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US report says Slovakia does not meet trafficking requirements

THE FOURTH annual Trafficking in Persons Report, released by US Secretary of State Colin Powell, assessed Slovakia as a second tier group; a country that does not meet the minimum requirements to eliminate human trafficking but "is making significant efforts” to do so. Slovakia is a transit and source country for trafficked victims, claims the report.

According to the news wire SITA, it further points out that Slovakia is lagging behind in the protection of victims and prevention, which may be ascribed to insufficient funding.

Victims and potential witnesses distrust the police, as they are often deported as illegal immigrants, adds the report.

The report is not only critical: It states that the Slovak police arrested human traffickers last year that had been cooperating with six trafficking networks. The authorities also solved three cases of child trafficking and 54 cases of individual traffickers.

"At the beginning of 2004, the Interior Ministry increased the size of the police anti-trafficking unit and elevated the unit to a department," reads the report.

The report monitors human trafficking in 140 countries worldwide and is thus the most complex information source on efforts to fight against this crime. Across international borders, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked annually; thereof 80 percent are women. Of those women, 70 percent are sexually exploited, according to the report. Some non-governmental groups place the total number of trafficked people much higher.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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