21:50, Monday, 21.05.2018
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Young Girl Has Been Living In a Trafficking Asylum for Three Months

pic4.jpgAn asylum for trafficking victims opened in Adjara in August of this year. A girl from Guria region who was a victim of sexual trafficking entered the shelter on the first day it opened.  Her identity is kept secret in the interest of her investigation.  Nonetheless, she is collaborating with law enforcers so that traffickers can be identified [and prosecuted].

The Head of the Aid Fund for Trafficking Victims, Marina Meskhi, stated in her conversation to the Human Rights Information and Documentation Centre’s (HRIDC) journalist that the story of the victim is kept secret since she is the only person at the asylum currently.  If her information were shared, it might assist the traffickers in knowing her identity. "If we had had several victims it would have been no problem; we could have told you the story of any of them," said Ms. Meskhi.

The girl was brought to the asylum by officials from the Special Operation Department as a victim who had agreed to cooperate with law enforcement.  There are two ways to enter the asylum: a cooperative victim and an uncooperative victim… A cooperative victim means the person collaborates with the police, while an uncooperative victim refuses to cooperate with them.  Nobody will be accepted to the asylum without one of these statuses.

Ms. Meskhi reported that "under the law, both cooperative and uncooperative victims can stay in the asylum for three months.  During this period, the victim will be given both legal and psychological counseling.  We have a [full-time] nurse and lawyer at the center."  It is not known where the victim goes after the end of the three months.  Ms. Meskhi stated that the asylum should help resolve this problem as well.  "If the victim has nowhere to go, then the victim can stay in the asylum for an additional three months, but we have not completely solved this problem, yet.  We envision a rehabilitation program that would teach different skills to the victims and help them become employed.  Then, the victim would be able to rent a flat and earn a living.  In other cases, the victim will be psychologically rehabilitated so that she can return to her family."

In this particular case, the claimant is working with law enforcement to provide them with all necessary information.  We can only suppose that the traffickers will be identified [from this information].  If the victim does not want to cooperate with law enforcement, she has that right, too.

This year, the budget of the Aid Fund for Trafficking Victims amounted to 80,000 GEL. It is funded out of the state budget, and the amount includes both compensation for victims and the asylum's [operating] expenses.  15,000 GEL is set aside for compensation alone.  Each victim receives a 1,000 GEL as a [living] allowance.  The asylum [currently] has spaces for ten victims.

Regarding Georgia’s trafficking situation, the US State Department classifies Georgia as a second-tier country, meaning that the country does not properly combat the problem.  In comparison to 2003 when Georgia was classified as a third-tier country, Georgia’s trafficking status has improved.  This year like the year before, Georgia has been considered a transit route for trafficking victims, as well as a supplier.

Eka Gulua

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