US State Department: Moldova is a source, transit and destination country for sex trafficking and forced labor
A recent report released by the US State Department shows that many women, children and men continue to live in slavery through the scourge of trafficking in persons. According to the definition, human trafficking means the process of recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
“It is estimated as many as 27 million people around the world are victims of modern slavery, what we sometimes call trafficking in persons,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.
The US State Department names 17 countries with a “Tier 3” grade, which is the lowest ranking of the states which do not comply with the requirements of Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). Among them there are North Korea, Cuba, Sudan, Libya and others.
Moldova scored a “Tier 2” grade meaning that the country does not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but they are making efforts to overcome the issue.
“Moldova is a source and, to a lesser extent, a transit and destination country for women and girls subjected to sex trafficking, and for men, women, and children subjected to conditions of forced labor,” the report shows. According to the research made by the State Department, Moldovan women are sent to Turkey, Russia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Israel, Ukraine, Romania, Ukraine and other countries to forced prostitution.
“Men, women, and children are subjected to conditions of forced labor in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, UAE, Israel, Greece, and the United States in the construction, agriculture, and service sectors. Men, women, and children are also subjected to conditions of forced labor and sexual exploitation in Slovenia, Spain, the Netherlands, and Ukraine,” the US State Department reported.
The same document shows that Moldovan children are subjected to conditions of forced begging in the neighboring countries.
“Victims of forced prostitution found in Chisinau (capital of Moldova) include Ukrainian women and Moldovan girls and women from rural areas. Moldovan men and women are subjected to forced labor in Moldova. Moldovan victims of trafficking have been subjected to re-trafficking after their return to Moldova from foreign countries,” the report states.
The Government of Moldova “is making significant efforts” to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The report says that the government has registered progress over the past year in dealing with the protection of victims and the prevention of trafficking.
“It increased the participation of NGOs in law enforcement investigations and made special provisions to protect child,” the report claimed.
During 2011 Moldovan Government reported 135 trafficking investigations, which is with 161 cases less compared to 2010. Some 79 prosecuting suspects were reported in 2011. Moldova’s national authorities convicted only 22 trafficking offenders, which is a decrease compared to 2010.
US State Department gives some recommendations to the Government of Moldova in tackling the issue.
Moldova has to “demonstrate vigorous efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict government officials complicit in trafficking, and seek criminal prosecution and conviction of any guilty officials; ensure that convicted trafficking offenders serve time in prison; increase investigation, prosecution, and conviction of labor trafficking offenses; train investigators, prosecutors,” and others.