Last Updated: Thursday, 31 July 2014, 17:47 GMT

2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Tajikistan

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 27 June 2011
Cite as United States Department of State, 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Tajikistan, 27 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e12ee4237.html [accessed 2 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis 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.

Tajikistan (Tier 2)

Tajikistan is a source country for women and children subjected to forced prostitution and for men, women, and children subjected to conditions of forced labor. Women from Tajikistan are subjected to forced prostitution in the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, and within Tajikistan. These women often transit through Russia and Kyrgyzstan en route to their destination country. IOM estimates that a significant percentage of Tajikistan's estimated one million labor migrants are victims of forced labor, sometimes after voluntarily migrating to Russia in search of work. Men from Tajikistan are subjected to conditions of forced labor in Russia's agricultural and construction sectors and, to a lesser extent, the same sectors in Kazakhstan and Afghanistan. Tajik children have been subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor, including forced begging, within Tajikistan. There were limited reports that Tajik children were exploited within Tajikistan during the annual cotton harvest; NGOs report a significant reduction of this practice compared to previous years.

The Government of Tajikistan 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 important progress over the past year in addressing the use of forced labor in the annual cotton harvest. During the fall 2010 cotton harvest, the government disseminated a directive that ordered enforcement of existing prohibitions against forced labor. The government also accredited and assisted NGOs to monitor the cotton harvest. Government officials, with IOM and Tajik NGO representatives, met with local government and school officials to reiterate the government's prohibition against forced child labor. The government prosecuted and convicted trafficking offenders for the first time under its anti-trafficking statute and protected victims threatened by traffickers during criminal proceedings. The government also instituted quarterly meetings to coordinate anti-trafficking activities with government partners.

Recommendations for Tajikistan: Continue to enforce the prohibition against forced labor of children and adults in the annual cotton harvest by monitoring school and university attendance and inspecting cotton fields during the harvest; vigorously investigate and prosecute suspected trafficking offenses, especially those involving forced labor, and convict and punish trafficking offenders, including local officials who force individuals to participate in the cotton harvest; continue to educate school administrators about Tajik laws against forced labor; continue to increase resources available to the anti-trafficking police unit; continue to build partnerships with foreign counterparts in order to conduct joint law enforcement investigations and repatriate Tajik victims from abroad; develop a formal victim identification and referral mechanism; continue to provide victim identification and victim sensitivity training to border guard and law enforcement authorities; encourage NGO care providers to be present during victim interviews with law enforcement; provide financial or in-kind assistance to existing trafficking shelters; encourage victims of trafficking to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions; make efforts to improve trafficking data collection and analysis; expand trafficking awareness campaigns targeting both rural and urban parts of the country, including raising awareness in rural villages about how offers of marriage may be used to deceive women and lure them into forced prostitution; continue efforts to improve enforcement of anti-trafficking legislation; and involve wider mass-media in awareness campaigns.

Prosecution

The Government of Tajikistan demonstrated increased anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Article 130.1 of the criminal code prohibits both forced sexual exploitation and forced labor, and prescribes penalties of five to 15 years' imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with other serious crimes, such as rape. The government successfully used Article 130.1 of the criminal code to prosecute, convict, and sentence trafficking offenders for the first time in 2010. The government reported investigating and prosecuting 28 individuals suspected of trafficking in 2010 under Article 130.1 and other statutes, compared with at least nine individuals investigated and prosecuted for trafficking offenses in 2009. Courts convicted four trafficking offenders, including two under Article 130.1, in 2010, compared with three convictions reported in 2009. The government reported that the four offenders convicted in 2010 were sentenced to terms of six to 10 years' imprisonment for trafficking offenses in 2010. The Government of Tajikistan cooperated with Russian law enforcement on the investigation of a forced labor case. As a part of an IOM study tour, the government also exchanged best practices with counterparts in Moldova and Turkey to facilitate international cooperation in combating human trafficking. In partnership with international organizations, the Government of Tajikistan introduced a 26-hour anti-trafficking course into the curriculum at the Ministry of Interior Academy in December 2010. Eighty police academy students completed the training. Four hundred government officials participated in specialized anti-trafficking training sessions conducted by IOM. In an effort to encourage quality officers to seek out anti-trafficking assignments, the government increased the salaries of officials in the police anti-trafficking unit by 10 percent.

Local observers reported that government efforts contributed to a significant reduction in the use of forced labor in the 2010 cotton harvest. These efforts did not involve the prosecution of labor trafficking offenders. At the start of the 2010 cotton harvest, the Inter-Ministerial Commission to Combat Trafficking in Persons and the Ministry of Education disseminated a directive to local officials that reiterated existing laws prohibiting the use of forced child labor in the cotton harvest. Local officials met with school administrators, teachers, and farmers throughout Tajikistan's cotton-growing regions to reinforce the directive and to educate them about forced labor laws. The government accredited 15 Tajik NGOs working with IOM to monitor the fall cotton harvest in 25 cotton-picking districts in Tajikistan from September 15 until December 15. A small number of reports continued that school-aged children in remote areas were compelled to pick cotton by school administrators during the harvest. When presented with these reports during the harvest, government officials reprimanded, but did not prosecute, the teachers and farmers involved. The government received additional reports several months after the cotton harvest ended; officials reported that they were unable to investigate these cases because of the delayed notification.

Protection

The government demonstrated some efforts to identify and assist trafficking victims during the reporting period. The government does not have a systematic procedure for identifying and referring victims for assistance; however, the government established a working group to formalize victim referral procedures in 2010. During the reporting period, the government identified 32 victims of trafficking and referred 18 victims to IOM. In total, IOM and the government identified 104 victims of trafficking in 2010, compared with 63 victims of trafficking identified in 2009. Foreign-funded NGO shelters remained the primary source of victim services available in Tajikistan. Victims in these shelters were not detained involuntarily. Although the national government did not provide financial assistance to any NGOs or organization that provided specialized assistance to trafficking victims in 2010, the Khujand city government provided in-kind assistance to a shelter that assisted eight child trafficking victims. The national government also donated a building and free utilities for a shelter for women and girls, including victims of child prostitution. Victims were encouraged to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions, and police officials provided protection for two victims of trafficking who were threatened during a trafficking investigation and prosecution. Tajik consulate officials abroad assisted victims and referred them for repatriation. There were no reports of victims penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked.

Prevention

Tajikistan made efforts to raise awareness of trafficking during the reporting period. Local governments provided meeting space for, transportation to, and local publicity for awareness-raising events around the country conducted by NGOs and international organizations. Additionally, the Committee on Women and Families held information sessions to inform women and girls about the dangers of trafficking and state media outlets published information on trafficking that included warnings about common trafficking scenarios. The government provided in-kind assistance for a joint training of 300 Tajik and 40 Afghan border guards in an immigration education program, which included training on trafficking issues. The government did not undertake efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. The government has an action plan to combat human trafficking for 2011-2013.

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