A new American report identifies Moldova as a major supplier to theglobal trade in human beings. The sex slave traffic involves high levelsenior government officials. Many of the victims are children.
CHISINAU (Tiraspol Times) - Moldova is a major source for women andgirls trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation andthe government is not doing much to combat the problem. That is theconclusion of a just-released report on the human slave trade which theAmerican government issued worldwide.
Moldovan women are trafficked all over the world, with the list ofdestinations including Turkey, Israel, the U.A.E., Ukraine, Russia,Cyprus, Greece, Albania, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, the CzechRepublic, Italy, France, Portugal, and Austria.
The Government of Moldova is not complying with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
It is on a U.S. watch list because it did not provide evidence that thegovernment is addressing complicity in severe forms of trafficking bygovernment officials. Moldova is listed as on the so-called "Tier-2Watch List" of nations that the U.S. State Department has singled outfor special attention and which have poor antitrafficking records fornumerous consecutive years.
In one of its worst criticisms, the American government states thattrafficking corruption at all levels throughout the Molodvan governmentcontinued unchecked during most of the reporting period.
- Government involvement and complicity in Moldova
Throughout the year, the report says, "specific reports surfaced ofofficials' complicity in trafficking, involving senior governmentofficials, as well as border guards and police officers, though thegovernment made no significant efforts to investigate, prosecute,convict, or sentence these complicit officials."
In August 2006, several government investigators, prosecutors andsenior officials - including the deputy director of the Center toCombat Trafficking in Persons (CCTIP) - were dismissed from their jobsfor assisting a prominent trafficker and his syndicate, but have notbeen prosecuted.
The Government of Moldova has failed to vigorously investigate,prosecute, convict, and sentence all public officials complicit intrafficking and has not funded the implementation of a new NationalAction Plan through its national committee on trafficking. There are noresources devoted to victim assistance and protection and a completelack of proactive efforts to identify trafficking victims andinvestigate trafficking crimes.
None of this is happening in Moldova today, and the problem is goingfrom bad to worse. Human trafficking involves the sale of people acrossinternational borders for forced prostitution or labor. Some 80 percentof trafficking victims are female, and up to half are children.
" - In some cases, there are countries with major human traffickingproblems, but only a couple of traffickers have been brought tojustice. This cannot and must not be tolerated," said Condoleezza Riceduring the presentation of the report.
" - Freedom and security are non-negotiable demands of humandignity," the U.S. Secretary of State added, while noting thatPresident George W. Bush has also said that "no one is fit to be amaster and no one deserves to be a slave."
- No prosecution or sentencing data available
The Government of Moldova refused to provide prosecution data for 2006, and sentencing data for 2006 was inconclusive.
There is also a lack of progress when it comes to protection. Thegovernment made no real efforts to improve victim assistance andprotection in 2006, says the new report.
Most government officials were not proactive in identifying victimsor potential victims, even when allegations were made. All victimassistance and protection is being provided by NGOs and internationalorganizations and funded by foreign donors, and the government didn'tgive any financial support to a single NGO in this field.
Victims generally do not assist law enforcement with investigationsor prosecutions because the government is largely unable to protectvictims from retaliation by traffickers, many of whom are believed tobe government officials themselves. Despite a 2005 law to the contrary,victims continued to be penalized for prostitution or illegal bordercrossing.
- No evidence of trafficking from Pridnestrovie
The just-released official U.S. State Department report states thatMoldova's efforts to prevent trafficking remained weak in 2006.Attempting to wash its hands of the responsibility for trafficking, theMoldovan government instead continued to rely on NGOs and internationalorganizations to provide the majority of public awareness and educationcampaigns, says the U.S. State Department.
" - Every day, all over the world, people are coerced into bondedlabor, bought and sold in prostitution, exploited in domesticservitude, enslaved in agricultural work and in factories, and capturedto serve unlawfully as child soldiers," said Ambassador Mark Lagon, thedirector of the U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking inPersons in presenting the report on June 12.
" - Estimates of the number vary widely," he added. "According toU.S. government estimates, approximately 800,000 people are traffickedacross international borders each year."
Although briefly mentioned with one single sentence in the report,there is no evidence of any trafficking in human beings fromTransdniester (officially: Pridnestrovie), or Transdniester as it iscalled in Romanian. Now, more and more countries are coming to seehuman trafficking for what it is: a modern-day form of slavery thatdevastates families and communities around the world. Commenting on thelatest report, a official in Tiraspol, the capital of the unrecognizedcountry, said that Pridnestrovie wants to be part of a global movement,not just to confront this crime, but to abolish it.