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Trafficking in Persons Report

Romania (Tiers 2)

Romania is a source and transit country for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Females from Moldova, Ukraine, and Russia are trafficked through Romania to Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece, France, Austria, and Canada. There were reports that Romanian boys and young men were trafficked to another Eastern European country for purposes of sexual exploitation. Romanian girls are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation, and boys are trafficked from Eastern and Northern Romania to urban cities for purposes of forced labor including forced petty theft.

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. Romania increased its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts and took steps to improve government coordination of anti-trafficking efforts by creating the National Agency for the Prevention of Trafficking in late 2005; it will receive funding from the national budget and have authority to direct other agencies to act on anti-trafficking initiatives. Romania should work to improve its victim identification methods and establish a functional victim referral system; the national government should work more closely with anti-trafficking NGOs and provide them with stable funding. Police should be better instructed to inform victims about services offered by NGOs. Since many trafficking victims have elected not to enter state shelters, the government should develop other strategies for offering needed services to victims. The government should not fine or in any way penalize trafficking victims.

Prosecution

The Government of Romania significantly improved its law enforcement efforts against trafficking in persons crimes over the last year. Romanian police in 2005 conducted 231 investigations and prosecuted 124 trafficking cases, resulting in the conviction of 235 traffickers * more than a 100 percent increase over the 103 traffickers convicted in 2004. Of the 235 traffickers convicted in 2005, 137 received prison sentences while 98 received no prison time. Sixty-four traffickers received between one and five years in prison; an additional 64 traffickers were sentenced from five to 10 years' imprisonment.

Protection

Romania made modest progress in improving victim assistance and protection over the last year. Seven state-run shelters were operational during 2005. Victims were entitled to medical, legal, and social assistance, although the quality of the care and facilities provided was inconsistent among the various state-run shelters, and funding issues prompted the closure and reopening of several of the shelters during the reporting period. Further, these centers are intended for short-term use only; victims are permitted to stay in the center for 10 days, although this may be easily extended for up to three months and, in special circumstances, beyond three months based on a request by judicial officials. Police and prosecutors are required to inform victims of their right to go to a state-run shelter, but in practice most victims did not utilize the centers because of the short period of assistance offered and the lack of trust by victims in state institutions and procedures. Only 29 of the 175 victims assisted by the government used the state shelters. Victims continued to receive the greatest level of care and assistance from NGOs. Although NGOs did receive some local government funding for victim assistance, overall support was inconsistent and largely inadequate. There was evidence that police fined victims for acts that were a direct result of their having been trafficked.

Prevention

The Government of Romania demonstrated adequate efforts to prevent human trafficking. Romanian law enforcement agencies provided financial support and worked closely with NGOs to target children at high-risk of becoming trafficking victims. The Romanian National Office to Combat Human Trafficking set up seminars and a website for students to increase trafficking awareness. More than 3,000 students participated in NGO and government-organized awareness seminars and classes in public schools in 2005. The government funded a nationwide program focusing on child trafficking; the campaign disseminated anti-trafficking posters, banners, and materials within schools.

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