U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Croatia
|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 - Croatia, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3a9c.html [accessed 6 May 2015]|
Croatia (Tier 2)
Croatia is primarily a country of transit, and increasingly source and destination, for women and girls trafficked from Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other parts of Eastern Europe for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Victims transiting Croatia are trafficked into Western Europe for commercial sexual exploitation, given Croatia's land and maritime borders with three EU countries.
The Government of Croatia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government continued to improve its cooperation with NGOs to identify and assist victims of trafficking, increased its efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes, and increased training of government officials, particularly police and border control officers. The government should vigorously prosecute trafficking cases and impose adequate sentences for traffickers. It should also ensure that the institutionalized victim identification process already in place reaches all potential victims transiting Croatia, including illegal migrants and migrants who transit the country legally.
The Government of Croatia demonstrated continued law enforcement efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases and arrest offenders. Croatia criminally prohibits trafficking for sexual and labor exploitation through Criminal Provision 175 in its penal code. Penalties prescribed for trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation are commensurate with those for rape, and penalties for trafficking are sufficiently stringent. Traffickers, however, may receive light punishment or suspended sentences. In 2006, 10 investigations were initiated against 17 individuals, an increase from 10 individuals in 2005. The National Coordinator for Trafficking reported one conviction and two related convictions for international prostitution, slavery, and illegal capture. As two of the cases occurred prior to the 2005 enactment of Criminal Provision 175, they were prosecuted and convicted under the criminal provisions in existence at the time. In one conviction, two defendants were sentenced each to one year's imprisonment. In another conviction, two defendants were each sentenced to one year's imprisonment, but the sentences were suspended. In the third conviction, one defendant was sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment, but this sentence also was suspended. Six joint investigations with law enforcement authorities in other Southeastern European countries resulted in criminal charges. An anti-trafficking curriculum continued to be taught at Croatia's Police Academy. There were no reports of trafficking-related complicity, but organized crime continued to hinder Croatia's anti-trafficking efforts.
The Government of Croatia, in cooperation with civil society, continued to provide identified victims with shelter, legal, medical, and psychological services as well as educational and vocational training. The government encourages victim participation in trafficking cases; assistance was not conditioned on victim cooperation with law enforcement investigators. Victims are entitled to file both civil and criminal lawsuits and have the right to press charges themselves, even in cases that are dropped by the State Prosecutor. The government made efforts to ensure that trafficking victims were not detained, deported, or otherwise penalized for unlawful acts committed as a result of their being trafficked.
The government provides foreign victims with legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they may face hardship or retribution. Victims facing threats of retribution are eligible for temporary residence permits issued for a maximum of two years. Upon the temporary permit's expiration, a victim may request a permanent permit to remain in Croatia.
The government continued implementation of a national referral system that employs mobile teams assisting NGOs in victim identification. Last year the government provided approximately $100,000 to NGOs that assist victims of trafficking and promote anti-trafficking efforts.
The Government of Croatia increased its efforts to prevent trafficking in persons in 2006. The government continued two public awareness campaigns begun in 2005. One campaign included television spots, ads placed on trams and at train stations, and billboards advertising the government-sponsored help line. The other featured a prominent Croatian celebrity in a televised public service announcement. The government implemented educational workshops for its officials, including social workers, diplomatic and consular staff, judges, prosecutors, police, students, and members of the Roma community. The Ministry of Interior, in cooperation with IOM, distributed fliers and posters targeting potential trafficking victims in receiving centers for asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors. The Ministry of Interior also posted anti-trafficking fliers and posters in Croatian, Macedonian, Romanian, and Ukrainian on roads and at maritime border crossings, airports, and police departments.