U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Georgia
|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 - Georgia, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d8432a.html [accessed 25 July 2014]|
Georgia (Tier 2)
Georgia is a source and transit country for women and men trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Victims are trafficked through Georgia from Ukraine, Russia, and other former Soviet republics to destinations such as Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Greece, Western Europe, and the United States. Evidence suggests there is some internal trafficking within Georgia, though only one case has been confirmed in the last two years.
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. The government took steps to implement several of its commitments, yet some important pledges remain unfulfilled. The government established and adequately supported a new police anti-trafficking unit, replacing the previous administration's dysfunctional anti-trafficking unit under the Ministry of Interior. In addition, the government revised and publicly endorsed a comprehensive National Action Plan, appointed a primary point of contact for trafficking, and established an interagency commission. The government identified few victims for protection and assistance. The government should take proactive steps to fully implement its action plan, implement and formalize a victim referral mechanism with NGO assistance, ensure increased victim identification, and continue special law enforcement training programs. In addition, the government should ensure that up-to-date, comprehensive law enforcement statistics are collected and disseminated, perhaps via the interagency commission on trafficking.
In January 2005, the government established and adequately funded a new anti-trafficking unit with a staff of 49 operating in Tbilisi and throughout Georgia. In its first few months the unit investigated 13 cases and arrested 30 traffickers. In one case, the unit arrested some members of an international ring operating in Georgia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan and shared information with law enforcement counterparts in Azerbaijan and Turkey to identify and arrest the Azeri and Turkish traffickers. In 2004, three traffickers were convicted and sentenced to eight to 12 years' imprisonment. The Ministry of Justice has also drafted a new law in collaboration with a legal NGO to address deficiencies in the current legislation, particularly to release victims from criminal liability and assure the right to refuse to give evidence or testimony. Furthermore, the government increased its recognition of trafficking-related corruption and took some action against complicit officials. In August 2004 and February 2005, the government arrested and charged three passport officials with facilitating trafficking.
Georgia continued to offer an inadequate level of protection for victims of trafficking during the reporting period. The government maintains no shelters for trafficking victims; however a domestic violence NGO provided temporary shelter for some victims. Although the government failed to create a formalized system for referring trafficking victims to the NGO shelter, police made a number of informal referrals to NGOs and international organizations over the last year. The government established and successfully implemented a policy to protect the identity of trafficking victims. In one case early in the reporting period, police investigators verbally mistreated victims during initial interrogations. The Police Academy has since instituted formal trafficking awareness and sensitivity training for all new officers. Since January 2005, the new anti-trafficking unit successfully identified 15 victims and informally referred them to temporary shelter and other resources.
In 2004, the government initiated some anti-trafficking public awareness efforts and continued to participate in prevention programs including the airing of public service announcements with NGOs and international organizations. Senior government officials spoke out about trafficking and the government's new action plan. Although the government has not yet allocated specific funds to implement the new action plan, several ministries redirected funds from their budgets to underwrite anti-trafficking efforts. The government upgraded and enhanced the security features of Georgian passports to render passport fraud more difficult. After the discovery of four trafficking victims recruited from a specific area, the anti-trafficking unit proactively disseminated information in the neighborhood and in local colleges and schools to educate and prevent possible further victims.