Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Malta
|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 - Malta, 4 June 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/484f9a2a32.html [accessed 24 November 2014]|
MALTA (Tier 2)
Malta is a destination country for women trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. There is evidence that women from Russia, Ukraine, Romania, and other Eastern European countries may be trafficked to Malta for forced prostitution. Between 1,500 and 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 took initial steps toward formalizing a victim referral mechanism and providing training for law enforcement officials but has not yet conducted any trafficking prevention activities.
Recommendations for Malta: Demonstrate sustained implementation of a formal trafficking victim identification and referral mechanism; increase advertising of the hotline for trafficking prevention and distribution of prevention publications to potentially vulnerable people, including migrants rescued at sea; target awareness-raising activities at clients of the sex trade; continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute human trafficking, and convict and sentence trafficking offenders, including public officials complicit in trafficking; and formalize legal alternatives to victims' removal to countries in which they would face retribution or hardship.
Malta demonstrated increased efforts to prosecute trafficking in persons offenses during the reporting period. Malta's criminal code prohibits trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude, and prescribes punishments of two to nine years' imprisonment. In 2002, the government enacted Chapter Nine of the penal code to replace the White Slave Traffic Ordinance, an antiquated British statute. In 2007, the government altered the penal code with Act XXXI to increase penalties for the rape or prostitution of a minor, now prescribing a three-to-nine-year sentence. These prescribed penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes. According to the police, two separate investigations in 2007 led to the arrest of seven Maltese nationals for the trafficking of eight Russian and Ukrainian women for the purpose of sexual exploitation. In one case, the victims told police they were recruited in Russia by Maltese nationals; the Maltese police conveyed this information to Russian authorities, and the perpetrators were apprehended in Moscow. The arrestees in Malta are pending trial. In March 2007, the Government of Malta prosecuted four people for trafficking a Romanian woman into commercial sexual exploitation, an increase from one prosecution in the previous year. The case is pending conviction and sentencing. A police officer convicted for complicity in trafficking in 2005 received a three-year sentence following an appeal in 2006; in 2007, he was released after serving a total of two years in prison. Another police officer convicted in 2005 remains out of jail on bail pending his appeal. The government funded travel costs for police officers to attend European Union sponsored trafficking-related training.
Malta took steps to protect victims of trafficking during the reporting period. Malta's Police Force and the Ministry for Social Policy formalized a Memorandum of Understanding expanding cooperation on identifying potential trafficking victims and referring them to available services in March 2008. There is no evidence that victims of trafficking were punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked; however, there were no formal measures to proactively identify victims for the majority of the reporting period. Malta assists foreign trafficking victims by offering temporary shelter in government-funded homes used primarily for victims of domestic violence. Government officials provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims, once identified, to countries where they may face hardship or retribution on a case-by-case basis and if a victim requested to stay; to date, all trafficking victims have voluntarily returned to their country of origin. Malta encourages victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking crimes.
The government initiated efforts to prevent trafficking in persons toward the end of the reporting period. The government did not conduct an antitrafficking awareness campaign or a campaign to reduce demand for commercial sex acts. In March 2008, the government agreed to extend an existing hotline to serve trafficking victims, increase training for hotline personnel to improve their ability to respond to trafficking issues, and publicize the existence of this hotline.