[ Country-by-Country Reports ]

SLOVENIA (TIER 1)   [Extracted from U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2009]

Slovenia is primarily a transit country for men, women, and children trafficked from Ukraine, Moldova, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, the Dominican Republic, Thailand, and Iran through Slovenia to Western Europe for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. To a lesser extent, Slovenia is also a destination country for men, women, and children trafficked from Ukraine, the Dominican Republic, and Romania for forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation and a source of women trafficked for the purpose of forced prostitution within Slovenia.

The Government of Slovenia fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In November 2008, the government amended Slovenia’s criminal code to increase the maximum penalty for trafficking to 15 years’ imprisonment. Authorities also increased the number of trafficking prosecutions and conducted public awareness campaigns aimed at reducing the demand for commercial sex acts. Although the total number of victims identified and assisted increased, Slovenia decreased funding for victim assistance.

Recommendations for Slovenia: Continue to vigorously investigate both sex and labor trafficking offenses and increase trafficking prosecutions and convictions; continue to provide trafficking awareness training for judges; ensure that a majority of convicted traffickers serve some time in prison; and continue to refer a significant number of identified victims for assistance.

The Government of Slovenia demonstrated increased law enforcement efforts in 2008. The government prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through Article 113 of its criminal code, which prescribes penalties ranging from 6 months to 15 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. The government conducted seven trafficking investigations in 2008, compared to six in 2007. Authorities prosecuted eight cases in 2008, an increase from three cases in 2007. Six traffickers were convicted in 2008, compared to five convictions in 2007. Four traffickers convicted in 2008 were given sentences ranging from 9 to 48 months’ imprisonment, and two traffickers served no time in prison; in 2007, four traffickers were given sentences ranging from 15 to 57 months’ imprisonment, and one convicted trafficker served no time in prison. The Ministry of Justice collaborated with an NGO to hold several anti-trafficking training seminars for judges, prosecutors, and police during the reporting period.

The Government of Slovenia maintained its efforts to provide adequate victim assistance and protection during the reporting period. The government provided $95,000 to two NGOs to provide both short-term and extended victim assistance including shelter, rehabilitative counseling, medical assistance, vocational training, and legal assistance; this is a decrease from $105,000 provided in 2007. During the reporting period, government officials referred 70 potential victims for assistance, compared to four victims in 2007. A total of 65 victims were identified, of which 38 were provided with assistance by government-funded NGOs, an increase from 26 victims in 2007. After identification, victims were granted a 90-day reflection period. Victims were encouraged to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions of trafficking offenders. Foreign victims who assisted law enforcement could apply for a temporary residence permit and remain in Slovenia for the duration of the trial and may choose to stay longer if they are employed or in school. Nine victims assisted law enforcement in 2008, compared to eight the previous year. Victims were not punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.

The government maintained its prevention efforts during the reporting period. In 2008, the Ministry of Interior, UNHCR, and local NGOs jointly administered a project that addressed trafficking and gender-based violence by providing information and assistance to asylum seekers at greatest risk of being trafficked, particularly single women and children separated from their parents. The government monitored immigration and emigration patterns for evidence of trafficking, and immigration and law enforcement officials screened for potential trafficking victims along borders. The government printed brochures and produced television commercials as part of an awareness campaign aimed at reducing the demand for commercial sex acts.