US Department of State: Romania has made substantial progress against human trafficking

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According to the United States Department of State’s 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report), Romania has made substantial progress over the course of the last year. Romania is no longer on the Tier Two Watchlist but has moved to Tier Two, the US Embassy informs.

“Romania, similar to every nation including the United States, can do more to prevent trafficking, aid and support the victims thereof, and hold those who would prey upon their fellow citizens criminally accountable. Very real progress has been made, however, in terms of increased law enforcement efforts, increased protections and assistance for the exploited—particularly for child victims, and in preventative measures. 

Significant additional steps must be taken, and in those efforts we welcome and applaud the partnership and efforts of the International Justice Mission, the International Organization for Migration, and numerous Romanian NGOs, leaders, and dedicated civil servants“, says the report.

The US report says that the Government of Romania does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.
“The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, considering the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore Romania was upgraded to Tier 2. These efforts included investigating more trafficking cases, prosecuting and convicting more traffickers, and implementing a pilot program that authorized funding at the local level to an NGO for victim services. Additionally, amendments to the criminal code entered into force, eliminating the statute of limitations for trafficking crimes and thereby giving the government additional time to prosecute such crimes. Furthermore, the government adopted an emergency ordinance and an action plan aimed at improving its capacity to assist vulnerable children and other at-risk populations and investigate various crimes against children, including trafficking. The government also adopted procedures for identifying victims among asylum-seekers and migrants and referring those victims to assistance. Moreover, the government amended the labor law on the protection of Romanian citizens working abroad to include a broader definition of temporary and seasonal workers and workers’ rights, additional regulations for recruiting agencies, and increased fines for labor law violations.

However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. Alleged complicity in trafficking crimes persisted, particularly with officials exploiting children
in the care of government-run homes or placement centers. Many convicted traffickers received either suspended sentences or sentences
that did not meet the minimum prescribed penalty under Romanian law, which weakened deterrence, did not adequately reflect the nature of
the crime, and undercut broader efforts to fight trafficking. Authorities identified fewer trafficking victims and did not screen for trafficking
indicators or identify victims among vulnerable populations, such as asylum-seekers, migrants, individuals in commercial sex, or children in
government-run institutions. Moreover, the government did not provide sufficient funding to NGOs for assistance and protection services, leaving most victims without services and at risk of re-trafficking”.

More details about the report on Romania and all countries are available here.

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