006, compared with 27 in 2005. Authorities prosecuted 16 cases, up from nine cases in 2005. There were 19 convictions of traffickers in 2006, up from nine convictions in 2005. The government eliminated its use of suspended sentences and toughened sentences imposed on traffickers in 2006. Traffickers received sentences ranging from 4 to 15 years' imprisonment, with an average of 10 years. In response to allegations of forced labor in Kodori Gorge, the government assembled a response team to determine the scope of the problem and launched a criminal investigation into seven cases. Although there were no specific cases of officials complicit in trafficking, the government tackled trafficking-related corruption by investigating and prosecuting 12 cases of passport fraud, convicting five officials with an average sentence of two years.
Georgia made considerable progress in improving victim protections over the reporting period. The government encouraged victims' assistance in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers, and provided victims with legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they would face hardship or retribution. Victims were not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a result of being trafficked. In 2006, the government developed and established a national victim referral and assistance mechanism to guide and facilitate cooperation among state agencies and NGOs from the identification phase to repatriation or rehabilitation. The mechanism offers protection and assistance to trafficking victims regardless of whether they assist law enforcement authorities. The government identified a greater number of victims during the reporting period: 29 compared with 18 in 2005. In June 2006, Georgia provided $57,000 to a state program for victim protection and assistance, which includes a victim allowance, as well as counseling, legal assistance, and rehabilitation and reintegration services. In July 2006, the government donated a building in Batumi to be used as a trafficking shelter and funded 70 percent of the shelter's operating costs.
In September 2006, the Government of Georgia established the Permanent Anti-Trafficking Coordination Council, replacing the temporary council established in 2005. The new Council drafted a comprehensive 2007-2008 National Action Plan, which was approved by the President in January 2007. During the reporting period, the government conducted targeted training for government officials, journalists, and high school teachers, trained hotline operators to respond to trafficking-related calls, and launched a comprehensive public awareness campaign utilizing mass media and interactive meetings with target groups. In December 2006, it developed and implemented a unified database to increase interagency coordination and consolidate existing information on traffickers. During 2006, the government printed and distributed 200,000 anti-trafficking brochures at Georgia's main ports of entry.