U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Croatia
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||5 June 2006|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Croatia, 5 June 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d8825.html [accessed 1 September 2014]|
Croatia (Tier 2)
Croatia is a country of transit, and increasingly a source and destination, for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Female victims from Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and other parts of Eastern Europe are trafficked through BiH and Serbia and Montenegro to Croatia. Due to Croatia's border with the EU, many victims are trafficked into Western Europe. There was one reported case of trafficking for forced labor in 2005.
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. Although the government increased its law enforcement investigations in 2005, follow-through on law enforcement efforts remained inadequate and, due to an enormous judicial case backlog, no traffickers were convicted or sentenced in 2005. The government continued to employ a systematic screening process to identify and assist trafficking victims and implemented comprehensive awareness and prevention programs in 2005. The government should vigorously prosecute trafficking cases with the purpose of obtaining convictions and adequate sentences for traffickers. The government should continue to work to ensure the institutionalized screening process already in place reaches all potential victims transiting Croatia, including illegal migrants and, increasingly, migrants who transit the country legally.
In 2005, the Government of Croatia increased implementation of its 2004 trafficking law. The government conducted over 44 trafficking investigations, an increase from 17 the previous year. While the government prosecuted seven trafficking cases, no convictions were reported. Croatia's laws criminalize all forms of trafficking; during the reporting period, the government drafted legislation that would allow for prosecution of clients who knowingly use the services of trafficking victims. In 2005, in cooperation with IOM, the government completed its comprehensive train-the trainer program for law enforcement and trained an additional 250 border police on victim identification and 20 officers on specific techniques for interviewing foreign trafficking victims. The government collaborated with other governments in the region to assist victims and arrest traffickers. While there were no specific reports of trafficking-related complicity, corruption and organized crime continued to hinder Croatia's anti-trafficking efforts.
In 2005, the government continued to provide all identified victims with shelter, and legal, medical, and psychological services as well as educational and vocational training; government assistance was not conditioned on victim cooperation in a trafficking case. The government continued to implement a national referral system, employing joint NGO-IOM-police "mobile teams" through which victims are identified and referred for assistance. Border police continued to follow a specific protocol outlining aggressive investigative techniques to identify trafficking victims transiting through Croatia, and referred cases involving potential trafficking victims to the Criminal Police Directorate for Organized Crime within the Ministry of Interior. Despite the government's efforts to train police and other front-line responders on victim identification, the number of trafficking victims identified in Croatia overall remains inadequate. As a result, only five victims were identified during the reporting period, a decrease from 18 identified the previous year. The government provided two victims with one-year residency permits in 2005. Victims have adequate protection if they choose to testify.
In 2004, the government continued to monitor its anti-trafficking efforts via its anti-trafficking coordinator, and a working group that includes NGOs met regularly to discuss specific trafficking cases and programs. In 2005, the Government of Croatia funded two public awareness campaigns targeting potential victims among the general public and children. Law enforcement officials, specially trained in trafficking, participated in the comprehensive awareness campaigns, which included roundtables, local TV and radio spots, and print ads at train stops and billboards, all of which advertised the government's anti-trafficking hotline. In 2005, the Ministry of Interior developed a flyer, translated it into four languages, and distributed it at border crossings to potential trafficking victims. In December 2005, the government organized a series of seminars to educate journalists on trafficking issues, with a special emphasis on protection of victims' identity. During the reporting period, the government adopted a National Plan for Trafficking in Children.