USA: Croatia Fails to Meet Standards for Elimination of Human Trafficking

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, June 21, 2019 – The U.S. State Department has issued a report on human trafficking in 2019 which says that Croatia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.

The latest “Trafficking in Persons Report”, however, praises the Croatian government for demonstrating “overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore, Croatia remained on Tier 2.” The countries are grouped in three tiers.

As for the Croatian efforts to counter human trafficking the report reads that they “included investigating, prosecuting, and convicting more traffickers and identifying more victims, particularly victims of forced criminality.”

“The government conducted operations to proactively screen for trafficking indicators, increased funding to NGO-run shelters, and adopted the 2018-2021 national action plan.”

“However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas,” reads the report.

“Despite conducting operations to proactively identify victims, the government did not consistently screen migrants and asylum seekers, and alleged police abuse strongly discouraged victims within this population from cooperating or self-identifying.

“Judges continued to issue light sentences and dismissed victim testimony as unreliable due to a lack of understanding of trafficking, while a large backlog of criminal cases caused long delays and police experienced difficulties in encouraging victims to cooperate with investigations.

Croatia is advised to “institutionalize and implement screening procedures for migrant flows, including asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors.”

Zagreb is urged to “increase capacity and training to accurately screen for victims and consistently implement screening procedures for vulnerable populations, particularly migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, seasonal workers, and Roma.”

One of recommendations is to “vigorously investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers, and impose strong sentences.”

Judges are supposed to be trained at all levels of the judiciary to understand the severity of trafficking when issuing sentences, and sensitize judges to the issue of secondary trauma.

As for other countries in the region, Serbia is also included in the Tier 2 group, whereas Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina fall into the group labelled “Watch List”.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s authorities are criticised for failing to show additional efforts to address this issue.

The State Department underscores that “human trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes on Earth.”

“Right now, traffickers are robbing a staggering 24.9 million people of their freedom and basic human dignity—that’s roughly three times the population of New York City. We must band together and build momentum to defeat human trafficking. We must hold the perpetrators of this heinous crime accountable. We must achieve justice for survivors as they rebuild their lives. We must reinvigorate our shared commitment to extinguish human trafficking wherever it exists. There is no time to waste,” the Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, was quoted as saying.

More news about relations between Croatia and the United States can be found in the Politics section.


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