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Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 - Moldova

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 16 June 2009
Cite as United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 - Moldova, 16 June 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4a4214a22d.html [accessed 20 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

MOLDOVA (Tier 2 Watch List)

Moldova is a source, and to a lesser extent, a transit and destination country for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and men trafficked for forced labor. According to an ILO report, Moldova's national Bureau of Statistics estimated that there were likely over 25,000 Moldovan victims of trafficking for forced labor in 2008.Moldovan women are trafficked primarily to Turkey, Russia, Cyprus, the UAE, and also to other Middle Eastern and Western European countries. Men are trafficked to work in the construction, agriculture, and service sectors of Russia and other countries. There have also been some cases of children trafficked for begging to neighboring countries. Girls and young women are trafficked within the country from rural areas to Chisinau, and there is evidence that men from neighboring countries are trafficked to Moldova for forced labor. The small breakaway region of Transnistria in eastern Moldova is outside the central government's control and remained a source for trafficking in persons.

The Government of Moldova does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite initial efforts to combat trafficking-related complicity since the government's reassessment on the Tier 2 Watch List in September 2008, and increased victim assistance, the government did not demonstrate sufficiently meaningful efforts to curb trafficking-related corruption, which is a government-acknowledged problem in Moldova; therefore, Moldova is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. While some of Moldova's anti-trafficking activities remained dependent on international donor funding, the government improved victim protection efforts, deployed more law-enforcement officers in the effort and contributed direct financial assistance toward victim protection and assistance for the first time.

Recommendations for Moldova: Continue to investigate and prosecute law enforcement officials' complicity in trafficking, and seek punishment of any guilty officials; continue to improve data collection on investigations, prosecutions, convictions, and sentences for trafficking offenders, and demonstrate increased law enforcement efforts; continue to disburse resources for victim assistance and protection; boost proactive efforts to identify and protect trafficking victims, including child victims and victims trafficked within Moldova; consider prevention activities specifically targeted at reducing the demand for human trafficking in Moldova.

Prosecution

The Government of Moldova acknowledged a trafficking-related complicity problem and investigated some cases of trafficking-related complicity, though it did not convict any complicit officials or demonstrate increased overall law enforcement efforts over the reporting period. The Government of Moldova prohibits all forms of trafficking through Articles 165 and 206 of its criminal code. Penalties prescribed range from seven years' to life imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for rape. Data collection on trafficking related law enforcement statistics improved in 2008, though accuracy concerns remained. The government reported initiating 246 trafficking investigations (decreased from 507 reported last year) and 127 trafficking prosecutions (decreased from 250 reported last year), including 31 under the child trafficking statute. The government reported 58 convictions (comparable to 60 reported last year) with sentences ranging from 7 to 23 years. Despite widespread reports of corruption related to human trafficking, the government still has not convicted any official for trafficking related complicity. In June 2008, the government acknowledged a lack of adequate efforts to prosecute officials reportedly complicit in trafficking and at that time re-opened three high profile cases involving allegations of trafficking-related corruption that had previously been dismissed under questionable circumstances. . These investigations remain open. During 2008, the government prosecuted one trial court judge and investigated another suspected of unreasonably downgrading the charges in two trafficking cases and imposing on the defendants penalties more lenient than prescribed by the law; the government reported that the prosecution remains open, though it closed the separate investigation for lack of evidence. The government opened several additional investigations of alleged trafficking complicity of law enforcement officials in 2008 but later determined they were not trafficking related cases. The national police academy has included a regular segment on trafficking in its curriculum, the Ministry of Internal Affairs organized 32 trafficking seminars for employees, and officials held one seminar for consular officers on trafficking in 2008.

Protection

Moldova improved its victim protection efforts during the reporting period. For the first time, the government funded approximately $52,000 for the operation of an IOM-operated primary shelter for repatriated adult and child victims. In cooperation with IOM, the government expanded the national system of referring identified trafficking victims to shelters to cover 16 districts and 2 municipalities, an increase from seven districts covered in 2007. During the last year, the government enacted regulations for facilitating and funding victim repatriation. Moldovan law exempts victims from criminal prosecution for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. NGOs continued to document instances of trafficking victims' rights being violated in court, though the official government policy remained one of encouraging victims to participate in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenders. Most NGOs noted that the government's treatment of victims improved during the last year. Moldova's government Center to Combat Trafficking in Persons (CCTIP) continued operating a special unit for physical and psychological protection of victims and witnesses, and in September 2008, the government enacted a new witness protection law. Moldova does not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they may face retribution or hardship.

Prevention

The government sustained prevention efforts during the reporting period. In 2008, CCTIP participated in 27 interviews broadcast on radio and TV, conducted 30 seminars on trafficking prevention in schools and universities, and provided outreach to church leaders. The government's national committee charged with coordinating anti-trafficking activities in Moldova held only one meeting in 2008. The Ministry of Economy and Trade provided vocational training free of charge to at-risk persons and returned trafficking victims referred by IOM. The Ministry of Interior funded and operated a victim assistance hotline during the reporting period. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration trains consular officers to assist victims in destination countries. There was no evidence that the government undertook prevention activities specifically targeted at reducing the demand for commercial sex or forced labor in Moldova.

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