U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Croatia
|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 - Croatia, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d83b23.html [accessed 1 February 2015]|
Croatia (Tier 2)
Croatia is a country of transit, and to a lesser extent, source and destination country for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Victims generally originate in Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other parts of Eastern Europe, and are trafficked into Western Europe.
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. During the reporting period, Croatia began to intensify efforts to combat trafficking in persons and took nascent steps to improve its response to trafficking. The government implemented targeted law enforcement training and increased its capacity to identify and assist victims. It adopted a national action plan, appointed an anti-trafficking coordinator, and provided direct funds to implement the plan. The government should now produce tangible enforcement results through increased investigations, prosecutions, and convictions of traffickers. The government, via the national anti-trafficking committee and anti-trafficking coordinator, should capitalize on gains made with NGOs and demonstrate more proactive victim identification, protection, and public awareness efforts. Finally, it should further institutionalize support by adequately staffing anti-trafficking programs and improving coordination.
In October 2004, the Government of Croatia enacted legislation that specifically prohibits and punishes trafficking in persons offenses, providing for penalties from one to ten years' imprisonment. When the victim is a minor, the minimum sentence is five years. Penalties are commensurate with that of rape. The government reported 17 investigations and four convictions in 2004, two of which are not subject to appeal; sentences ranged from seven months to nine years. In partnership with IOM, the police continued to actively implement an intensive train the trainers' program aimed initially at 26 core police officers throughout Croatia. The program will ultimately reach 1,600 officers and has been selected by the Council of Europe as a model for similar training efforts in the region. In 2004, the government incorporated anti-trafficking training into the police academy curriculum and 283 officers received specialized anti-trafficking training. In addition, the police designated an anti-trafficking officer in every police district in Croatia. In February 2005, the Judicial Academy held a case-study seminar for approximately 15 judges and prosecutors. A general environment of corruption remains a problem in combating trafficking. There were no reports of official complicity in trafficking.
In 2004, the government improved cooperation with NGOs, which resulted in greater and more consistent victim assistance. The government reported helping 19 victims, an increase of eight from the previous year. The Croatian Parliament amended the Law on Foreigners to increase the length of time victims can apply for temporary residency status – from 90 days to one year – with a possible one-year extension. The government reported issuing three such permits during the reporting period. In 2004, the government passed a Witness Protection Act that provides protection to witnesses participating in criminal proceedings; however, witness protection mechanisms continue to be underutilized. The Ministry of Interior developed instructions that included guidelines on identification and treatment for law enforcement officials who come into contact with potential trafficking victims, and distributed all instructions and guidelines to officers.
In 2004, the Government of Croatia increased its support of prevention efforts by funding new anti-trafficking awareness campaigns. The government co-funded with NGOs several prevention programs, a shelter, a hotline, a public awareness campaign, and law enforcement training. The Ministry of Education, in partnership with IOM, trained 272 teachers on how to present trafficking to students. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare trained 30 physicians on providing specialized medical assistance to trafficking victims. NGOs and IOM are represented on mobile anti-trafficking teams that assist in victim identification and assistance. In November 2004, the Croatian Government launched a public awareness campaign using the popular media and billboards to educate the general public about trafficking and the anti-trafficking hotline. In February 2005, the Foreign Ministry trained 15 consular staff in the region on identification of potential trafficking victims. Border guards monitored Croatia's borders and immigration and emigration patterns for trafficking, and have a formal framework for regional cooperation.