Trafficking in Persons Interim Assessment - Latvia
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||24 February 2010|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Interim Assessment - Latvia, 24 February 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b8e7a74c.html [accessed 18 May 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.|
[From the introductory text accompanying this report on the U.S. Department of State website: "In most cases, the Interim Assessment is intended to serve as a tool by which to gauge the anti-trafficking progress of countries that may be in danger of slipping a tier in the upcoming June 2010 TIP Report and to give them guidance on how to avoid a Tier 3 ranking. It is a tightly focused progress report, assessing the concrete actions a government has taken to address the key deficiencies highlighted in the June 2009 TIP Report. The Interim Assessment covers actions undertaken between the beginning of May – the cutoff for data covered in the June TIP Report – and November. Readers are requested to refer to the annual TIP Report for an analysis of large-scale efforts and a description of the trafficking problem in each particular country or territory."]
The Government of Latvia has demonstrated progress in addressing human trafficking problems since the release of the 2009 TIP Report. The percentage of victims assisted by government-funded anti-trafficking programs increased significantly – from 43 percent in 2008 to 71 percent in 2009 – although NGOs continued to report difficulties with certifying victims of trafficking as eligible for government-funded rehabilitation services, pursuant to the Social Services and Social Assistance Law enacted in 2006. The police increased efforts to identify victims of trafficking among women in street prostitution. Various government ministries used press conferences, websites, visits to schools, and a travelers' hotline to raise public awareness about the dangers of trafficking associated with seeking employment abroad.
In a positive development, since the release of the 2009 Report, the Latvian government has reported sentencing more trafficking offenders to imprisonment.
Four of nine traffickers convicted during the first 10 months of 2009 were given prison sentences, compared with three out of 11 traffickers convicted in 2008. Significant reductions to the national budget required to deal with Latvia's economic crisis had an impact on all aspects of security, law enforcement, and social spending. As a result, the government was unable to provide law enforcement officials, border guards, and labor inspectors with specialized training on forced labor cases, and it postponed anticipated anti-trafficking training for judges and prosecutors until 2010.