The Slovenia Times

Slovenia Loses Tier 1 Status in State Dept Human Trafficking Report


Slovenia is a destination and, to a lesser extent, a source and transit country for people subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour and begging, the report issued on Monday says, explaining that migrant workers and the Roma are particularly vulnerable to trafficking.

"Victims of labour exploitation in Slovenia come from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine, and are exploited in the construction sector and forced into begging."

The report, which distinguishes between tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 countries, has thus downgraded the country's ranking for the first time in ten years, labelling it a country that does not do enough to fight human trafficking.

"The government prosecuted the fewest number of traffickers in five years and did not secure any convictions. The government sustained funding for NGOs to provide assistance to victims and run awareness campaigns, but authorities referred fewer victims to care," the report finds.

The report still acknowledges significant effort from the authorities to tackle the issue, highlighting training for law enforcement officials and a handbook to guide victim identification.

To be more effective in the fight against human trafficking, the report recommends to Slovenia to vigorously prosecute sex and labour trafficking offences, increase efforts to identify victims and impose sentences on convicted traffickers that reflect the severity of their crime.

Furthermore the report says to provide proper and safe facilities to assist child victims of trafficking, continue prevention outreach to vulnerable populations and continue to raise awareness of forced labour and forced prostitution among the general public.

The US State Department issues an annual report on human trafficking to raise awareness about the issue and urge authorities around the world to make a "change, prosecute trafficking and shield at-risk populations", State Secretary John Kerry said upon releasing the report.

The Interior Ministry, meanwhile, said that it approaches the issue of human trafficking with all seriousness, even though Slovenia "does not face the problems to such extent as other countries".

Each case of human trafficking is tragic and unacceptable, the ministry also said and pointed to its main weapon to approach the problem, the intradepartmental group tasked to cover the issues.

The group recently issued a report for 2014, outlining the past efforts and pinpoints future plans to ban human trafficking from the country, the ministry said, expressing satisfaction over the task's work done.

NGO Ključ, meanwhile, commented that while the state abides by international demands to fight human trafficking in the legal sense, it fails when it comes to concrete measures in regards to identification, treatment and financing of human trafficking victims.

Long-term aid to the victims must include a systemic solution on state level, if we actually want to make the victims independent, stopping the vicious cycle of abuse and exploitation.

However, Ključ acknowledged an important step forward was made in the past years when lawyers started using audio and video materials in criminal procedures, which according to them crucially contributes for human trafficking victims to decide to testify against offenders.


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