ROMANIA (Tier 2)
Romania is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Romanian men, women, and children are trafficked to Spain, Italy, Greece, the Czech Republic, and Germany for commercial sexual exploitation, forced begging, and forced labor in the agriculture, construction, and service sectors. Men and women from Romania are trafficked to Cyprus, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Poland, Portugal, Belgium, and Turkey, Sweden, Hungary, and Denmark for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Romanian men, women, and children are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor including forced begging and petty theft. In 2008, sixty-nine percent of victims identified were trafficked for forced labor. Romania is a destination country for a small number of women from Moldova, Colombia, and France trafficked into forced prostitution and a small number of men from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Honduras trafficked for forced labor.
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 2008, the government significantly increased its funding of NGOs providing victim assistance, made notable improvements in victim referrals by law enforcement, and continued efforts to raise awareness of both sex and labor trafficking. The government also demonstrated strong cooperation with foreign law enforcement counterparts, resulting in the disruption of several high-profile trafficking rings. However, the number of victims who received government-funded assistance significantly decreased in 2008. Although 69 percent of identified victims were trafficked for the purpose of labor exploitation, the government was again unable to report significant efforts to address labor trafficking. The Government of Romania announced plans in March 2009 to reorganize the government's lead anti-trafficking agency – the National Agency against Trafficking in Persons (NAATIP). Experts expressed concern that the proposed reorganization could reduce the authority and independence of NAATIP, and could negatively affect government cooperation with NGOs, and victim treatment, assistance, and protection.
Recommendations for Romania: Take concerted steps to investigate and punish acts of labor trafficking; increase the number of victims provided access to government-funded assistance; and provide victim sensitivity training for judges.
Romania sustained its law enforcement efforts over the reporting period. Romania prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through Law no. 678/2001, which prescribes penalties of 3 to 15 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. In 2008, authorities investigated 494 new cases, up from 232 new cases in 2007. The government prosecuted 329 individuals for trafficking in 2008, compared to 398 individuals prosecuted in 2007. During the reporting period, Romania convicted 125 trafficking offenders, down from 188 individuals convicted in 2007. During the reporting period, 106 of the 125 convicted traffickers served some time in prison; 19 traffickers were given suspended sentences and served no time in prison. In 2008, forty-eight traffickers were sentenced to one to five years' imprisonment, 56 traffickers were sentenced to five to 10 years' imprisonment, and two traffickers were sentenced to more than 10 years' imprisonment. There were no reports that government officials were involved in trafficking during the reporting period.
Romania demonstrated adequate efforts to protect and assist victims of trafficking during the reporting period. In 2008, the government provided $270,000 in support to four NGOs to provide assistance to victims of trafficking compared to $72,000 in 2007. Three hundred-six victims were provided with government-funded assistance, down from 669 victims assisted by the government in 2007. An additional 234 victims were assisted by non-government funded programs. In 2008, the government identified 1,240 victims, compared to 1,662 victims identified in 2007. In 2008, there were at least 649 identified victims of forced labor and at least 287 identified victims of sexual exploitation. The government operated nine shelters for victims of trafficking, though their quality varied and most victims preferred to go to NGO-operated shelters. Victims were encouraged to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions; 1,053 victims assisted such law enforcement efforts in 2008. Foreign victims receive a 90-day reflection period to decide whether they would like to cooperate in a criminal proceeding. Law enforcement proactively identified and referred 540 victims of trafficking for assistance. While the rights of victims were generally respected and victims were not punished for acts committed as a result of being trafficked, some judges were disrespectful toward female victims of sex trafficking which discouraged victims from participating in trafficking cases.
Romania continued its efforts to raise awareness and prevent human trafficking during the reporting period. The government, in conjunction with NGOs, conducted two demand reduction campaigns that specifically targeted clients of the sex trade. The government also worked with counterparts in the Czech Republic and IOM to raise awareness about Romanians trafficked to the Czech Republic for forced labor. In 2008, the government provided 24 trafficking awareness training sessions for Romanian troops prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions.