Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Croatia
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||4 June 2008|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Croatia, 4 June 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/484f9a0fc.html [accessed 27 April 2015]|
CROATIA (Tier 1)
Croatia is a source, transit, and increasingly a destination country, for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Croatian females are trafficked within the country and women and girls from Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other parts of Eastern Europe are trafficked to and through Croatia for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Croatian men are occasionally trafficked for forced labor. Victims transiting Croatia from Southeastern Europe are trafficked into Western Europe for commercial sexual exploitation. IOM reported continued seasonal rotation of international women in prostitution to and from the Dalmatian coast during high tourist seasons, raising concerns about trafficking. The Government of Croatia fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government continued to pursue a comprehensive victim-centered approach in response to trafficking in 2007. It doubled the number of trafficking convictions, significantly reduced its use of suspended sentences for convicted traffickers, continued its proactive law enforcement training, and initiated new public awareness raising projects during the reporting period.
Recommendations for Croatia: Seek to toughen sentences imposed on convicted traffickers, and continue efforts to enhance proactive identification of women in prostitution and of migrants who transit the country legally.
The Government of Croatia made significant improvements in prosecuting and convicting traffickers in 2007. Croatia criminally prohibits trafficking for sexual and labor exploitation through Criminal Provision 175 of its penal code. Prescribed penalties for sex trafficking are commensurate with those for rape, and penalties for all forms of trafficking are sufficiently stringent. In 2007, the government investigated 20 suspected trafficking offenders, an increase from 17 in 2006. It convicted 10 traffickers, two of which are pending final appeal. Out of the remaining eight traffickers, one received a three-year sentence, three received a sentence of one year and four months, and two received one-year sentences. Two traffickers' sentences of four and three years were suspended. In February 2008, the government conducted anti-trafficking training for ten officers to instruct future Croatian peacekeepers prior to their deployment. There were no specific reports of trafficking-related complicity.
The Government of Croatia in 2007 further institutionalized a victim-centered approach for trafficking victims. The government provides foreign victims with legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they may face hardship or retribution. In January 2008, a new Law on Foreigners mandates a 30-day reflection period for potential adult victims and a 90-day reflection period for children who are potential victims. The government continued its proactive cooperation with civil society, providing identified victims with shelter, legal, medical, and psychological services, as well as educational and vocational training. Out of 15 identified victims in 2007, five accepted accommodation in shelters. The government facilitated the responsible return of the remaining 10 who chose not to stay at a shelter. Croatia continued to implement, through the use of mobile teams, its national mechanism to proactively identify potential trafficking victims and refer them to service providers. The government actively encourages victim participation in trafficking cases; assistance was not conditional upon 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, penalized, or deported for unlawful acts committed as a result of their being trafficked. Last year the government provided approximately $82,000 in specific funding for shelters for trafficking victims.
The Government of Croatia contributed generously to its anti-trafficking efforts, allocating almost $2 million to its anti-trafficking regime in 2007. It demonstrated its leadership and commitment by conducting numerous high profile educational campaigns about trafficking. The government earmarked over $37,000 for and developed a nation-wide demand reduction campaign as part of an EU Cards Twining Project with Austria and Germany to air in May 2008 prior to the Euro-Soccer Cup. In 2007, it sponsored an anti-trafficking movie night at Zagreb based cinemas with free admission to the public, and produced and distributed an anti-trafficking documentary nationwide, with over 54 showings across the country.