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Czech Republic

  • 1. GENERAL INFORMATION

    The Czech Republic is considered mainly a target and a transit country, however to a certain extent it can be deemed as a source country. As regards countries of origin of victims identified in the Czech Republic, countries with a lower standard of living have been identified (the Russian Federation, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania and some others).

    Principal trends that have affected the situation in the area of trafficking in human beings in the Czech Republic continued through the 2010. The number of cases of trafficking in human beings in the area of sexual exploitation remain stable or even saw a downward trend (in 2010 a decline was registered in the whole sector providing sexual services) partially also due to the economic crisis. On the other hand, the crisis markedly contributed to the growth in cases where labour exploitation and forced labour may be suspected.  Companies were seeking ways to operate most cost-effectively and for example decreased numbers of legal employees or workers hired through agencies, mostly foreign ones; many workers, mainly from abroad, often took up work without an adequate guarantee of remuneration and working conditions.

    Since 2008 the described change of “modus operandi” used by offenders has persisted. Subtle forms of coercion have prevailed as means of manipulation of victims. Victims can leave their workplace as well as the place of accommodation and they even, in some cases, receive advance payments. Physical violence has occurred very rarely and it tends to be the result of skirmishes and disputes between employees and their employer rather than a tool of coercion. Contrary to this, psychological pressure is quite frequent and the same applies to threats and similar practice on the edge of legality (payment of wages delayed but still within the legal time limit, demand for overtime work, non-payment under the guise of enforcing repayment schemes for nonexistent debts, unsuitable hygienic conditions, punishment for fabricated violations of rules and conditions and so on); poor knowledge of law and the language is also frequently abused.

    In 2010 another trend recorded in recent years was confirmed. That is the focus of offenders on vulnerable groups of persons, primarily in the phase of their recruitment for different types of work to be done in the Czech Republic as well as abroad. Foreign nationals, mainly those who have lost their jobs in the Czech Republic and are facing administrative expulsion, followed by persons from socially excluded localities, mentally disabled people and homeless people are among the most common vulnerable groups. The access of these persons to the labour market is hindered and thus they are often lured by a vision of income that they would not be able to gain under normal circumstances. Their ability to ask for help in cases where they become victims of such treatment is also decreased either because of their handicap or due to societal prejudices or absence of a residence permit.

    A typical sign, which persisted also in 2010, is latency of the offence of trafficking in human beings and problematic provision of evidence. With regard to condemnatory judgements, our country, along with other European countries, is struggling with a lack of final condemnatory judgments relating to the crime of trafficking in human beings for the purpose of labour exploitation. The problem is really pressing despite the fact that on the 1st of January 2010 the new Criminal Code came into effect, where the offence of trafficking in human beings is newly defined.To this end the first, although not final and as yet inconclusive, judgement of the Regional Court in Usti nad Labem in the case of sentencing three Ukrainian offenders on 15 June 2010 for the crime of trafficking in human beings for the purpose of forced labour or other forms of exploitation must be considered as a success.

    According to the statistics of the law enforcement agencies (LEA) 24 cases were investigated in 2010 as presumed cases of trafficking in human beings, 19 for sexual exploitation and 5 for labour exploitation. 35 persons were investigated and prosecuted, 9 offenders were sentenced unconditionally and 1 person was sentenced unconditionally. According to the same statistics 33 crimes of presumed procurement were detected in the last year, 28 person were investigated and prosecuted, 33 offenders were charged with a sentence.

    In 2010, 7 persons newly entered the Programme on support and protection of victims of trafficking in human beings, 4 of theme were exploited in labour, 3 sexually. NGO Diakonie ČCE became a new member of the Inter-ministerial coordination group on trafficking in human beings. Among other services, Diakonie also has a secret asylum flat for male victims of trafficking only.

    The modus operandi of the perpetrators and the source and destination countries are same as in last two years. The only slight change we registered is with regards to the organized crime groups organizing trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation from the former Eastern block( Ukraine, Russia, Kazachstan etc.). The offenders no more confiscate travel documents of their victims. They tend to present themselves as legally functioning entities such as recruitment agencies.

    In 2012 there were first 2 condemnatory judgments of trafficking in human beings for the purpose of forced labor and labor exploitation.

    • 1st case: several persons from social excluded areas exploited in construction under bad working conditions.
    • 2nd case: 3 perpetrators from Ukraine sentenced, 20 Romanian workers exploited in agriculture and meat factory.
    • First condemnatory judgment of Nigerian trafficking in human beings case where woo-doo rituals were used as means of coercion.
    • Identified first suspected cases of possible exploitation of Filipine domestic workers of diplomats.

    The Czech Republic presented in 2012 a fourth National strategy on the fight against trafficking for the period 2012 - 2015.

    In February 2013 - 3rd final condemnatory judgment for THB FL/LE: Czech citizens trafficked into the UK. High sentences (9,5 years of imprisonment).

    1st victim from Philippines joints the Program of Support and Protection of Victims of THB.

    THB perpetrators in 2012 are mostly from Ukraine and Slovakia.

    The end of the year – extensive police operations focusing on THB for the purpose of sexual exploitation, procurement: organized group (members from Croatia, Ukraine, Czech Republic); girls from social disadvantaged families; THB case connected with drug criminality.

    Prostitution scene: info provided by NGO Bliss without Risk: mostly Czech women involved in prostitution (then also Ghana, Bulgaria, USA, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Nigeria)

    2012 JIT with UK continues, perpetrators sentenced in the UK.

    Attachments

  • 2. INSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL FRAMEWORK

    Legislation

    Trafficking for sexual exploitation or forced labour is prohibited under the Criminal Code. The specific offence of trafficking in persons has existed in the Czech Republic since 2002. The Criminal Code was amended in 2004 to include trafficking for forced labour as well as other forced services.

    The new Criminal Code (Act No.40/2009 Coll.), which entered into force on 1 January 2010, widened the definition of trafficking in human beings to also include trafficking for the removal of organs, and forcing somebody into the production of pornography or service in armed forces. One of the changes was also the definition of a new offence - prostitution endangering the moral development of children. This offence is committed by a person who offers sexual services near schools or other places which are reserved for children.

    The legislation prescribes penalties for human trafficking from two to eighteen years' imprisonment.

    In 2005, the Act No. 326/1999 on the Residence of Foreign Nationals in the Czech Republic was amended, which transposed into the Czech law the Council Directive 2004/81/EC(on residence permits issued to third-country nationals who are victims of trafficking in human beings or who have been the subject of an action to facilitate illegal immigration, who cooperate with the competent authorities). In this framework a 30-day reflection period for victims of human trafficking was introduced. The reflection period was extended to 60 days with the 2008 modifications of the management acts regulating the Victim Support Programme.

    National Strategy / National Action Plan

    The National Strategy for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings for 2008-2011 was approved in January 2009.

    Prioritised areas in the strategy are the following:

    • Strengthening data collection.
    • Continued monitoring of the situation in this area.
    • Updating the Programme to Support and Protect Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings in line with recent trends.
    • Focusing on vulnerable groups.

    The previous National Strategy for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings for 2005-2007 focused on the amended legal definition of trafficking in human beings within the Czech Criminal Code. The new strategy proposes measures against trafficking for sexual exploitation as well as measures against forced labour and other forms of exploitation.

    The first official document addressing the issue of trafficking in human beings was the 2003 National Strategy for the Fight against Trafficking in Human Beings for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation in the Czech Republic. The Strategy was designed to implement international instruments regarding trafficking into Czech national policy. This strategy assigned the role of National Rapporteur to the Ministry of Interior (MoI).

    Coordination of anti-trafficking actions at a national level

    The Ministry of the Interior has the main responsibility for coordinating the issue at a national level. In addition to inter-ministerial cooperation, the MoI is also responsible for coordinating the Programme to Support and Protect Victims of Trafficking.

    Inter-ministerial Coordination Group

    The Inter-Ministerial Coordination Group brings together the Minister of the Interior (Chair), Deputy Minister of the Interior for Internal Security (Vice-Chair), the Director of the Security Policy Department (Secretary) and representatives from all competent  ministries, government councils and non-governmental organisations.

    The Group serves as a platform for the mutual exchange of information regarding ongoing anti-trafficking activities. It is also responsible for submitting proposals for activities at the inter-ministerial level, and it collates, analyses and evaluates data.

    In addition to the Inter-ministerial Coordination Group, a smaller group of experts meets once a month. This group has a more operational focus, and addresses problems concerning individual victims of trafficking in human beings.

    National Rapporteur or equivalent mechanism

    The National Rapporteur for Trafficking in Human Beings was established in the Czech Republic in 2003. This was a result of the first Czech policy paper A National Strategy to Fight against Trafficking in Human Beings for Sexual Exploitation. The National Rapporteur is assigned to the Ministry of the Interior, within the Security Policy Department.

    The main responsibilities of the National Rapporteur include:

    1. information gathering, analysis and continuous monitoring;
    2. coordination of anti-trafficking policies;
    3. and submission of reports and policy papers to the government.

     

  • 3. IMPLEMENTATION OF ANTI-TRAFFICKING POLICY

    The Czech Republic considers the implementation of the Directive 2011/36/EU that is due to 6th of April 2013 very seriously. The main responsible body for the implementation of this directive was assigned, that is the Ministry of Justice of the Czech Republic.

    The Ministry of Justice issued an implementation table to clearly define all the necessary provisions that need to be modified. The Ministry of Interior in accordance with the scheduled plans will evaluate the Programme on protection and support for victims of trafficking in human beings to make sure that the set up standards and procedures are in line with those envisaged by the Directive. The Ministry of Interior as the coordination body will actively participate in all matters regarding the implementation of this document to bring it to a successful end as soon as possible.

    Prevention

    A number of preventative campaigns have been launched in recent years in the Czech Republic, by the government or nongovernmental organisations, or in partnership between them.

    How to prevent vulnerable groups from being trafficked is also a challenge in the Czech Republic. Crucial in this effort is to have efficient tools to target such groups with preventive campaigns. The unification of the law enforcement and judicial statistics has been discussed for a long period now and also the harmonization of data collection so that the issued data are able to reliably describe the situation and evolving trends. Engage the labour authorities into a active identification of victims of trafficking in human beings for the purpose of labour exploitation. Access to compensation for victims has to be significantly improved.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is involved in the Inter-ministerial Co-ordination Group to ensure the exchange of relevant information with Czech embassies and consulates abroad. Consular officials at all embassies and consulates have received training material. Furthermore, the MFA distributed preventative materials produced by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to consular officers working in ten selected source countries (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, and Bulgaria). In addition, the issue of human trafficking was included in training sessions for consular officials before being posted abroad, predominantly to those officials sent to the above selected countries. The training continued in 2009.

    The MFA assisted the nongovernmental organisation La Strada with the distribution of booklets on trafficking in human beings and exploitation of Vietnamese migrants in particular.

    An especially noteworthy information campaign was launched by the International Organisation for Migration, together with partner organisations, in 2007. The campaign targeted sex clients and victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. In the first stage of the campaign, telephone lines were opened and operated, and information material was disseminated on public transport and at the airport in Prague, at border crossing points with Germany and Austria, and in clubs and restaurants in large cities in the Czech Republic. Campaign material was printed also on tourist maps and erotic journals. In the second part of the campaign, materials were distributed in public transport in the ten largest cities of the Czech Republic. The slogan of the campaign was ‘Don’t Be Afraid to Say It on Her Behalf’. The campaign continued in 2008 and 2009.

    Assistance and support provided to victims

    The Support and Protection of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings Programme (Victim Protection Programme) was established by the Ministry of Interior in 2005, designated to support victims.

    The government has a formal victim identification mechanism which means that victims are identified by the police in collaboration with NGOs (e.g. La Strada and the Czech Catholic Charity Association).

    Based on the victims who have used the services offered by the Programme, the MoI has prepared a list of countries which are most likely to be countries of origin or target countries for victims of trafficking. Czech embassies and consulates present in these countries have then been asked to obtain information on human trafficking from public administration authorities of these countries.

    A software database called the ‘Trafficked Person Information System’was approved by the government in 2008. This database is meant to collate information on victims of human trafficking supported by the Programme or persons included in voluntary return projects.

    According to the US State Department Trafficking in Persons Report, Czech authorities referred 13 victims to nongovernmental organisations for assistance during 2008.

    The Refugee Facility Administration (RFA) provides accommodation and other services to asylum seekers, recognised refugees, and detained foreign nationals. It also identifies victims of trafficking in asylum facilities, reception centres or detention centres.

    Residence permit

    Foreign victims of trafficking are granted a 60-day period of reflection, during which they can decide whether to participate in criminal investigations. During this period the victims receive assistance. This may include asylum accommodation, health care, financial assistance, additional social care, psychological and social advisory services, psychotherapeutical services, legal advisory services, assistance with voluntary return to the country of origin and follow up social assistance, long-term social integration, support in seeking jobs, re-qualifying training courses, an option to be included in the programme for witness protection etc. Victims who cooperate in criminal proceedings are granted temporary residence and work visas for the duration of the relevant legal proceedings,

    In 2008, 19 victims were granted temporary residency permits. Upon conclusion of the court proceedings, victims have the opportunity to apply for a permanent residence permit. One victim was granted permanent residency in 2008.

    Special protective measures for children

    The intentions behind the 2006 National Plan on Combating Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children date back to 2002, when the first National Action Plan against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children was published. These Action Plans have created the institutional and conceptual framework for government actions towards child protection. Some of the tasks of the National Action Plans include legislative changes such as making human trafficking for other purposes than sexual exploitation a criminal offence.

    In 2008 this issue was included in the wider context of violence against children, while the main responsibility was delegated to the Minister for Human Rights. In this context the “National Strategy for Preventing Violence against Children between 2008 and 2018” was drawn up. This Strategy was linked to an Action Plan(The National Action Plan on Realization of National Strategy on Prevention of Violence against Children 2009-2010), which contained specific tasks and activities for all authorities of state administration directly involved in the issue

    In 2005, two child victims of 'vice crimes of trafficking' were identified (one of whom was under the age of fifteen), and in 2008 there were four child victims identified (of whom one was under the age of fifteen). Data on child victims of trafficking is also published by international organisations; the Fundamental Rights Agency published data on ‘trafficked children [who are] receiving full health care services, including psychosocial care and rehabilitation’ and on ‘trafficked children receiving education/training, in particular secondary education and vocational training’.

    Investigation and Prosecution

    Two cases of trafficking in human beings for the purpose of labour exploitation were tried with a condemnatory sentence, however not final yet. The anti-trafficking community is awaiting the final judgement to be later used as a model court ruling enabling a more frequent sentencing of similar cases.
    State authorities are making significant effort to counter exploitation of workers from new EU countries and third country nationals who are often exploited thanks to the loopholes in the labour recruitment system. Especially the mechanism of recruitment agencies is very often criticized for enabling such form of exploitation while also providing a high level coverage for perpetrators of this specific crime.

    Human Trafficking Department

    A special Human Trafficking Department in the Organized Crime Unit of the Criminal Police and Investigation Service Office of the Police has been operational since 1996. Furthermore, a special Forced Labour Section was created in 2006 and the year after there were fifty officers assigned full time to work in this section.

    Latest number of prosecutions and convictions

    According to the 2010 United States Trafficking in Persons Report, the police conducted 47 investigations including three labour trafficking investigations in 2009. 115 persons were prosecuted for trafficking offences. 83 persons were prosecuted for trafficking offenses. Only those offenders convicted under Section 204 – the law that addresses pimping – were sentenced to time in prison. One trafficking offender was sentenced to one year's imprisonment, 16 offenders were sentenced to one to five years’ imprisonment, and two traffickers were sentenced to 15 - 25 years’ imprisonment.

    Latest initiatives/activities related to anti-trafficking policy

    Two expert missions were organized to Romania and Ukraine with the aim to strengthen cooperation with Police Units and other relevant authorities.
    The Ministry of Interior together with the organized Crime Unit of the Czech Police organized a specialized course for state prosecutors and special police officers on THB for labour exploitation.

    • In April 2012 a new National Strategy to Combat Trafficking in Human beings for the Period 2012-2015 was adopted.
    • Participation in projects focused on trainings – ICMPD, US Embassy + ILEA.
    • Workshop on Nigerian organized crime with the focus on Trafficking in Human beings took place on the 6th and 7th of November 2012 in Prague. The workshop focused on the modus operandi of organized criminal groups, the specifics of the investigative and operational methods, presentation of case studies and exchange of best practices.
    • Project "Discovering Trafficking for the Purpose of Forced Labour and Labour exploitation” ends soon – the final conference takes place in Prague 22.-23.4. 2013. The analysis of THB - FL and LE judgments will be translated into English by April and available.
    • Starting cooperation with a Czech transportation company; competition launched in February: public is encouraged to shoot a preventive clip pointing out the possibilities of avoiding mistreatment while going abroad for a work etc.

    National Referral Mechanism

    The Czech Republic has a well established referral mechanism staying on two pillars – the Inter-ministerial coordination group with the national coordinator on the top and the Programme on support and protection of victims of THB with its collaborators (NGOs, Police, Immigration authorities etc.)

  • 4. EU AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

    The Czech Republic has undertaken many initiatives to combat human trafficking, both bilaterally and in cooperation with international and non-governmental organisations. The focus lies on co-operation with source countries for trafficking victims, particularly neighbouring countries such as Moldova and Ukraine.

    La Strada (NGO) in partnership with the Security Policy Department of the MoI and the Judicial Academy jointly participated in the three-year project “Discovering Trafficking for the Purpose of Forced Labour and Labour Exploitation or Uncovering Trafficking in Human Beings for the Purpose of Labour Exploitation or Forced Labour”. This project was launched with the intention to increase awareness of people of the issue of THB and to improve access of victims of this crime to legal representation and other services provided by the state and guaranteed by the EU. The project is paid for by the European Commission - DG Home Affairs and has been implemented since June 2010 and will last for 36 months. The project should, inter alia, map out experience pertaining to the criminal law approach to the issue of THB for the purpose of forced labour and other forms of exploitation abroad. One of the particular aims is to define the terms “forced labour” and “labour exploitation” on the basis of experience gathered in the Czech Republic as well as in other EU Member States and then enable active use of these definitions within the judicial system in the Czech Republic.

    In May 2011 Prague hosted an international workshop - part of the second phase of this project - where international experts (namely from the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Spain and Belgium) gathered together with Czech police officers, state prosecutors, state officers and judges to discuss the application of certain problematic terms of the definition of trafficking such as abuse of distress, other forms of exploitation etc. Also other topics were discussed such as the severity of sentences, the impact of financial sanctions. 

    The Czech Republic continues to provide anti-trafficking and victims’ identification training to consular officers abroad and is negotiating a similar training programme for labour inspectors. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs published on all websites of the representative offices of the Czech Republic abroad an informative section regarding trafficking in human beings. Recently the ministry of Interior published a manual for practitioners on trafficking in children – Recommendations for state administration authorities. The manual proved to be very useful especially for police officers dealing with vice criminality.

    The national coordination body is planning several preventive campaigns and research activities aiming to uncover the dynamics of exploitation within vulnerable groups especially socially excluded communities. Of a major concern is also training of police officers, especially those fulfilling their duties in the streets.

    Further examples of international cooperation include:

    • In 2008, a pilot 'Assistance System for the Employment of Ukrainian Nationals' was carried out under the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior. Information on legal labour migration and the risks of illegal labour migration to the Czech Republic was distributed to 2,000 employers and several thousand potential migrants from Ukraine, through seminars, leaflets, personal consultations, advertisements and mass media.
    • In 2007, the ‘Zero Project’ was launched, aiming to advance bilateral cooperation with Ukraine to enable the exchange of experience and preparation of joint action by the police forces of the two countries. The project is still ongoing, and is coordinated by IOM Kiev and financed by the Swedish government.
    • The Ministry of the Interior participates in the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) project 'Data Collection and Harmonized Information Systems'. The aim of the project is to develop common criteria for data and information collection in the area, and to establish an institutionalised system for collecting such data.
    • The project 'Supranational Referral Mechanism for Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings in Source and Target Countries' is also coordinated by the ICMPD. The aim of the project is to bring together existing national coordinating mechanisms for protecting and assisting victims of trafficking in human beings; to unify standards for services provided to victims; and to strengthen international and bilateral cooperation in the repatriation and reintegration of victims. The main output of this project will be establishing principles of care for victims of trafficking in human beings and facilitating their return to their country of origin.

    Ongoing work on the implementation of the Directive 2011/36/EU

    Liability of legal persons (its non-existence in Czech law was a major obstacle to the ratification of many international and EU documents) also necessary for the implementation of the Directive entered in to force on the 1. January 2012.

    The main responsible body for the implementation of this directive was assigned, that is the Ministry of Justice of the Czech Republic. The Ministry of Justice issued an implementation table to clearly define all the necessary provisions that need to be modified. The Ministry of Interior in accordance with the scheduled plans will evaluate the Programme on protection and support for victims of trafficking in human beings to make sure that the set up standards and procedures are in line with those envisaged by the Directive. The Ministry of Interior as the coordination body actively participates in all matters regarding the implementation of this document.

    Work ongoing: the definition of THB in criminal code will be changed.

  • 5. RESOURCES

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