Trafficking in Persons Report
Romania (Tier 2)
Romania is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Romanian men, women, and children are trafficked to Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Greece, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Turkey, Austria, and Israel for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor in the agriculture, construction, and hotel industries. There has been an increase in trafficking of persons from Romania for labor exploitation, likely related to Romania,s entrance into the European Union and new opportunities for Romanians from rural parts of the country to work abroad. Romanian men, women, and children are also trafficked internally for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, and forced begging. Women from Moldova, Ukraine, and Russia are trafficked to Romania for commercial sexual exploitation. Men from other European countries may travel to Romania to sexually exploit Romanian children.
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. In 2007, the Romanian government, led by the National Agency against Trafficking in Persons (NAATIP), made efforts to combat child sex tourism and provided some funding to NGOs providing victim assistance. Nonetheless, the government was not able to report significant efforts to address labor trafficking, since this was a newly identified phenomenon, or to institute formal procedures to identify victims of trafficking throughout the country and to refer them to service providers. The number of trafficking convictions remained stable; however, the government reported a significant decrease in the total number of trafficking prosecutions, and the number of traffickers serving time in prison also decreased.
Recommendations for Romania: Take concerted steps to investigate and punish acts of trafficking for forced labor; increase efforts to prosecute and , convict, trafficking offenders; sustain efforts to ensure convicted sex traffickers receive adequate punishments; increase efforts to investigate and punish acts of government officials complicit in trafficking; develop and employ a uniform national victim identification and referral system; and train police to ensure that victims are identified and not inappropriately fined or otherwise penalized.
Romania sustained but did not improve on efforts to prosecute and punish traffickers during the reporting period. Romania prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through Law no. 678/2001, which prescribes penalties of 3 to 15 years, imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. In 2007, authorities investigated 232 trafficking cases both domestically as well as with foreign law enforcement counterparts, compared to 61 investigations in 2006. The government prosecuted 398 people for trafficking, a significant decrease from 780 prosecutions in 2006. During the reporting period, Romania convicted 188 individuals for trafficking offenses, similar to 187 convictions in 2006; 144 of these convicted traffickers served time in prison, a decrease from 2006 when 164 traffickers served some time in prison. One trafficker was sentenced to 6 to 12 months, imprisonment, 76 traffickers were sentenced to one to 5 years, imprisonment, 66 traffickers were sentenced to five to 10 years, imprisonment, and one trafficker was sentenced to 10 to 15 years, imprisonment. The government did not provide a breakdown of data for arrests, prosecutions, convictions, and sentences related to trafficking for forced labor. Labor trafficking appears to be increasing in Romania. Romania did not report any efforts to investigate, prosecute, or convict government officials complicit in trafficking.
Romania continued to improve its victim protection efforts during the reporting period. Toward the end of 2007, the government provided $72,000 in support to NGOs to provide assistance to victims of trafficking. In 2007, the government assisted 669 victims of trafficking out of 1,662 identified, a significant increase from the 476 victims assisted in 2006. Of these, 69 victims received care ) 42 in temporary state-run shelters and 27 in long-term NGO-run shelters. In 2007, there were at least 780 identified victims of forced labor and at least 680 identified victims of sexual exploitation. The government continued to operate eight shelters for victims of trafficking, but their quality varied. Victims are encouraged to participate in investigations against their traffickers; foreign victims receive a 90-day reflection period to decide whether they would like to cooperate in a criminal proceeding, and all victims are entitled to remain in government shelters for the duration of the trial. In practice, however, victims are often hesitant to cooperate in fear of retribution by their traffickers. No victims of trafficking were assisted by Romania,s witness protection program during the reporting period. Although some law enforcement agencies have victim identification procedures, there are no national victim identification or referral procedures to systematically transfer victims to NGOs or state-run shelters. The total number of victims identified by the government significantly decreased from 2,285 in 2006 to 1,662 in 2007. Some law enforcement officers may refer victims based on personal relationships with local NGOs. Nonetheless, victims were sometimes not identified by authorities when detained for unlawful acts they committed as part of their being trafficked; as a result, victims were penalized for these acts. The government of Romania funded the repatriation of both Romanian victims from abroad and foreign victims in 2007.
Romania increased its efforts to prevent incidents of human trafficking during the reporting period. The government conducted two national anti-trafficking public awareness campaigns that included messages on reducing demand for commercial sex acts, although they did not specifically target &clients8 of the sex trade. The government also worked with NGOs and the tourism industry to continue a project to prevent trafficking of Romanian children for child sex tourism. There were no reported investigations, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences of foreign visitors engaging in such sexual exploitation of Romanian children in 2007. The government provided all Romanian troops with trafficking awareness training prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions. In 2007, the national trafficking database was instrumental in identifying trafficking trends, particularly concerning the trafficking of Romanian victims to the Czech Republic for the purpose of labor exploitation.
The entire TIP Report is available on-line at http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2008/ (all countries)