[ Country-by-Country Reports ]

SLOVAK REPUBLIC (TIER 2)   [Extracted from U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2009]

The Slovak Republic is a source, transit, and limited destination country for women and girls from Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria, the Baltics, the Balkans, and China trafficked to the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain, Croatia, and Slovenia for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Roma women and girls are trafficked internally for sexual exploitation and Roma children are trafficked to Austria, Italy, and Germany for the purpose of forced begging.

The Government of the Slovak Republic does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government allocated $400,000 for all anti-trafficking efforts in 2008, a significant increase from $91,000 allocated in 2007; more than half of this funding went toward victim assistance. In December 2008, the Ministry of Interior adopted a National Referral Mechanism for use by law enforcement across the country in referring identified victims to necessary services. Despite these significant efforts, including sustained law enforcement measures, it failed to identify or assist any foreign victims of trafficking during the reporting period.

Recommendations for the Slovak Republic: Ensure that a majority of convicted traffickers serve some time in prison; provide additional training on victim identification and victim treatment for border police, prosecutors, judges, and Roma community social workers in Eastern Slovakia; continue to increase the number of victims assisted by government-funded NGO programs; ensure that foreign victims are identified and provided access to government-funded assistance; continue collaboration with NGOs in identifying victims among persons in police detention centers and immigration facilities; and conduct a public awareness campaign to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.

The Government of the Slovak Republic sustained its law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. The Slovak Republic prohibits all forms of trafficking through Sections 179-181 of its criminal code, which prescribe penalties ranging from 4 to 25 years’ imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and are commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. Police conducted 18 trafficking investigations in 2008, including one labor trafficking investigation, an increase from 14 investigations conducted in 2007. The government prosecuted three individuals in 2008, a significant decrease from 16 individuals prosecuted in 2007. Eleven trafficking offenders were convicted during the reporting period, an increase from seven in 2007; some traffickers convicted in 2008 were prosecuted and investigated during the previous reporting period. In 2008, seven out of 11 convicted traffickers were given suspended sentences and thus served no time in jail. There were no official cases of high-level government officials involved in trafficking during the reporting period. The government funded victim identification training for 160 police officers in 2008.

The government demonstrated mixed efforts to assist and protect victims in 2008. The government provided $220,000 to five anti-trafficking NGOs to implement a victim assistance program; it again failed to identify and assist any foreign victims. Seventeen victims received government-funded shelter and assistance in 2008, a significant increase from four victims in 2007. An additional 20 victims were assisted by nongovernment-funded programs. Police identified and referred 16 victims to NGOs for assistance, compared to 15 in 2007. The government claimed to offer foreign victims, upon their identification, an initial 40-day reflection period to receive assistance and shelter and to consider whether to assist law enforcement; however, no foreign victims were granted the reflection period in 2008. During the reporting period, 17 victims participated in trafficking investigations and prosecutions. Foreign victims who cooperate with law enforcement are permitted to remain in Slovakia and work for the duration of the investigation or trial; however, the government did not identify any foreign victims during the reporting period. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs funded the repatriation of three trafficking victims in 2008. The government did not penalize victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.

Slovakia demonstrated some efforts to prevent trafficking during the reporting period. The government partially funded an IOM-run trafficking hotline that opened in June 2008 and provided information to persons vulnerable to trafficking and assisted trafficking victims; in 2008, hotline staff identified three victims. The government paid for posters, leaflets, and radio and television public awareness commercials advertising the existence of the hotline. During the reporting period, the government provided trafficking awareness training for Slovak troops before they were deployed to international peacekeeping missions.