SLOVENIA: Tier 1
Slovenia is a destination, transit, and, to a lesser extent, a source country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking and for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and forced begging. Men from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine are forced to beg and labor in the construction sector. 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 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 fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. During the reporting period, authorities vigorously prosecuted and obtained convictions of five traffickers, an increase from none the previous year. The government provided training for law enforcement officials, who identified more victims in 2015. The government sustained funding for NGOs that provided assistance to victims and ran awareness campaigns. The inter-ministerial working group and national coordinator continued to lead the implementation of a new national action plan, which included training of law enforcement, consular officers, and other personnel during the year. Authorities, however, did not address bureaucratic obstacles that inhibited victims from obtaining restitution from their traffickers.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SLOVENIA:
Vigorously investigate and prosecute sex and labor trafficking offenses, and convict traffickers under the trafficking in persons law with sentences that reflect the severity of their crime; increase efforts to identify victims of both sex and labor trafficking among vulnerable populations, including individuals in prostitution, dancers in nightclubs, foreign migrant workers, unaccompanied children, and children in begging; provide adequate funding to the national coordinator’s office; increase efforts to facilitate victims’ access to compensation, such as through court-ordered restitution from convicted traffickers; continue to strengthen specialized training for investigators, prosecutors, and judges in applying the human trafficking statute; 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 sex trafficking among the general public.
The government demonstrated improved law enforcement efforts. Article 113 of the criminal code prohibits all forms of trafficking and prescribes penalties ranging from one to 15 years’ imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The government conducted six trafficking investigations in 2015, compared with 11 in 2014. Authorities initiated or continued prosecutions of 23 defendants under article 113, compared with six initiated prosecutions in 2014. The government convicted three traffickers under article 113 in 2015, compared with zero in 2014. The convicted traffickers received prison sentences of 13 months to 37 months. Following appeals, authorities also issued final convictions for two additional traffickers under a former statute of the criminal code covering trafficking. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government employees complicit in human trafficking offenses. Slovenian law enforcement cooperated with Serbia in at least one trafficking case. In February 2016, the government trained 43 police investigators, as well as prosecutors, judges, labor inspectors, and tax inspectors, on trafficking.
The government demonstrated progress in victim protection efforts. The government allocated 85,000 euros ($92,500) for victim protection, the same amount as in 2014. The government identified 47 sex trafficking victims in 2015, compared with 36 trafficking victims in 2014, and referred all 47 to care services; and seven of these victims received shelter in a government-funded, NGO-operated safe house or crisis accommodation. NGOs identified an additional 28 potential trafficking victims in 2015. GRETA previously reported Slovenian authorities’ efforts to identify victims focused on women subjected to sex trafficking and noted authorities should increase attention to labor trafficking generally, as well as trafficking among unaccompanied children. Experts noted more training was needed for health care providers and social workers. The government funded two NGOs that provided services for adult trafficking victims and assisted 75 potential victims in 2015, compared with 43 in 2014. The government did not have specific facilities for unaccompanied child trafficking victims. All foreign 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 which 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 2015, two victims, including one Slovenian, cooperated with law enforcement on trafficking cases, compared with four in 2014. The foreign victim received a temporary residence permit. No victims sought restitution in 2015; GRETA previously reported no victims have ever received compensation from their traffickers. Victims of trafficking were not explicitly listed as eligible for compensation from the state fund for crime victims; the government did not take action to improve victims’ access to restitution. 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), led by the national coordinator, continued to organize national efforts and produce an annual monitoring report. The working group continued to implement the 2015-2016 action plan, including promoting trafficking-specific training for law enforcement, consular officers, and other personnel most likely to encounter and be able to identify victims. The IWG allocated approximately 20,000 euros ($21,800) for awareness campaigns targeting potential trafficking victims, particularly schoolchildren and migrant workers. In 2015, the government allocated an additional part-time staff member to support the office. The government provided anti-trafficking training for its diplomatic personnel. The government made efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex and forced labor.