As part of the activities aimed at improving the position of victims of trafficking in human beings and related crime, the Association ASTRA – Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, has continuously, since 2011, monitored judicial practice for crimes of human trafficking, mediation in prostitution and trafficking in minors for adoption. Bearing in mind that the conclusions of the annual analysis for the previous period from 2011−2018 pointed out significant shortcomings in the implementation of existing legal norms, relevant to the position and rights of the victims, the main goal of the analysis of the judicial practice for 2019 is to objectively review the fulfilment of rights guaranteed to victims of trafficking, mediation in prostitution and trafficking in minors. The analysis included 29 court decisions, i.e. delivered decisions in criminal proceedings in 2019 by the relevant first instance courts as well as second instance courts after appealing. The result of the analysis indicates that the position of the victims of human trafficking, and related crimes, has not significantly improved compared to the situation from the last year’s analysis.
This year, a legal analysis was conducted with the support of Embassy of the United States of America as a part of the project “Knowledge Sharing and Strengthening Joint Proactive Response to the Trafficking in Human Beings for the Victim Centered Approach”.
MAIN FINDINGS OF THE ANALYSIS INDICATE:
- The percentage of proceedings lasting up to one year increased compared to the previous year, and amounted to 56% (for 2018 it was 22%), while the number of proceedings lasting 1-3 years decreased to 19% (2018) was 45%). The percentage of proceedings lasting more than 3 years is approximately the same as in the previous year and amounts to 25% (in 2018 it was 33%).
- The maximum duration of court proceedings is 15 years, while the shortest proceedings lasted 1 day (plea agreement).
- Penalties for perpetrators remain at the legal minimum. In 75% of cases, the criminal offence of trafficking in human beings was sentenced to 3-5 years in prison. In 25% of cases to more than 5 years. The number of imprisonment sentences in the range of 3-5 years increased (50% for 2018), and share of sentences over 5 years decrease (38% in 2018).
- Of the 37 injured parties for all criminal offences that are the subject of analysis, 14 persons were minors, but their privacy in court proceedings was not adequately protected.
- Victims of trafficking are still unable to exercise their right to compensation in criminal proceedings. Out of the total number of 16 first-instance analyzed verdicts for all criminal offences, only in 7 verdicts (46%) there is a decision on a property claim. In all cases, the injured parties are referred to litigation. It is especially interesting that in the period 2011−2019 year, only 2 cases of realized compensation for victims of human trafficking in civil proceedings were recorded.
- To resolve court proceedings faster and easier, the criminal offence of trafficking in human beings (Art. 388 of the Criminal Code) judicial bodies often qualify as a criminal offence mediation in prostitution (Art. 184 of the Criminal Code). This is a detriment of the exercise of victims’ rights and indicates the lack of an adequate response from the state or the judicial system to human trafficking.
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