Romania (Tier 2)
Romania is a source and transit country for men and women from Moldova, Ukraine, and Russia trafficked to Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece, and Austria for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Romanian children are trafficked within the country for sexual exploitation and forced begging. Roma women and girls are highly vulnerable to trafficking.
The Government of Romania does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In November 2006, the government implemented a new trafficking-specific victim-witness coordination program and assisted 26 victims of trafficking. The government improved cooperation with anti-trafficking NGOs and allocated $250,000 in 2006 to NGOs for use in anti-trafficking efforts in 2007. In December 2006, the government launched a national database to assist victim identification and referral efforts. In the coming year, Romania should increase efforts to develop a national victim referral system and standards, and to train police to ensure that victims are identified and not inappropriately fined or otherwise penalized. The government should conduct a demand-reduction public awareness campaign, targeting clients of the sex trade.
Romania continued its law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Romania prohibits trafficking for the purposes of both sexual and labor exploitation through Law no. 678/2001, which prescribes penalties of 3 to 13 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. In 2006, police conducted 61 investigations, down from 231 in 2005. During the reporting period, 780 persons were prosecuted, resulting in the conviction of 187 traffickers, down from 235 convictions in 2005. Romania demonstrated improved progress in the sentencing of traffickers during the reporting period. In 2006, 164 convicted traffickers served time in prison ranging from 6 months to 15 years, while 23 traffickers served no time in prison. This is a significant improvement from 2005 when more than 40 percent of convicted traffickers served no prison time.
Romania continued its efforts to improve victim protection. The government established 15 regional victim assistance centers in 2006, which identified 79 victims from September through December 2006; these centers are responsible for implementing the victim-witness coordination project and for identifying and referring victims to NGOs and government shelters. Although the government operated at least nine trafficking shelters at the state level, the quality and consistency varied from region to region; some shelters were temporarily closed during the reporting period due to a lack of funding and maintenance. The government identified a total of 2,285 victims throughout the year; 476 victims received assistance from either government agencies or NGOs, a significant increase from 175 victims assisted in 2005. According to law, NGOs that provide services to trafficking victims have government funding priority. Although some law enforcement agencies have victim identification procedures, there are no national victim identification or referral procedures to systematically transfer victims to NGOs or state-run shelters. Some law enforcement officers may refer victims based on personal relationships with local NGOs. In practice, victims were frequently not identified by authorities when detained for unlawful acts they committed as part of their being trafficked; they were penalized for these acts as a result. Victims were encouraged to assist in trafficking investigations, although a lack of faith in law enforcement and fear of retribution from traffickers sometimes limited victim cooperation. In 2006, the government made victim testimony easier by changing the law to permit trafficking victims to use video testimony.
The Government of Romania demonstrated increased efforts to prevent human trafficking during the reporting period. The government funded several NGOs to produce anti-trafficking campaigns at both national and local levels. From July through December 2006, the government conducted a labor migration campaign that warned of the dangers of trafficking. The government also conducted a campaign targeting the Roma, a highly vulnerable population to trafficking; the government translated the campaign materials into Romany. The government worked with an NGO to promote trafficking awareness leading up to and during the World Cup Soccer Championship in Germany in June 2006.