The US Department of State says that the Georgian government has taken necessary steps to meet the minimal standards for the elimination of trafficking. However, the report released by the US body last week reads that there are several issues which needs to be addressed.
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By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, July 2
The Trafficking in Persons Report by the US Department of State preserved Georgia’s position in the Tier 1, which is the highest level in the scale.
The US State Department believes that the government of Georgia demonstrated serious and sustained efforts by updating law enforcement guidelines for victim identification, including on the treatment of victims, screening for indicators at border posts, and victim-centered interview practices.
“The government identified more victims and continued to provide comprehensive care. During the year, the government created and issued a grant for an NGO to organize awareness-raising activities in 10 cities and separately provided a new allocation to two NGOs to identify and support the reintegration of street children,” the report reads.
However, the report says that Georgia should:
Improve efforts to proactively identify trafficking victims, particularly street children and Georgian and foreign victims in vulnerable labor sectors;
Further incorporate the labor inspectorate in anti-trafficking efforts with a clear mandate that establishes roles and responsibilities and enables unannounced inspections of employers;
Vigorously investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers under article 143;
Increase law enforcement capacity to investigate complex cases, including advanced training for money laundering, organized crime, and digital evidence;
Improve measures to guarantee victims’ access to compensation, including asset seizure, informing victims of their rights to compensation, and legal assistance; increase transparency of the inter-ministerial trafficking coordination council and provide public assessments;
Fully implement the law that provides street children with free government identification;
Create interagency strategies for reducing vulnerability and countering forced begging;
Provide awareness-raising campaigns about human trafficking, legal recourse, and available protection services to vulnerable groups.