U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Georgia
|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 - Georgia, 14 June 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d80b2.html [accessed 26 May 2015]|
Georgia (Tier 2 Watch List)
Georgia is a source and transit country for women and men trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor to destinations such as Russia, Greece, Israel, Turkey, and Western European countries. Evidence suggests that some women from Russia and Ukraine were trafficked to Turkey via Georgia. There are no reports on the full scale of the trafficking problem, and additional information emerged on trafficking of men. According to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, incidents of commercial sexual exploitation of children, particularly for prostitution and pornography, are reportedly increasing, especially among girls.
The Government of Georgia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Georgia has been placed on Tier 2 Watch List because of its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons compared to the previous year, and its commitment to take future steps over the next year. Georgia's efforts were recognized by its Tier 2 classification in September 2003 following targeted law enforcement actions and increasing public awareness activities. During the latter part of the reporting period, a new government came into power. The changeover in government required reconstituting most government-supported mechanisms. The new government is expected to respond more effectively to institutional weaknesses and corruption which hindered the previous government's anti-trafficking efforts. The government should create a formalized referral system to NGOs, ensure consistent resources for police and improve protection of victim identity in public fora.
Article 143 of the criminal code prohibits trafficking in persons and Article 172 prohibits trafficking in minors, both for the purposes of sexual, labor and other forms of exploitation. Both articles provide for basic penalties from 5-12 years' imprisonment, with maximum penalties of 20 years for aggravated circumstances. Experts were revising these articles during the reporting period in order to strengthen the terms and provide victim protection, but passage of draft amendments was expected to require additional time. District prosecutors were investigating two cases of trafficking in women to Turkey for sexual exploitation and the two defendants were placed in pre-trial detention. During much of the reporting period, the Ministry of Interior's anti-trafficking unit focused on illegal adoptions rather than trafficking as understood in the international instruments. The two-year-old unit lacks government resources to adequately operate.
The government did not have a formalized referral mechanism for victim protection, nor did it provide protection or assistance. Due to the scarcity of resources, it relied on the expertise of international organizations and NGOs, but few victims were recognized for assistance. While injured party rights during criminal proceedings were theoretically available to victims, they were not commonly used.
The government participated in several prevention programs, including broadcasting a trafficking documentary, but its focus weakened during the latter part of the reporting period. The National Security Council, under the new government, retained the responsibility for trafficking policy and formed a new high-level working group that met in February 2004. The working group established a Coordinating Council to meet bi-weekly at the Public Defender's Office. The Public Defender's office previously coordinated the operation of a trafficking hotline, but this hotline was discontinued for lack of funding. Border guards monitored migration patterns, but did not focus specifically on trafficking patterns and did not disseminate prevention information to potential victims. Police, prosecutors, hotline operators and National Security Council officials cooperated with NGOs to conduct regional training sessions on trafficking prevention and identification. The Public Defender's office ran a training session for airport personnel funded by a foreign donor.