U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Tajikistan
Tajikistan (Tier 2)
Tajikistan is a source country for women and children trafficked to the U.A.E., Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iran for purpose of sexual exploitation; men are trafficked to Russia for labor exploitation. In 2005, at least 420 women were trafficked to the U.A.E. and other Arab countries for sexual exploitation, according to IOM. IOM confirmed that 2,000 men were trafficked to Russia to labor in the construction and agricultural industries. Media reports linked trafficking rings to financing terrorist organizations, although the government denies such reports.
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 continued to demonstrate commitment and interest in combating human trafficking. The government drafted a national action plan that, when formally adopted, will coordinate the government's actions and clarify its goals. The government should focus on amending its trafficking law to clearly define human trafficking. Prosecutors should also receive training on how to effectively prosecute trafficking cases. The government should continue to cooperate with neighboring governments to seek cooperation in joint investigations, the extradition of traffickers, and repatriation of victims.
The Government of Tajikistan greatly improved its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the last year. Authorities conducted 81 trafficking investigations in 2005, a substantial increase from 14 in 2004. The government prosecuted 57 trafficking cases; at the time of this report 17 of these prosecutions were still pending. Twenty-eight traffickers were convicted in 2005. Specific sentencing data on these 28 traffickers was unavailable, although the average sentence for convicted traffickers ranged from five to 12 years in prison. There were no suspended sentences; all 28 convicted traffickers were sentenced to time in prison. Government corruption in trafficking activity remained a concern; traffickers used their contacts in government agencies to illegally obtain false documents. In 2005, the 14 low-level law enforcement officers who were arrested during the previous reporting period for engaging in the commercial sexual exploitation of underage girls were dismissed from their positions.
The Tajik Government did not improve its protection of trafficking victims during the reporting period, due in part to a lack of funding. The government did not provide direct shelter facilities for victims, nor did it provide financial support to NGOs that assisted victims; however, it did work with international organizations to establish shelters and to assist and repatriate Tajik victims from abroad. In 2005, officials from the government and IOM traveled to the U.A.E. to assist in the repatriation of 48 Tajik women and one man. Once the action plan is enacted, the Ministry of Health will provide victims with medical and psychological treatment. The government encourages victims to assist in the investigation process and provide testimony during trials.
The government conducted limited trafficking awareness efforts over the last year, though it did improve efforts to monitor immigration patterns for trafficking activity. The Ministry of Interior opened an Intelligence and Analytical Center for Counter-Narcotics and Trafficking in Persons in February 2006. Border Guards are trained to screen for potential traffickers and victims. Authorities established a data analysis center at the Dushanbe Airport to monitor travelers' data in and out of the country. In early 2006, the State Migration Service established a database to track trafficking acts. In February 2006, the government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with IOM that will coordinate IOM programs and government efforts. The government cooperated with local and international NGOs to raise awareness among more than 71,000 students at the high school and university levels. The awareness campaign included lectures, theater shows on trafficking, television and radio programming, brochures, and leaflets.