U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Slovak Republic
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||14 June 2004|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Slovak Republic, 14 June 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d8132d.html [accessed 1 June 2016]|
Slovak Republic (Tier 2)
The Slovak Republic is a transit and source country for women and girls primarily trafficked to Austria, The Netherlands, France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and Japan for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Victims from the former Soviet Republics and the Balkan region are trafficked through the Slovak Republic to European Union countries. Highly organized crime rings based in neighboring countries and Slovakia control the trafficking in and through Slovakia.
The Government of the Slovak Republic does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government made significant strides in 2003 to include reorganizing parts of the Ministry of Interior and amending the criminal code. These efforts will improve internal communication and improve the investigation efforts aimed at fighting trafficking in persons. But the Slovak population continues to demonstrate a low awareness of trafficking in persons issues, and the country lacks essential victim support such as shelters, health services, and legal assistance.
Slovakia's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts improved in 2003. The Slovak criminal code adequately addresses trafficking in persons, and penalties are sufficiently severe. The Interior Ministry reported successfully arresting traffickers associated with six networks in 2003. The Justice Ministry reported six convictions of traffickers. Additionally, three child trafficking prosecutions and 54 prosecutions of individual traffickers were underway during the reporting period. A number of those cases date from 2002 or earlier. At the beginning of 2004, the Interior Ministry increased the size of the police anti-trafficking unit and elevated the unit to a department. Despite several arrests for corruption during the reporting period, corruption within the government remained a problem and, in some cases, may hinder government efforts to eliminate trafficking. Recent anti-corruption reforms facilitated the use of sting operations and the enactment of whistle-blower statutes. The Slovak Government continues to cooperate with other governments – particularly Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary – in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases. In 2003, Slovakia joined Europol.
The Slovak Republic lags considerably in the area of victim protection, in part due to financial constraints. The government provides temporary residency status to victims who are willing to assist police prosecutions and enter a witness protection program. A cooperating victim can receive a new identity and give recorded testimony. However, a lack of trust in the police often deters potential witnesses. The anti-trafficking police unit refers trafficking victims to NGOs on an ad hoc basis, and often detains or deports victims as illegal migrants due to a lack of screening and identification procedures. NGOs report difficulties in providing shelter, health, and legal services to trafficking victims due to a lack of funding. Slovak embassies and consulates abroad assist victims by providing travel documents, assisting with money transfers, and contacting relatives.
The government continues to devote few resources to prevent trafficking, although in 2003 the Education Ministry, in cooperation with the IOM, helped organize discussion groups in a number of schools about trafficking in persons and distribute handbooks about legally working abroad. The government's strongest preventive strategies remained in the area of law enforcement – strengthening border control and improving cross-border cooperation. In March, Slovakia and Austria agreed to establish a police liaison center at a border crossing near Bratislava. In November, the Slovak and Czech Republics signed an agreement to allow cross-border pursuits in organized crime cases. The government does not have a national plan of action to combat trafficking in persons.