Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 - Slovak Republic
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||14 June 2010|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 - Slovak Republic, 14 June 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c1883c72d.html [accessed 20 June 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
SLOVAK REPUBLIC (Tier 2)
The Slovak Republic (or Slovakia) is a source, transit, and limited destination country for men, women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution and forced labor. Victims generally originate from Slovakia, Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria, the Baltics, the Balkans, and China. Women and children in Slovakia are subjected to forced prostitution within the country and throughout Europe. Roma children are subjected to forced begging. The majority of identified victims in 2009 were Roma women and children from segregated Roma settlements located within rural areas in 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. During the reporting period, the government stepped up efforts to identify foreign victims, assisted an increased number of victims, and established a center to consolidate trafficking data. Punishment for convicted traffickers continued to be a weakness in the government's anti-trafficking efforts, as the government suspended nearly all sentences for offenders convicted under its trafficking law in 2009.
Recommendations for the Slovak Republic: Increase training and capacity building for investigators, prosecutors and judges, to ensure trafficking crimes are vigorously investigated and prosecuted and offenders are convicted and punished with time in prison; continue to foster partnerships with NGOs to improve the identification of foreign and domestic trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, including women in Slovakia's commercial sex sectors, detained illegal migrants, and asylum seekers; consider expanding the practical role of NGOs or victim trauma experts in frontline identification efforts for potential foreign trafficking victims; conduct a demand-reduction awareness campaign to educate Slovaks and clients visiting Slovakia about the potential links between prostitution, exploitation, and trafficking; consider an outreach campaign to encourage more trafficking victims to participate in the government program; and continue to institutionalize training on victim identification and sensitive questioning techniques for law enforcement, border police, social workers, and other front-line responders throughout Slovakia.
The Government of the Slovak Republic sustained its law enforcement efforts during the reporting period, though it continued to suspend sentences for the majority of convicted trafficking offenders in 2009. The Slovak Republic prohibits all forms of trafficking through Sections 179-181 of its criminal code, which prescribe penalties of from four to 25 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and are commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Police conducted nine trafficking investigations in 2009, compared with 18 in 2008. The government initiated the prosecution of three trafficking suspects in 2009, the same number initiated in 2008. The government reported that it convicted 10 trafficking offenders during the reporting period, the same number it convicted in 2008. The Government of Slovakia did not report whether any of these convictions involved labor trafficking offenses. Eight out of 10 convicted traffickers were given suspended sentences and thus served no time in jail. The government did not provide information on the length of the two prison sentences actually imposed. In 2009, the government allocated $75,400 to open an International Trafficking Information Center to centralize the collection of comprehensive data on trafficking in Slovakia and facilitate bilateral and regional information sharing on cases. The government cooperated in 14 bilateral trafficking investigations involving Slovak victims and suspects in 2009. The majority of cases involved the UK, Ireland, and Germany. The government extradited four trafficking suspects during the reporting period. There were no official cases of trafficking-related complicity in 2009.
The Government of Slovakia increased its efforts to identify and protect identified domestic trafficking victims in 2009. The government took some important steps to increase its capacity to identify potential trafficking victims in 2009 by expanding NGO training for border police, social workers, and other front-line responders and by funding training on an IOM manual to assist front line responders in identifying potential trafficking victims. While the government increased outreach to vulnerable populations and funded an NGO to conduct outreach among women in prostitution, it did not identify any foreign victims subjected to forced prostitution or forced labor in Slovakia. While the government endorsed the IOM manual for use by frontline responders in victim identification, it is unclear the extent law enforcement employed systematic efforts to proactively identify potential trafficking victims among women and girls in commercial sex sectors, including women engaged in street prostitution, erotic massage salons, escort services, or strip bars fronting for brothels in Bratislava. The Slovak government continued to fund NGOs providing comprehensive assistance to victims who elected to participate in the government's National Program; these victims received financial support for a minimum of 180 days. The government provided $275,000 to six anti-trafficking NGOs implementing training, prevention and assistance, $241,000 of which was for direct victim care, an increase from $220,000 the previous year. The government assisted 27 trafficking victims, a significant increase from 17 in 2008. NGOs reported assisting 32 additional trafficking victims with non-government funding in 2009. These victims declined to participate in the government's program. Eight of the victims participating in the national program in 2009 were victims of forced labor in the agricultural sector. The government offers foreign victims, upon their identification, a renewable 40-day legal status in Slovakia to receive assistance and shelter and to consider whether to assist law enforcement; however, no potential foreign trafficking victims were identified in 2009. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs funded the repatriation of six Slovak trafficking victims in 2009. The government encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenders and, during the reporting period, 12 victims participated in such law enforcement activities. The government did not penalize victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, however according to local observers, unidentified victims, including illegal migrants and women in prostitution, continued to be detained and deported.
The government sustained its human trafficking prevention efforts through partnerships with NGOs in continuing a number of anti-trafficking awareness campaigns in 2009. These campaigns included billboards and leaflets in nine languages for potential foreign and Slovak victims, Internet ads, television ads publicizing the anti-trafficking hotline, a mobile information outreach center, and more than 5,000 posters displayed at bus stations, police stations, migrant and asylum-seekers' camps and Slovak embassies. In December 2009, the government's anti-trafficking Expert Group met to distribute funds for NGOs, update the national anti-trafficking program and developed projects with NGOs. Slovakia continued to partially fund an IOM-run trafficking hotline that provided information to persons vulnerable to trafficking. Hotline staff identified eight victims since the hotline opened in June 2008. The government did not undertake any significant efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex acts. During the reporting period, the government provided trafficking awareness training for Slovak troops before they were deployed to international peacekeeping missions.