Slovakia remains among the countries ranked best in terms of their efforts to combat human trafficking, according to a recently published report by the US State Department on the subject, the TASR newswire reported.
“[Slovakia] is successful mainly because it takes care of the victims of trafficking and helps them to re-integrate into society,” said Thatcher Scharpf, deputy chief of the US mission to Slovakia, as quoted by TASR.
However, the US Department of State recommends that Slovakia increase its efforts to identify trafficking victims in a more proactive way. The country should focus on potential victims in marginalised Roma communities, as these are thought to be the most likely targets of trafficking, according to the report.
“Roma from segregated communities are more vulnerable to human trafficking since they are mostly unemployed and have no chance of a better education in segregated schools,” reads the report, as quoted by the Sme daily.
In contrast with previous years Slovakia has now become a destination for the trade in people, not only a transit country. The victims come mostly from Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria, and often end up in forced labour, the SITA newswire wrote.
“Human trafficking was connected mostly with [the sex trade]; today, questions about forced labour are emerging at the forefront, and the victims are not only women, but also men,” said Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák, as quoted by SITA.
Zuzana Vatráľová, head of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Bratislava, said that the victims of human trafficking mostly work on construction sites and in sewing rooms for more than 14 hours a day and no pay.
Eleven cases of people trafficking have been uncovered in Slovakia so far this year. Last year, police recorded 19 cases. However, Vatráľová said that she believes in each of these cases there might be multiple victims. She also said that Slovaks fall victim to such abuse, mostly abroad.
“Every year there are some 50 victims recorded, but it can be estimated that there might be as many as 100 or 200 in reality,” she added, as quoted by TASR.
Sources: TASR, SITA, Sme
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
5. Sep 2012 at 10:00