The messenger logo

Georgia made progress in anti-trafficking law

By Messenger Staff
Monday, June 6
The Council of Europe’s (CoE) anti-trafficking expert group (GRETA) has revealed its second evaluation report, which reads that Georgia has made substantial progress in terms of local legislation and policy to effectively combat trafficking. However there were various areas which still needed to be addressed.

GRETA said Georgia had implemented a number of its previous recommendations, in particular:

The Criminal Code was amended and a new chapter on child victims was introduced into the Law on Combating Trafficking;

Foreign victims of human trafficking can now receive temporary residence permits both on the grounds of their co-operation in criminal proceedings and for humanitarian reasons;

Special mobile groups were set up to detect and assist children in street situations, including in acquiring identity documents, and a unified database on human trafficking was set up.

GRETA also welcomed the Georgian Government’s efforts to train a variety of professionals and to raise general awareness of trafficking.

Alongside the achievements, experts also spoke out the directions that needed to be addressed.

GRETA wrote over the past five years, some 80 people had been officially identified as victims; the vast majority of them were Georgian nationals.

As the report stated, most of the victims were trafficked for the purpose of labour exploitation, with trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, both abroad and within Georgia.

“Turkey is the main country of destination of Georgian victims of human trafficking. Unemployed women, people from socially unprotected groups, such as internally displaced persons (IDPs) and children living and working in the streets are the most vulnerable to trafficking,” the report said.

GRETA urged the Georgian authorities to take further steps to ensure the timely identification of victims of trafficking, with a special focus on assisting child victims, and to specifically define in legislation the recovery and reflection period that should be granted to all possible victims of trafficking, regardless their co-operation with the police.

The government were also encouraged to review the criminal and civil procedures regarding trafficking victims’ compensation and to ensure that traffickers’ assets are frozen and confiscated to secure compensation. GRETA also encouraged the government to ensure effective monitoring of private employment agencies and other intermediaries to ensure the authenticity of job offers they promote and prevent trafficking for the purposes of labour exploitation.

Economic hardship is one of the main reasons people seek jobs abroad, and sometimes they fall into the hands of criminals.

The government should ensure normal living conditions in order to decrease the outflow, and launch expanded and improved information campaigns is to raise awareness over the issue.

It is obvious that steps are being taken to address the problem of children living and working on streets; however, it is also clear that their numbers are increasing.

The Government should also ensure that its awareness campaigns will tell people that giving money to homeless children will worsen the problem and only encourage the criminals behind them.

People can help the children with food, clothes and other consumables, but not with money, as in many cases the children are part of illegal business or trafficking and are forced to earn money by begging.