U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Malta
|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 - Malta, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3c619.html [accessed 5 May 2015]|
Malta (Tier 2)
Malta is a destination country for men and women trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Malta is also a source country for minors trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation. There is anecdotal evidence that women from Serbia, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, and other Eastern European countries may be trafficked to Malta for forced prostitution. Between 1,500 to 1,800 African illegal immigrants arrive in Malta each year; it is unclear whether any are trafficked to or through Malta for labor or sexual exploitation.
The Government of Malta does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Malta arrested suspected traffickers and offered protection services to trafficking victims. Criminal investigations of trafficking offenses were low over the reporting period, and Malta did not carry out any anti-trafficking awareness raising campaigns. Malta should significantly increase investigations and prosecutions of trafficking crimes, and should also institute a formal victim identification procedure to ensure that trafficking victims are not punished.
Malta made modest efforts to prosecute trafficking in persons offenses during the reporting period. Malta's criminal code prohibits trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude, punishable by two to nine years' imprisonment. The White Slave Traffic Suppression Ordinance, as amended in 1994, prohibits the prostitution of minors under 21 years old, with prescribed penalties of up to four years' imprisonment. Prescribed penalties for trafficking offenses are thus sufficiently stringent to deter, but penalties for prostitution of minors are not commensurate with those for other grave crimes; conviction for rape carries a penalty of up to 10 years' imprisonment. This year, the government arrested five individuals for trafficking a Romanian woman into prostitution; their prosecutions are pending. The trafficked woman was offered protection by the police, gave court testimony, and was returned to her country of origin, which was her request. Another prosecution resulted in the conviction of a man for trafficking two women for prostitution; in January, the Court of Appeals confirmed a suspended sentence for the man. A police officer convicted for complicity in trafficking in 2005 remains out of jail on bail pending his appeal. Another police officer was convicted for a similar offense and sentenced to three years' imprisonment. The government should provide trafficking-related training to law enforcement and judicial officials, and it should significantly increase investigations for trafficking offenses, particularly when evidence of such offenses results from raids, brothels, or arrests of illegal migrants.
Malta took some steps to protect victims of trafficking during the reporting period. The government provides victim protection services through a primary social service agency that is directly funded and supervised by the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity. Despite reports that police attempt to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable groups, the government did not provide sufficient evidence that the 203 women arrested this year for prostitution were formally screened for evidence of trafficking prior to being charged with criminal offenses. As a result, some victims of trafficking may have been treated as offenders rather than victims, and punished accordingly. In the case of minors used in commercial sexual exploitation, specially trained police officers interview and refer them to Child Protection Services for assistance in reintegration. The police are trained to screen those arrested for prostitution for their vulnerability to exploitation. Immigration officials screen at the border and when visas are renewed for possible situations of sexual or labor exploitation.
The government made limited efforts to prevent trafficking in persons this year. Maltese authorities responsible for issuing visas and patrolling borders are reportedly trained in identifying potential victims of trafficking to prevent trafficking into Malta. The government did not conduct any anti-trafficking awareness campaigns.