U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Slovak Republic
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||11 June 2003|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Slovak Republic, 11 June 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d7df19.html [accessed 27 May 2016]|
Slovak Republic (Tier 2)
The Slovak Republic is an origin, transit and destination country primarily for women trafficked into sexual exploitation. Slovak women have been trafficked to Spain, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, France, Mexico and Japan. Women from former Soviet republics and Eastern Europe transit through the Slovak Republic on their way to Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and other European countries and may be trafficked into prostitution during transit.
The Government of the Slovak Republic does not meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government significantly increased its focus on trafficking and showed strong law enforcement capacity to investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes. Efforts were relatively weaker regarding prevention and protection, and petty corruption in the police and lack of resources continued to hamper the government's overall ability to respond effectively.
The government has relatively few resources to devote to trafficking, but the Ministry of Labor provided a small grant to one NGO for its trafficking prevention programs.
From the transit country perspective, the government's strongest preventive strategy was in strengthening law enforcement's ability to recognize potential trafficking schemes and share information between agencies and neighboring countries. The anti-trafficking unit in the Bureau of Organized Crime investigates travel and employment schemes while the Border and Alien Police coordinate information sharing between ministries about border crossings.
In 2002, the government passed new amendments to existing anti-trafficking legislation. The amended legislation brings domestic law closer in line with the UN Anti-Trafficking Protocol provisions by including all forms of trafficking and prescribing a penalty of three to ten years, with an increased penalty if the activity was organized or if the victim is under 18. During the year, there were 17 reported arrests for trafficking in adults with six persons convicted, and two arrests for trafficking in children. The Ministry of Interior created a specialized police unit to investigate trafficking and sexual exploitation, which achieved some initial success; however, the unit lacks training and resources. The government cooperates with a number of neighboring countries on investigations and capacity building, and cooperated closely with German law enforcement in a recent operation against a trafficking ring. To tighten controls at the borders, the government instituted stronger anti-corruption measures, including firing certain officials in customs and border agencies and arresting others.
In early 2003, the government initiated an inter-agency task force, with NGO representation, to discuss improving witness protection and victim assistance for all crime victims, including trafficking victims. The Slovak Republic cooperates with foreign governments and concluded bilateral cooperation agreements with its neighbors, which have facilitated joint law enforcement investigations.
The government does not have mechanisms in place to protect trafficking victims who could be detained, charged with related crimes, and deported. Witness protection is available and witnesses in a major anti-trafficking operation in the past year were provided protection and assisted police in a successful investigation. Still, lack of trust in the police often prevents potential witnesses from cooperating.