Tina Burjaliani – Georgia Maintains Highest Ranking in U.S. State Department Report
“Georgia maintains the highest ranking in the U.S. state department annual report in the First Tier,” Deputy Minister of Justice Tina Burjaliani stated at a briefing today.
She says that in the report states are divided in three tiers: Tier 1 indicates that a government complies with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The states that partially meet or can’t fully meet the minimum requirements are in the second and third Tiers.
Burjaliani explains that Georgia has been in the first Tier for the fifth year.
She says that according to the report, the Georgian “government significantly increased funding for anti-trafficking training and prevention activities, including in the budgets of its shelters for victims”.
Burjaliani states that the Government of Georgia demonstrated improvements in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Authorities prosecuted and convicted five sex trafficking offenders in 2011. Sentences ranged from six to 19 years’ imprisonment.
“Trafficking is a transnational crime and often organized crime. That’s why the International cooperation is important for the effective fight against trafficking. We actively cooperate with out neighboring states, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia, to unify our efforts and make our fight more effective”, Tinatin Burjaliani said.
The U.S. annual report on trafficking was released yesterday. The report gives assessment of the situation in 186 countries.
“Georgia is a source, transit, and a destination country for women and girls subjected to sex trafficking and men and women subjected to conditions of forced labor. Women and girls from Georgia are subjected to sex trafficking within the country and also in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Following the report, in recent years, Georgian women and girls have also been subjected to sex trafficking in Egypt and elsewhere. Women from Uzbekistan and possibly other countries are found in forced prostitution in the commercial sex industry in Georgia. Country experts report that foreign women in prostitution in saunas, strip clubs, hotels, and escort services are vulnerable to forced prostitution. Men and women are subjected to conditions of forced labor within Georgia, and Georgians are subjected to forced labor in Russia, Turkey, and elsewhere. In recent years, there have been cases of foreign nationals exploited in agriculture, construction, and domestic service within Georgia. In years past, Turkish men have been subjected to forced labor in the occupied territory of Abkhazia, which remains outside the central government’s control”, the report reads.
The report gives information of the NGOs that work with street children from Georgia, Armenia, and Russia, as well as with Roma children: “some children are exploited into begging or theft by third parties, including their parents, a form of trafficking. Although children are not commonly found working in agriculture in Georgia, except on family-owned farms, a labor trafficking expert in the country indicated that children working in agriculture and in the informal urban economy are highly vulnerable to forced labor”, the report reads.
Following the report, the Government of Georgia fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
Recommendation for Georgia are: to “employ more effective methods to detect and identify potential trafficking victims, especially those experiencing non-physical forms of coercion, the more common manifestation of trafficking in the country.
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