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Georgia’s Achievements” in the Field of Trafficking

30.06.2004
Georgia’s Achievements”  in the Field of Trafficking

Granted Tier 2 or not existing but deserved Tier 4

On June 15 2004 the US State Department made a report which stated that Georgia moved to Tier 2 from Tier 3 because of  successes  achieved in combating trafficking. Was this report, however, a reflection of the real situation or simply a noble gesture of the US government to that of Georgia? What information served as the basis for preparing the above-mentioned report? Was the  research objective and competent? What were the ways the government referred to in order to make this important step and what is the actual situation regarding this issue in Georgia?  We addressed local NGOs working on the issue of trafficking in order to clarify this issue and their responses indicate a contrary opinion on the  existing situation in Georgia.

The Georgian NGOs working on the problem of trafficking consider the report prepared by the US State Department on the basis of GORBI research as non-actual and state that not even a step has been taken in Georgia to regulate the situation in this regard. They urge that, compared to the data of last year, illegal migration has increased in the country and groups engaged in trafficking have become more active.

The Human Rights Information and Documentation Centre asked Mr Nugzar Sulashvili, the director of the “Centre for Foreign Citizens and Migrants Rights and Security,” for his comments in this regard.  Mr Sulashvili stated that no achievements could be seen in a country in combating trafficking if it fails to provide consultation and rehabilitation centres, institutes for protecting victims as well as witnesses of trafficking and if the governmental bodies fail to follow the elementary ethic norms which are considered in the international convention ratified by Georgia. Respectively, this country cannot be on the Tier 2.

“I do not know why the US State Department prepared such a  glowing report for our country but in my opinion Georgia should be placed not on Tier 2 or Tier 3 but Tier 4 should also be added to those classifications where Georgia actually should be placed” said Sulashvili.

It should be noted that when the US Embassy made a statement about the report in the Public Defender’s Office, some of the NGOs were refused to take part in the meeting saying as if it was reasoned by a change in the format.

“Lately I have been asked not to make protest statements even in the period when my family and other members of the organisation faced a serious danger because of fighting against trafficking (attacks, threats, attempt to kidnap my daughter, 11-year-old Salome Sulashvili). Since the Ombudsman advised me not to make the case public as it could make the situation even more tense, we decided to follow his advice. Now I understand that everything was done so as not to prevent the report prepared by the US State Department. The Public Defender also reminded me of the tragic case that took place in Laos when members of a NGO were killed for  revealing traffickers. So he advised me to remain silent for awhile and to be careful. I did not feel such pessimism even at times when Shevardnadze ruled the country” added  Sulashvili.

- What is your opinion about the draft law on trafficking and what makes an obstacle to its adoption?

-“It has still to be developed. It is simply copied from another country’s legislation and, therefore, it cannot have success in every country. Besides, the traffickers in Georgia are backed by rather serious authorities. This could be one of the reasons why the law has not been adopted yet.”

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