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Trafficking in Persons Report

Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000: Trafficking in Persons Report

"The fourth annual Trafficking in Persons Report reflects the growing concern of the President, Members of Congress, and the public over the serious human rights, health, and security implications of human trafficking around the world.

One way this concern has been expressed is through the enactment of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 (TVPRA), which amends the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. Among other things, the TVPRA strengthens the tools U.S. law enforcement authorities use to prosecute traffickers and enhances assistance to victims of trafficking. It also requires the Department of State to scrutinize more closely the efforts of governments to prosecute traffickers as well as evaluate whether our international partners have achieved appreciable progress over the past year in eliminating trafficking in persons."
-- Secretary of State Colin L. Powell

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.

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.

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.

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.

For full report check the Trafficking in Persons Report Home Page - all countries