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April 11, 2021

State Department: Fewer human trafficking victims receive state help in 2008

The US State Department’s ‘Trafficking in Persons’ annual report notes the Romanian government’s efforts to fight and prevent this phenomenon, but also underlines that Bucharest officials do not yet fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

The Romanian Foreign Ministry welcomed the report and, in a press release yesterday, voiced appreciation for US-Romanian cooperation in efforts to fight human trafficking. The ministry also expressed its hope that the following years, Romanian authorities’ actions will determine the inclusion of Romania among Tier I countries as regards human trafficking. Romania is currently ranked among Tier II countries, which means it has to remain constantly engaged in efforts to fight human trafficking.

The report shows that in 2008, the government significantly increased its funding of NGOs providing victim assistance and has made notable improvements in victim referrals by law enforcement. “However, the number of victims who received government-funded assistance significantly decreased in 2008,” the document says. In the reporting period, the document says, Romania identified 1,240 victims, compared to 1,662 victims in 2007. Moreover, it is noted that the government operated nine shelters for victims of trafficking and victims were encouraged to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions.

The report also shows that Romania is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor.

Romania is also a destination country for a small number of women from Moldova, Colombia, and France trafficked into forced prostitution and a small number of men from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Honduras trafficked for forced labour. The document notes that Romania sustained its law enforcement efforts over the reporting period and investigated 494 cases of human trafficking in 2008. The government prosecuted 329 individuals for trafficking in 2008, and 125 trafficking offenders were sentenced.

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