U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Kazakhstan
|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 - Kazakhstan, 14 June 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d80dc.html [accessed 1 December 2015]|
Kazakhstan (Tier 2 Watch List)
Kazakhstan is a source, transit, and destination country for people trafficked from the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Victims are trafficked through and from Kazakhstan to Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Israel, Greece, South Korea, the Czech Republic, Romania, Syria, Germany, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, The Netherlands, Portugal, and Ireland. Internal trafficking from rural to urban areas also takes place.
The Government of Kazakhstan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Kazakhstan was reassessed as meeting the standard for Tier 2 placement in September 2003, after the government took significant actions to combat trafficking in persons, to include the adoption of anti-trafficking legislation and the establishment of law enforcement guidelines. The government remains listed on Tier 2 because of continued progress during the reporting period; it has been placed on Tier 2 Watch List to permit tracking of near-term actions mandated in the February 2004 National Plan of Action to combat trafficking in persons. The government has convicted traffickers under its new anti-trafficking legislation passed in mid-2003. The government does not face the severe resource constraints of its neighbors, and thus should increase funding for prevention and protection efforts. It should also seek longer prison sentences for convicted traffickers and adopt the Law on State Social Assistance to better fund protection and prevention efforts. The plan obligates ministries, agencies, and regional governments to use discretionary funds to, among other things, provide anti-trafficking information in mandated school curricula and conclude formal agreements with victim crisis centers.
The Government of Kazakhstan criminalizes trafficking with penalties of one to 10 years in prison. Kazakhstani authorities conducted nine trafficking investigations. Four of these were closed or discontinued, two are ongoing, and three have been suspended. The government also prosecuted and convicted four individuals during the reporting period and has initiated a fifth prosecution. One individual was convicted under the new legislation and sentenced to three years' probation. A second individual was convicted for organization of illegal immigration and received one year of probation. The third and fourth individuals were convicted under multiple charges, and sentenced to four and three years' imprisonment, respectively. While this record demonstrates appreciable progress over the past reporting period, the number of convictions remains low and sentences often do not reflect the seriousness of the offenses. Official corruption remains widespread, but no instances of government complicity in trafficking-related crimes have been reported. The Ministries of Interior and Justice established national hotlines for citizens to report corruption by officials and other instances of unlawful behavior. During the past year, the government cooperated on trafficking investigations with the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.
During the September 2003 reassessment, the government announced the establishment of a victim referral system, though it was employed for only 15 victims during the reporting period. The government specifically named an Almaty-based NGO as the official NGO for referral. In about one-third of the country's regional districts, police departments and NGOs have developed and formalized cooperative relationships to assist victims, conduct training, and investigate cases. Informal cooperative relationships exist in almost all of the 16 districts. In three districts, the lack of effective local NGOs has limited the extent of this cooperation, though local authorities in one district have cooperated with an NGO in a neighboring district to address this problem. Law enforcement agencies participated in trafficking awareness trainings sponsored by NGOs, but officials often failed to differentiate between illegal immigrants and foreign victims trafficked into the country illegally. By contrast, Kazakhstani victims were generally treated humanely and were frequently referred to NGOs. The government relies on 33 victim assistance centers operated by NGOs and international organizations, six of which are funded entirely by the government. Some other victim assistance centers have received government funds. These centers reported assisting 26 trafficking victims during the reporting period. Additionally, the government provided housing and limited funds to four foreign trafficking victims who gave evidence leading to the conviction of their traffickers. Police protection of victims remained inconsistent. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported assisting in the repatriation of 24 Kazakhstani citizens from abroad.
The government supports efforts by international organizations, though rarely financially, that conduct information campaigns and establish hotlines for trafficking victims. The Justice Ministry produced a public service announcement entitled "Trafficking in Persons An Illegal Phenomenon" that began airing in November 2003. The Justice Ministry has prepared educational material on trafficking. It screened a 10-minute documentary on trafficking prevention during a February 2004 Interagency Commission meeting attended by the media. According to the Justice Ministry, its officials gave 45 television and radio interviews, published 50 articles, and participated in 120 seminars or roundtables on trafficking since September 2003. Local districts provide NGOs with access to schools to conduct trafficking awareness seminars and lectures in every region of the country. During the reporting period, the Committee for National Security withdrew licenses from five travel agencies that issued illegal documents to Kazakhstanis seeking citizenship in Russia, a practice often associated with trafficking in persons.