Slovenia is a transit and destination country and, to a lesser extent, a source country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking and men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and forced begging. Victims of labor exploitation in Slovenia come from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine and are exploited in the construction sector and forced into begging. Sometimes these persons migrate through Slovenia to Italy, Austria, and Germany, where they are subsequently subjected to forced labor. Women and children from Slovenia, as well as Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine are subjected to forced prostitution within the country and also transit through Slovenia to Western Europe, primarily to Italy and Germany, where they face the same form of exploitation. Ethnic Roma are particularly vulnerable to trafficking in Slovenia.
The Government of Slovenia fully complies with the minimum standards for combating trafficking in persons. The government provided training for law enforcement officials and authorities partnered with their counterparts to investigate trafficking; however, the government prosecuted and convicted fewer traffickers. The government sustained funding for NGOs to provide assistance to victims and run awareness campaigns, but authorities lacked a formal mechanism to refer victims to NGO care. The inter-ministerial working group developed a new national action plan and released a public report on the government’s trafficking efforts.
Recommendations for Slovenia:
Vigorously investigate and prosecute sex trafficking and labor trafficking offenses, and convict traffickers under the trafficking in persons law; ensure sentences for convicted traffickers reflect the severity of their crime; continue to strengthen specialized training for investigators, prosecutors, and judges in applying the human trafficking statute; develop a formal mechanism to guide officials in referring potential victims to NGOs for assistance; increase efforts to identify victims of both sex and labor trafficking among vulnerable populations, including women in prostitution, dancers in nightclubs, foreign migrant workers, and children in begging; ensure victims can pursue court-ordered compensation from their traffickers and apply for compensation from the state fund for crime victims; provide trafficking-specific training to administrative units responsible for issuing residency permits; ensure that potential trafficking victims are fully informed of their rights upon identification; ensure that proper and safe facilities exist to assist child victims of trafficking; continue prevention outreach to vulnerable populations, such as Roma; and continue to raise awareness of forced labor and forced prostitution among the general public.
The Government of Slovenia demonstrated weakened anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, as trafficking prosecutions and convictions decreased. Slovenia prohibits all forms of both sex and labor trafficking through Article 113 of its criminal code, which prescribes penalties ranging from one to 15 years’ imprisonment for offenses. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The government also prosecutes some trafficking cases under Article 112, which prohibits enslavement. In the previous reporting period, the government investigated some trafficking cases under Article 175, which prohibits participation in the exploitation of prostitution; Article 175 covers more than trafficking crimes, because it also applies to cases in which a defendant passively profits from the prostitution of another. In 2013, the government conducted four trafficking investigations, compared with 13 in 2012. Authorities prosecuted nine defendants under Article 113, a significant decrease from 27 in 2012 and 16 in 2011. The government convicted two traffickers in 2013, compared with eight convictions in 2012 and zero in 2011 under Articles 112 and 113. One convicted trafficker received two years and eight months’ imprisonment plus a fine, and the second trafficker—a minor—received a suspended sentence. The government provided training for police investigators on trafficking and labor exploitation and for state prosecutors on prosecuting trafficking in persons cases. In November 2013, the government provided a one-day training for judges on human trafficking. Slovenian police cooperated with Bulgarian and Slovak entities in two separate transnational investigations. There were no investigations or prosecutions of public officials for alleged complicity in trafficking-related crimes during the reporting period.
The Government of Slovenia sustained victim protection efforts. In 2013, the government allocated the equivalent of approximately $118,000 for victim protection, the same amount as 2012. The government identified 37 victims in 2013, compared to 67 in 2012 and 20 in 2011. Police officers were required to direct identified trafficking victims to NGOs offering care facilities, though the procedure for victim identification was not formalized. The Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) reported that Slovenian authorities’ efforts to identify victims focused on women subjected to sex trafficking, and that authorities needed to do more to proactively identify cases of labor trafficking and human trafficking among unaccompanied children. The government funded two NGOs that provided services for all victims of trafficking, including crisis accommodation, long-term accommodation, telephone counseling, psycho-social support, repatriation assistance, help in establishing contact with the police and court monitors, and assistance adjusting immigrant status. These NGOs assisted 47 victims in 2013. Victims housed in government-funded shelters were permitted to leave at will and unescorted. The Aliens Act provided a three-month reflection period for victims to legally reside in Slovenia while they recover and consider whether to participate in an investigation; however, the government only offered crisis accommodation for five days, after which victims who have not yet decided whether to assist law enforcement were not entitled to victim services. In cases of participation in pre-trial and criminal proceedings, foreign victims received a temporary residence permit that lasts until the end of proceedings, or longer if the victim was employed or in school. Police must provide protective escort for victims during legal proceedings. In 2013, six victims cooperated with law enforcement on trafficking cases; one of these victims received a temporary residence permit. GRETA reported that no victims have ever received compensation from their traffickers, and that victims of trafficking were not explicitly listed as eligible for compensation from the state fund for crime victims. There were no reports of victims punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
The government demonstrated strong efforts to prevent human trafficking. The government coordinated its anti-trafficking efforts through the Ministry of Interior’s Interdepartmental Working Group (IDWG), which was led by the national coordinator and brought together representatives of the relevant ministries, the National Assembly, the state prosecutor, and NGOs. The working group met six times during the year and published the national coordinator’s annual report evaluating the government’s anti-trafficking efforts. The working group also drafted an action plan for 2014-2016, but it was not yet approved by the end of the reporting period. The IDWG provided NGOs with the equivalent of approximately $29,100 to run awareness campaigns targeting potential trafficking victims, particularly young people and migrant workers. The IDWG also conducted training programs for border officers, labor inspectors, asylum officers, and consular officers. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides one full day of trafficking-specific content during its annual training for consular officers; however, GRETA reported that the administrative units responsible for issuing residence permits, which were not staffed by consular officers, lacked trafficking-specific training. The government did not report prosecuting any citizens for participating in international child sex tourism. The government did not report any specific measures to reduce the demand for commercial sex or forced labor.