U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Uzbekistan
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||5 June 2006|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Uzbekistan, 5 June 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d8b95c.html [accessed 23 December 2014]|
Uzbekistan (Tier 3)
Uzbekistan is a source and, to a lesser extent, a transit country for women trafficked to the U.A.E., Israel, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Russia, Japan, Thailand, and Turkey for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Women from other Central Asian countries and China are trafficked through Uzbekistan. Men are trafficked for purposes of forced labor in the construction and agricultural industries to Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Men and women are also trafficked within the country. A significant number of Uzbek victims are trafficked annually.
The Government of Uzbekistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The Government of Uzbekistan was placed on Tier 2 Watch List in the 2005 Report based on commitments by the country to take additional steps during the 2006 reporting period, including the adoption of comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, criminal code amendments to raise trafficking penalties, support to the country's first trafficking shelter, and approval of a national action plan. Uzbekistan is placed on Tier 3 because it failed to fulfill these commitments. Regrettably, the government made no progress in the adoption of comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation that has been pending since 2003, nor did it amend its criminal code to strengthen the punishment for traffickers to ensure convicted traffickers serve time in prison. Further, the government did not approve a national action plan on trafficking nor did it provide any financial assistance, in-kind assistance, or logistical support to the country's only anti-trafficking shelter. These sizable deficiencies in law enforcement and victim assistance must be addressed in order for Uzbekistan to effectively combat human trafficking.
The Government of Uzbekistan showed very little progress in its law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking over the last year. According to the Prosecutor's Office, 148 traffickers were convicted in 2005. As a result of the government's failure to amend its criminal code during the last year to increase prison sentences for trafficking offenses, the majority of convicted traffickers received prison sentences of less than 10 years, were granted amnesty, and thus served no time in prison. Allegations that local officials accepted bribes from traffickers to facilitate trafficking continued, though there were no reported investigations or prosecutions of such corrupt officials. The government, however, acknowledges the need for more cooperation with destination countries. In October 2005, the government co-sponsored an international conference on trafficking organized by IOM and a local NGO; a wide-range of government agencies and law enforcement representatives participated and helped boost regional counter-trafficking cooperation.
The government failed to provide adequate victim assistance and protection. The government provided no direct support to victims within Uzbekistan, although it did work closely with an NGO network to assist in the repatriation of some Uzbek victims and provided legal assistance to victims. The government's general crack-down on NGOs resulted in the closure of two NGOs addressing trafficking during the reporting period. Airport police referred a few female victims to the only trafficking shelter in Uzbekistan. This shelter is run by a local NGO and housed about 100 victims in 2005; the NGO assisted a total of 313 trafficking victims in 2005. The government identified 675 trafficking victims during the reporting period. The government encouraged victims to give statements and assist with investigations; however, it continued to provide minimal protection to victims or witnesses. The government preserved the confidentiality of victim names, provided police escorts for some victims when necessary, and allowed NGOs to observe some police interviews of victims. Uzbek missions abroad assisted in repatriating Uzbek trafficking victims.
The Uzbek government worked with NGOs to promote public awareness of trafficking in 2005. Regional government-owned television stations worked with NGOs to air informational public service announcements regarding the dangers of trafficking. The government allowed NGOs to place posters warning about trafficking on public buses, at passport offices, in subway cars, and in Uzbek embassies abroad. The government also paid to have these posters translated into the Karakalpak language and distributed them to regions in the western part of Uzbekistan. The state radio continued to air campaigns sponsored by the Ministry of Interior and IOM to raise public awareness.