U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Lithuania
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||12 June 2007|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Lithuania, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3c228.html [accessed 22 December 2014]|
Lithuania (Tier 1)
Lithuania is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Approximately one-third of trafficking victims in Lithuania are children. Lithuanian women were trafficked to the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands. Women from Belarus, Russia (Kaliningrad region), and Ukraine are trafficked to and through Lithuania for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
The Government of Lithuania fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. During the last year, the government again increased funding for victim assistance; it also funded the country's first nation-wide trafficking-awareness campaign. In December 2006, Lithuania's Parliament amended its criminal code to formally prohibit the punishment of trafficking victims for acts relating to prostitution or illegal migration, and to allow for temporary residency permits for victims who participate in court proceedings. Lithuania should work to formalize a victim identification and referral process, do more to educate victims or suspected victims about protections offered to victims of trafficking, take measures to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts, and continue to ensure that more than half of convicted traffickers serve time in prison.
The Government of Lithuania sustained its adequate law enforcement efforts over the reporting period. Lithuania prohibits all forms of trafficking through Article 147 of its criminal code, which prescribes penalties ranging from probation to 15 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes. In 2006, authorities initiated 26 trafficking investigations, down from 32 in 2005. Authorities prosecuted 21 cases involving 23 defendants, compared with 18 prosecutions involving 43 defendants in 2005. Only 10 traffickers were convicted in 2006, a decrease from 20 convictions in 2005. In 2006, eight traffickers received sentences ranging from three to six years' imprisonment, while two traffickers served no time in prison. Lithuania maintained good law enforcement cooperation with British authorities during the reporting period. During the year, 60 law enforcement officers received trafficking training.
The Lithuanian Government continued to improve efforts to protect and assist victims of trafficking. In 2006, the government provided more than $170,000 to 13 anti-trafficking NGOs to conduct victim assistance and rehabilitation, including vocational training and job placement for victims; this was an increase in funding from $137,000 provided to 11 NGOs in 2005. Lithuania funded approximately 70 percent of anti-trafficking NGOs' programs, which assisted approximately 263 victims in 2006. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs assisted in the repatriation of 14 victims during the reporting period. Police continued to identify and refer victims to NGOs for assistance, although this was done on an informal basis. The government encouraged victims to assist in trafficking investigations and prosecutions; victims who participate in court proceedings were eligible for temporary residency permits. No victims received temporary residency permits in 2006. Identified victims are not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked.
Lithuania showed significant progress in its trafficking prevention efforts. In 2006, the Ministry of Interior funded Lithuania's first nation-wide trafficking awareness campaign called "Don't be a commodity: separate life from illusions," which included seminars, posters, and television and radio public service announcements. The Ministry of Education distributed 13,000 NGO produced anti-trafficking brochures and 220 videos to schools during the reporting period.