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Lithuania

  • 1. GENERAL INFORMATION

    According to criminal cases, Lithuania is mostly a source country for trafficking in human beings for sexual and labour exploitation. Lithuanian women are trafficked for sexual and labour exploitation and men – for labour exploitation. The main target country remains the United Kingdom.

    The fight against trafficking in human beings has been a priority for the Lithuanian Government for a long time. While the first action plan (2002-2004) had a specific focus on trafficking for sexual exploitation and prostitution, the second action plan (2005-2008) had a broader focus, acknowledging different forms of exploitation. In the third action plan, the Programme for the Prevention and Control of Trafficking in Human Beings for 2009-2012, new challenges were taken into account.

    Traffic in human beings is a priority area in the Action plan for the implementation of the National crime prevention and control programme 2013-2015, adopted on the14/11/2012The Action Plan contains a separate chapter of activities to fight against this crime. The Action Plan continues the activities started in the Programme for the Prevention and Control of Trafficking in Human beings 2009-2012.

    In Lithuania, especially much attention is being paid to prevention of the crime. In suspicious cases potential victims are approached by the police and/or NGOs and motivated to refuse from labour offers abroad. The email box prekybazmonemis@policija.lt managed by specialised police unit at the Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau is also broadly used by the public to inform on suspicious cases of human trafficking and ask for advise. 

    According to police data, in 2012 in Lithuania 44 pre-trial investigations were run on trafficking in human beings, 11 of them were started in 2012. The disclosed cases related to domestic and international trafficking in human beings and exploitation for forced labour. In the investigations started in 2012, 17 presumed victims of trafficking were identified by the police, 14 of them were recognised as victims/witnesses in the criminal procedure the same year, as well as the police collected information on 32 people which could be involved in human trafficking, 25 of them were prosecuted for trafficking in human beings already the same year. 9 criminal cases on trafficking in human beings reached courts and 3 such criminal cases were solved. All charged traffickers were found guilty and received from 7 to 4 years of imprisonment. In 2012 successful cooperation was carried out with repsoibles bodies of Norway, Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands and Germany. The authorities expressed their need to find ways to strengthen the cooperation with Spain.

    A summary of this text is available in the official language of the country.

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  • 2. INSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL FRAMEWORK

    Legislation

    All forms of trafficking in human beings are prohibited. The most substantial legislative changes in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Lithuania (hereafter the CC, Articles 147, 147-1, 157) and the Administrative Violations Code of the Republic of Lithuania (Article 182-1) were made in the period of 2005−2009, taking into account the Palermo protocol and other international documents.

    Criminal liability for human trafficking is outlined in the chapters XX (Crimes against human liberty) and XXIII (Crimes and misdemeanours against a child and a family) of the CC.

    Penalties for human trafficking range between two and twelve years of imprisonment (Art 147). Purchase or sale of a child is punishable from three to fifteen years of imprisonment (Art 157). Penalties for labour exploitation (Art. 147-1) range from fine to 8 years of imprisonment.

    Articles 147 and 157 also outline aggravating circumstances (two or more victims, offences committed by participating in an organised group or by seeking to acquire the victim’s organ, tissue or cells). The criminal liability covers preparation, attempt and complicity of the crime. Legal entities might be also prosecuted and subjected to fines, restrictions of operations or liquidation. According to Art. 11 of the CC, these crimes are considered to be serious and grave.

    On 30/06/2012 the law on amending the CC was adopted with the aim to broaden the definition of trafficking in human beings crime, to include more aggravating circumstances, and to prosecute the users of forced labor and services (new Art. 147-2 in the CC), taking into account the EU Directive 2011/EU/36 and the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (available in Lithuanian, see below under Resources 5.1).

    National laws also allow a person to claim for compensation, if he is held to be a victim of human trafficking.

    The Law on the Legal Status of Aliens (Art. 130) establishes that an alien should not be expelled from Lithuania if he or she has been granted the reflection period, in accordance with the procedure established by the Lithuanian Government. The Law (Art. 49) transposes the Council Directive 2004/81/EC (on the residence permit issued to third country nationals who are victims of trafficking of human beings or who have been the subject of an action to facilitate illegal immigration). It provides that a temporary residence permit may be issued to an adult alien, who is or has been a victim of human trafficking, and who cooperates with the pre-trial investigation body or the court. The residence permit is for six months and can be renewed.

    On 18/04/2012 the Government of the Republic of Lithuania adopted the decision on the procedures granting the reflection period during which a human trafficking victim has to make a decision whether to cooperate with law enforcement or the court. 

    The issue of the liability of a client for bying sexual services was addressed on 16 June 2005 in Art. 182-1 of the Administrative Violations Code ,which was one of the measures to reduce the demand for prostitution services in Lithuania. Since then the administrative responsibility covers both persons who earn by prostitution and persons who use paid prostitution services, while excluding the persons who have been involved in prostitution being dependent or under physical or psychological violence or deception, or by any mean being a minor or/and a victim of human trafficking when the status is recognised in the criminal proceedings. According to this article, a fine (from 300 to 1000 LTL) may be imposed.

    National Strategy / National Action Plan

    On 9 September 2009, the Lithuanian Government approved the third national action plan, the Programme for the Prevention and Control of Trafficking in Human Beings for 2009–2012 (thereafter the Programme).

    The objective of the Programme was to effectively and successfully solve, on the national level, the problems related to the prevention and control of human trafficking. Other objectives of the Programme included:

      • To prevent and fight human trafficking;
      • To protect the rights of persons who have suffered as a result of human trafficking and to provide these persons with assistance in as many ways as possible;
      • To ensure the proper operation of the system of assistance to the victims of human trafficking, and of the system for the protection of witnesses;
      • To ensure effective international cooperation between competent Lithuanian and foreign authorities, agencies, and non-governmental organisations in the fight against human trafficking.

    The Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Police department under the Ministry of the Interior and others participated in the implementation of this Programme.

    Coordination of anti-trafficking actions at a national level

    The National Coordinator was appointed in Lithuania at the Ministry of the Interior in 2007. This function was assigned to the Vice Minister of the Interior with the mandate of (in 2011-2012, because of the change of Vice Ministers the function was performed by Adviser for THB at the Ministry of the Interior):

      • Reporting to the Government and to the Parliament on the implementation of the Programme and on the human trafficking situation in Lithuania:
      • Coordinating the implementation of the Programme and supporting relations between governmental institutions, non-governmental and international organisations.

    The coordination system operates on three levels

    •   The national coordinator has oversight of the entire prevention of and fight against human trafficking;
    •   The interdepartmental Task Force includes representatives from the Ministry of the Interior and other institutions which are involved in the implementation of the national action plan;
    •   Ten police officers in major municipalities have been assigned to fight human trafficking in cooperation with other responsible institutions and NGOs (social workers, educators, etc.) on municipality level.

    The most important challenges at national level

      • Men - victims of trafficking: motivating measures to accept assistance and cooperate with law enforcement;
      • Vulnerable children - presumed victims of trafficking: effective measures to prevent the crime;
      • Collection of evidence abroad: solutions to obtain it in a shorter period of time;
      • Disclosure of trafficking in human beings crime under changing modus operandi.

    National Rapporteur or equivalent mechanism

    The main functions of the National Rapporteur or equivalent mechanism are carried out by the National Coordinator in support of other responsible governmental institutions, non-governmental organisations and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). The National Coordinator reports to the Government every year on the progress made in implementing the national action plan.

    In 2011, the Ministry of the Interior initiated a project aimed at defining the best model of the National Rapporteur for trafficking in human beings institute for Lithuania and the possibilities to implement it. The joint project was implemented together with the Prime Minister’s Office in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Law Department under the Ministry of Justice. On 26/06/2012 the Ministry of the Interior with its partners presented the results of the project to responsible institutions and organisations and opened the floor for discussions which should lead to a joint decision.

    In 2011, the Lithuanian Police implemented the project “Development of national integrated information system (NIIS), designed to combat international organized crime related to human trafficking, which enables interconnection with the national EUROPOL and INTERPOL units and other EU Member States“ financed from EEA/Norwegian Financial Mechanism and the State budget. The developed unified Crime analysis information system is based on “hit/no hit” system. If a hit on certain data (e.g vehicle, person name and etc.) is obtained, the information about the object of interest is picked up from different databases and represented in a graphic file with an “.anb” extension (i2 Analyst’s Notebook chart file). Each collected piece of information is related to the main object with a specific relationship so it significantly increases the chances of proactive investigation identifying necessary relations. To exchange relevant information, electronic data exchange formats in Lithuanian and English have been prepared for local and foreign use.

    The Trafficking in Human Beings Investigation Unit of the Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau coordinates the collection of information related to human trafficking from all police units. It analyses information, presents proposals, implements operational activities, and performs and coordinates pre-trial investigations in connection with cases of human trafficking and cases where persons have gained from the prostitution of others or coerced others to prostitution.

    In 2006, a central database of victims of trafficking was developed by the IOM Mission in Lithuania which allowed to collect data about their age, education level and country of destination, as well as indicators on victims’ recruitment and the assistance received. At the moment the database is not managed because of lack of resources.

    Official crime and criminal justice statistics is managed by the Information Technology and Communications Department under the Minsitry of the Interior.

  • 3. IMPLEMENTATION OF ANTI-TRAFFICKING POLICY

    Prevention

    The Ministry of the Interior has a special section for “Police advice” on its website. In May 2009, the article entitled What you should know in order to avoid becoming a victim of trafficking in human beings was published on the website. The Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau has created an electronic mailbox for maintaining contact with the population (prekybazmonemis@policija.lt)

    Furthermore, information on human trafficking is published on the websites of police authorities and other responsible institutions and organisations. Hotline telephone numbers are disseminated and the population is encouraged to report known cases.

    Since 2009, the Ministry of the Interior has administrated the website with the intention of reducing violence against women.

    In 2008, the Lithuanian Government funded a nationwide education campaign targeted at children and young people who may be potential victims of trafficking.  The campaign also targeted potential sex clients.

    In November 2009, Vilnius police officers, in cooperation with employees of Vilnius City District Prosecutor’s Office and representatives of the Lithuanian Caritas, held an educational event for the inmates of Vilnius special education and guardianship homes entitled Do not become a human trafficking victim. Furthermore, the officers held lectures on the topic of human trafficking at educational establishments (leaflets were distributed) and visited the Centre for Support for Families of Missing People.

    The officers of Trakai District Police Office of Vilnius County held lectures for pupils on the fight against human trafficking. On these occasions, the film Devil’s Circle was shown and leaflets were distributed. Lectures were also held by the officers of Joniškis District Police Office of Šiauliai County.

    Šiauliai County Chief Police Office organised meetings throughout the country with relevant stakeholders to prevent human trafficking and prostitution.

    Capacity building

    In Lithuania, each institution is responsible for capacity building of their personnel. Training is included into their plans. Most often interdepartmental training activities are organised.

    The Ministry of Social Security and Labour regularly organises training for social workers and other specialists in child protection. This training is designed to prevent violence against children as well as prostitution and trafficking in human beings.

    In 2012 − 2013, the Ministry of the Interior in cooperation with the Nordic Council of Ministers Offices in St. Petersburg, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia implements a regional project “Nordic, Baltic, Russian Cooperation on the Fight against Human Trafficking - Regional Cooperation across Juridical, Law enforcement, Social authorities”. During it, around 150 specialists (judges, prosecutors, police investigators and social workers) will develop their capacities and develop networking for fighting against human trafficking crimes.

    In October 2011 the Institute of Law organized a seminar on problems of prosecution for trafficking in human beings in the Ministry of Justice for police officers, prosecutors and other specialists dealing with trafficking in human beings cases.

    In 2010 – 2011, round table discussions were organised by reponsible governmental actors and NGOs in different regional centers of Lithuania to fix problems, answer to questions, and together look for solutions in combating trafficking in human beings on local level.

    The Ministry of the Interior, in cooperation with the Police Department, held the European Police College (CEPOL) training course called Human trafficking and illegal immigration on 5–8 May 2009. The course was attended by 30 law enforcement officers from EU Member States. Lithuanian law enforcement continues their participation in various CEPOL activities within the topic.

    In September 2009, the Ministry of the Interior held a training course for foreign diplomats residing in Lithuania. One of the objectives of this course was the identification of victims and discussion of the role of diplomats in preventing human trafficking and assisting victims.

    In 2009, Lithuanian police officers participated in international training sessions (funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers) for police officers from the Baltic and Nordic States, and the Russian Federation.

    In 2005 − 2008, Lithuania participated in a regional initiative implemented under the auspices of the Nordic-Baltic Project. The project aimed to build a network to facilitate regional referral for female victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. The Nordic Pilot Project for the Support, Protection, Safe Return and Rehabilitation of Women Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings for Sexual Exploitation was implemented by the European Women’s Lobby. Other countries involved were Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Norway and Sweden.


    Assistance and support provided to victims

    The Government of the Republic of Lithuania finances projects for the support and reintegration of victims of human trafficking through the Ministry of Social Security and Labour.

    In 2012, 5 selected projects offered by specialised NGOs received funding.

    In 2011, 6 best projects of specialised NGOs were granted funding. Necessary assistance (psychological, medical, housing, legal counseling, and etc.) was provided to 128 individuals, recognised and presumed victims of trafficking in human beings.

    In 2010, The Government of the Republic of Lithuania financed 5 projects run by specialised NGOs. Necessary assistance (psychological, medical, housing, and etc.) was provided to 118 individuals, recognised and presumed victims of trafficking in human beings.

    A Program for the Psychological Rehabilitation, Vocational Guidance and Employment of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings and Prostitution was implemented in six municipalities during 2003-2004. The aim of the program was to create conditions for the reintegration of victims into the labour market. Currently the program is offered at national level, and services include professional training courses, social competence groups, self-help courses and job placement assistance.

    Special protective measures for children

    The Children’s Rights Ombudsman is a specialised monitoring body for child protection issues, which was established in July 2000.

    One of the tasks is to collect information and analyse the child trafficking situation in Lithuania and make recommendations to the Government. Additionally, the Ombudsman controls and observes the implementation of international and national law on children's rights, and investigates alleged violations.

    Investigation and prosecution

    According to police data, in 6 months of 2012 5 pre-trial investigations on domestic and international trafficking in human beings were started, 2 of them for trafficking in children (girls of 15-17 years old). All these investigations dealt with trafficking for sexual exploitation. Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom were mentioned as target countries.

    In 2011, 21 criminal investigation on trafficking in human beings was initiated. The disclosed cases related to domestic and international trafficking in human beings. The majority of investigations dealt with trafficking for sexual exploitation. The main target countries were the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and the Scandinavian countries. In 2011, 45 presumed victims of trafficking were identified by the police, 25 of them were recognised as victims/witnesses in the criminal procedure the same year. In 2011, the police collected information on 53 people which could be involved in human trafficking, 30 of them were prosecuted for trafficking in human beings already the same year.

    In 2010, 15 new criminal investigations of trafficking in human beings were recorded in Lithuania, 9 traffickers were convicted with sentences from 7 to 11 years of imprisonment. The police identified 22 presumed victims of trafficking, 3 of them were minors. All were Lithuanians. The law enforcement mostly cooperated with colleagues from the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Belarus, Norway and Latvia.

    In 2009, 23 criminal investigations of human trafficking were registered in Lithuania. In total 48 such investigations, including five related to child trafficking, were conducted. Until then, most of the investigations had been related to sexual exploitation. However, in 2009 there were two cases brought to trial of trafficking for forced labour and one case for exploitation for forced labour. In 2009, the authorities prosecuted 14 individuals for sex trafficking offences and 14 trafficking offenders were convicted.

    Other latest initiatives/activities

    On 14 November 2012 the Government of the Republic of Lithuania with its Decision No. 1381 adopted the Action plan for the implementation of the National crime prevention and control programme in 2013-2015 with its priority area on trafficking in human beings. The Action plan contains a separate chapter of activities to fight against the trafficking in human beings crime.  The Action plan continues the initiatives started with the Trafficking in human beings prevention and control programme for 2009-2012. 

    In Vilnius on 19-20 February 2013 an international seminar „Cooperation Organising and Coordinating Successful Investigations of Trafficking in Human Beings: a Good Practice Model of Nordic – Baltic Countries and Russia“ with over 80 judges, prosecutors, police investigators, social workers and other specialists from 10 countries was organized by the Ministry of the Interior in cooperation with the Nordic Council of Ministers as one of activities under the regional project “Nordic, Baltic, Russian Cooperation on the Fight against Human Trafficking - Regional Cooperation across Juridical, Law enforcement, Social authorities”.

    In 2012 the Government of the Republic of Lithuania financed 5 projects run by specialised NGOs. Necessary assistance (psychological, medical, housing, integration into labour market,  and etc.) was provided to 152 individuals, recognised and presumed victims of trafficking in human beings. 55 of them were men.

    It is important to note that the preparation for the international conference to mark the 7th EU Anti-Trafficking Day in Vilnius on 18 October 2013, during the Lithuania’s EU Presidency, has been started in cooperation with the EC. On 17 October 2013 a side event related to the implementation of Priority 15.5 of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (the regional project ADSTRINGO – addressing trafficking in human beings for labor exploitation through improved partnerships, enhanced diagnostics and intensified organizational approaches in 9 countries of the Baltic Sea Region) is planned.

    National Referral Mechanism

    The National Referral Mechanism includes state and private actors: ministries, departments, organizations. They work within their competence and under MoU. Recently consultations have been started with all responsible bodies on the development of the whole national combating trafficking in human beings system in Lithuania including the National Referral Mechanism.

     

  • 4. EU AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

    Lithuania is an active member of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings (TF-THB). The group has been involved in different regional activities including training of diplomatic and consular staff in the region, information campaigns, analysis of data collection mechanisms, and etc.

    Also Lithuania is involved in regional projects together with the Nordic Council of Ministers (see under Capacity bulding).

    The Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania has made further steps towards the implementation of Priority 15.5 of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region related to preventing trafficking in human beings and providing support and protection for victims and groups at risk by means of transnational actions. On 01/07/2012 the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania under the financial support from the EU ISEC programme together with regional partners, the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control (HEUNI), the Council of the Baltic Sea States Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings and the University of Tartu (Estonia), started a 24-months international project ADSTRINGO – addressing trafficking in human beings for labor exploitation through improved partnerships, enhanced diagnostics and intensified organizational approaches involving 9 countries of the Baltic Sea Region. Within the auspices of the project, an international conference to mark the 7th EU Anti-Trafficking Day in Vilnius during the Lithuania’s EU Presidency in the 2nd half of 2013 has been planned.

    Lithuania’s cooperation with its neighbouring countries, Latvia and Poland, is of key importance. Lithuania has signed the trilateral inter-governmental treaty Regarding consular assistance and cooperation, which entered into force in September 1999, which provides for diplomatic and consular assistance to persons. Pursuant to the provisions of article 3 of the treaty, assistance is provided to persons who have suffered as a result of crimes and to persons who are willing to return to their country of origin.

    Lithuania also cooperates with the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg) since a number of Lithuanian women are transported to these countries. One example is the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium on Police Cooperation, which entered into force on 1 July 2005. It provides for police cooperation on trafficking in human beings, pimping, sexual exploitation of children, illegal migration, and a number of other criminal activities.

    In pre-trial investigations, Lithuanian police authorities have cooperated with law enforcement authorities from the United Kingdom, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Latvia, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium and Byelorussia. Following this cooperation, investigations have been carried out and perpetrators have been prosecuted and convicted.

    Since 2003, Lithuanian police officers have been involved in the Interpol working group on the fight against human trafficking and in its Steering Committee in 2003−2010.

    Future plans in terms of implementation of the directive 2011/36/EU

    The Ministry of the Interior, being the main actor in combating trafficking in human beings in Lithuania, has initiated discussions on the implementation of the directive. Based on the discussions, in 2010, the Ministry of the Interior established an interdepartmental working group consisting of representatives of four Ministries (the Interior, Social security and labour, Justice, and Foreign Affairs) to broaden the scope of trafficking n human beings crime in the Criminal Code. The amendments have been adopted (see under Legislation).

    On 18/04/2012 the Minister of the Interior set up an interdepartmental Working Group from representatives of public agencies and NGOs to draft recommendations for further development of the counter-THB system in Lithuania. They were presented for the Minister of the Interior on 15/10/2012 and outlined activities for 2 years. The decision should be made in cooperation with other responsible institutions and organisations.

  • 5. RESOURCES

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