Amnesty International Report 2006 - Lithuania
|Publication Date||23 May 2006|
|Cite as||Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2006 - Lithuania, 23 May 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/447ff7af20.html [accessed 20 September 2014]|
Trafficking in women and girls remained a serious and increasing problem. The government introduced programmes to counter violence in the family and trafficking in women and children.
Lithuanian law did not specifically define domestic violence as a crime, although changes in the Criminal Process Law which came into force late in 2004 allowed the authorities to remove a domestic offender from the household and to keep the offender separate from the victim or other family members.
During the year, the National Programme of Prevention of Violence against Children and of Support for Children for 2005-2007 was established. The Programme aimed to reduce violence against children, raise public awareness of the problem and increase children's ability to recognize different forms of abuse and so better protect themselves.
Trafficking of women and girls
According to a survey issued by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the number of people being trafficked to work in the sex trade increased following Lithuania's entry into the European Union (EU) in 2004. About 2,000 women and girls were taken abroad illegally. Nearly a quarter ended up in the UK where about 15 Lithuanian women a month aged between 18 and 25 were sold, according to Interpol.
The IOM survey also highlighted a marked increase in internal trafficking and a rise in the trafficking of minors. Organizations working with trafficked women and girls who had returned to Lithuania were believed to be reaching only 10 per cent of those affected.
Trafficking-related convictions and sentences increased in 2005, but the overall effort to investigate and prosecute allegations of trafficking still remained inadequate. Recent amendments to the Penal Code raised the maximum punishment for trafficking in human beings to 12 years' imprisonment if victims were adults and to 15 years if the victims were children.
On 24 May, the Lithuanian government adopted a new Programme on Control and Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings for 2005-2008, under the coordination of the Minister of the Interior. This programme aimed to reintegrate victims of trafficking, providing medical, legal and psychological support. It further intended to provide counselling and occupational training as part of the rehabilitation programme.
On 1 January, the Law on Equal Treatment came into force, implementing the prohibition of any direct or indirect discrimination on the grounds of age, sexual orientation, disability, racial or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs. While this was a welcome step, concerns remained about the vague definition of equal treatment in Article 2 of the Law.