SLOVENIA: Tier 2
Slovenia is a destination and, to a lesser extent, a source and transit country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking and for 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 transit through Slovenia to Italy, Austria, and Germany, where they are subsequently subjected to forced labor. Women and children from Slovenia, as well as neighboring countries, other European countries, and the Dominican Republic are subjected to sex trafficking within the country. Migrant workers and ethnic Roma are particularly vulnerable to trafficking in Slovenia.
The Government of Slovenia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government provided training for law enforcement officials and developed a handbook to guide victim identification; however, the government prosecuted the fewest number of traffickers in five years and did not secure any convictions. The government sustained funding for NGOs to provide assistance to victims and run awareness campaigns, but authorities referred fewer victims to care. The inter-ministerial working group approved 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; increase efforts to identify victims of both sex and labor trafficking among vulnerable populations, including individuals in prostitution, dancers in nightclubs, foreign migrant workers, and children in begging; provide adequate funding to the national coordinator’s office; impose sentences on convicted traffickers that reflect the severity of their crime; continue to strengthen specialized training for investigators, prosecutors, and judges in applying the human trafficking statute; increase efforts to facilitate victims’ access to compensation; provide trafficking-specific training to administrative units responsible for issuing residence permits; provide proper and safe facilities 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 demonstrated insufficient law enforcement efforts. Slovenia prohibits all forms of trafficking through Article 113 of its criminal code, which prescribes penalties ranging from one to 15 years’ imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The government conducted 11 trafficking investigations in 2014, compared with four in 2013. Authorities initiated prosecutions of six defendants under Article 113, compared with nine in 2013. The government did not convict any traffickers in 2014, compared with two in 2013 and six in 2012. The government funded a two-day training on trafficking for approximately 50 police, prosecutors, and judges, which included presentations by NGOs. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking offenses. For the first time, the government froze illegally gained property of alleged traffickers. In the reporting period, authorities froze 2.5 million euro ($3.04 million) of assets.
The government demonstrated mixed victim protection efforts. The government allocated 85,000 euro ($103,000) for victim protection, the same amount as in 2013. Authorities and NGOs identified 36 potential victims in 2014, compared with 37 in 2013; seven of these victims were referred to NGOs by Slovenian authorities. The government developed a manual to guide officials in identifying and supporting victims. GRETA reported Slovenian authorities’ efforts to identify victims focused on women subjected to sex trafficking, and noted authorities should increase attention to cases of labor trafficking generally, as well as trafficking among unaccompanied children. Authorities provided specialized training to approximately 100 social workers in June 2014, though experts noted more training was needed for health care providers and social workers. The government funded two NGOs that provided services for adult victims of trafficking. These NGOs assisted 43 potential victims in 2014, compared with 47 in 2013. While the government did not have specific facilities for unaccompanied children identified as potential victims, a protocol was in place with NGOs to provide them with safe housing and care. All victims are allowed a 90-day reflection period to reside legally in Slovenia while recovering and considering whether to participate in an investigation. During this time, they are eligible to stay in crisis accommodation for up to 30 days. After the 30 days in crisis housing, victims from non-EU countries can elect to stay in safe accommodation for an additional three-month period, regardless of whether they cooperate with law enforcement. In cases of participation in pre-trial and criminal proceedings, foreign victims could receive a temporary residence permit for the duration of the legal proceedings and could receive additional services, including long-term accommodation. In 2014, four victims, including one Slovenian, cooperated with law enforcement on trafficking cases compared with six in 2013. The three foreign victims received temporary residence permits. GRETA reported no victims have ever received compensation from their traffickers, and victims of trafficking were not explicitly listed as eligible for compensation from the state fund for crime victims. There were no reports of victims inappropriately penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking.
The government strengthened prevention efforts. The Ministry of Interior’s Interdepartmental Working Group (IWG), which was led by the national coordinator, continued to organize national efforts and produce an annual monitoring report. The working group also approved the 2015-2016 action plan. The IWG provided NGOs with 22,000 euro ($26,700) to run awareness campaigns targeting potential trafficking victims, particularly young people and migrant workers. Observers reported additional resources to the national coordinator’s office would better enable it to fulfill its mandate. The government commissioned a study on human trafficking in Slovenia to inform future prevention activities. The government provided anti-trafficking training or guidance for its diplomatic personnel, as well as for administrative units responsible for issuing residence permits. The government did not report any specific measures to reduce the demand for commercial sex or forced labor.