[ Human Trafficking, Country-by-Country ]

SLOVENIA (Tier 2) Extracted in part  from the U.S. State Dept 2023 TIP Report

The Government of Slovenia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. The government amended its anti-trafficking law, drafted updated guidance for labor inspectors to identify victims, and following a concerning case of alleged labor trafficking, hired new labor inspectors and trained labor inspectors on victim identification. The government also increased funding to victim services, cooperated with EU member states in law enforcement efforts, and continued raising awareness among children and adolescents in schools. However, these efforts were not serious and sustained compared with efforts during the previous reporting period, even considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity. The government investigated and prosecuted slightly more alleged traffickers than in the previous reporting period, but it did not convict any traffickers for the second consecutive year. NGOs continued to assert the government did not prosecute labor traffickers because authorities instead pursued cases as administrative labor code violations, resulting in lesser penalties and little deterrence. While funding for victim assistance and training on victim identification increased, the government identified fewer victims, and lack of proactive victim identification efforts resulted in the government not identifying any labor trafficking victims – despite reports of labor trafficking allegations – and no asylum seeker trafficking victims despite the risk of trafficking among this group. The government did not report awarding restitution or compensation to any victims. Therefore Slovenia was downgraded to Tier 2.

Prioritized Recommendations

Vigorously investigate and prosecute both sex and labor trafficking crimes and seek adequate penalties for convicted traffickers, which should involve significant prison terms.

Improve efforts to proactively identify victims, especially children, males, and victims of labor trafficking.

Prioritize investigation and prosecution of labor traffickers and improve coordination between labor inspectors and police.

Ensure labor trafficking is investigated and prosecuted as a trafficking crime and not pursued as an administrative labor code violation.

Increase training to all front-line officials on victim identification for labor trafficking and consider a partnership with NGOs for labor trafficking victim identification.

Increase efforts of prosecutors to systematically request restitution for victims in criminal trials, including for both EU and non-EU citizen victims, and increase victim access to the state fund for crime victims.

Allow formal victim identification by and referral from entities other than the police, including civil society, social workers, and health care professionals.

Amend the definition of trafficking under Slovenian law to align more closely with the definition under international law.

Enforce the elimination of recruitment fees charged to workers and ensure any recruitment fees are paid by employers.

Establish a process to ensure systematic provision of care and designated facilities for child victims of trafficking, including enhanced training of caregivers and foster care parents.

Appoint a national rapporteur to provide independent review of government anti-trafficking efforts.

Establish a specialized police unit dedicated to investigating human trafficking, with sufficient resources, to ensure the prioritization of trafficking investigations.

Increase survivor engagement, including by establishing accessible mechanisms for receiving and providing compensation for survivor input when forming policies, programs, and trainings.

Increase efforts to pursue financial crime investigations in tandem with human trafficking cases.