U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Croatia
|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 - Croatia, 14 June 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d8071c.html [accessed 7 May 2015]|
Croatia (Tier 2 Watch List)
Croatia is primarily a transit country for women trafficked into sexual exploitation, mostly from Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Slovakia, to Western Europe. There are increasing reports that Croatia is becoming more of a destination country, particularly for women from BiH trafficked seasonally for the purpose of sexual exploitation in seaside resort towns.
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. Croatia is on Tier 2 Watch List due to lack of evidence of sufficient progress from the previous year, especially in supporting the National Committee for the Suppression of Trafficking in Persons (the Committee), and in victim identification. While the government achieved its first trafficking-related conviction and provided some funds for a new trafficking shelter, it should be more proactive in all areas of anti-trafficking efforts, including providing sufficient financial and political support for the Committee. The government should also more vigorously investigate trafficking and pursue cases in a transparent and accountable manner.
Croatia's ability to identify victims and follow through with appropriate law enforcement actions remained inadequate. Croatia does not specifically prohibit trafficking in persons, but prohibits related crimes such as slavery, international prostitution and illegal human transport, which carry penalties of from three months to 10 years. In December, for the first time, a Croatian court sentenced a defendant to three years in prison for slavery and importation of prostitution. In the past year, the government initiated 30 trafficking-related investigations on suspicion of illegal migrant smuggling, international prostitution, and slavery. Under the leadership of the IOM and domestic NGOs, 150 judges and prosecutors were trained to recognize, investigate, and prosecute trafficking cases. Two hundred and fifty police officers were trained through regular in-service training or through specialized courses on trafficking-recognition. The government provided some information to border guards on detection of trafficking victim identification.
The government's support for victim protection improved during the reporting period, though financial assistance was minimal. The Croatian Parliament passed a Law on Foreigners that permits trafficking victims to apply for temporary residency status for 90 days, renewable for up to two years. The government, working with NGOs, supported a shelter for trafficking victims and three reception centers to accommodate victims on a temporary basis. The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare signed a specific memorandum of understanding with IOM on victim protection and assistance. The government funded the operating costs for a national SOS hotline devoted solely to trafficking. The government was developing regulations for implementation of a new witness protection law that entered into force on January 1, 2004.
The government did not provide sufficient financial support for anti-trafficking activities nor did it provide adequate institutional support for the Committee. The Committee held only four meetings since May 2002. The newly elected government came into power in December 2003 and, as of March 2004, had not assigned the new members of the Committee. The former government formed a lower-level "Operational Team" to support the Committee, but it met infrequently with few concrete results. The government relied on NGOs to carry out most activities listed in the national action plan. The Ministries of Labor and Interior conducted training sessions for staff that included components on trafficking. The government provided limited funding for two NGOs to conduct general awareness raising activities regarding trafficking.