Trafficking in Persons Report
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
June 14, 2004
Report

ALBANIA (TIER 2)

Map of Europe and EurasiaAlbania is a source country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor, mostly to Greece and Italy, and to a lesser extent, the United Kingdom, France and The Netherlands. Children, especially from the Roma and Egyptian communities, are trafficked internationally for forced begging. Regional and international experts consider Albania to have significantly decreased as a transit country to Western Europe.

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Yelena is a 25-year-old Belarusian with a college degree. She responded to a Minsk employment agency's advertisement seeking nightclub dancers in Cyprus. The agency provided Yelena with a work visa, a three-month employment contract, and a written guarantee that the job would not require any sexual activities. Immediately upon arrival in Cyprus, the owners of the nightclub where she was to work confiscated her passport and told her she would be forced to work as a prostitute at the club. They also told Yelena that she would have to repay a "debt" to cover her travel and visa expenses. Over the next three months she was forced to work in the Cypriot sex industry, suffering physical and psychological abuse. The club owners confiscated her earnings as "debt" payments. Once the owners recovered their expenses, they released Yelena with nothing.

The Government of Albania does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Arrests and prosecutions for trafficking-related offenses increased significantly, and the government continued its prevention of human trafficking by speedboat across the Adriatic. The government improved its monitoring of government officials involved in trafficking; however the government should take further steps to prosecute and convict complicit government officials, and improve its prevention and reintegration programs.

Prosecution
Albanian law prohibits trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation and for forced labor, with penalties up to 15 years' imprisonment, with a maximum of life in prison for aggravating circumstances. In 2003, the government arrested 317 suspects for trafficking-related crimes, and imposed sentences in 75 of 102 convictions from two to over 10 years' imprisonment. Some of these resulted from the government's involvement in Operation Mirage II, a coordinated transnational l
aw enforcement operation. Some courts released convicted traffickers pending appeal without offering protection for witnesses and victims. Trafficking-related corruption was a problem; the government arrested four police officers on related charges, and investigated 11 cases of police involvement in trafficking. In a joint Italian-Albanian operation against a child trafficking ring, the government arrested and placed 16 suspects in pre-trial detention, including high-ranking customs and law enforcement officials. The government attacked trafficking through the Organized Crime Task Force, made up of select police and prosecutors. Albania's borders remained porous, though the government continued to improve interdiction at the country's main ports of exit and entry. The Vlora Anti-Trafficking Center (VATC) became operational in gathering information and creating regional anti-trafficking responses.

Protection
The government provided some facilities and personnel to assist trafficking victims. In July 2003, the government assumed operation of the National Reception Center for adult and child victims, previously known as the Linza Center. Police made ad hoc referrals to an NGO shelter in Vlora, which assisted 231 trafficking victims in 2003. In most cases, police screened victims at police stations then referred them to shelters. Under a new centralized referral system, police referred victims to the IOM for initial screening, and then to an appropriate shelter or international organization for further care. In remote prefectures, shelters were not available, and trafficking victims were at times held temporarily in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions until transported to shelters. While it finalized adoption of new witness protection legislation, the government signed a memorandum of understanding with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and several NGOs for ad hoc witness protection. In 2003, five witnesses were relocated to third countries under this arrangement.

Prevention
The government conducted few prevention programs, relying on NGOs and international organizations to carry out such activities. The Ministry of Education and the IOM jointly developed two trafficking awareness manuals for secondary schools. The first phase of the program targeted 36 schools in at-risk regions. The government formed a Child Trafficking Working Group, which drafted a national strategy on child trafficking, and prepared a draft memorandum of understanding with Greece to prepare for the repatriation of child victims in advance of the 2004 summer Olympics.

ARMENIA (TIER 2)

Armenia is primarily a source and transit country for women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation mainly to the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and Turkey, as well as Russia, Greece, and other European countries. Trafficking to Russia, Turkey and the U.A.E. for the purposes of labor exploitation was an increasingly significant problem. There were a few cases of trafficking in women from Uzbekistan to Armenia for sexual exploitation. Advocates expressed concerns about internal trafficking and trafficking of orphans, but no confirmed cases were uncovered.

The Government of Armenia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Cooperation between police and NGOs increased the number of investigations, and provided police a greater under-standing of international and domestic sources of trafficking. The government should improve legal instruments to create more effective tools for law enforcement and should improve the transparency of its anti-corruption programs.

Prosecution
While prosecution efforts improved and victim identification increased, courts handed down few convictions, and only on related crimes with low sentences. Article 132 of the criminal code, adopted in August 2003, prohibited trafficking in persons for "mercenary purposes" with a maximum penalty for aggravating circumstances of four to eight years of imprisonment. These penalties were not commensurate with other grave crimes, such as rape. Previous reports highlighted trafficking to the U.A.E., and during the reporting period, police investigated suspected trafficking operations to Dubai involving an estimated 90 women. Police initiated two criminal investigations under Article 132 on trafficking in persons and 17 under Article 262 (operating a brothel), nine of which referred to pimping abroad or trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation. The sentences handed down ranged from substantial fines and correctional labor to one year imprisonment. Prosecutors noted a continuing problem with definitional elements and weak penalties; the National Assembly was expected to consider amendments to the criminal code. Corruption was a problem, and two police officers and two airport officials received administrative penalties for abuse of power related to a trafficking operation to the U.A.E. Police conducted in-service training using examples from actual trafficking investigations. The government cooperated with Georgia and the U.A.E. in investigating and apprehending traffickers, including cooperating in the return of a suspected trafficker from the U.A.E. to stand trial in Armenia.

Protection
Law enforcement improved its record of victim identification and referrals to a service-providing NGO. In one operation, police identified eight foreign prostitutes, suspected they were victims and referred them to an NGO for assistance. Armenian NGOs provided most victim assistance, but cooperated well with police. In order to alleviate vulnerabilities of an at-risk group, the government adopted a program to provide apartments to children who graduated from orphanages, and provided assistance to poor families with needy children.

Prevention
Prevention activities increased during the reporting period, especially through the use of mass media. The National Police were featured in several training films and TV shows on trafficking, and the Ministry of Education approved anti-trafficking educational lectures for secondary and university students. In January of 2004, the government approved an anti-trafficking national action plan for 2004-2006. The government contributed the equivalent of $11,000 of its own funds to support the work of the National Anti-Trafficking Commission, and foreign donors provided the remaining funds. The government's Department for Migration and Refugees conducted extensive outreach on migration issues, which prevented a significant number of individuals from succumbing to trafficking, according to an independent survey.

AUSTRIA (TIER 1)

Austria is a transit and destination country primarily for women trafficked to Austria from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, particularly Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine, for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The final destinations for most victims transiting through Austria are other European Union (EU) countries. Austrian police continued to notice increased trafficking of Romanian boys and Bulgarian girls to engage in begging, stealing, and possible sexual exploitation. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Task Force on Trafficking estimates 4,000 victims of trafficking in Vienna alone.

The Government of Austria fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government was particularly strong in mounting cooperative efforts with authorities from other countries, at both national and sub-national levels, to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases. Austrian authorities should take steps to ensure that convicted traffickers receive heavier sentences.

Prosecution
Austria expanded efforts to punish trafficking in persons in 2003. Several articles in the criminal code specifically prohibit trafficking and trafficking-related situations and impose sufficiently severe penalties. In February 2004, the Austrian parliament adopted an amendment to article 217 of the criminal code that expands the definition of trafficking to include exploitation of labor and the trafficking of organs. Under article 217, the key provision for the prosecution of traffickers, the government prosecuted 223 cases. The most recent conviction statistics, from 2002, indicate that the government filed 70 cases against suspected traffickers under this article, with 27 convictions. Seventeen of these persons spent some time in prison, with the majority serving a year or less. Prosecutors often rely on other provisions that criminalize alien smuggling, due to the difficulty of proving unlawful coercion and deception. Austrian authorities reported 744 prosecutions initiated in 2003 for alien smuggling crimes, some of which may involve suspected traffickers. The Interior Ministry's Federal Bureau of Criminal Affairs has a division dedicated solely to combating human trafficking. Four Austrian judges specialize in trafficking cases. Austrian law enforcement officials have established contacts with authorities in countries of origin to facilitate the prosecution of suspected traffickers. Because of a rise in trafficked victims from Romania, Austrian police have improved their liaison with Romanian counterparts. The government supports and funds NGO and government sensitivity training for police and other public authorities in Austria and in other countries. In April 2003, the government helped fund the first judicial training program for Stability Pact countries.

Protection
The Austrian Government continues strong efforts to protect victims of trafficking. The government funds NGOs that provide shelter, legal assistance, and health services to trafficking victims. Victims also have direct access to government-funded services, including women's shelters, located in each province. The Austrian Government commendably provides temporary resident status for trafficked victims. Officials have authority to delay repatriation proceedings pending completion of a court case. Victims of trafficking also have the opportunity to gain permanent residency in Austria. The Austrian Eastern European Cooperation, which forms part of the Austrian Development Assistance Organization, gave 1.7 million Euros to a women's shelter in Belgrade in 2003.

Prevention
The government worked actively with international and regional organizations (EU, Interpol, OSCE, and UN) and an NGO to carry out preventive programs domestically and throughout the region. The Ministry of Interior developed a new database to assist in tracking victims and perpetrators of trafficking. The Foreign Ministry developed and distributed information packets on trafficking for use in Austrian embassies and consulates in Eastern Europe.

AZERBAIJAN (TIER 2 - WATCH LIST)

Azerbaijan is primarily a country of origin and transit for trafficked men, women, and children for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Azerbaijani, Russian and Central Asian women and girls were trafficked from or through the country to the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Turkey and Pakistan for sexual exploitation. Men were trafficked to Turkey and Russia for forced labor and boys were trafficked internally for begging. Women and girls, some from orphanages, were trafficked internally from rural areas to the capital city for sexual exploitation.

The Government of Azerbaijan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. A more complete picture of trafficking in Azerbaijan warrants its inclusion in this report for the first time. In the absence of government identification, local and international experts catalogued a significant number of victims trafficked from or through Azerbaijan during the reporting period. The government merits the designation of Tier 2 Watch List because its efforts are in initial stages and progress is expected in the near future. Law enforcement officers were neither trained nor instructed on victim identification and did not adequately investigate trafficking, nor the extent to which government corruption facilitates it. The government should promptly adopt and fully implement its national action plan and undertake and implement necessary legal reform.

Prosecution
Trafficking was not specifically criminalized in the Azerbaijan criminal code. Slavery, rape, coercion into prostitution and inducing a minor into prostitution were used to prosecute trafficking crimes. In the absence of the crime of trafficking, the government reported 23 trafficking-related arrests, 20 of which resulted in convictions with sentences of imprisonment or fines. The government did not provide sentences, but most trafficking-related crimes carry maximum penalties between three to six years' imprisonment, except rape, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years' imprisonment. Corruption was a continuing problem during the reporting period and the government dismissed the chief of a regional passport registration office and two inspectors for issuing illegal citizenship identification cards to several individuals.

Protection
The government had no measures in place to protect victims or to refer them to NGOs. The government provided mandatory health screening and treatment to prostitutes, many of whom fit the trafficking profile. The government did not provide these individuals with information on trafficking, nor did they have a method for systematically referring such information to law enforcement authorities.

Prevention
While the Ministry of Interior coordinated the government's anti-trafficking activities, international organizations and NGOs conducted the bulk of anti-trafficking prevention. A government working group, under the leadership of international organizations, drafted elements of a comprehensive national action plan. The plan had not been finalized by March 2004. The Ministry of Interior improved its capacity to track potential traffickers and victims transiting through the airport. The government regularly communicated with neighboring governments on transnational crime issues, including trafficking in persons.

BELARUS (TIER 2)

Belarus is a country of origin for women and children trafficked to Western, Central, and Southern Europe, Russia, the Baltic states, Japan, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Officials and experts estimate that thousands of Belarusian women are trafficked each year.

The Government of Belarus does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government has recognized that trafficking is a serious problem in Belarus and has increased investigative efforts and overall awareness, despite resource constraints. Although more remains to be done, particularly in the area of protection and assistance to victims, the government of Belarus has demonstrated its political will to combat trafficking in persons.

Prosecution
The Belarusian criminal code provides specific penalties for trafficking for the purposes of sexual or other kinds of exploitation, though many prosecutors pursue trafficking crimes under sexual assault, abduction, or recruitment for sexual exploitation statutes. The government convicted 45 individuals for trafficking or trafficking-related abuses, with a majority of sentences ranging from two to five years. The Interior Ministry reported 191 investigations of alleged trafficking, including the trafficking of women abroad for sexual exploitation, the recruitment of women for the purpose of sexual exploitation abroad, and the abduction and recruitment of minors for prostitution. In April 2003, the Interior Ministry dismantled a criminal organization that had trafficked over 400 Belarusian women to Western Europe and the Middle East since 1997. In addition, it broke up 17 organized criminal groups connected to trafficking crimes. In an effort to improve police anti-trafficking operations, the government in 2003 collaborated with an international organization to produce a counter-trafficking operations handbook. Attention to trafficking at the borders has increased, but segments of the border remain largely uncontrolled. Corruption among government officials continues. The government uncovered a trafficking scheme in April 2003 involving two Belarusian officials, who are now under investigation. The Belarusian Government commendably collaborated with foreign governments to pursue trafficking investigations. For example, it assisted law enforcement agencies in Germany, England, Lithuania, Austria, and Poland on nine trafficking cases.

Protection
The Government of Belarus cooperates with NGOs to provide limited assistance to trafficking victims, although it does not directly fund such assistance programs. Belarus authorities did not arrest, fine, or charge victims with prostitution or immigration violations. NGOs reported a sharp increase in victim protection referrals from law enforcement officials, due in part to better awareness and to an increase in the number of trafficking investigations. The criminal code contains procedures for witness protection, but government officials contend that financial restraints limited the government's capacity to implement those procedures.

Prevention
The government's recognition of the trafficking problem in Belarus and its efforts to address the issue have increased trafficking awareness among government agencies. The government did not conduct an independent anti-trafficking information campaign during 2003, but state-controlled media outlets have increased news coverage of the issue. Labor and Education Ministry officials coordinated spot checks on organizations that arrange student exchanges and work-abroad programs. The Labor Ministry also continued to monitor and license activities of employment agencies offering Belarusian citizens labor contracts in foreign countries.

BELGIUM (TIER 1)
Belgium is a destination and transit country for trafficked persons, primarily young women from Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Europe, and Asia. Victims are destined for Belgium's larger cities or other European countries, for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Chinese victims are often young men destined for manual labor in restaurants and sweatshops.

The Government of Belgium fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government continued to show a well-coordinated system of protection and law enforcement, leading to numerous prosecutions and convictions. Despite sentencing guidelines allowing for higher penalties, actual sentences imposed by Belgian courts are often light. As a demand country, Belgium would benefit from domestic demand-reduction and awareness programs.

Prosecution
Belgian police continued to take a sophisticated approach to trafficking investigations and obtained a significant number of convictions in 2003. Belgium's anti-trafficking legislation focuses on international trafficking for the purposes of both sexual and non-sexual exploitation. The law provides penalties for severe forms of trafficking commensurate with those for rape and sexual assault, ranging from one to 15 years of imprisonment with the possibility of life imprisonment for crimes against victims under 10 years of age. Penalties in recent years rarely exceeded eight years. In 2003, the federal police opened 126 new trafficking investigations; 97 involved sexual exploitation and 29 dealt with economic exploitation. Conviction data for 2003 was not yet available. In 2002, courts convicted 130 defendants on trafficking-related charges; prison sentences ranged from three months to eight years, with an average sentence of three years. A large proportion of sentences included fines averaging approximately $5,800. In one notable case in 2003, a judge determined that the exorbitantly high transport fee and extremely exploitative transport conditions of a smuggling case amounted to human trafficking and sentenced the offender to 10 years. The government posted liaison officers in source countries to assist in case development, and signed numerous bilateral judicial agreements, most recently with Thailand.

Protection
The government continued to financially support and refer victims to three specialized trafficking shelters. The shelter staff determines a victim's status and informs the police. Victims are initially provided a 45-day "reflection" period to consider whether to assist in the investigation of their traffickers; subsequent government protection is directly linked to a victim's willingness to testify. Residency permits, initially granted for three to six months, are renewable during legal proceedings. The government generally approves long-term residency for victims whose cooperation leads to a conviction. The government repatriates those who choose not to cooperate. Victims may qualify for a humanitarian visa based on a successful showing of hardship upon return. Shelters provide a full range of services, including legal assistance for victims initiating civil suits against their traffickers. The government eased its directive on work permits to allow victims to obtain temporary employment and to change employment without seeking permission. In 2002, the latest year for which statistics were reported, the three shelters reported assisting over 500 victims.

Prevention
The government provided international assistance for preventive education campaigns in source countries; it was weaker with regards to demand-reduction campaigns in Belgium. Belgium funds international organizations conducting regional and global anti-trafficking projects. The government also funds Belgium's independent Center for Equal Opportunity and the Fight Against Racism, which is charged with collecting trafficking data and making recommendations for government action. The King Baudouin Foundation sponsored a major anti-trafficking awareness-raising program in Belgium, which involved the participation of the royal family and the prime minister, and resulted in nationwide media coverage of the problem of trafficking in persons both domestically and abroad.


BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (TIER 2)

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is a country of transit and destination for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Victims originate primarily from Moldova, Ukraine, and Romania, and to a lesser extent Russia, Belarus, and Serbia and Montenegro. Victims also transit to Slovenia and Croatia, and on to Western Europe. BiH is increasingly a country of origin for women trafficked internally and externally to Western Europe.

The Government of BiH does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government's efforts were reclassified from Tier 3 to Tier 2 in September 2003 after it strengthened its law enforcement response and anti-corruption measures. The government successfully took control of policing in 2003 and prosecuted and convicted organized trafficking figures, but the government should increase its prevention activities by squarely confronting the problem of official corruption.

Prosecution
The BiH Criminal Code prohibits human trafficking for the purposes of sexual, labor, and other kinds of exploitation, and prescribes penalties of up to 10 years' imprisonment, including increased penalties for aggravated circumstances. In March 2004, four defendants operating with a notorious trafficking kingpin were sentenced up to nine years in prison for human trafficking and sexual slavery. Fourteen associates were also charged and placed in detention. These convictions led to the dismantling of one of the largest human trafficking networks in the Balkans. In total, during the reporting period, courts initiated 17 prosecutions against 49 defendants, and handed down 15 convictions, all on trafficking and related crimes. Regrettably, courts imposed very low sentences averaging only a few months. The state level inter-agency Strike Force against human trafficking and illegal migration, in close cooperation with local law enforcement and international police advisors, gathered intelligence and directed investigations. The anti-trafficking National Coordinator established a system of police liaison officers stationed throughout the country to facilitate information-exchange and investigations. Official corruption remained a problem, but the government increased its anti-corruption efforts. In February 2004, Federal authorities arrested the local Interpol Deputy Director on corruption charges.

Protection
In late March 2004, victim referral procedures were formalized into a by-law to the Law on Movement and Stay of Foreigners, but the addition had not yet been made formally binding. During the majority of the reporting period, the police anti-trafficking units made ad hoc referrals to NGOs who offered comprehensive services and shelter. Some law enforcement officials continued to criminally detain and remove potential trafficking victims without instituting proper screening or referral. In general though, the government improved its protection of victim witnesses. In a major prosecution, the government relocated six witnesses to third countries. Humanitarian visas were issued to provide victims with temporary residency, but the government had not reported official numbers of recipients.

Prevention
Responding to criticisms that it failed to prioritize and coordinate efforts at the state level, the government instituted a National Coordinator's Office to report directly to the BiH Council of Ministers. In December and February, the National Coordinator's Office trained police officers, judges, prosecutors and State Border Service (SBS) Agents. The training sessions focused on international and domestic anti-trafficking laws, victim identification and assistance, child trafficking, and case development. The SBS prevented several illegal border crossings and referred potential victims to IOM for screening. The government did not sponsor public awareness or educational campaigns.

BULGARIA (TIER 2)

Bulgaria is a transit country, and to a lesser extent, a country of origin and destination for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Bulgarian victims are trafficked to 12 countries across Western, Southern, and Eastern Europe. Women and girls of the Roma minority continue to be disproportionately represented among Bulgarian-origin victims. Victims are trafficked to Bulgaria from Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Russia, and Uzbekistan.

The Government of Bulgaria does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government passed the Law on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, which criminalizes trafficking and provides comprehensive victim assistance. The government should vigorously implement the new legislation, and strengthen its efforts on prevention.

Prosecution
New anti-trafficking legislation criminalizes all forms of trafficking in persons and fulfills international obligations. Potential prison sentences range from 5 to 15 years and property may be confiscated. The courts sentenced one person to 12 years' imprisonment for acts relating to trafficking. The government reported six prosecutions against 13 defendants under the new legislation. The Anti-Trafficking Task Force headed by the Ministry of Interior's National Service for Combating Organized Crime (NSBOP) gathers intelligence on trafficking. Official corruption impedes Bulgaria's efforts, and the Prosecutor's Office launched 399 investigations against police officers, resulting in indictments against two officers for human trafficking charges, three for rape, and one for forced prostitution. The government assigned nine criminal liaison officers to destination countries. Although joint investigations were conducted, no information was available to confirm any resulting prosecutions.

Protection
NGOs continued to provide the bulk of victim assistance in Bulgaria. With a grant from Germany, the State Agency for Child Protection cooperated with the IOM to train local experts and to monitor the reintegration and provision of services for child trafficking victims. In early 2004, the government passed regulations authorizing the establishment of shelters and centers for victims' assistance and protection. The Ministry of Interior identified 104 trafficking victims in 2003, and referred 86 of them to IOM. The new law provides foreign victims with the possibility of special residency status if they are willing to cooperate with police. Witnesses may remain in Bulgaria as long as their assistance is required and are provided with access to government work and education programs. Victims unwilling to cooperate may remain in country for 40 days, with the possibility of extension for children. The government has not provided information as to implementation of these provisions.

Prevention
The government implemented numerous training sessions for law enforcement personnel and the media throughout 2003. As part of the Employment Protection Act, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy implemented projects to address unemployment among at-risk populations for trafficking. The National Committee is intended to implement and coordinate activities between state bodies, local authorities and NGOs; however, the government provided no reports on its activities.

CROATIA (TIER 2 - WATCH LIST)

Croatia is primarily a transit country for women trafficked into sexual exploitation, mostly from Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Slovakia, to Western Europe. There are increasing reports that Croatia is becoming more of a destination country, particularly for women from BiH trafficked seasonally for the purpose of sexual exploitation in seaside resort towns.

The Government of Croatia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Croatia is on Tier 2 Watch List due to lack of evidence of sufficient progress from the previous year, especially in supporting the National Committee for the Suppression of Trafficking in Persons (the Committee), and in victim identification. While the government achieved its first trafficking-related conviction and provided some funds for a new trafficking shelter, it should be more proactive in all areas of anti-trafficking efforts, including providing sufficient financial and political support for the Committee. The government should also more vigorously investigate trafficking and pursue cases in a transparent and accountable manner.

Prosecution
Croatia's ability to identify victims and follow through with appropriate law enforcement actions remained inadequate. Croatia does not specifically prohibit trafficking in persons, but prohibits related crimes such as slavery, international prostitution and illegal human transport, which carry penalties of from three months to 10 years. In December, for the first time, a Croatian court sentenced a defendant to three years in prison for slavery and importation of prostitution. In the past year, the government initiated 30 trafficking-related investigations on suspicion of illegal migrant smuggling, international prostitution, and slavery. Under the leadership of the IOM and domestic NGOs, 150 judges and prosecutors were trained to recognize, investigate, and prosecute trafficking cases. Two hundred and fifty police officers were trained through regular in-service training or through specialized courses on trafficking-recognition. The government provided some information to border guards on detection of trafficking victim identification.

Protection
The government's support for victim protection improved during the reporting period, though financial assistance was minimal. The Croatian Parliament passed a Law on Foreigners that permits trafficking victims to apply for temporary residency status for 90 days, renewable for up to two years. The government, working with NGOs, supported a shelter for trafficking victims and three reception centers to accommodate victims on a temporary basis. The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare signed a specific memorandum of understanding with IOM on victim protection and assistance. The government funded the operating costs for a national SOS hotline devoted solely to trafficking. The government was developing regulations for implementation of a new witness protection law that entered into force on January 1, 2004.

Prevention
The government did not provide sufficient financial support for anti-trafficking activities nor did it provide adequate institutional support for the Committee. The Committee held only four meetings since May 2002. The newly elected government came into power in December 2003 and, as of March 2004, had not assigned the new members of the Committee. The former government formed a lower-level "Operational Team" to support the Committee, but it met infrequently with few concrete results. The government relied on NGOs to carry out most activities listed in the national action plan. The Ministries of Labor and Interior conducted training sessions for staff that included components on trafficking. The government provided limited funding for two NGOs to conduct general awareness raising activities regarding trafficking.

CYPRUS1 (TIER 2 - WATCH LIST)

Cyprus is a destination country for women trafficked from Eastern Europe, primarily Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Russia, Belarus, and Bulgaria for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Traffickers who forced women into prostitution generally recruited their victims to work as dancers in cabarets and nightclubs on short-term "artiste" visas, for work in pubs and bars on employment visas, or for illegal work on tourist visas.

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1The Republic of Cyprus exercises control over the southern two-thirds of the island. The northern part is ruled by a Turkish Cypriot administration that has proclaimed itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" ("TRNC"), and is not recognized by the United States or any other country except Turkey.

The Government of Cyprus does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Cyprus is included in this year's report due to evidence of significant trafficking from source countries, advocates in Cyprus and the Ombudswoman's 2003 trafficking report. Cyprus is on Tier 2 Watch List because its efforts against trafficking are based largely on the government's commitments to implement the Ombudswoman's recommendations in the near future. The government's efforts were underway at the close of the reporting period. The government should focus specifically on understanding the nature of the problem better and developing a partnership with NGOs to improve victim identification and support.

Prosecution
Cyprus' comprehensive anti-trafficking law prohibits trafficking in women and children across international borders for the purposes of sexual exploitation and prescribes punishment of up to 20 years' imprisonment. The law is gender-specific and does not address internal or labor trafficking. Officials pursued isolated cases of trafficking under forced prostitution and related crimes. In March, Cypriot courts convicted four individuals of forcing women into prostitution. Late in the reporting period, Cypriot police established the Office of Trafficking and Cyber-crime and the Human Trafficking Prevention Unit. Neither entity had sufficient time to measure successful results. In December, the government signed a legal cooperation agreement with Bulgaria dealing with international crime and trafficking.

Protection
Anti-trafficking legislation provides protections for women and child trafficking victims, but such protections have rarely been mobilized. Anti-trafficking legislation designates the head of the Welfare Department as the "Guardian of Victims," but the government did not identify specific resources for trafficking victims. During the reporting period, three victims were referred to the Welfare Department, and were offered general assistance. Like other foreign workers, "artistes" are required to undergo a medical exam upon arrival and renewal of their visas, but "artistes" must additionally be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Towards the end of 2003, police began bringing "artistes" to district police stations for personal interviews without employers present, and they increased checks on cabarets. Such efforts were intended to expand opportunities to this vulnerable group to file complaints that would enable police to initiate investigations. The law provides victims the right to seek compensation, shelter and medical care, as well as to change employers or have a guardian appointed.

Prevention
In an attempt to prevent the exploitation of "artistes," the government gave arriving "artistes" information sheets, available in several languages, explaining their rights and obligations and providing emergency information, but it had no anti-trafficking programs targeting other vulnerable groups, nor the public at large. The Ombudswoman's report generated brief media attention and some ongoing inter-ministerial dialogue. The Attorney General's office coordinated the work of the anti-trafficking Group of Experts, which included representatives from relevant ministries, police and NGOs. The Group of Experts was formulating a national strategy for official approval during the reporting period.

CZECH REPUBLIC (TIER 1)

The Czech Republic is a source, transit, and destination country for women trafficked from the former Soviet Union (in particular, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova), Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and Asia into the Czech Republic and onward to Western Europe, and to a lesser extent, the United States, Japan, and Mexico for sexual exploitation. Small numbers of Czech men are trafficked to the United States and small numbers of men from former Soviet Union are trafficked to the Czech Republic for forced labor. Foreign and Czech women are also trafficked within the country.

The Government of the Czech Republic fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In 2003, the government approved a National Strategy of Combating Trafficking in Human Beings for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation, cooperated extensively with European governments in investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases, conducted strategic studies on the nature of trafficking in the Czech Republic, and launched a pilot program to improve victim assistance. But convictions and sentences remain low. Czech authorities should use trafficking legislation to give stronger penalties to convicted traffickers. The government should also expand the victim assistance pilot program nationwide, as planned, and provide the necessary funds. The Czech Government is considering the submission to its Parliament of a legislative proposal to regulate prostitution, which can contribute to the phenomenon of trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Prosecution
The Government of the Czech Republic specifically criminalizes the trafficking of individuals for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and the Cabinet has recently approved for submission to Parliament criminal code amendments to criminalize other forms of trafficking, such as trafficking for forced labor. Currently, Czech authorities prosecute forced labor cases under human-smuggling provisions. A special division of the Organized Crime Investigation Unit of the State Police is specifically trained and dedicated to trafficking crimes. This unit is authorized to use special investigative techniques such as electronic surveillance and undercover operations. During the reporting period, Czech authorities arrested 19 and convicted five other individuals under trafficking statues. Of the five convicted, only one received a prison sentence of one to five years; four received conditional sentences, akin to suspended sentences. Czech authorities also arrested 103 and convicted 80 individuals under pimping statutes, some of whom may be involved in trafficking. No government officials were indicted or convicted for corruption in connection with trafficking, but NGOs have reported victims' concerns about the involvement of individual border police officers facilitating border crossings for traffickers. The Czech Government cooperated extensively with other Central and Eastern European governments in investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases. The Czech Republic participated in seven cooperative international investigations in 2003, and efforts with Austria, Germany, and Spain resulted in trafficking convictions. The Ministry of Justice extradited 117 individuals during the reporting period, some of whom were extradited on trafficking charges to Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, and Serbia and Montenegro.

Protection
Under the current Czech system, victims who are willing to cooperate with police may be granted temporary residence in anonymous safe houses run by NGOs, a work permit, and access to social assistance. The government provided funding to NGOs to help victims find shelter and healthcare assistance. The Czech Republic's primary NGO on trafficking issues provided shelter and care to 30 victims and counseling to 350 victims in 2003. During the reporting period, some victims were treated as illegal immigrants and expressed fear of testifying due to safety concerns. In a major effort to address these issues and improve victim protection, the Czech Republic launched a victim assistance pilot program in October 2003 that is expected to go nationwide following a six-month trial period and evaluation. Under this pilot program, currently involving 10 individuals, trafficking victims receive a 30-day grace period for assistance and counseling during which a victim can decide whether to cooperate with the Czech police. Foreign victims who choose not to cooperate will be offered voluntary return to their home country. The Czech Government's initiation of the victim assistance pilot program is currently funded by the UN, but the Czech Government plans to fund it following the trial period. The government continued to fund a local branch of an international organization to assist victim repatriation.

Prevention
Partially funded by the Ministry of Justice, NGOs continued the successful primary and secondary school effort to educate Czech youth about the risks of working abroad and the ways that traffickers entrap women. The Foreign Ministry trained some consular officers in trafficking awareness and cooperation with NGOs. Czech consular officers in Romania, Bulgaria, Russian, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan ran joint projects with an international organization to make certain visa applicants aware of the risks of trafficking. The Czech Republic helped sponsor trafficking-related projects abroad, including a victim shelter in Moldova and an information campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Czech Republic approved its National Strategy of Combating Trafficking in Human Beings for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation in September 2003. The Czech Government signed a bilateral agreement with the Slovak Republic in January 2004 on joint border control that allows for greater exchange of information on cross-border crime, including trafficking. The Czech Republic has also instituted a new visa foil with increased security features.

DENMARK (TIER 1)

Denmark is primarily a destination country for women and children trafficked from Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the former Soviet Union (particularly Ukraine, Moldova, and Russia), Thailand, and African countries for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Victims also transit through Denmark to other European countries.

The Government of Denmark fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government demonstrated appreciable progress in the areas of protection and prevention, but needs to undertake more vigorous anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts.

Prosecution
Denmark has a trafficking in persons law criminalizing both sexual and non-sexual exploitation that came into effect in June 2002. The Danish Government did not make its first arrests under the law until December 2003, when police arrested five men on trafficking and pimping charges.
The trial of the five men plus one additional suspect began in April. Danish authorities reported no convictions during the reporting period. Under Danish law, penalties for trafficking are sufficiently severe, and the government provides specialized training to police officers to identify and combat trafficking and assist victims. Denmark cooperates with other governments and with organizations such as Europol, Eurojust, Interpol, Council of the Baltic Sea States, and the Police and Customs Cooperation in the Nordic Countries to investigate trafficking.

Protection
The Government of Denmark improved its protection of victims under its national action plan to Combat Trafficking in Women. The government provided partial funding to an NGO to provide shelters for foreign trafficking victims. These shelters provide security and access to professional services prior to repatriation. Consistent with the government's action plan, the NGO has begun to develop an international network of NGOs to provide better and safer repatriation services. A formal process is in place to transfer victims from police detention to NGO shelters. Danish law allows a 15-day legal stay for trafficking victims. Police rescued 14 victims from the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Romania. Of these 14 victims, only five accepted the 15-day stay; the rest chose to be immediately repatriated. The government encourages victims to testify in court against traffickers. According to police, a witness can provide recorded testimony usually within days of a trafficker's arrest, and this testimony can be used as evidence in a trial.

Prevention
The Danish Government continues to strengthen its prevention efforts. The national action plan to Combat Trafficking in Women was published in December 2002 and became fully effective in October 2003. Under the plan, the government and several NGOs published anti-trafficking advertisements in major newspapers that provided a hotline telephone number for victims and the public that would reach multilingual operators. The hotline provides information on support services, Danish laws, and guidelines on repatriation related to victim services. In the first seven months of operation, the hotline received 254 calls or e-mails. Also under the action plan, a government-supported NGO hired five employees to locate foreign prostitutes, collect information, and provide information on services. The government allocated an annual amount of $1.7 million to the action plan for the first three years.

ESTONIA (TIER 2 - WATCH LIST)

Estonia is a source country for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation both internally and abroad. Victims are usually trafficked to Finland, Sweden and the other Nordic countries, as well as Germany. There are also indications of internal trafficking typically from the northeast border region to the capital for prostitution. Estonia is a destination for foreign sex tourists, especially from neighboring countries.

The Government of Estonia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for lack of evidence of progress. High-ranking government officials condemned trafficking during the past year, but were slow to support such statements with institutional support or priority. The government should identify relevant focal points in each ministry and promptly establish a referral system for victim assistance, protection and increased outreach.

Prosecution
The government's prosecution record was unchanged from the previous reporting period. Trafficking in persons is prohibited in Estonia under related criminal articles on enslavement and abduction, with basic penalties of one to five years' imprisonment and increasing penalties up to 12 years for aggravated circumstances. Prosecutors prepared the government's very first trafficking case for trial during the reporting period, but as of April 2004, the trial had not commenced. The government conducted four abduction and enslavement investigations, and convicted eight organized crime figures for organized prostitution. A new police anti-trafficking task force investigated organized prostitution rings with trafficking-related elements. The government cooperated with neighboring countries on transnational and organized crime, and cooperated with at least one destination country prosecuting an Estonian trafficker in its jurisdiction.

Protection
The government increased its funding to crime victim programs, which would be applicable to trafficking victims, but no trafficking victims reportedly benefited from such protections. The government's new Crime Victims Compensation Act of 2003 enlarged the system of victim support and increased the amount of compensation the government could provide victims. The three Baltic States made a joint agreement on witness protection, and the 10 Baltic Sea States agreed to a region-wide witness protection program, which could apply to trafficking victim-witnesses. The government did not institute a referral system to NGOs for assistance, shelter or repatriation, although victims would be entitled to support under general (non-trafficking-specific) assistance programs.

Prevention
Estonia's efforts were slow and the government did not finalize a central strategy on prevention or law enforcement during the reporting period. The government led public discourse over the link between trafficking in persons and prostitution to determine a strategy for future action, but it did not institute a policy or plan during the reporting period. The National Anti-Trafficking Roundtable was formed as an informational clearinghouse and a central coordinating body with responsibility for drafting a national action plan. Lack of inter-agency coordination and identification of relevant focal points in each ministry hindered concrete actions. Funded by the Nordic-Baltic Campaign Against Trafficking in Women, the Ministry of Social Welfare conducted training and awareness-raising for social workers and schools nationwide. The Ministry of Social Welfare appointed two employees to coordinate the training sessions and support the National Roundtable. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs participated in various international anti-trafficking activities, including the Council of Europe and regional fora.

FINLAND (TIER 2)

Finland is a destination and transit country for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Traffickers often recruit women through surreptitious employment contracts and then force them into prostitution, or target women in the sex industry and force them to endure degrading conditions upon arrival in Finland. Victims are primarily from Russia and Estonia, and secondarily from Belarus, Latvia, Ukraine, Moldova and Southeast Asia (Thailand and the Philippines). Once in Finland, many victims are trafficked throughout the country and on to other Nordic countries and Western Europe.

The Government of Finland does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government's efforts improved in the past year, likely due to focused attention from the highest levels and stronger regional and bilateral programs. The lack of a criminal definition and institutionalized victim protections continued to hinder the government's progress, but improvement is expected with implementation of pending anti-trafficking legislation. The government should better educate the public about trafficking in Finland, especially focusing on the profile of a victim. Moreover, government efforts would benefit from an established a memorandum of understanding regarding information exchange and victim referral with NGOs.

Prosecution
Finnish law enforcement approached trafficking as organized prostitution and adeptly profiled the crime groups involved and cooperated within police services. But it did not evidence vigorous law enforcement nor did it provide any comprehensive statistics on its efforts. Law enforcement efforts suffered from the lack of a criminal statute on trafficking in persons. While some related criminal acts were prohibited, such as pimping, rape, fraud and sexual exploitation of a minor, the criminal code lacked other important elements. A specialized working group drafted new anti-trafficking criminal legislation to bring Finland in line with regional international standards. Border police made numerous arrests against organized prostitution rings, which resulted in court convictions from six months to one year's imprisonment. Finland provided criminal liaison officers in targeted source countries to enhance joint investigations and two regional investigations in early 2004 led to the disruption and arrest of several individuals trafficking Latvian and Estonian women into Finland. The government exercised extra-territorial jurisdiction over two Finnish nationals and arrested them for child sexual abuse in Estonia and Russia during the reporting period.

Protection
Finland has strong victim's rights laws, but lacks adequate victim assistance mechanisms; the government did not conduct widespread victim screening and rarely informed potential trafficking victims of such options. In some instances, the government offered potential victims the right to temporary residency in return for cooperation, but there was no referral system and, as a general rule, Baltic nationals were released without assistance, while Russians and others were deported. In a notable effort to improve, the government appointed a special rapporteur to analyze and provide recommendations for creating effective protection mechanisms for trafficking victims, and it withheld deporting the victims identified in police actions in the past year. The government funded the Nordic-Baltic Task Force on Trafficking in Persons to develop a specific regional protection and prevention initiative in Russia. Border guards were trained to identify organized prostitution crimes, and to offer women profiled in such a category the opportunity to speak out against their traffickers.

Prevention
The government focused its prevention efforts on border control and profiling of potential victims at points of entry. The government co-sponsored a major conference on child trafficking in June and partially funded the new Nordic-Baltic Task Force. The Ministry for Social Affairs ran an anti-trafficking campaign focusing on demand-reduction. During the reporting period, the government provided funding from slot-machine revenues to NGOs for services such as a phone hotline for abused or battered women and a rape crisis center. Such programs provided the potential for outreach to at-risk groups.

FRANCE (TIER 1)

France is a destination country for trafficking victims, primarily women from Central Europe and the former Soviet Union, for the purposes of sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. French police estimate that 90% of the 15,000-18,000 prostitutes working in France are trafficking victims, and that 3,000-8,000 children are forced into prostitution and labor, including begging. To a lesser extent, France is a transit country for trafficked women from Africa, South and Central American, and Eastern and Southern Europe. Nigerian trafficking networks are expanding their activities in France. There are reports of Chinese and Colombian men trafficked into bonded or forced labor. Trafficking of Brazilian women and girls into sexual exploitation in French Guiana is a serious problem.

The Government of France fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. France passed comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation in 2003 and arrests for trafficking offenses rose during the reporting period, but convictions under new trafficking legislation were not yet finalized and enforcement could not be measured. The French Government should cooperate with Brazil on combating sex trafficking of Brazilian women to French Guiana and investigate the extent, if any, of trafficking in its other overseas territories.

Prosecution
The government reinforced its anti-trafficking police investigation team and strengthened inter-national cooperation. France's anti-trafficking law criminalizes trafficking for sexual and non-sexual exploitation, with penalties of up to seven years in prison and a fine of about $190,000. Penalties for soliciting child prostitutes range up to 10 years. Trafficking-related sentencing guidelines, such as rape, and the sentences for some types of trafficking convictions were light. The exploitation of foreign labor and exposing laborers to inhumane conditions were criminal offenses under other statutes. Employers could be punished by up to three years' imprisonment or substantial fines. In 2003, France's special anti-trafficking police unit arrested 709 individuals on trafficking-related charges, an increase of 66% over the previous year. The organizers of 32 trafficking networks were arrested, including 15 large-scale organized prostitution networks. Police arrested 67 adults for organizing child prostitution and begging after two child victims provided information to counselors. While conviction statistics had not yet been reported for 2003, records from 2002 revealed over 300 convictions for trafficking-related crimes, with maximum sentences of nearly 5 years' imprisonment. The government increased funding and staff for its specialized anti-trafficking police unit. The Paris Prefecture created a special investigative unit to deal with trafficking networks. The government cooperated actively with other countries, such as Bulgaria.

Protection
The government continued to screen and refer victims to counseling centers and safe houses for comprehensive services. The government offered victims three to six months' renewable temporary residency according to an assessment of needs and cooperation with police. Cooperating victims were guaranteed a residency extension; if cooperation led to a conviction, a 10 year extension could be granted. In 2003, the government reported that 120-140 victims were granted temporary residency in return for providing information to police. Child victims were assumed to be in danger and provided immediate shelter while the government determined the child's long-term best interests. French police worked closely with NGOs to which it referred prostitutes for screening and assistance. The government funded a special reintegration program with Bulgaria to repatriate Bulgarian victims who were placed with an NGO in Bulgaria for shelter and assistance.

Prevention
The government focused outreach and prevention programs on domestic prostitution and sex tourism abroad. The Prime Minister's inter-ministerial commission on clandestine workers and illegal labor continued its work, and a new inter-ministerial working group on sex tourism began work on recommendations for the Tourism Ministry. In 2003, Air France, a government-owned carrier, provided a portion of the in-flight duty-free sales of toys, amounting to almost $350,000, to an international NGO conducting awareness programs on child sex tourism. The government provided funding to NGOs conducting outreach to women in sexual servitude, and to organizations fighting child prostitution. The government also funded trafficking prevention programs in Central and Eastern Europe and West Africa. Within the EU, the government supported anti-trafficking programs, including information campaigns, seminars, bilateral training programs for police units and lawmakers, and assigned criminal liaison officers throughout Europe to identify trafficking networks.

GEORGIA (TIER 2 - WATCH LIST)

Georgia is a source and transit country for women and men trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor to destinations such as Russia, Greece, Israel, Turkey, and Western European countries. Evidence suggests that some women from Russia and Ukraine were trafficked to Turkey via Georgia. There are no reports on the full scale of the trafficking problem, and additional information emerged on trafficking of men. According to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, incidents of commercial sexual exploitation of children, particularly for prostitution and pornography, are reportedly increasing, especially among girls.

The Government of Georgia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Georgia has been placed on Tier 2 Watch List because of its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons compared to the previous year, and its commitment to take future steps over the next year. Georgia's efforts were recognized by its Tier 2 classification in September 2003 following targeted law enforcement actions and increasing public awareness activities. During the latter part of the reporting period, a new government came into power. The changeover in government required reconstituting most government-supported mechanisms. The new government is expected to respond more effectively to institutional weaknesses and corruption which hindered the previous government's anti-trafficking efforts. The government should create a formalized referral system to NGOs, ensure consistent resources for police and improve protection of victim identity in public fora.

Prosecution
Article 143 of the criminal code prohibits trafficking in persons and Article 172 prohibits trafficking in minors, both for the purposes of sexual, labor and other forms of exploitation. Both articles provide for basic penalties from 5-12 years' imprisonment, with maximum penalties of 20 years for aggravated circumstances. Experts were revising these articles during the reporting period in order to strengthen the terms and provide victim protection, but passage of draft amendments was expected to require additional time. District prosecutors were investigating two cases of trafficking in women to Turkey for sexual exploitation and the two defendants were placed in pre-trial detention. During much of the reporting period, the Ministry of Interior's anti-trafficking unit focused on illegal adoptions rather than trafficking as understood in the international instruments. The two-year-old unit lacks government resources to adequately operate.

Protection
The government did not have a formalized referral mechanism for victim protection, nor did it provide protection or assistance. Due to the scarcity of resources, it relied on the expertise of international organizations and NGOs, but few victims were recognized for assistance. While injured party rights during criminal proceedings were theoretically available to victims, they were not commonly used.

Prevention
The government participated in several prevention programs, including broadcasting a trafficking documentary, but its focus weakened during the latter part of the reporting period. The National Security Council, under the new government, retained the responsibility for trafficking policy and formed a new high-level working group that met in February 2004. The working group established a Coordinating Council to meet bi-weekly at the Public Defender's Office. The Public Defender's office previously coordinated the operation of a trafficking hotline, but this hotline was discontinued for lack of funding. Border guards monitored migration patterns, but did not focus specifically on trafficking patterns and did not disseminate prevention information to potential victims. Police, prosecutors, hotline operators and National Security Council officials cooperated with NGOs to conduct regional training sessions on trafficking prevention and identification. The Public Defender's office ran a training session for airport personnel funded by a foreign donor.

GERMANY (TIER 1)

Germany is a transit and destination country for women trafficked from the former Soviet Union and Central Europe (especially Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, and Russia) for the purpose of sexual exploitation. African and Asian victims, mostly from Nigeria or Thailand, comprise a small number of victims. Statistics from 2002 indicate a substantial increase in the number of Bulgarian victims.

The Government of Germany fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In the area of prevention, the German Government established a new program during 2003 to fund development projects overseas to combat trafficking in women. German authorities made many trafficking convictions, although the government should consider changes in criminal law, within European Union (EU) guidelines, which would lead to harsher sentences for convicted traffickers.

Prosecution
The German criminal code contains provisions specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation. Forced labor trafficking is pursued under crimes against personal freedom. The penalty for trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation is commensurate with penalties for other serious crimes, including sexual coercion/rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and crimes against personal freedom. German authorities actively investigate cases of trafficking and employ a full range of investigative techniques including wiretaps, electronic surveillance, undercover operations, and mitigated punishment for cooperating suspects. The Federal Office for Criminal Investigation has a special trafficking-in-persons team that promotes international law enforcement cooperation, offers a two-week seminar on trafficking for police and border patrol officers, and publishes an annual trafficking in persons report. The latest available law enforcement statistics, from 2002, indicate 289 pre-trial investigations of trafficking for sexual exploitation and 159 convictions (up from 148 convictions in 2001). Although the government reported that 151 defendants received a prison sentence from one month to 10 years, 87 received suspended sentences. German courts routinely suspend sentences of up to two years for most crimes, particularly for first-time offenders and where no aggravating circumstances are present, but offenders are subject to strict parole conditions. There was no official evidence of government involvement in or tolerance of trafficking in persons, although a recent trial of Ukrainian alien smugglers raised serious questions about the German Government's tourist visa issuance policy in Eastern Europe from 2000 to 2003.

Protection
Germany has a wide range of protections for victims including a four-week "reflection" period. If victims testify against their traffickers, deportation is temporarily suspended and victims are granted "temporary toleration." With this status, victims can obtain temporary work permits for the duration of the trial, and victims with injuries due to crimes of violence can receive compensation under the Victims' Compensation Act. Police refer trafficked victims to 25 mainly state-funded counseling centers and 12 NGOs. They provided trafficking victims with assistance, counseling, and protection. Due to a lack of funds, four women's counseling centers in Hesse were closed in 2003. The most recent statistics, from 2002, indicate that 104 women were granted "temporary toleration" and 35 remained in the witness protection program. Once the victims are no longer required as witnesses, they must be repatriated unless there is a suspicion of imminent danger to the victim under the Aliens Act. The government continued to fund basic victim repatriation costs through the IOM.

Prevention
Germany's Federal Government continued to focus on reaching potentially trafficked victims before they enter the country. In 2003, the Federal Ministry for Economic Development began funding trafficking projects. The projects were developed and executed by a government-owned corporation, and included information campaigns with brochures and posters in several Eastern European countries. Awareness training seminars were conducted with police officials from source countries. Other education campaigns included conferences on the problem of sex tourism and publications on sex tourism by government-funded think tanks. Additionally, Germany and the Czech Republic, which is a major destination country for German sex tourists, have joined forces in a counter-trafficking working group consisting of high-ranking officials. Germany participates in and provided funding to the Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings under the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, and to the trafficking unit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

GREECE (TIER 2 - WATCH LIST)

Greece is a country of transit and destination for women, men, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Most victims come from Eastern European countries and the former Soviet Union, including Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Albania and Romania. Women from many other countries were trafficked to Greece, in some cases transiting on to Cyprus, Turkey and the Middle East. Albanian children make up the majority of children trafficked for forced labor and petty crimes, including begging and stealing.

The Government of Greece does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Greece was reassessed as Tier 2 in September 2003 after releasing significant funds to NGOs for prevention and assistance, and taking targeted law enforcement actions. It is placed on Tier 2 Watch List this year for failure to finalize promised actions, most notably regarding protection. The government should fully implement the Presidential Decree to cease the detention and removal of victims and should finalize the protocol with Albania on the return of child victims.

Prosecution
Greek Law 3064/2002 criminalizes trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation and forced labor, with penalties commensurate with that for other grave crimes, such as rape. In 2003, the government reported arresting 284 alleged traffickers, rescuing 93 potential victims, and securing 69 criminal convictions on trafficking-related charges. No convictions were yet reported under Law 3064 and sentences under related charges were not reported. Notable arrests focused on sex trafficking rings involving adult and minor victims in sexual exploitation. The Athens City Council reported closing a bar due to the owner's involvement in trafficking. Some police took bribes from traffickers and patronized establishments implicated in trafficking. With the prosecution's dismissal of its case against a police officer accused of having sexual relations with a trafficked woman, the government reported no actions against government officials.

Protection
The government's legal mandate on victim protection stems from Presidential Decree 233/2003, signed in August 2003. The government provided the equivalent of $1.4 million to Greek and foreign NGOs for protection programs, but the implementation of the Presidential Decree had not progressed to the point of providing residency for victims illegally present in Greece. Lack of status severely hampered NGO ability to fulfill the Presidential Decree's mandate for victim services. The government reported releasing approximately 300 victims in anti-trafficking raids, and one NGO shelter reported assisting 30 victims. Because the government could not provide status, and because it did not conclude a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NGOs on victim assistance and referral, police made ad hoc referrals for victims with legal status only. Police cooperation with NGOs for adult victims with legal status improved, but child victims over the age of 13 were subject to mandatory removal from Greece as unaccompanied minors. These removals were not coordinated with source countries. Despite earlier plans to do so, the government had not yet amended its policy for removals to Albania. The police produced a multi-lingual "know-your-rights" leaflet for victims which was distributed to police stations throughout the country.

Prevention
While the Ministry of Health was formally tasked with anti-trafficking coordination, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informally coordinated anti-trafficking policy through an inter- agency task force. Part of the government's funding to NGOs was targeted to prevention programs, but there were no demand-oriented prevention activities. The government funded the production of an informational leaflet aimed at the general public, as well as media announcements on the trafficking of women and children. Some medical students used government-funded leaflets on trafficking when conducting their sexual education courses at secondary schools.

HUNGARY (TIER 2)

Hungary is primarily a transit, and secondarily a source and destination country, for women and children trafficked from Russia, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, and the Balkans to Western Europe and the United States for sexual exploitation. Men from Iraq, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan reportedly are also trafficked through Hungary to Europe and the United States for forced labor. The Hungarian Government estimates that as many as 150,000 victims transit Hungary each year.

The Government of Hungary does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. While the government has sharpened its focus on trafficking issues, in practice, victim assistance remains weak. The country lacks a formal process for enforcement officials to identify victims, refer them to NGOs, and ensure they receive adequate services. The government should train border officials to better distinguish trafficking from smuggling, and to interview victims more effectively. Additionally, the Hungarian Government should improve trafficking data collection efforts.

Prosecution
Trafficking is criminalized in Hungary with sufficiently severe penalties. In 2003, Hungarian authorities arrested nine suspected traffickers. The Hungarian Prosecutor's Office prosecuted 22 individuals under the trafficking in persons law; 18 of the 22 were convicted. Of the 18 convict-ed, authorities sentenced 12 to prison; the others were given suspended sentences. Additionally, the Interior Ministry in 2003 investigated 22 new trafficking cases. Trafficking-related corruption remains a problem. The government established the International Center for Cooperation in Criminal Affairs to better facilitate cooperation with foreign law enforcement agencies. It is also working to revise bilateral cooperative agreements on combating organized crime, coordinating with Europol via a liaison officer and, participating in organizations such as the Southeastern Cooperative Initiative (SECI), the Stability Pact, and the Council of Europe.

Protection
The Government of Hungary provides limited assistance to trafficking victims. Victims who cooperate with police and prosecutors are entitled to assistance such as temporary residency status, short-term relief from deportation, and access to shelter. In practice, services are limited and not generally provided to victims. Border guards often fail to distinguish between trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. Trafficking victims are often detained, deported, or prosecuted for the violation of other laws, such as those relating to prostitution or illegal immigration. The Victim Protection Office—established by the Ministry of Interior—operates in 46 localities, but assisted only six trafficking victims in 2003. Hungarian consular officials are provided training in counter-trafficking. Repatriated victims have rights to the range of social services available to all Hungarians, but no specialized assistance or support is provided.

Prevention
The government provides modest funding for prevention programs. With the assistance of the IOM, the Education Ministry continued to implement a national prevention program in secondary schools, but no statistics indicate the number of schools that use the anti-trafficking materials. The National Crime Prevention Center established a task force in June 2003 to collect and analyze trafficking data. The Government of Hungary has not yet adopted a national strategy on combating trafficking in persons.

ITALY (TIER 1)

Italy is a country of destination for sex and labor trafficking. Victims also transit Italy to other European Union (EU) countries for the same purposes. Italian authorities estimated that there were 25,000-30,000 trafficking victims in the country, originating from Nigeria, Ukraine, Moldova, Albania, Romania, Russia, Bulgaria, East Africa, China and South America (Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina). Trafficking in children for sweatshop labor is a particular problem in Italy's expanding Chinese immigrant community.

The Government of Italy fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government worked closely with regional partners and source countries to combat trafficking and provided the majority of funding for victim assistance programs within Italy. Despite the government's notable achievements, the magnitude of the trafficking problem appeared to remain constant, if not continue to grow. As such, the government should focus on education campaigns within Italy that address the growing demand. Moreover, the government should ensure its new anti-trafficking law is vigorously implemented and should review implementation of immigration laws to ensure it is not compromising protections afforded to trafficking victims.

Prosecution
Italian law enforcement officials enforced anti-trafficking laws, but their approach conflated trafficking and illegal immigration. In 2003, the government criminalized trafficking and increased penalties for offenders to a range of eight to 20 years' imprisonment. In 2003, police arrested 128 people on charges of enslavement, trade of slaves, smuggling and trafficking in minors for prostitution. Italy formalized anti-trafficking law enforcement cooperation with several countries, including Libya and Germany, and joint actions with those countries led to 23 arrests of suspected traffickers. Available prosecution statistics from 2002 show 21 convictions for offenses including enslavement, trade of slaves, smuggling and trafficking in minors for prostitution. Italian law enforcement and judicial authorities were compiling a statistical profile of sentences conferred on traffickers at the time of this report. Italy also conducted joint border patrols with Slovenia and trained police forces in Albania.

Protection
The Italian Government funded and supported victim referral to NGOs providing shelter and comprehensive services. The new trafficking legislation created a separate budget category for victim assistance programs and the central government provided 70% of this budget in 2003. The government provided assistance and temporary residence and work permits to victims, which could be renewed or converted to permanent residency under certain conditions. Minor victims were automatically eligible for residency. The government provided 848 temporary residence permits to trafficking victims, although NGOs complained that officials in some locales used access to residency permits to pressure victims into cooperating with law enforcement. According to NGOs, tougher immigration laws prompted authorities to deport illegal immigrants without first determining whether they were trafficking victims. In 2003, the government funded voluntary repatriation and six month reintegration assistance for 47 victims.

Prevention
Italy cooperated both regionally and bilaterally with source countries to combat trafficking and illegal migration, but it fell short in addressing the domestic demand for trafficking victims. The government used its EU presidency to create a coordination mechanism between trafficking source and destination countries, and proposed the EU's Council Directive on Trafficking. In Italy, the Department for Equal Opportunity continued its toll-free hotline for victims. It funded an IOM information campaign aimed at current and potential victims. Italy signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nigeria to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts.

KAZAKHSTAN (TIER 2 - WATCH LIST)

Kazakhstan is a source, transit, and destination country for people trafficked from the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Victims are trafficked through and from Kazakhstan to Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Israel, Greece, South Korea, the Czech Republic, Romania, Syria, Germany, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, The Netherlands, Portugal, and Ireland. Internal trafficking from rural to urban areas also takes place.

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 was reassessed as meeting the standard for Tier 2 placement in September 2003, after the government took significant actions to combat trafficking in persons, to include the adoption of anti-trafficking legislation and the establishment of law enforcement guidelines. The government remains listed on Tier 2 because of continued progress during the reporting period; it has been placed on Tier 2 Watch List to permit tracking of near-term actions mandated in the February 2004 National Plan of Action to combat trafficking in persons. The government has convicted traffickers under its new anti-trafficking legislation passed in mid-2003. The government does not face the severe resource constraints of its neighbors, and thus should increase funding for prevention and protection efforts. It should also seek longer prison sentences for convicted traffickers and adopt the Law on State Social Assistance to better fund protection and prevention efforts. The plan obligates ministries, agencies, and regional governments to use discretionary funds to, among other things, provide anti-trafficking information in mandated school curricula and conclude formal agreements with victim crisis centers.

Prosecution
The Government of Kazakhstan criminalizes trafficking with penalties of one to 10 years in prison. Kazakhstani authorities conducted nine trafficking investigations. Four of these were closed or discontinued, two are ongoing, and three have been suspended. The government also prosecuted and convicted four individuals during the reporting period and has initiated a fifth prosecution. One individual was convicted under the new legislation and sentenced to three years' probation. A second individual was convicted for organization of illegal immigration and received one year of probation. The third and fourth individuals were convicted under multiple charges, and sentenced to four and three years' imprisonment, respectively. While this record demonstrates appreciable progress over the past reporting period, the number of convictions remains low and sentences often do not reflect the seriousness of the offenses. Official corruption remains widespread, but no instances of government complicity in trafficking-related crimes have been reported. The Ministries of Interior and Justice established national hotlines for citizens to report corruption by officials and other instances of unlawful behavior. During the past year, the government cooperated on trafficking investigations with the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.

Protection
During the September 2003 reassessment, the government announced the establishment of a victim referral system, though it was employed for only 15 victims during the reporting period. The government specifically named an Almaty-based NGO as the official NGO for referral. In about one-third of the country's regional districts, police departments and NGOs have developed and formalized cooperative relationships to assist victims, conduct training, and investigate cases. Informal cooperative relationships exist in almost all of the 16 districts. In three districts, the lack of effective local NGOs has limited the extent of this cooperation, though local authorities in one district have cooperated with an NGO in a neighboring district to address this problem. Law enforcement agencies participated in trafficking awareness trainings sponsored by NGOs, but officials often failed to differentiate between illegal immigrants and foreign victims trafficked into the country illegally. By contrast, Kazakhstani victims were generally treated humanely and were frequently referred to NGOs. The government relies on 33 victim assistance centers operated by NGOs and international organizations, six of which are funded entirely by the government. Some other victim assistance centers have received government funds. These centers reported assisting 26 trafficking victims during the reporting period. Additionally, the government provided housing and limited funds to four foreign trafficking victims who gave evidence leading to the conviction of their traffickers. Police protection of victims remained inconsistent. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported assisting in the repatriation of 24 Kazakhstani citizens from abroad.

Prevention
The government supports efforts by international organizations, though rarely financially, that conduct information campaigns and establish hotlines for trafficking victims. The Justice Ministry produced a public service announcement entitled "Trafficking in Persons An Illegal Phenomenon" that began airing in November 2003. The Justice Ministry has prepared educational material on trafficking. It screened a 10-minute documentary on trafficking prevention during a February 2004 Interagency Commission meeting attended by the media. According to the Justice Ministry, its officials gave 45 television and radio interviews, published 50 articles, and participated in 120 seminars or roundtables on trafficking since September 2003. Local districts provide NGOs with access to schools to conduct trafficking awareness seminars and lectures in every region of the country. During the reporting period, the Committee for National Security withdrew licenses from five travel agencies that issued illegal documents to Kazakhstanis seeking citizenship in Russia, a practice often associated with trafficking in persons.

KYRGYZ REPUBLIC (TIER 2)

The Kyrgyz Republic is a source and transit country for women, men, and children trafficked to Kazakhstan and Russia for the purpose of forced labor, and to the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Turkey, and China for sexual exploitation. Women who are either destined for or transiting through the country come from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Trafficking also occurs within the country, from poor rural areas in the south to northern cities such as Bishkek and Osh. Bride kidnapping is a problem, despite a law prohibiting this custom. However, the prevalence of this custom is unclear. One study indicated that up to one-third of ethnic Kyrgyz women living in northern Kyrgyzstan may be married against their will as a result of this practice, which is a form of indentured servitude.

The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite few resources, the government improved law enforcement efforts and continued to work with NGOs and international organizations on prevention and protection efforts. The government should focus greater attention on addressing official corruption, which inhibits progress on the trafficking problem. It should also make a greater effort to protect victims by referring them to the shelter, expeditiously finalizing referral protocols to that end, and instituting witness protection programs.

Prosecution
The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic amended its criminal code in August 2003 to penalize trafficking crimes with penalties ranging from three to 20 years in prison. The government established an anti-trafficking unit in June 2003. During the reporting period, police charged 96 individuals for trafficking-related crimes, including recruiting for sexual or labor exploitation, organizing illegal migration, and marriage to underage persons. The government provided limited information regarding prosecutions and convictions. It is difficult, therefore, to assess how effectively laws are enforced. Independent sources confirmed that Kyrgyz authorities convicted and sentenced at least one person to five years in prison under the new trafficking legislation. Another six individuals were convicted under trafficking-related charges. Endemic official corruption impedes progress on the trafficking problem. Victims reported smooth and highly organized trafficking operations that often involved the cooperation of local police, immigration officials, and airport security. In early 2004, Kyrgyz police arrested three people involved in a trafficking scheme, including an immigration official and a former employee of the state passport department. Two of the three have been charged under the new trafficking in persons law; the third individual is still under investigation. Government investigations of labor export and travel companies forced five companies to change their policies; the government also suspended the activities of three companies and the representative of a fourth. Kyrgyz authorities developed anti-trafficking cooperation with counterparts in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, China, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates.

Protection
Progress by the Kyrgyz Republic on victim protection remained weak. The government does not provide foreign trafficking victims temporary residence status or criminal immunity for violations committed as a consequence of their trafficked condition, but border authorities reported that they do not penalize Kyrgyz victims who admit to the use of false documents or illegal entry into the country. Although police have begun to refer victims to an NGO shelter opened in October 2003, formal referral protocols are under development. The government established a working group to outline measures for witness protection. Kyrgyz embassies and consulates are directed to cooperate with NGOs and law enforcement agencies to search for and assist Kyrgyz citizens who wish to return, but their staffs have received no victim-awareness training. The number of individuals trafficked to Kazakhstan and Russia for forced labor has decreased largely due to the signing of bilateral agreements with Russia and Kazakhstan on labor migration.

Prevention
The Kyrgyz Government over the last year displayed a willingness to work with NGOs and donors on joint programs to prevent trafficking. Over 900 justice and police personnel received training on trafficking issues from NGOs and international organizations in 2003. The Foreign Affairs Ministry released a booklet of information for Kyrgyz citizens seeking to work abroad in former Soviet Union countries to better inform labor migrants of their rights. The government publicized arrests and prosecutions of traffickers, which were reported by state-run and independent media. The Border Police continued to improve their border monitoring capabilities with assistance from outside sources. In 2003, the Border Guard Service created a database to track trafficking-related cases, and introduced a new entry/exit system in early 2004 to better monitor migration trends. In March 2004, the government made plans to assume funding of the two-person Secretariat of the National Council to Combat Trafficking, which had been previously funded by the International Organization for Migration.

LATVIA (TIER 2)

Latvia is a source country for women and children trafficked to England, Poland, Ireland, Israel, Spain, Germany, and Italy for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Organized crime groups from Poland, Ukraine, and Israel reportedly control the main trafficking networks in cooperation with Latvian criminal groups, who recruit the victims. Victims are also trafficked internally, from rural areas of high unemployment to Riga and other urban centers.

The Government of Latvia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Although much remains to be done, Latvia made noticeable improvement in its efforts to enforce laws against trafficking. On March 2, 2004, Latvia's cabinet of ministers approved a national action plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons, which assigns roles and provides for coordination among agencies, NGOs, and international organizations. The national action plan also requires the government to submit an annual report on anti-trafficking efforts and to fund anti-trafficking programs beginning in fiscal year 2005.

Prosecution
The Government of Latvia has laws that criminalize international trafficking with sufficiently severe penalties. The Interior Ministry has proposed to amend these laws to also criminalize internal trafficking within Latvia's borders. Currently, domestic trafficking cases are prosecuted under laws outlawing pimping. In 2003, the government convicted 23 individuals of trafficking-related crimes, compared to eight individuals convicted in 2002. Sentences in these cases ranged from a six-month suspended sentence to four years in prison; most sentences ranged from two to three years. The Latvian police's small anti-trafficking squad needs additional training, staffing, and improved cooperation with the Prosecutor's Office. In 2003, the Latvian anti-trafficking unit cooperated with German, Danish, Swedish, Lithuanian, Estonian, and Finnish law enforcement agencies on five international trafficking investigations, all of which are ongoing. Control of Latvian borders is adequate, but could be improved. Latvia has established an anti-corruption bureau and continues to fight official corruption.

Protection
Latvia's protection of trafficking victims regressed during the reporting period. Due to insufficient funding, two government shelters in Riga and Jelgava closed. Trafficking victims now must use an alternate center shared with asylum seekers. The government funds no rehabilitation facilities specifically for trafficking victims, nor does it provide direct funding to foreign or domestic NGOs for services to victims. Law enforcement officials do not criminally punish victims, but rather refer them to NGOs for assistance. According to victims, police interviewing techniques need improvement. The Latvian Government continues to provide annual training to consular officers assigned abroad on how to recognize trafficking and assist victims in obtaining the necessary travel documents to return to Latvia.

Prevention
In part due to resource constraints and competing priorities, the Government of Latvia does not conduct independent anti-trafficking campaigns, but supports the efforts of NGOs. The Ministries of Education and Welfare arranged for students to attend free showings of the Swedish anti-trafficking film, "Lilya 4-Ever." More than 10,000 students between the ages of 16 and 18 attended the free showings. The government has incorporated the video and an informative booklet into the high school curriculum. While prevention efforts need improvement, Latvia's new national action plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons is an important step forward.

LITHUANIA (TIER 1)

Lithuania is a source and transit country for women and children trafficked to Germany, Spain, Denmark, Norway, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, and Poland for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Women are trafficked for sexual exploitation into and through Lithuania from countries such as Ukraine, Russia (Kaliningrad), and Belarus, and within Lithuania. Boarding schools, which also serve as orphanages, are a new target of traffickers searching for victims.

The Government of Lithuania fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government demonstrated a strong commitment throughout the reporting period through increased funding for anti-trafficking efforts and sustained law enforcement activities. To further strengthen anti-trafficking efforts, the government should establish formal screening and referral mechanisms to ensure that victims receive adequate assistance services, and ensure that police and social workers remain vigilant in identifying and addressing the needs of trafficked individuals as victims.

Prosecution
Lithuania's criminal code has prohibited trafficking in persons since 1998. The new criminal code that came into force in May 2003 includes eight articles that address trafficking with sufficiently severe penalties. Each of the 10 counties in Lithuania assigned a police officer to coordinate trafficking issues. During the reporting period, Lithuanian authorities initiated 15 new criminal investigations and convicted a total of 13 traffickers as compared to eight in 2002. Trafficking sentences ranged from fines to 14 years' imprisonment, with an average sentence of two to three years' imprisonment. While there was no official evidence of government involvement in or tolerance of trafficking in persons, some individual police officers may condone it. A 2003 court decision reduced the sentence of a former police officer convicted of trafficking in persons from seven years in prison to two years' probation, citing a lack of evidence. Lithuanian law enforcement officials continued to cooperate with other governments on trafficking investigations and participated in over 25 joint investigations in 2003.

Protection
Several government agencies and organizations provide social, psychological, and legal assistance to trafficking victims. In addition to shelters run by NGOs, the city of Vilnius and some other municipalities operated hostels to provide shelter and social support to victims of domestic violence and trafficking victims. No formal screening and referral procedures are used, but police cooperate with assistance providers as appropriate. Over 200 trafficking victims are estimated to have received assistance at shelters in Lithuania during the reporting period. In July 2003, the government established and provided funds for a pilot program, called "Psychological Rehabilitation, Professional Orientation, and Employment of Victims of Trafficking and Prostitution," to work with individual victims. Police did not charge trafficking victims with prostitution and immigration violations during the reporting period. The Police Department's "Witness and Victims Protection Service" provides protection to a limited number of victims. Trafficking victims and witnesses composed 13% of all protected people in 2003. The government routinely provides its embassies and consulates in destination and transit countries guidance on handling trafficking cases and assisting victims. The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs assisted 20 trafficking victims to return to Lithuania during the reporting period.

Prevention
The government continued to fund its Program on the Control and Prevention of Trafficking in Humans and Prostitution. The Lithuanian Government also provided funds to 11 local organizations involved in prevention in 2003, as compared to five in 2002. It cooperated closely with NGOs and international organizations to implement several major anti-trafficking projects in 2003. With the support of the IOM and the Nordic Council of Ministers, the government developed and approved trafficking prevention curricula for schools, prepared a guide for teachers, and distributed a brochure to familiarize young girls with the dangers of trafficking. The curricula and guide are used on a voluntary basis in schools and areas where trafficking in persons is recognized by the municipality and/or school as a problem. The Lithuanian Government, in conjunction with IOM, trained over 300 social workers, teachers, and municipal leaders in TIP prevention during the reporting period.

MACEDONIA (TIER 1)

Macedonia is a country of transit and destination for women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, notably Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria. Some foreign victims are trafficked through Macedonia to Albania, Serbia and Montenegro (including Kosovo) and Western Europe. Some internal trafficking was discovered, as were cases of Macedonian women trafficked regionally and to Western Europe for sexual exploitation.

The Government of Macedonia fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. While the government passed new anti-trafficking legislation and increased convictions, institutional deficiencies in the judiciary hindered greater progress in combating trafficking. Weaknesses were evidenced through the case of trafficking kingpin Dilaver Bojku's initial light sentencing and subsequent escape from prison in June 2003, before his capture and retrial. The government should institute more effective protections for judges and prosecutors trying trafficking cases and expand prevention programs for vulnerable groups.

Prosecution
While instances of official impropriety and corruption continued to degrade judicial effectiveness, several major trafficking trials during the reporting period resulted in sentences commensurate with grave crimes, and all convictions appealed to the Supreme Court were upheld. The Criminal Code adequately criminalizes severe forms of trafficking in persons and provides for sentences of four to 15 years. During the reporting period, courts handed down 19 convictions with sentences ranging from three to 12 years. The government retried Dilaver Bojku, whose original sentencing was inadequate and evidence of possible pressure on the judiciary. Trafficking-related corruption remains a problem. The government successfully convicted several former government officials and police officers on corruption charges and one police inspector for selling information about a planned trafficking raid.

Protection
The government continued operating the Transit Shelter Center for trafficked persons. The IOM and a local NGO implemented support, medical and other services for victims in the Center. In 2003, the government and IOM formalized victim assistance at the Center by agreeing on Standard Operating Procedures defining the roles of police and NGOs and codifying victims' rights. The government assisted 143 foreign victims at the Center, 14 of whom were under 18 years of age. Under new legislation enacted during the reporting period, victims may receive temporary residency status. Macedonia does not have a witness protection law, but the government and IOM provided some protection for victims willing to testify. Victims may file for civil compensation.

Prevention
The government did not develop a central strategy for prevention, opting instead to support NGO activities. The National Commission for Combating Trafficking was not fully active and the national action plan lacked timelines for action. The government participated in some NGO police trainings and instituted a training program for consular officers to identify trafficking victims. The government developed new training manuals for police, investigative judges and prosecutors. The government continued its participation in an NGO-funded outreach program targeting youth, Roma, and other vulnerable groups.

MOLDOVA (TIER 2)

Moldova is primarily a source country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation to the Balkans (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania, Serbia-Montenegro, and Kosovo); other European countries (Italy, France, Portugal, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey); and the Middle East (Lebanon, Israel, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Syria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan). Trafficking from Moldova to Russia, Turkey, and the U.A.E. increased markedly during 2003, and trafficking to Israel via Moscow and Egypt continued unabated. Moldovan men and children were trafficked to Russia and neighboring countries for forced labor and begging. Moldova is also a transit country for victims trafficked from Ukraine to Romania. The border region of Transnistria, not under the central government's control, also serves as a source and transit point for trafficking victims.

The Government of Moldova does not fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. While the trafficking problem continued to be disproportionately grave, the government refocused its activities on the issue during the reporting period. Law enforcement efforts and regional cooperation improved as well, but government prevention and protection efforts continued to lag behind. The government should apply funds it receives through foreign assistance to targeted economic initiatives in order to provide potential victims with alternatives to working abroad, establish protections for victims testifying against their traffickers, and promptly establish long-promised victim referral mechanisms.

Prosecution
The government revised its criminal code in June 2003 by adding definitions and penalties for trafficking in persons and, separately, trafficking in children. Both provisions prohibit trafficking for the purposes of sexual and non-sexual exploitation and prescribe penalties from seven to 10 years' imprisonment, with a potential penalty enhancement of up to life imprisonment for severely aggravating circumstances. During 2003, the Trafficking in Persons department at the Prosecutor General's office initiated 189 investigations under the former and current statutes on trafficking in persons and children, and 71 investigations under the current pimping statute. Of the 220 cases investigated, 44 indictments were issued and 34 convictions obtained—a 54% increase over 2002. While only six of the convictions led to prison terms, these sentences ranged from three to 15 years, improving significantly over the previous year. Anti-trafficking courses were instituted at the police academy; the counter-trafficking unit at the Ministry of Interior hired a new female police officer.

Protection
The government failed to sponsor protections for victims, but continued to rely on NGOs and international organizations funded by foreign donors to provide comprehensive protections. The new criminal code specifically exempts victims from criminal liability for acts committed in connection with their trafficking, but victims who refuse to cooperate may be investigated and punished for criminal offenses. The government can and does use special investigative techniques to develop forensic evidence, but in practice, police encouraged most victims to testify against their traffickers, without providing protection.

Prevention
The National Committee on Trafficking in Persons increased its activities during the reporting period, but failed to update its implementation of the national action plan. The Moldovan President's focus on trafficking greatly increased during the reporting period, and he directed the Chairman of the National Committee, a deputy Prime Minister, to invigorate its efforts. The National Committee developed four sub-groups, each with an international co-chair and instituted bi-weekly meetings in locations throughout Moldova, garnering broad participation and increased reporting from local administrative and police officials. Government officials and a prominent NGO co-organized targeted information campaigns for youth; the National Committee jointly sponsored an international conference with foreign missions; and, various ministries directly promoted several showings of a dramatic film about trafficking, "Lilya 4-Ever" in theaters throughout Moldova.

THE NETHERLANDS (TIER 1)

The Netherlands is primarily a transit and destination country for trafficking of women and girls for the purpose of sexual exploitation; trafficking in persons for labor exploitation exists to a lesser degree. Most victims originate in Central and Eastern Europe, with some victims from African countries, primarily Nigeria, and from South America, Thailand, the Philippines and China. Reportedly, a significant percentage of the 25,000 individuals engaged in prostitution are trafficking victims. Internal trafficking of young, mostly immigrant, girls by Moroccan and Turkish pimps into sexual exploitation also occurs. The Netherlands Antilles, where the Netherlands exercises responsibility over visa issuance according to guidelines issued by the Netherlands Antilles, may be a destination for women trafficked for prostitution from Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

The Government of the Netherlands fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Legalized prostitution, the estimated large scale of trafficking, and the relatively low sentences prescribed in law have brought international scrutiny on the Netherlands. The Netherlands showed leadership in raising trafficking in multilateral fora and increasing financial support to domestic shelters. Although the government increased anti-trafficking law enforcement personnel, evidence does not indicate that the problem has decreased. The Netherlands would benefit by strengthening efforts to reduce demand for domestic trafficking and more vigorously screening visa applicants in Dutch territories.

Prosecution
Article 250a of the Dutch criminal code prohibits trafficking in persons for the purposes of sexual exploitation and prescribes penalties of up to 10 years with aggravating circumstances. Rape is punishable by up to 15 years with aggravating circumstances. In 2003, courts increased total trafficking convictions to 106; the average sentence was 26 months' imprisonment. As of April 2004, the government had not yet enacted pending legislation to expand the definition of trafficking in persons to include labor exploitation and increase penalties in line with international standards. The national prosecutor for trafficking in persons leads the Trafficking in Persons unit, part of the new National Crime Squad established in 2003. A specialized police unit received an additional 100 law enforcement personnel in 2003 to continue investigating trafficking.

Protection
Dutch legalization of prostitution was intended to promote greater transparency and control over the sex industry where trafficking victims have been exploited. A national debate, and intense international scrutiny, is focusing on prostitution and its possible impact on trafficking. The government continued funding the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons and the Dutch Foundation Against Trafficking in Persons (STV). The STV reported that 257 trafficking victims received assistance in 2003. Victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation qualify for assistance in the Netherlands; however, foreign labor trafficking victims do not qualify due to the lack of references to the slave trade, abduction and labor conditions in the legal definition of trafficking. Victims of trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation are allowed a three-month "reflection" period to determine their willingness to cooperate with law enforcement, during which time they are provided services. Those victims who cooperate may obtain a B-9 residency permit and a wide range of services. In 2004, the government agreed to allow B-9 permit holders the right to work, but the policy was not yet implemented. Victims who declined to cooperate with law enforcement authorities were repatriated voluntarily, without divulging the reasons. The Netherlands financed shelters and safe houses in countries of origin, and its total expenditure for domestic women's shelters for all women victims of violence rose to over $45.9 million. Regional police forces and police academies trained officers on victim identification and assistance, and judicial training began in 2003.

Prevention
The government subsidized NGO information campaigns, preventive education programs with youth, crime victim defense and self-esteem courses for primary and secondary school students. The government did not conduct any information campaigns targeting consumers of the services of potential trafficking victims. As part of the national action plan on Sexual Abuse of Children, the Ministry of Justice produced and distributed a manual for municipalities entitled, "Prevention of and Assistance to Girl Prostitution." In late 2003, the Dutch Parliament adopted a resolution for a national awareness-raising campaign among prostitutes, including a central phone line to provide assistance in "stepping out" of prostitution. The government focused efforts on prevention in source countries, including empowerment and economic self-reliance within vulnerable groups.

NORWAY (TIER 1)

Norway is a destination country for a small but increasing number of women trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The women primarily come from northwest Russia and the Baltic states, as well as Thailand, Albania, and the Dominican Republic.

The Government of Norway fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons. The government continues to make serious efforts to combat trafficking and provides significant funding for that purpose.

Prosecution
The Norwegian Government amended its penal code in April 2003 to specifically criminalize trafficking in persons with sufficiently severe penalties. Traffickers can also be prosecuted for violation of laws forbidding pimping and slavery. Norway's first anti-trafficking prosecution under the amended penal code is now underway. Authorities filed charges against seven persons for pimping, slavery, and trafficking in connection with a trafficking investigation in Oslo. The investigation is ongoing. Police also arrested a man in May and convicted a woman in June 2003 for trafficking-related activities under the pimping section of the penal code. The government believes organized networks control human trafficking to Norway and is working to develop better information on traffickers and their financial networks. The government's immediate focus is to improve its ability to identify victims by mapping the nature and extent of trafficking to Norway. The Norwegian Government cooperates with other governments in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases through Interpol and Europol, and bilaterally. Norwegian authorities cooperated with their Swedish counterparts in the trafficking investigation currently underway.

Protection
The government funds a number of NGOs that provide medical and other assistance to victims, and is developing a campaign to promote victim assistance. The government can suspend decisions to remove trafficking victims for a 45-day grace period in order to provide assistance and counseling; this grace period was not invoked during the reporting period. Victims may also be granted relief from removal. The government commendably granted at least one victim permanent residency in 2003. Due in part to the low number of victims processed by law enforcement authorities, there is as yet no formal screening and referral mechanism in place for trafficking victims. The government is working to establish such a mechanism as part of its National Plan of Action. Police are also developing witness protection guidelines for trafficking cases.

Prevention
The Government of Norway has allocated $15 million dollars for 2003-2005 to implement its National Plan of Action to combat trafficking. The government funds NGOs that conduct public awareness and outreach, as well as international organizations that promote the economic empowerment of women in source countries such as Russia, the Baltics, and Thailand. Norway has been a leader in pushing NATO to play a role in anti-trafficking efforts, and has sought to make trafficking a priority issue for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

POLAND (TIER 1)

Poland is a source, transit, and destination country primarily for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Women and girls are trafficked to Western Europe, particularly Germany, Italy, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Japan, and Israel. Some internal trafficking also occurs. Individuals trafficked to and through Poland mostly originate from countries east and southeast of Poland, including Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Belarus, Moldova, and Russia. Polish enforcement authorities believe that an increasing number of victims are trafficked to Italy.

The Government of Poland fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government enacted new legislation in 2003 to protect victims, and it increased law enforcement efforts. But Poland should press frontline officials to identify victims and facilitate their access to assistance, rather than deporting them. Poland also should criminalize the prostitution of minors less than 18 years of age and provide greater resources to law enforcement authorities. While Poland is recognized for its increased enforcement efforts, continued progress will be important in the coming year to increase assistance to trafficking victims and enhance trafficking prevention.

Prosecution
Polish anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts were steady over the reporting period. Its criminal code prohibits trafficking for sexual and non-sexual exploitation. The penalties for trafficking are sufficiently severe. The government investigates some trafficking cases, although police and border guards are hampered by a lack of resources. Officials rarely utilized covert operations in conducting trafficking investigations. Polish authorities arrested 134 persons on trafficking charges, more than three times the number arrested in 2002, and initiated 30 prosecutions. The most recent conviction statistics, from 2002, indicate that the government convicted 120 traffickers under forced prostitution charges and 20 traffickers under human slavery charges, for an average sentence of two to four years in prison. Initial numbers in 2003 show that nine individuals have been convicted under human slavery charges for an average sentence of three to five years in prison. New-hire border guards and police officers received specialized training on trafficking investigations and victim awareness at the national law enforcement training facility. No specific evidence of trafficking cases involving government officials appeared, but there were continued reports of corruption among some police officials that may facilitate trafficking. The government cooperated with other countries on trafficking cases and the repatriation of victims. Although it did not report on specific investigations, it pointed to cooperative efforts with German, Italian, and Ukrainian authorities.

Protection
Poland made progress in strengthening its protections of trafficking victims. Legislation enacted in September 2003 allows foreign victims a one-year temporary residence permit to remain in Poland to testify against their traffickers. New legislation also allows the use of video testimony. In 2003, 16 victims testified in trials against their traffickers, up from 13 in 2002. The government awarded small grants to NGOs to assist victims. Local governments also partially funded several NGO-operated shelters. While increased training has improved some enforcement officials' abilities to differentiate between smuggling and trafficking, many victims are summarily deported. The Government of Poland regularly trains embassy and consulate officials on victim identification and assistance, and encourages them to develop relationships with anti-trafficking organizations in transit and source countries. No specific government assistance exists for repatriated nationals, though they are eligible for unemployment and welfare benefits.

Prevention
The government has focused on law enforcement training to counter trafficking. It relies on and cooperates with NGOs to conduct information and education campaigns targeted at potential victims. An NGO partially funded by the government created computer simulation games and quizzes on CD-ROMs to warn against the dangers of trafficking that were distributed in the Polish public high schools. In December 2003, the Polish Prime Minister approved a national action plan to combat trafficking in persons.

PORTUGAL (TIER 1)

Portugal is a country of destination for persons trafficked from Ukraine, Moldova, Russia, Romania, and Brazil for the purposes of forced labor, and to a lesser extent, sexual exploitation of women. Some trafficking victims are transited through Portugal en route to other European countries.

The Government of Portugal fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The Portuguese Immigration Service (SEF) began implementing strong anti-trafficking legislation passed in March 2003, and increased trafficking-related investigations against exploitive employers. But as of March 2004, investigations under that legislation had not reached prosecution stage, and law enforcement statistics mostly focused on related crimes. As stated in recent years, the government should distinguish more clearly between trafficking and immigration crimes, in order to ensure trafficking victims' rights are fully protected and trafficking crimes sufficiently enforced. The government should also improve its compilation of thorough statistics to better document its anti-trafficking efforts.

Prosecution
The government provided some information on trafficking-related investigations, convictions and sentences, but this information focused more generally on the illicit movement of persons than on the nature and severity of the exploitation involved. The anti-trafficking legislation passed in 2003 improved law enforcement efforts, but the full effect of the new legislation could not yet be measured at the judicial level. The Portuguese Penal Code prohibits the use of violence, threats, or fraud for purposes of exporting someone into sexual exploitation, with punishment ranging from two to eight years' imprisonment. The Portuguese Immigration Law criminalizes importing or facilitating internal movement of illegal foreign nationals for any purpose, with penalties ranging from four to eight years' imprisonment. The government reported the arrest of 54 individuals in connection with trafficking in persons in 2003, and of those, 37 remained under preventive arrest in March 2004. The government also reported 40 convictions for related crimes, such as kidnapping, recruiting illegal workers, pimping and extortion. Sentences ranged from 18 months to 15 years' imprisonment. In a notable case with possible elements of internal and external trafficking, the government charged and detained 10 public figures in connection with an organized pedophile ring operating out of an orphanage in Lisbon. Investigations were conducted against similar rings in other regions.

Protection
The government expanded its assistance to immigrants, including victims of trafficking, throughout Portugal. The government may refer victims to NGOs for short and long-term assistance and may provide short or long-term residency for victims willing to cooperate with law enforcement. A governmental body, ACIME, which reports to the Prime Minister, is responsible for coordinating assistance to immigrants, including trafficking victims. ACIME reported that 147 victims were housed in one center during a recent nine-month period. A large percentage of those assisted were provided employment and legalization of status, and others were repatriated.

Prevention
During the reporting period, the government targeted information campaigns toward immigrant populations in Portugal and in source countries vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking in Portugal. It also provided information to Portuguese employment firms concerning the penalties contained in the 2003 Immigration Law. ACIME launched a weekly television program providing vulnerable immigrant populations with information on their rights and protections. The government also placed immigration liaison officers in notable source countries.

ROMANIA (TIER 2)

Romania is a source and transit country primarily for women and girls trafficked from Moldova, Ukraine, and Russia to Serbia and Montenegro (and Kosovo), Macedonia, Albania, Greece, Italy, and Turkey for the purpose of sexual exploitation. New destination countries for 2003 also included Spain, Portugal, Italy, The Netherlands, Austria, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Hungary. In 2003, the routes of trafficking changed, due in part to a January 2002 policy that allows Romanian citizens to travel without visas to European Union countries. In 2003, fewer victims were trafficked to former Yugoslav countries and more victims were trafficked to Western Europe.

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. The government made progress in its law enforcement efforts and continued to maintain comprehensive records of trafficking in persons data. Corruption among law enforcement authorities remains a serious problem, though the government is working to address it. Support for trafficking victims is not a clear government priority, as reflected in budgetary allocations.

Prosecution
The Romanian Government significantly increased the number of trafficking convictions and reorganized the police unit for combating organized crime to provide more personnel for trafficking issues. Romania's law on trafficking specifically covers both sexual and non-sexual exploitation with penalties that are sufficiently severe. In 2003, the police arrested 187 persons under this law and dismantled 283 criminal trafficking networks. Romanian judges sentenced 49 individuals in 2003, as compared to zero in 2002. Penalties in 27 cases ranged from one to 10 years in prison and in 22 cases were a year or less. In August 2003, through a reorganization of Romania's Unit for Combating Organized Crime and Anti-Drugs, over 100 officers were assigned to trafficking in persons. These officers are located at headquarters and in 15 regions throughout 42 counties. Included in the 100 officers, all of whom received specialize training in trafficking in persons, are 42 female officers. The Public Administration Ministry has assigned several prosecutors, one at the national office and up to 50 in the regions, to pursue trafficking cases. In 2003, Romanian authorities sent two trafficking-related corruption cases to prosecution and investigated 15 police officials for trafficking-related corruption crimes resulting in two dismissals and 13 ongoing investigations. In addition to psychological testing, ethics briefings, and a best practices manual, the government took further steps in 2003 to reduce corruption among border police by issuing standard identification badges, conducting random integrity tests and checks of personal belongings and cash, and publicizing a hotline for travelers to report corruption by border officials.

Protection
The government's victim protection efforts remained modest. By law, victims are entitled to shelter, legal, psychological, and social assistance. Victims may be accommodated, on a temporary basis, in centers created for assisting and protecting victims controlled under the jurisdiction of the county councils. The government agreed to provide modest assistance for three out of nine county shelters, only two of which were open by March 2004. The Ministry of Labor and Social Solidarity is establishing a workplace integration program to stimulate employment opportunities for victims of trafficking. The government reported that victims were not treated as criminals, and five trafficking victims received physical protection through a witness protection program that was strengthened through amendments in July 2003. Efforts by Romanian embassies abroad resulted in the repatriation of 107 trafficking victims and 25 minors from Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Spain, and Croatia.

Prevention
The Ministry of Education and Research ran a number of educational programs on trafficking in 2003. School directors, educational counselors, and teachers received instructions on how to provide anti-trafficking guidance to students during tutorial classes and to parents during teacher-parent conferences. Regional education commissions monitored teachers' implementation of trafficking prevention provisions. Romania continued to fight against trafficking regionally through active participation in the SECI Regional Anti-Crime Center, within the Task Force on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. The police unit to combat organized crime initiated a database in 2003, with the support of the United Kingdom, to better track trafficking in persons. This unit also publishes a bi-annual informative bulletin on trafficking and anti-trafficking efforts. Romania continued to implement its National Plan for Combating the Trafficking in Human Beings.

RUSSIA (TIER 2 - WATCH LIST)

Russia is a major source country for women trafficked globally for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Russia is also a transit and destination country for persons trafficked for sexual and labor exploitation (including sex tourism) from regional and neighboring countries into Russia, and on to the Gulf States, Europe, and North America. A 2004 ILO report estimated that 20% of the five million illegal immigrants in Russia are victims of forced labor. Internal trafficking from rural to urban areas, especially Moscow, is a concern.

The Government of Russia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Russia is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for lack of progress on victim protection measures, and because the new coordinating mechanism had not yet sufficient time to show results. Reports of trafficking-related complicity among Russian officials are a continuing concern; implementation of the anti-trafficking amendments of the Criminal Code had not had time to show results. Notably, the central government visibly increased its momentum and engagement on trafficking. The government should continue this by implementing protections for trafficking victims immediately, including foreign victims in Russia, and by focusing prevention efforts toward vulnerable groups. The government should also visibly reinforce its actions to root out official complicity in trafficking.

Prosecution
In December 2003, President Putin signed legislative amendments to the Criminal Code outlawing trafficking in persons and forced labor, and expanding liability for prostitution-related offenses, with abuse of official position as an aggravating factor. Investigations and prosecutions of trafficking under this new legislation were initiated during the reporting period, but no convictions were reported. More prosecutions were underway under pre-existing trafficking-related legislation. Seven members of a criminal gang were sentenced for acts involving recruitment and sexual exploitation of children; 20 prosecutions were ongoing for the sale of minors; six defendants were charged with kidnapping for internal trafficking for sexual exploitation; and six criminal organizers were arrested and placed in pre-trial detention on trafficking-related charges involving the trafficking of 43 women to the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and Thailand. Reports of official complicity in trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation continued. The government reported one anti-corruption action targeting an organized crime group in the Ministry of Interior suspected of, among other things, protecting prostitution businesses. The suspects were arrested and placed in pre-trial detention. In Irkutsk, a special unit shut down travel and model agencies and marriage brokers conducting trafficking-like activities, but the government did not confirm any arrests or prosecutions. The Russian Government co-sponsored a regional law enforcement conference to establish working-level cooperation on specific cases and a new resolution for cooperation, and assisted other governments in their investigations of trafficking to Russia.

Protection
The Duma did not pass trafficking victim protection legislation, but passage of separate witness protection legislation progressed. In the meantime, trafficking victims had no specially defined status under Russian law, nor specific mechanisms to assist or protect them. The government did not institute a victim screening or referral process in Russia. The government issued instructions to its consulates regarding assistance to Russian trafficking victims, and assisted in returning 33 victims trafficked from the U.A.E.

Prevention
High-level government officials addressed the issue of trafficking in the media, but the government did not authorize budgetary allocations for prevention programs. Moreover, it did not focus prevention activities toward vulnerable categories, such as educated women between 18-34, orphans, street children, and foreign laborers. President Putin drew public attention to the problem of trafficking and its nexus with organized crime during nationwide addresses. In April 2004, the government announced formation of a central government authority to coordinate implementation of anti-trafficking policies. The government hosted a national NGO conference that garnered widespread media attention. Local government cooperation with NGOs continued, and an estimated 30% of NGOs reported receiving some local government financial or in-kind support for anti-trafficking projects. One regional government collaborated with an anti-trafficking NGO to produce a list of guidelines for Ministry of Interior employees working with children and trafficking victims.

SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO (AND KOSOVO) (TIER 2 - WATCH LIST)

The state union of Serbia and Montenegro is a source country for women and girls trafficked internally and internationally for the purpose of sexual exploitation and Roma children trafficked internally for the purpose of begging. Serbia and Montenegro is also a transit and destination country for women and girls trafficked into sexual exploitation from Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Romania and Bulgaria to Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia, Albania and Western European countries, principally Italy and Germany.

The Governments of constituent republics Serbia and Montenegro, to which most authority has devolved, do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but they are making significant efforts to do so. The two republics do not conduct joint counter-trafficking activities; this report consequently provides a separate analysis for each. The Tier 2 Watch List designation is based on the weighted aggregate of their efforts, which showed a lack of significant progress, especially in the case of Montenegro.

The Government of the Republic of Serbia cooperated with NGOs in public awareness activities and government trainings, but it should provide sufficient tools for law enforcement authorities to conduct effective investigations and victim protection, and utilize new laws on trafficking which carry increased penalties.

The Republic of Montenegro failed to prosecute government officials involved in trafficking, which had negative effects on its victim referral mechanisms. During the latter part of the reporting period, the government focused on reconstituting the halted victim referral mechanism and remedying legislative weaknesses. Montenegro should increase the transparency of its counter-trafficking activities, and strengthen oversight at every level to protect against government complicity.

THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA

Prosecution
In April 2003, the Serbian Parliament passed new criminal laws against trafficking in persons for sexual and non-sexual exploitation, which prescribe penalties of up to 10 years for a simple offense and increased penalties for aggravating circumstances. Courts indicted suspected traffickers mostly under trafficking-related charges with relatively light sentences. The Ministry of Justice reported seven prosecutions for trafficking, 63 for mediation in prostitution, and four for slavery. Thirteen traffickers were convicted in a joint trial on charges such as mediation of prostitution, forgery, illegal deprivation of liberty, illegal border crossing and rape. Sentences ranged from eight months to three-and-a-half years; the defendants were released from custody pending appeal. Official corruption is a continuing problem; off-duty police officers were caught providing security at venues where trafficking victims were located. Most of these individuals received only administrative sanctions, but one officer was charged with a criminal offense. Each police district in Serbia has a special anti-trafficking team, but their resources were limited.

Protection
The government and NGOs communicated well on protection activities, but police operated without a formalized referral system and victims tended not to cooperate due to insufficient protections. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) oversaw establishment of a referral center housed in the Social Affairs Ministry. Police relied on an NGO-run shelter overseen by the IOM to house victims. Police commonly interviewed victims upon police apprehension, and those who did not self-identify as victims were charged with prostitution or deported. The government did not implement a regional Ministerial declaration on residency status for victims.

Prevention
Government officials spoke out against trafficking, but NGOs took the lead on public information campaigns. The government increased the number of training sessions for law enforcement officials. The Interior Ministry briefed consular and diplomatic officials with country-specific trafficking information. The Ministry of Social Affairs organized an anti-trafficking training project for its employees.

THE REPUBLIC OF MONTENEGRO

Prosecution
The Government of the Republic of Montenegro suffered a loss in public and international confidence after it failed to prosecute the deputy state prosecutor for trafficking in the well-known "SC" case.* Responding to criticism, the government reconstituted its referral system and drafted new criminal and procedural laws that strengthen penalties and increase institutional oversight. The Montenegrin criminal code prohibits trafficking in persons for the purposes of sexual, labor and other exploitation, and prescribes punishment of up to 10 years' imprisonment for a simple offense, with increasing penalties for aggravating circumstances. Of the 15 cases submitted to the prosecution since 2002, there have been no convictions. Official corruption remains a problem; victims named police and government officials who were among their clients but the government did not take legal action. Prosecutors who were involved in the decision not to prosecute in the "SC" case were all dismissed, but with severance pay. The Ministry of Interior's anti-trafficking unit was disbanded. Montenegrin police successfully recaptured fugitive trafficking kingpin Dilaver Bojku and returned him to Macedonia for trial.

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*SC represents the victim's initials.

Protection
For most of the reporting period, the government's formerly effective referral system was inoperative. Following mutual allegations of mishandling in the "SC" case, the government and shelter operators ceased cooperation in June 2003. By March 2004, the government finalized a new agreement with an NGO for shelter management and opened a new trafficking victim's shelter. Despite signing a regional ministerial declaration on residency for victims, foreign victims were not provided residency status. Victims who failed to self-identify as victims were charged with prostitution or deported.

Prevention
The National Project Board coordinated the government's prevention efforts. The Board's activities were discontinued following the "SC" case, but the government appointed a new coordinator, and reconstituted the Board. The government also formed an anti-trafficking working group, and adopted a new anti-trafficking strategy with recommendations by international experts. The Ministry of Education conducted an anti-trafficking program for school officials in eight school districts.

KOSOVO

Kosovo, while technically a part of Serbia and Montenegro, is currently administered under the authority of the United Nations Interim administrative Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) pending a determination of its final status. Since June 1999, UNMIK has provided transitional administration for Kosovo, and retains competency over anti-trafficking roles such as police and justice. UNMIK is aware of the trafficking problem in Kosovo and conducts anti-trafficking efforts with the OSCE, the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG) and local and international NGOs. International organizations have ultimate responsibility for law enforcement and social support to victims of trafficking. Some local institutions are currently developing a Kosovo Plan of Action to facilitate coordination of government anti-TIP efforts.

Kosovo is a source, transit and destination point, primarily for women and children trafficked for sexual exploitation and, to a lesser degree, domestic servitude. Internal trafficking is a serious problem. In 2003, UNMIK's Trafficking and Prostitution Investigation Unit (TPIU) conducted 2,047 operations and assisted 70 victims. Of the 60 trials for trafficking in 2003, 26 were ongoing at year's end, 18 ended in acquittal, and 17 ended with convictions. Victims are referred by TPIU to local NGOs for assistance. There are two shelters, one for foreign victims and one for Kosovar victims.

SLOVAK REPUBLIC (TIER 2)

The Slovak Republic is a transit and source country for women and girls primarily trafficked to Austria, The Netherlands, France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and Japan for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Victims from the former Soviet Republics and the Balkan region are trafficked through the Slovak Republic to European Union countries. Highly organized crime rings based in neighboring countries and Slovakia control the trafficking in and through Slovakia.

The Government of the Slovak Republic does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government made significant strides in 2003 to include reorganizing parts of the Ministry of Interior and amending the criminal code. These efforts will improve internal communication and improve the investigation efforts aimed at fighting trafficking in persons. But the Slovak population continues to demonstrate a low awareness of trafficking in persons issues, and the country lacks essential victim support such as shelters, health services, and legal assistance.

Prosecution
Slovakia's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts improved in 2003. The Slovak criminal code adequately addresses trafficking in persons, and penalties are sufficiently severe. The Interior Ministry reported successfully arresting traffickers associated with six networks in 2003. The Justice Ministry reported six convictions of traffickers. Additionally, three child trafficking prosecutions and 54 prosecutions of individual traffickers were underway during the reporting period. A number of those cases date from 2002 or earlier. At the beginning of 2004, the Interior Ministry increased the size of the police anti-trafficking unit and elevated the unit to a department. Despite several arrests for corruption during the reporting period, corruption within the government remained a problem and, in some cases, may hinder government efforts to eliminate trafficking. Recent anti-corruption reforms facilitated the use of sting operations and the enactment of whistle-blower statutes. The Slovak Government continues to cooperate with other governments—particularly Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary—in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases. In 2003, Slovakia joined Europol.

Protection
The Slovak Republic lags considerably in the area of victim protection, in part due to financial constraints. The government provides temporary residency status to victims who are willing to assist police prosecutions and enter a witness protection program. A cooperating victim can receive a new identity and give recorded testimony. However, a lack of trust in the police often deters potential witnesses. The anti-trafficking police unit refers trafficking victims to NGOs on an ad hoc basis, and often detains or deports victims as illegal migrants due to a lack of screening and identification procedures. NGOs report difficulties in providing shelter, health, and legal services to trafficking victims due to a lack of funding. Slovak embassies and consulates abroad assist victims by providing travel documents, assisting with money transfers, and contacting relatives.

Prevention
The government continues to devote few resources to prevent trafficking, although in 2003 the Education Ministry, in cooperation with the IOM, helped organize discussion groups in a number of schools about trafficking in persons and distribute handbooks about legally working abroad. The government's strongest preventive strategies remained in the area of law enforcement—strengthening border control and improving cross-border cooperation. In March, Slovakia and Austria agreed to establish a police liaison center at a border crossing near Bratislava. In November, the Slovak and Czech Republics signed an agreement to allow cross-border pursuits in organized crime cases. The government does not have a national plan of action to combat trafficking in persons.

SLOVENIA (TIER 2)

Slovenia is primarily a transit and secondarily a source and destination country for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation from Eastern Europe and Balkan countries to Western Europe, particularly Italy, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Spain, and The Netherlands.

The Government of Slovenia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government's working group to combat trafficking in persons is drafting a national action plan to be considered for adoption in 2004. The Slovenian Government should approve and implement the national action plan, improve data collection efforts, and normalize funding for Slovenia's first victims' shelter. Slovenian authorities should also scrutinize work permits and club licenses and conduct unannounced inspections of worksites where trafficking victims are believed present.

Prosecution
Slovenia made only modest efforts to prosecute traffickers during the last year. In March 2004, Slovenia adopted amendments to the penal code that specifically criminalize trafficking. The government investigates and prosecutes traffickers under related statutes addressing pimping, sexual assault, and slavery. Although Slovenian authorities reported no trafficking-related convictions during the reporting period, they conducted 21 trafficking-related investigations against 34 suspected traffickers, and initiated five trafficking prosecutions. The Prosecutor's Office designated a prosecutor in each of the country's 11 circuits to facilitate the handling of trafficking cases, and in late 2003 provided all state prosecutors with training on trafficking prosecutions. Slovenia adequately monitors its borders, though a majority of victims trafficked to or through Slovenia initially enter legally carrying work permits as "artistic dancers." In 2003, Slovenia actively participated in the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, the Southeastern European Cooperative Initiative (SECI), and Interpol efforts in fighting against trafficking in persons.

Protection
The Ministry of Interior and the State Prosecutor's Office concluded agreements in late 2003 with an NGO that runs Slovenia's shelter to provide victims with protection from prosecution, temporary residency status, and social services. The agreement specifically provides for extensions of temporary residency status for victims participating in prosecutions of traffickers. In 2003, seven trafficking victims received assistance at the new Slovenian shelter. The government funds NGOs working on trafficking-related issues on an intermittent basis. Slovenia currently lacks witness protection programs, but is considering how to establish and implement such programs.

Prevention
The Slovenian Interdepartmental Working Group on Combating Trafficking in Persons meets regularly and is comprised of legislative, executive, and judicial branch members; media representatives; and local and international organizations. An executive order of December 2003 enables the working group to make policy recommendations to the Cabinet that, if approved, are binding upon government ministries, offices and agencies. The group has been tasked to develop a comprehensive action plan to combat trafficking in persons for government consideration in 2004. A local NGO that receives government funds established a 24-hour hotline that trafficking victims can call for support information, and continued an education program in the schools that includes a short documentary on a Slovene trafficking victim. Also, government ministries and organizations, such as the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, social work centers, and clinics, distributed brochures on trafficking in 2003.

SPAIN (TIER 1)

Spain is a destination and transit country for trafficked persons for the purposes of sexual exploitation and, to a lesser degree, forced labor. Victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation come primarily from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, and Romania. Some victims are trafficked for forced labor in agriculture, sweatshops, or restaurants. Spain is a transit country for trafficking victims destined for Portugal and Italy.

The Government of Spain fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government improved its monitoring and tracking of trafficking networks, and offered comprehensive assistance to victims. New anti-trafficking legislation allowed for increased penalties for trafficking, but no traffickers were yet sentenced under the new law. Notably, the City of Madrid cooperated with the federal government to announce a demand-reduction strategy which focused both on the responsibility of the clients and the rights of the victims. The courts should utilize the sentencing guidelines under the new law.

Prosecution
The government vigorously investigated and arrested individuals suspected of trafficking crimes, although new legislation carrying heavier penalties for trafficking had not yet resulted in longer sentences. The government passed comprehensive legislation in September 2003 prohibiting trafficking in persons for labor and sexual exploitation, with penalties ranging from five to 12 years' imprisonment. The new higher penalties are commensurate with those for other grave crimes, such as rape. The Immigration and Falsified Documents unit of the Spanish National Police investigated trafficking in persons, and reported 2,028 arrests for involvement in trafficking networks, and 1,003 arrests for trafficking related to sexual and labor exploitation. While conviction statistics under the new law were not yet available, there were 105 prosecutions and 12 trafficking-related convictions under the old law in 2003. The average sentence was 2.4 years, in accordance with those sentencing guidelines. Spanish police cooperation with source countries led to 303 trafficking-related arrests in source countries. The government extradited seven individuals for trafficking-related offenses in 2003.

Protection
Police identified 1,527 victims of trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and 967 victims of labor trafficking. The police regularly referred victims to government-financed NGOs. Those lacking legal status, who were unwilling to cooperate, were generally returned to their home countries. Police reported that 230 victims agreed to testify and were granted short-term residency status. The government's violence education programs for female victims and an NGO partner on trafficking reported that 89% of the victims they assisted pressed criminal charges. The government also provided job placement services for victims rescued from trafficking situations. Anti-trafficking police and cadets received special training by an NGO partner.

Prevention
The government negotiated with source countries to prevent illegal migration to Spain, including human trafficking. Responding to the reality that French-speaking countries in Africa represent source countries, Spain provided French-language training to high-level national police officials to increase cooperation with such countries. The government's NGO partners provide information to vulnerable groups. In January, the federal government and the City of Madrid announced a demand-reduction, anti-trafficking education campaign targeting the clients of prostitutes and prevention of trafficking.

SWEDEN (TIER 1)

Sweden is a destination and transit country for women and children trafficked from Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Balkan states for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Some victims are also trafficked to Sweden from South American and Asian countries, particularly Thailand. The final destinations of victims transiting through Sweden are primarily Denmark, Norway, and Germany. Sweden's National Police Board estimates 400-600 victims were trafficked to or through Sweden in 2003.

The Government of Sweden fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons. In 2003, the government sustained and strengthened its efforts to combat trafficking in persons. Sweden has commendably pioneered legislation that treats victims humanely and criminalizes the actions of the customer. The Swedish Government allotted $24 million to combat trafficking in 2004-2006. The Swedish parliament should adopt draft legislation submitted by the government to enhance victim protection and assistance.

Prosecution
Sweden's penal code includes specific legislation on trafficking in persons for sexual purposes for which the penalties are sufficiently severe, but the law does not cover other forms of trafficking, such as trafficking for forced labor. Currently, Sweden has extensive labor laws governing minimum working ages, minimum wage, and employment standards, as well as organized trade unions that have protected the labor force. Prosecutors rely on provisions that criminalize procurement due to the difficulty of proving unlawful coercion and deception. During the reporting period, 10 individuals were sentenced for trafficking in persons; these cases involved approximately 50 victims, all of whom were women. Eight of the 10 individuals were found guilty of procurement and two of sex trafficking. The sentences ranged from one to 12 years. Over the past year, the government tightened border controls and improved its training programs for law enforcement and border officials to enable them to more readily recognize and assist trafficking victims. The government routinely cooperates with other governments and international law enforcement agencies on trafficking investigations.

Protection
Sweden focused its attention in 2003 on improving victim assistance. In the past, Sweden lacked a clear bureaucratic structure for victim assistance. Recognizing this gap, during the reporting period the government drafted and presented to parliament legislation that would provide temporary residence status to victims involved in trafficking investigations or prosecutions, and would entitle them to health care and social welfare services. The draft legislation would require municipal governments to shelter and support victims of trafficking. Victim assistance in Sweden is currently provided on an ad hoc basis. Swedish authorities do not fine or prosecute victims. Of the approximately 50 victims previously noted, the police arranged for shelter and assistance for 10 to 15 victims involved in legal investigations. The majority of the women did not request support and expressed a desire to return to their home countries as soon as possible. The Swedish Government provides funding to NGOs in Sweden and abroad that provide support services to women who are victims of gender-based violence, including trafficking.

Prevention
The Government of Sweden continued its information and education campaigns, including several established with Baltic states. In 2003, the government assigned The Swedish Institute to show the film "Lilya 4-Ever," a film about trafficking, and conduct follow-up discussion seminars in source countries in Europe. The government has also sought to raise awareness within the European Union (EU) on efforts to reduce trafficking demand. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency (SIDA) continued to fund international organizations mounting anti-trafficking initiatives in the Baltics and Balkans. The government has initiated efforts to develop a national action plan to combat prostitution and trafficking.

SWITZERLAND (TIER 2)

Switzerland is primarily a destination country, and secondarily a transit country, for increasing numbers of women trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, Thailand, Africa, and South America.

The Government of Switzerland does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Switzerland has moved from Tier 1 to Tier 2 due to a lack of appreciable progress in eliminating severe forms of trafficking during the reporting period and a failure to consistently provide the range of protections for trafficking victims available under Swiss law. The federal government through regular interagency policy meetings is working to strengthen its laws against trafficking and sensitize cantonal authorities to the importance of staying deportation proceedings, but progress has been slow. Some local enforcement authorities still treated some trafficking victims as illegal immigrants, rapidly deporting them rather than providing or facilitating assistance. The government should improve victim identification procedures, increase enforcement efforts, and adopt screening procedures to prevent repeated abuse of "artistic" visas for trafficking purposes.

Prosecution
The Swiss penal code has two articles specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons with sufficiently severe penalties, both of which focus on sexual exploitation and prostitution. The Swiss Government has drafted a revision to the penal code to explicitly prohibit forced labor, but the legislation has not been submitted to parliament. Currently, other legal provisions of the penal code or the immigration and naturalization law cover it implicitly. The most recent enforcement statistics, from 2002, indicate that authorities made 11 convictions for human trafficking and forced prostitution, down from 17 in 2001. Four of those convicted received prison sentences from five to 10 years, and seven received suspended sentences of less than a year. Within the Federal Office of Police (BAP), the Coordination Unit against the Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (KSMM) coordinates and monitors all Swiss anti-trafficking efforts. The office began operations in early 2003 and currently has three full-time employees. The BAP also established two new anti-trafficking sub-sections, one with the international cooperation and investigation division and the other tied to the domestic intelligence division. Swiss authorities are active in international law enforcement activities and took the lead in coordinating 12 international trafficking investigations. The government stationed a law enforcement attach� in Thailand in early 2003 to coordinate criminal investigations, including trafficking investigations, and act as a liaison between Swiss and Thai authorities. In total, Switzerland responded to 575 international inquiries relating to trafficking, up from 474 in 2002.

Protection
In 2003, the KSMM held two interdisciplinary training seminars for cantonal police officers and social workers on how to recognize and investigate instances of human trafficking. Despite a range of protections, some potential victims of trafficking were summarily deported to their country of origin as illegal immigrants. The federal police and immigration authorities are working with cantonal authorities to encourage them to take a more tolerant approach toward delaying deportation to allow for victim counseling and an increased likelihood that victims may testify against traffickers. NGOs and Swiss authorities in Zurich drafted a "code of cooperation" to improve the protection and security of victims. Pending the city government's approval, this code will regulate the procedures for identifying and referring victims for assistance. Efforts to strengthen cooperation between NGOs and Swiss authorities are also underway in other cities, such as Bern, Basel, and Lucerne. Under the Swiss Victim's Assistance Law, identified victims may seek help from centers providing shelter, counseling, legal assistance, and medical aid. The most recent statistics, from 2002, indicate that these centers assisted 68 victims. The law also safeguards the identities of witnesses in criminal proceedings; although, few victims are willing to testify because they fear retaliation or deportation. Federal and cantonal governments continued to provide funding to NGOs and women's shelters, and authorities may grant temporary residency permits on a case-by-case basis to victims willing to testify in court. The government is considering a new legal framework to provide an explicit right to temporary residence for trafficking victims, but such legislation is unlikely to become effective before 2006.

Prevention
The Government of Switzerland funded several anti-trafficking information and education campaigns in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Asia, and South America, targeting potential trafficking victims. In 2003, the government co-financed an anti-trafficking radio program in Bosnia, a trafficking awareness campaign in Colombia, a mobile theater project in Ukraine, and an information campaign in Sri Lanka warning against illegal immigration. The government also continued to partially fund the Women's Information Center, a victim's assistance NGO, that has established an international network of contacts for victim repatriation and distributes trafficking information in origin countries. Switzerland established a national action plan to combat human trafficking, and the Swiss Federal Council has tasked each federal department to take steps to implement the plan. In collaboration with the Interior Ministry, a Swiss NGO trained Swiss consular officials to educate visa applicants in their home countries about the dangers of trafficking. The Swiss embassy in Moscow has tightened visa regulations and, together with an NGO, has implemented awareness raising seminars for its staff. This trafficking-awareness raising program is being replicated at Swiss embassies in Kiev and Bogot�.

TAJIKISTAN (TIER 2 - WATCH LIST)

Tajikistan is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked to Russia, other Central Asian countries, and the Gulf States for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor.

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. Tajikistan is placed on Tier 2 Watch List due to a lack of evidence of increased efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking during the reporting period. While the Tajik Government recognizes the problem and has criminalized trafficking in persons, it needs to do more to protect victims of trafficking and prosecute their exploiters. Tajikistan should establish a national action plan and refer trafficking victims to appropriate NGOs.

Prosecution
The Government of Tajikistan criminalized trafficking in persons through an amendment to its criminal code in August 2003. The government has also drafted a comprehensive law on trafficking, which it expects to enact later this year. In 2003, the government prosecuted two trafficking cases—compared to four in 2002—and convicted one trafficker, who was commendably sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment. The second prosecution is ongoing and involves a ring of alleged sex traffickers. The trafficking activities of 16 other criminal groups are currently under investigation. Training for law enforcement officials on trafficking-related issues remains lacking. In 2003, the government formed a committee of officials from the Ministries of Labor, Interior, and Security to receive training on recognizing, investigating, and prosecuting trafficking cases. Corruption, including among government officials, remains endemic, and may hinder government efforts to eliminate trafficking. The government instituted criminal cases against two low-level officials for issuing falsified documents, but both officials fled the country. The government takes steps to monitor its borders, but border control remains weak.

Protection
Tajikistan has a weak record of assisting trafficking victims. The Government of Tajikistan encourages victims to cooperate with enforcement officials, but offers no protection or reintegration programs for victims or witnesses. In 2003, the government reported that it did not jail, fine, detain, or otherwise punish victims, but law enforcement officials have no system to refer victims to NGOs. In 2003, the government reported no cooperation with other governments on trafficking investigations. Citing limited resources, the government claims it is unable to provide its overseas embassy and consulate officials with the tools to identify and assist victims.

Prevention
Regrettably, the government has not formed a national plan of action to fight trafficking in persons, although it has formed a working group to create such a plan. The government cooperates with local NGOs and international groups that focus on prevention. It supports the IOM's efforts to distribute anti-trafficking brochures and operate a resource center to educate potential migrants about migration and trafficking.

TURKEY (TIER 2 - WATCH LIST)

Turkey is a country of destination for women and girls trafficked primarily for the purpose of sexual exploitation, as well as domestic service. Most victims come from Eastern European countries and the former Soviet Union, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Moldova. To a lesser extent, Turkey is a transit country to Western Europe.

The Government of Turkey does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Turkey's actions merited a Tier 2 designation in September 2003 for conducting focused legal reform and law enforcement actions. The government is placed on Tier 2 Watch List because many of its efforts, especially in the area of protection, began early in 2004 and require time to show adequate results. While it showed some follow-through on prosecutions and convictions, it did not conduct any preventive information or education programs for the public-at-large. The government should fully implement its new victim referral protocol, aggressively execute joint investigations with source countries, and provide tangible evidence that it has discontinued its practice of "dumping" victims across borders without screening.

Prosecution
Trafficking for any purpose is specifically criminalized in Turkey, with penalties exceeding 20 years' imprisonment if conducted as part of an organized activity. There were some reports of government officials involved in trafficking. During the reporting period, the government sentenced six defendants for trafficking, including two police officers, up to four years and two months in prison. The officers were expelled from the force. The government also initiated eight prosecutorial investigations. While the government's cooperation agreements previously focused primarily on smuggling, its focus on trafficking improved. Police and judicial personnel participated in NGO training sessions and an inter-agency police task force based in Istanbul was established to investigate trafficking as a part of organized and financial crimes.

Protection
The government improved its protection efforts late in the reporting period. Authorities conducted few ad hoc repatriations until it signed a formal agreement with the IOM in April 2004. The government established a protocol with an NGO whom it agreed to notify before conducting raids and upon identification of potential victims, but it failed to fund the shelter aspect of the protocol. The government's previous practice of returning victims to source countries without proper screening or notification was expected to improve through implementation of the repatriation and NGO cooperation agreements. Despite the central government's efforts to institute the protocol, some local authorities failed to follow victim protection guidelines; the central government took some remedial measures during the reporting period. The government adopted a new policy to provide full medical assistance to victims of trafficking and extended humanitarian visas from one to six months.

Prevention
The government initiated some prevention efforts in spring of 2004, but efforts required focusing and strengthening. According to local experts, the government's previous practice of "dumping" victims in neighboring countries made them vulnerable to re-trafficking by local recruiters and traffickers. The government amended Turkish labor laws to mandate that contracts for foreign entertainers be prepared in the entertainer's language. The government also began reviewing work contracts to identify potential trafficking. The Prime Minister's Directorate on Women's Issues conducted a seminar for journalists and NGOs to increase awareness amongst advocate communities, but the public remained largely uninformed about trafficking in Turkey. In April 2004, the government drafted agreements with two source countries to promote greater cooperation on trafficking.

UKRAINE (TIER 2)

Ukraine is a source country for women and girls trafficked to Europe and the Middle East for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and for men trafficked to Europe and North America for forced labor. Ukraine is also a significant transit country for Asian and Moldovan victims trafficked to Western destinations. Ukraine has seen an increase in the trafficking of children, especially orphans, during the last year.

The Government of Ukraine does not yet fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite resource constraints, Ukraine continues to make progress in combating trafficking, demonstrated by a steady increase in prosecutions and convictions. But progress has lagged in implementing the Comprehensive Program for Combating Trafficking in Persons, coordinating with law enforcement officials of destination countries, and fighting government corruption. The Ukraine parliament should adopt amendments to the criminal code that will strengthen anti-trafficking legislation.

Prosecution
Ukraine's criminal code criminalizes trafficking in persons, but does not address recruitment nor clearly define internal trafficking as a separate crime. The government has drafted and introduced to parliament amendments to the criminal code to bring Ukraine into compliance with international standards, but they have not yet been adopted. In 2003, prosecutors tried 41 trafficking cases and convicted traffickers in 29 cases. These results represent increases of 215% and 190%, respectively, over 2002. Those 29 cases involved 32 defendants of whom 11 were sentenced to prison terms, two to restraint of liberty in correction facilities, and 19 to probation. Despite this improvement, the government should provide oversight to the sentencing process to ensure that judges are implementing the legislation effectively, and to prevent the risk that judges will be improperly influenced. Corruption remains a problem for Ukraine in government and at all levels of society. Official corruption decreases the effectiveness of law enforcement efforts on trafficking. Cooperation and coordination with law enforcement officials in destination countries has improved, but remains inadequate to address the scope of the problem. Weak border security contributes to trafficking, especially along the Ukraine-Russia border.

Protection
The police and Ukrainian embassies abroad engage NGOs to provide trafficking victims with protection services, particularly at the airport and the port of Odessa. Law enforcement officers should continue efforts to publicize and provide resources for witness protection programs. During prosecution in 2003, 278 victims testified, an increase over the 202 victims who testified in 2002. In June 2003, the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers approved guidelines for establishing and operating victim rehabilitation centers. The Government of Ukraine introduced simplified procedures in late 2003 to assist victims of trafficking and to facilitate their repatriation.

Prevention
Although the Ukrainian Government has made some progress in implementing its Comprehensive Program for Combating Trafficking in Persons, its Interdepartmental Coordination Council for Combating Trafficking in Persons has had no formal meetings since its establishment in December 2002. Local commissions on combating trafficking were created throughout Ukraine pursuant to the Comprehensive Program, but their quality and effectiveness vary. Regionally throughout Ukraine, NGOs collaborated with Family and Youth Affairs Departments on information and education campaigns, such as peer training at schools, universities, cafes, and clubs.

UNITED KINGDOM (TIER 1)

The United Kingdom is primarily a country of destination for trafficked women, children and men from Eastern Europe, East Asia, and West Africa. While women and girls are trafficked primarily for the purposes of sexual exploitation and domestic servitude, men and boys are trafficked into agriculture and sweatshop industries. The United Kingdom may also play a role as a transit country to other Western European countries.

The Government of the United Kingdom fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. New legislation to criminalize labor trafficking is moving through Parliament. Final regulations that would allow specific enforcement of new legislation outlawing sexual trafficking were still pending as of March 2004. The government instituted thoughtful prevention measures, but did not clearly distinguish between trafficking and smuggling. The government should differentiate trafficking from immigration crime and implement new sentencing guidelines to complement its pending anti-trafficking legislation.

Prosecution
The Home Office announced significant increased funding for its transnational crime investigative unit, Task Force Reflex. The Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 prohibited trafficking for the purposes of prostitution, with penalties of up to 15 years' imprisonment. The Sexual Offenses Act of 2003, once implemented, would increase possible penalties to life imprisonment for trafficking for sexual exploitation. Trafficking penalties would then be commensurate with rape and subject to extra-territorial jurisdiction. Trafficking for labor exploitation was in a separate bill still under consideration in Parliament. Statistics on trafficking prosecutions under the above laws were not available, but two special investigative units—Task Force Reflex and Operation Maxim—reported over 200 arrests for organized prostitution and immigration-related crimes, leading to 28 convictions, including one in which the defendant was sentenced to 10 years in prison for trafficking-related offenses. The government established anti-trafficking projects with Bulgaria and Romania.

Protection
The government increased its victim referral and funding for an NGO-run shelter to $1.3 million. As some victims were assisted by other social service agencies, it was difficult to determine the total number of victims assisted. For example, one shelter for victims of sexual exploitation housed a total of 33 trafficking victims and offered outreach support to a further 14. Police most likely to encounter trafficking victims were trained to investigate trafficking cases and followed the victim referral protocols. The government continued to refine and improve its protocols, and government and NGO representatives collaborated on trafficking policies and cases in a national steering committee. Illustrating the immigration focus, immigration authorities generally accompanied police on raids in order to expedite removal of uncooperative victims. Responding to concerns over the placement of trafficked and other vulnerable children in centers where their security could not be guaranteed, the government began placing them with foster care providers.

Prevention
The United Kingdom provided law enforcement assistance to source and transit countries to prevent, detect and disrupt trafficking operations. For example, through "IMMPact 2," the government provided anti-trafficking training for law enforcement in Serbia and Montenegro. The government provided funds for trafficking prevention information campaigns in source countries. Police and Immigration authorities set up a screening effort at Heathrow airport to systematically identify children entering the U.K. who may be at risk. After an initial three-month collaborative monitoring and referral program to Social Services, police assigned a child protection officer full-time to Heathrow.

UZBEKISTAN (TIER 2)

Uzbekistan is primarily a source, and to a lesser extent, a transit country for people trafficked to the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Kuwait, Bahrain, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Western Europe for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Victims trafficked from neighboring countries transit through Uzbekistan because it is a transportation hub for Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Korea, and U.A.E. Victims are trafficked internally from rural to urban areas for labor exploitation. Uzbek women are trafficked abroad for sexual exploitation, often transiting Tashkent.

The Government of Uzbekistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Uzbekistan was reassessed as meeting the standard for Tier 2 placement in September 2003 because of the government's significant anti-trafficking efforts, and these efforts continued throughout the remainder of the reporting period. The government has shown greater candor and commitment in discussing its trafficking problem and strategies to combat it. Although more vigorous prosecution efforts were seen in 2003, the government should more fully cooperate with law enforcement officials in destination countries, train border guards and customs officials on identifying and assisting victims, and train police on trafficking investigations.

Prosecution
In 2003, the Government of Uzbekistan drafted comprehensive trafficking legislation and submitted it to the legislature. It also prosecuted 101 individuals in trafficking-related cases using existing criminal statutes, with 80 convictions as of February 2004. The majority of these cases were pursued under the criminal statute that regulates the recruitment of people for exploitation. The government identified 139 trafficking victims in these cases. Penalties range from five to eight years in prison. The police are currently interviewing victims to gather more detailed information about trafficking operations. Officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor's Office received training on criminal investigations in 2003. The government, in collaboration with NGOs, has begun to train border guards and customs officials, though the majority of the security services are not well trained to identify and assist victims. During the reporting period, one official was dismissed and is under criminal investigation for selling travel documents and preparing fraudulent exit visas for traffickers. Corruption, particularly at regional levels, remains an obstacle to prosecution efforts. The government has cooperative agreements with Russia, Germany, China, India, and works with the Governments of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine on joint investigations.

Protection
Although the government has no budget for victim assistance, it supported efforts through other means. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2003 assisted some victims in returning to Uzbekistan from foreign countries and continues to develop its assistance and repatriation program. While no formal mechanism for screening and referral exists, in practice the police at Tashkent's airport contact a local NGO offering protection when they identify trafficked women. The government collaborates with NGOs on victim repatriation and is in the process of reviewing IOM's registration documents that, if approved, would enable the organization to significantly enhance the protection of trafficked victims. Government officials did not jail or otherwise punish victims in 2003.

Prevention
The government lacks the funding to do as much as it would like in support of preventative programs, but actively informs the general public about trafficking in persons. Prevention of trafficking has been a key focus of government efforts. Government officials have worked closely with international and local NGOs on programs to place anti-trafficking awareness posters in public buses, passport offices, and consular sections. The government also permitted NGOs to advertise regional TIP hotlines on local television. Government officials have gone on radio and television shows with NGO representatives to talk about the problem and warn of the dangers of trafficking in persons. An increased number of newspaper articles and educational programming regarding trafficked women appeared in state-controlled media. In 2003, the government formed a commission and a working group that developed a national action plan on trafficking in persons.

[This is a mobile copy of IV. Country Narratives: Europe and Eurasia]