U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Georgia

Georgia (Tier 3)

[*Please note: Georgia was updated to Tier 2 per President George W. Bush, Presidential Determination No. 2003-35, September 9, 2003.]

Georgia is a source country for women trafficked primarily to Turkey, Greece, and the UAE, with smaller numbers trafficked to Israel, Spain, Portugal and the United States for purposes of sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and forced labor. Thousands of children living in the streets and in orphanages are vulnerable to trafficking.The Government of Georgia does not fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and it is not making significant efforts to do so. Georgia is a country with limited resources, exacerbated by 300,000 displaced persons and three breakaway republics outside government control. While the government made some efforts to strengthen law enforcement coordination, and advanced closer to amending its criminal legislation, its efforts were unorganized and lagged behind those of NGOs.


The government conducted few preventive efforts. The National Action Plan issued by the President in 2003 envisages a number of preventive activities yet to be implemented. The Ombudsperson's office created a working group with NGOs active on trafficking in persons but did not implement specific programs. The Government Passport Office agreed to distribute prevention pamphlets produced by local NGOs, but after review, some NGOs complained that those pamphlets were not actually distributed at all. The government did not actively respond to the potential threat of child trafficking.


Georgian criminal law addresses some elements of trafficking but lacks specific trafficking crimes, and has no articles related to victim protection. The Ministry of Justice led a legislative drafting group that presented a set of amendments to the criminal law to Parliament in early 2003, but as of April 2003, Parliament had not yet passed the draft amendments. The government did not report information on the number of trafficking-related arrests or convictions in the past year, although the Minister of the Interior appointed a six-person anti-trafficking unit currently conducting investigations. The new unit lacks resources, but its officers are cooperating with NGOs and participating in capacity-building trainings. The unit is conducting two international investigations with destination countries. Official corruption remains a problem and hinders effective responses to the problem.


The government does not have a system for victim assistance nor does it provide witness protection. There are no active referral mechanisms, nor methods to screen potential victims. The National Commission on Violence Against Women and Children logged one call to its hotline related to child trafficking. The government indicated its political will to respond to trafficking last year, which may lead to concrete actions in the future based on Presidential Decree 15 which recognized the link between trafficking and organized crime, and which approved the National Action Plan. Victim advocacy organizations will have a role in assisting the government to implement the plan, but they were excluded largely from the process of drafting. The Ministry of Interior began investigating establishment of a safe location for repatriated victims, and while a potential facility was located, no donors or funds were identified to implement the program.


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