Response by national anti-trafficking system generates concern, “La Strada”

During the last two years, at least five minor girls, who are injured parties in criminal cases regarding trafficking in children, were classed as suspects for the reason that they recruited and sexually exploited other minor girls. The national anti-trafficking system generates concern, said experts of the International Center “La Strada”. As they had been trafficked during a long period of time, the minors normalized the provision of sexual services, engaging also other children in exploitation or did this at the request of their trafficker, says a press release issued by the organization in connection with the EU Anti-Trafficking Day that is celebrated on October 18, IPN reports.

The eradication of trafficking in human beings is stipulated as one of the objectives of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development proclaimed by the UN and as an absolute priority of the Europeans Union’s policy. The European Commission announced its intention to launch a new EU strategy that is to be adopted in the first quarter of 2021.

In time, with the support of the international community, Moldova took action to overcome the problems related to anti-trafficking. However, the national anti-trafficking policies are yet defective. Among the shortcomings are the reduced functional capacity of the State Chancellery’s Permanent Secretariat Division, which is the main body that coordinates the national anti-trafficking policies, and the lower capacities of the law enforcement agencies specialized in anti-trafficking, stated “La Strada”.

Among other problems mentioned by the Center’s experts are the reduced professionalism of the specialists of law enforcement agencies and violation of the rights of victims of human trafficking. According to them, the permanent fluctuation of staff, especially of experienced employees, is typical of the anti-trafficking community in the Republic of Moldova, especially the specialized law enforcement bodies. The institutional memory and special field expertise are lost, while the young employees do not have the skills needed to manage sensitive and complex anti-trafficking offenses. This directly affects the rights of trafficked persons.

The defective practice for punishing victims of trafficking in human beings, especially minors, for offenses committed in connection with their situation of exploitation is a serious violation of their legal right guaranteed by the international standards (principle of non-punishment) and the national legislation. The experts of “La Strada” consider the national anti-trafficking system at the current stage can be rehabilitated only by a complex approach that implies simultaneous actions to strengthen the State Chancellery’s Permanent Secretariat Division and the capacities of the investigation bodies, so that the rights of victims of human trafficking are respected, and the facto operation of the Anti-Trafficking Bureau of the Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime and Special Cases.

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