[From the introductory text accompanying this report on the U.S. Department of State website: "In most cases, the Interim Assessment is intended to serve as a tool by which to gauge the anti-trafficking progress of countries that may be in danger of slipping a tier in the upcoming June 2010 TIP Report and to give them guidance on how to avoid a Tier 3 ranking. It is a tightly focused progress report, assessing the concrete actions a government has taken to address the key deficiencies highlighted in the June 2009 TIP Report. The Interim Assessment covers actions undertaken between the beginning of May – the cutoff for data covered in the June TIP Report – and November. Readers are requested to refer to the annual TIP Report for an analysis of large-scale efforts and a description of the trafficking problem in each particular country or territory."]
The Government of Azerbaijan has demonstrated minimal progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the 2009 TIP Report. In August 2009, the Cabinet of Ministers formally adopted the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for victims of trafficking and a list of trafficking indicators was approved in September 2009 to aid in victim identification. Fourteen ministries with designated points of contact were identified to participate in the implementation of the NRM and the National Action Plan adopted in February 2009. A large-scale forced labor case, involving approximately 496 victims, illustrated deficiencies in the implementation of the victim referral mechanism, however, and the government's ability and political will to quickly identify and assist victims of trafficking. Although the government reported allocating more than $600,000 for victim assistance from its budget, the government did not provide basic assistance for these labor trafficking victims; instead, foreign donors provided funding for food and other basic assistance for several hundred of these victims in desperate need of aid.
Although there were unconfirmed reports in 2008 of local law enforcement facilitating trafficking, the government did not report efforts to investigate or prosecute government officials for trafficking-related complicity since the release of the 2009 Report. In October 2009, the government renovated a section of its trafficking shelter to provide needed assistance for child victims, but no child trafficking victims were identified or assisted during the assessment period. Previously, there was no child trafficking shelter operating in the country and all identified child victims received assistance at a government-run child homeless shelter for a maximum of 30 days before they were returned to the streets.