U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan (Tier 2 Watch List)

Kazakhstan is a source, transit, and destination country for men and women from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Ukraine trafficked to Russia and the U. A. E. for purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Kazakhstani men and women are trafficked internally and to the U. A. E. , Turkey, Israel, Greece, Russia, and Germany for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor.

The Government of Kazakhstan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Kazakhstan is placed on Tier 2 Watch List because it failed to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking from the previous year, specifically efforts to convict and sentence traffickers to time in prison and efforts to provide adequate victim assistance and protection. Kazakhstan convicted only one trafficker in 2006, a significant decrease from 13 convictions in 2005. Legislative amendments enacted in March 2006 were expected to improve the government's ability to convict traffickers and increase the amount of resources devoted to victim protection. Despite implementation of the Law on Social Assistance, passed in April 2005, which provided a mechanism to allow the government to provide grants to NGOs, government funding for anti-trafficking NGOs remained nominal. Government resources devoted to victim protection remain insufficient. The government should: improve efforts to investigate, prosecute, convict, and sentence government officials complicit in trafficking; increase the number of trafficking convictions and ensure convicted traffickers serve some time in prison; continue to provide labor trafficking and victim identification training to law enforcement officers; ensure trafficking victims are not punished; and provide some financial assistance for trafficking shelters.


Kazakhstan prohibits trafficking in persons for both labor and sexual exploitation through Articles 128 and 133 of its penal code, which prescribes penalties of up to 15 years' imprisonment, and which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes. Police conducted 13 trafficking investigations in 2006, down from 29 in 2005. In 2006, authorities initiated seven trafficking prosecutions, up from five cases prosecuted in 2005. A conviction was obtained against only one trafficker in 2006, compared with 13 convictions obtained in 2005. Sentencing data was unavailable for 2006. The Ministry of Internal Affairs conducted 80 training events for police officers, primarily through the Anti-Trafficking Training Center, and for prosecutors and judges on techniques for detecting, investigating, prosecuting, and adjudicating trafficking cases. Kazakhstan conducted several joint trafficking investigations with various governments. There was evidence of complicity in trafficking by individual border guards, migration police, prosecutors, and police. The government should increase efforts to investigate and prosecute the officials suspected of complicity. The government investigated 32 police officers for issuing fraudulent documents in 2006; it did not make the results of these investigations public. No officials were prosecuted, convicted, or sentenced to time in prison for trafficking complicity in 2006.


Government efforts to assist and protect victims improved over the reporting period, however, additional resources should be devoted to assisting trafficking victims. The comprehensive anti-trafficking law passed in March 2006 provides identified victims with temporary residency and relief from deportation. The law also ensures that victims are not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. Some unidentified victims were detained in jail and prevented from leaving the country for periods ranging from a few days to several months while their claims were examined. Some unidentified victims may have been fined or deported. The government permitted identified victims to remain in Kazakhstan for the duration of the criminal investigation. Many victims refuse to testify for fear of retribution. Kazakhstan has not devoted sufficient resources to effectively provide protection to identified trafficking victims. Local law enforcement has a mechanism to refer victims to crisis centers and NGOs for assistance and shelter. Upon return to the country, border police referred and repatriated Kazakhstani victims to NGOs. In 2006, the government provided financial assistance to victims trafficked abroad. Some local governments provided some in-kind assistance to NGO trafficking shelters.


The government conducted active public awareness efforts. In 2006, more than 1,900 articles on trafficking were published in state-run national and regional newspapers and 800 segments were broadcast on radio and television. Surveys show significant public awareness of the dangers of trafficking. Law enforcement officials met with community groups to discuss trafficking. Law enforcement regularly inspected labor recruitment and tourism agencies to verify their legitimacy. Kazakhstan has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.


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