U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Slovak Republic
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||3 June 2005|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Slovak Republic, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d864c.html [accessed 1 March 2015]|
Slovak Republic (Tier 2 Watch List)
The Slovak Republic is a transit and, to a lesser extent, a source country for women and girls trafficked primarily to western and central European countries, as well as Japan, for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Victims from the former Soviet states (especially Moldova and Ukraine) and the Balkan region are trafficked through the Slovak Republic. A recent NGO study reported that Slovak Roma women are trafficked to Prague and Czech border towns.
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 Slovak Republic is placed on Tier 2 Watch List due to a lack of evidence of increasing efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking compared to the previous year. Government victim assistance and protection efforts as well as trafficking prevention programs remained inadequate. The Slovak Government formed an inter-ministerial expert working group on March 31, 2005, to develop a coordinated national action plan to combat trafficking; however, there has been insufficient time to gauge the working group's effectiveness.
Slovakia's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts in 2004 were similar to those in 2003. The Slovak Government amended its criminal code to conform to international legal instruments by extending coverage to internal trafficking, as well as cross-border trafficking, for the purposes of both sexual and labor exploitation with sufficiently severe penalties. The government reported 27 trafficking-related investigations, 19 prosecutions, and six convictions of traffickers during 2004; it did not report on trafficking-related sentences imposed. The police academy included trafficking awareness training in its curriculum. In 2004, Slovak law enforcement officials cooperated principally with German, Austrian, Czech, and Hungarian law enforcement authorities on trafficking investigations. Slovakia's specialized anti-trafficking unit noted that a lack of English-language ability among Slovak police officials somewhat limited joint investigations. The government reported no convictions of government officials for crimes related to trafficking in persons. Allegations persisted during the reporting period of corrupt activity among customs and border guards that may have facilitated trafficking.
The Slovak Republic continued to lag considerably in the area of victim protection, in part because of financial constraints. While Slovak legislation commendably provides for temporary residency status to victims who are willing to assist police prosecutions and enter a witness protection program, the government did not track whether any trafficking victims received this status. The government provided small grants to local organizations to assist and shelter trafficking victims, but overall, NGOs continued to report difficulties in obtaining funding to provide services to trafficking victims. As of July 2004, amendments to the Victim Assistance Law require police to give victims of crimes a list of NGOs in the region that provide assistance; however, few local police had any direct contact with these organizations. Slovakia lacked procedures for distinguishing trafficking victims from illegal immigrants. When a trafficking victim was identified, law enforcement officials respected the victim's rights. NGOs expressed concern that some of the thousands of asylum applicants no longer present at Slovak refugee facilities, especially Ukrainian and Moldovan women, may have been recruited by traffickers.
The government continued to devote few resources to prevent trafficking during the reporting period. The Ministry of Labor provided a small grant to a local NGO to operate a trafficking awareness campaign in Roma settlements. The Ministry of Interior helped fund an NGO that operates Slovakia's crisis hotline, which worked with trafficking victims and fielded calls from Slovaks interested in working in foreign countries and wanting to avoid trafficking situations. In 2004, Slovakia had no coordinated national action plan to combat trafficking, although the government formed an inter-ministerial expert working group on March 31, 2005 to develop one. The Ministry of Interior was the only governmental entity that listed the prevention of trafficking within its mission goals.