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Latvia

  • 1. GENERAL INFORMATION

    Latvia appears to be almost solely a country of origin for victims of human trafficking. In 2009, there were no cases of transit for human trafficking identified, nor any evidence that Latvia was a destination country. However, Latvian victims of human trafficking were identified in Ireland and Germany. The government has taken several measures to prevent this. A second National Action Plan was adopted in 2009, in order to educate the public on this issue. Although the focus thus far has been on trafficking for sexual exploitation, the issue of trafficking for forced labour is also being addressed.

    Special attention has been drawn to risk groups, such as prostitutes. In 2009, the police detained 28 pimps as compared to 13 in 2008, and prevented them from continuing their activities. There were no cases of procurement involving persons who engage in prostitution by compulsion or have previously been victims of trafficking in human beings. Also there was no reported case involving minor persons, and no detected case of fraudulent identification being used.

    Initiated criminal proceedings by the State Police according to recent data from January 1, 2012 till May 31, 2012:

    Criminal Law the Section: 154 “Human Trafficking” – none, 1 person recognized suspected within criminal proceeding initiated in 2011;according to the Criminal Law the Section 165. “Sending a Person for Sexual Exploitation” – 5 criminal proceedings, 7 persons suspected (5 females, 2 males);

    according to the Criminal Law the Section 165 “Living on the Avails of Prostitution”: 7 criminal proceedings, 25 persons suspected (12 males, 13 females).

    In year 2012 the state budget for providing social rehabilitation services for victims of human trafficking was substantially increased – up to 87 893 Euros (in 2011 32`400 Euros). According information provided by the society “Shelter “Safe House”” (provider of the state funded social rehabilitation services for victims of human trafficking) in 2012 in total 30 victims of human trafficking benefited from state funded social rehabilitation services – 25 females and 5 males, forms of exploitation – sexual exploitation (7 victims), labour exploitation (7 victims) and sham marriages (16 victims), countries where persons were exploited – Latvia, Ireland, United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Greece, Sweden, Russia, ages of victims:18-25 ages – 1 male, 14 female, 26-30 ages – 4 males, 6 females, 31-40 ages – 1 female, 41-50 ages – 2 females, 51-60 ages – 2 females, education: 4 victims with uncompleted elementary education, 7 – elementary education, 16 – secondary or professional education, 2 – higher education. All victims are nationals of Latvia. 

    In 2013:

    The state budget for providing social rehabilitation services for victims of human trafficking is substantially increased – up to 172`577 Euros.

    10 VoT continue recieving of social rehabilitation services started in 2012.

    The State Police in 2012 initiated criminal proceedings according to:

    • the Article 154.1 „Human trafficking” 3 criminal proceeding, two persons (males) identified as suspects, three persons (females) identified as victims;
    • the Article 165.1 „Sending a Person for Sexual Exploitation” 13 criminal proceedings (suspected 15 persons (7 women/8 men));
    • the Article 165 “Living on the Avails of Prostitution” 14 criminal proceedings (suspected 37 persons (20 women/17 men)).

    In 2013 (statistical data on 7 March 2013):

    The State Police initiated criminal proceedings according to:

    • the Article 154.1 „Human trafficking” 1 criminal proceeding;
    • the Article 165 “Living on the Avails of Prostitution” 6 criminal proceedings.

    Detained:

    • 2 women for human trafficking and inducing a minor to engage in prostitution;
    • An organized group of persons for pimping and maintenance of brothel, as well as for laundering of the proceeds from crime 4 males and 5 females recognized as suspects;
    • An organized group of persons consisting of 1 male and 4 females for pimping.

     

     

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

    Attachments

  • 2. INSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL FRAMEWORK

    Legislation

    All forms of trafficking in human beings are prohibited. The specific offence of trafficking in human beings was established in 2002 through the Criminal Code, which prescribes penalties of up to 15 years' imprisonment.

    Recognised victims of trafficking are offered social rehabilitation services through the Social Service and Social Assistance Law.

    Currently, Latvia has almost transposed 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). A reflection period of 30 days may be granted to allow individuals to consider cooperating in investigations and criminal proceedings. A six-month temporary residence permit can be granted to victims who decide to cooperate in criminal proceedings.

    Sexual exploitation of women abroad was criminalised in 2000 when the section on “compelling engagement in prostitution” and “sending a person for sexual exploitation” were introduced in the Latvian Criminal Code.

    In order to stop facilitation of marriages in convenience and to punish organizers and traffickers the amendment in Criminal Law was elaborated in the autumn of 2011 which provided that for intentional ensuring or organizing of a person’s illegal residence in the European Union Member States, Member States of the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation, the applicable punishment is deprivation of liberty for a term not exceeding five years. This proposal was revised and a new wording was elaborated and approved by the Permanent Inter-institutional Working Group of the Criminal Law in spring of 2012:

    1. Criminal Law Section 285.2 “With malicious intent providing an opportunity to obtain the rights to reside legally in the Republic of Latvia, the European Union Member States, Member States of the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation”
    2. For with malicious intent providing an opportunity for a person to obtain the rights to reside legally in the Republic of Latvia, the European Union Member States, Member States of the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation – the applicable punishment is deprivation of liberty for a term nor exceeding one year or short-term deprivation of liberty, or community service, or a fine.
    3. For knowingly with malicious intent providing an opportunity for a person to obtain the rights to reside legally in the Republic of Latvia, the European Union Member States, Member States of the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation when done with a lucrative intent or such possibility was provided for two or more persons, or the offence was performed by organized group - the applicable punishment is deprivation of liberty for a term nor exceeding three years or community service or a fine.

    The draft law will be submitted to the Parliament for approval in the third (final) reading.

    On the basis of a model Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Law Enforcement Agencies and Specialist Service Providers in the Baltic Sea Region developed by CBSS TF-THB on February 15, 2012 the State Police of Latvia and NGO Shelter Safe House signed an Agreement of Cooperation on assistance for persons suffered from human trafficking. The aim of this MoU is to facilitate appropriate assistance and protection for Victims of Trafficking (VoT) thus increasing efficiency to prevent human trafficking. The MoU provides cooperation to fight human trafficking by provision of assistance for VoT, social rehabilitation services, performing prevention measures, educational and informative activities, and protection of VoT (both persons suffered from human trafficking, and witnesses).

    The country visit by GRETA was performed on 14-17 February, 2012 to assess the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings by Latvia. On the basis of the information gathered during the visit and the reply from the Latvian authorities to GRETA’s questionnaire, GRETA will prepare a draft report containing an analysis of the implementation of the Convention by Latvia and recommendations for further action. This draft report will be transmitted to the Latvian authorities for comments in the middle of July 2012, which will be taken into account by GRETA when establishing its final report. GRETA’s final report will be made public in the end of 2012, together with eventual comments by the Latvian authorities.

    National Strategy/National Action Plan

    Latvia adopted its first National Action Plan, The State Programme for the Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings (2004-2008), in March 2004.

    In August 2009 the Government launched the Programme for the Elimination of Trafficking in Human Beings for 2009-2013. The aim of the Programme was to plan and implement activities to prevent Trafficking in Human Beings and to provide victims with qualified social rehabilitation.

    On January 14th, 2014 the Cabinet of Ministers approved the National Strategy for the Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings 2014-2020. The new policy planning document contains two main policy goals: 1. To promote awareness of society and understanding about trafficking in human beings and to provide assistance and support for the victims of human trafficking. 2. To achieve the reduction of latency of trafficking in human beings, to develop capacity of law enforcement agencies and relevant stakeholders to combat trafficking in human beings. In total document includes 39 tasks and measures.A summary of the National Strategy in English and the National Startegy in Latvian available under Resources.  

    Co-ordination of anti-trafficking actions at a national level

    The Latvian National Coordinator (NC) is based at the Ministry of the Interior and reports annually to the Cabinet of Ministers on the implementation of the National Action Plan. The NC has also been assigned the task of gathering and analysing data from different state institutions and non-governmental organisations.

    The National Coordinator organises meetings of experts at all levels and represents the interests of anti-trafficking stakeholders in the Cabinet of Ministries and in the Parliament. Communication with foreign embassies in Latvia in anti-trafficking matters is also under the responsibility of the NC.

    An inter-institutional working group was established in March 2010, by the Prime Minister’s Order No.77, in order to coordinate the work of governmental and municipal authorities and NGOs in implementing the National Action Plan. The Ministry of Interior is the responsible body for the coordination of the work of the group.

    National Rapporteur or equivalent mechanisms

    The National Coordinator also exercises the role of National Rapporteur under the Ministry of the Interior.

    The tasks of the National Rapporteur include:

    • Preparing the annual report “On the Implementation of the Programme for the Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings” for the Cabinet of Ministers.
    • Collecting available information from different state institutions and non-governmental organizations and facilitating the exchange of information.

    Moreover, the State Police prepares an annual report, for internal use, on their activities in the field of combating human trafficking.

  • 3. IMPLEMENTATION OF ANTI-TRAFFICKING POLICY

    Prevention

    The Latvian government has launched and implemented several nationwide information campaigns in order to increase understanding of human trafficking.

    The Ministry of Education has introduced trafficking in human beings as a core topic in the human rights curriculum of all primary, secondary, and high schools. The government has also funded information sheets and travel guides for tourists, through the Latvian State Tourism Agency, with the aim of discouraging sex tourism in Latvia.

    Since the beginning of September 2009, the State Police has carried out the awareness campaigns Security Days at Schools. The entire Latvian school system is covered in this campaign, from preschools to upper secondary schools and universities. One aim of this campaign is to inform and educate pupils how to avoid the risks of deception related to work abroad and how to avoid illegal recruitment and sham marriages. The police are planning to continue this campaign in the future.

    The State Police frequently uses the media to inform about trafficking, and gives recommendations on how to avoid becoming a victim. Additionally, the State Police has, in collaboration with non-governmental organisations, developed a website called Sargi sevi (safeguard yourself)  where the information about these risks and threats is updated regularly.

    Assistance and support provided to victims

    A formal procedure to identify and grant the status of victims of trafficking and determine access to assistance services is currently in place. Victims of trafficking can be officially identified by law enforcement agencies, the Prosecutor’s Office and service providers (NGOs). However, NGOs are not entitled to identify trafficked persons independently. In case the service provider is the first point of contact for a presumed trafficked person, an identification commission must be convened at the initiative of the NGO. The identification commission comprises a social worker, a psychologist, a lawyer representing the presumed victim, a general practitioner, police officials, and other specialists depending on the case.

    Only victims identified through specific procedures are eligible to receive support and assistance services.

    Society “Shelter “Safe House””, Society “Resource Centre for Women “Marta”” and IOM Riga bureau are the main non-governmental actors in Latvia which activities are directly related to supporting and assisting victims of human trafficking. Their counter-trafficking activities are geared toward the prevention of human trafficking, particularly women and children, and the protection of migrant's rights, carrying out information campaigns, providing counselling services, conducting researches on human trafficking and migration issues, providing safe and dignified return and reintegration assistance to victims of trafficking, facilitating gender equality and protection the rights of women in Latvia, cooperating with government entities to improve legal system to counter trafficking and processes of political development.

    The rehabilitation period funded by the state is six months. During this period, the shelter provides a professional social worker, psychologist, lawyer and medical advice. It also provides individual rehabilitation and reintegration programmes, support during criminal proceedings, education programmes and secure housing.

    During 2009, five persons were recognised as victims of human trafficking within the criminal procedures. Twenty one people agreed to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies and have given substantial testimonies against the traffickers.

    The allocated fund for rehabilitation in 2009 was 28,264 LVL (~40,216EUR) for providing rehabilitation services for 9 victims. The allocated fund for rehabilitation in 2010 was 10,746 LVL (~15,290 EUR). Additionally the Government has assigned approximately 15,290 EUR for the continuing rehabilitation of 5 victims of human trafficking in 2010 whose rehabilitation processes were started in 2009.

    All victims receive notice on their rights including the right to claim for indemnification for material and moral loss. In 2009, four persons within three criminal procedures claimed compensation in accordance with the Law on State Compensation to Victims (of 18 May 2006).

    According to recent data from January 1, 2012 till May 31, 2012, State-funded social rehabilitation services received :5 Vicitms of Trafficking (VoT) who started receiving of social rehabilitation services in 2011 and continued 2012, 11 VoT in 2012, from them 9 females and 2 males.Forms of exploitation in 2012: prostitution – 1, labour exploitation – 1, sexual slavery – 1 (a man was exploited), forced marriages/marriages of convenience – 8.Countries of destination: UK – 1, Belgium – 1, Germany – 1, Ireland – 8.

    4 presumed VoT received assistance of lawyer and social worker provided by Marta Centre.52 presumed VoT received assistance (in general informative assistance) provided by Shelter Safe House.Forms of exploitation: forced/marriages in convenience, sexual exploitation, forced labour.

    Residence permit

    A reflection period of 30 days may be granted to trafficked persons to allow individuals to consider co-operating in investigations and criminal proceedings. A six-month temporary residence permit can be granted to victims who decide to cooperate in criminal proceedings.

    The Citizenship and Migration Board is responsible for granting permits for the reflection period and temporary residence permits to foreign victims of human trafficking. Permits are granted on the basis of a request submitted by the police. In 2009, no applications for residence permits were received from foreign citizens who were victims of human trafficking.

    Special protective measures for children

    Legal protective measures

    The procedures for the entry and residence of unaccompanied foreign minors are outlined in

    • Regulation No 310 from 2001, Procedures by which Persons Cross the State Border of the Republic of Latvia
    • Regulation No 707 from 2003, Procedures by which Alien Minors Enter and Reside in the Republic of Latvia Unaccompanied by Parents or Guardians

    In 2008, a separate unit was established within the State Police, with secially trained officers,  with a mandate to investigate sexual offences against children.

    Investigation and prosecution

    Special units

    The Trafficking in Human Beings Investigation Unit of the Organized Crime Enforcement Department of the State Police was established in 2003, building on the successful experiences of the Vice Squad since 1999. The unit is staffed by 19 full-time police officers in Riga. Additionally, there are four full-time police officers located at regional boards of the State Police who are responsible for issues regarding human trafficking prevention and combating in the regions as well as for training officials in this field.

    The Prosecutor's Office has set up a specialized unit to fight organised crime, with about ten prosecutors investigating human trafficking cases.

    Other latest initiatives/activities, challenges related to anti-trafficking policy

    On December 27, 2011 the amendments in the Cabinet Regulations No 889 Regulations on Criteria for the Recognition of Victims of Human Trafficking and Procedures for the Administration of Social Rehabilitation Services to Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings (adopted by the Government on October 31, 2006, these Regulations prescribe the procedures, by which a person who has been recognised a victim of the trafficking in human beings shall receive social rehabilitation services for the State budget funds, and the criteria for the recognition of a person as a victim of the trafficking in human beings) became into force which define more exactly that a statement of foreign law enforcement agency (a statement does not confirm that a person has a status of the victim of human trafficking, but this document allows to conclude justly that a person might be suffered from human trafficking) is a document on which basis a person can be officially recognised as a victim of human trafficking and to receive the state-funded social rehabilitation services.

    In order to reduce the essential increase of marriages in convenience concluded mostly in Ireland between citizens of Latvia and third-country nationals (mostly from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India), with the sole aim of circumventing the rules on entry and residence of third-country nationals and obtaining for the third-country national a residence permit or authority to reside in the Member State, the amendment of the Criminal Law is elaborated, approved by the Judicial Commission of the Parliament and is submitted to the Parliament for adoption.

    The Ministry of the Interior has started the development of a new policy planning document for prevention of human trafficking for the time period 2014-2020 (THB Prevention Guidelines 2014-2020).

    On 31 January 2013 the GRETA Report concerning the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings by Latvia was published.

    On 1 March 2013 Latvia has submitted Initial Report by the Republic of Latvia on implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography 2006-2010 to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

    The project2 “A safety Compass – signposting ways to escape trafficking” was launched on 14 February 2013 by NGO “Resource Centre for Women “Marta”” (Latvia) in cooperation with Ministry of the Interior and State Inspectorate for Protection of Children’s Rights (Latvia), NGO “Youth With A Mission Riga” (Latvia), NGO “Eluliin” (Estonia), “women@thewell” and National Alliance for Women Organizations (Great Britain). Within the project it is planned:

    • to do two researches on (1) new trends, risks and recruitment mechanisms in internet and social networks, and (2) paths to prostitution as a pre-research for development of exit programme;
    • to develop exit/support programme for victims of sex trafficking;
    • to create international referral mechanism between Latvia, Estonia and UK;
    • to do trainings for operators of hotlines, emergency lines and police officers on duty (about 300 persons in Latvia);
    • to do campaigning on challenging the supply and demand side for trafficking;

    The project duration – 36 months. It is planned that more than 1 120 000 people will be involved to implement objectives of the project.

    The Ministry of Justice and Ministry of the Interior organize a training course “Recognition, investigation and prevention of human trafficking as effective tool for the termination of the phenomena” on 26-27 September 2013 in Riga. The training course is organized within the project Nr.JUST/2010/JPEN/AG/1546 funded within EU program “Justice”. In total 150 officials (judges, prosecutors, investigators, advocates, representatives from ministries and subordinated institutions and NGOs that work with the elimination of human trafficking) will be trained during two days.

    Article 285. Malicious (abusive) provision with an opportunity to obtain legal right to reside in Latvian Republic, another EU Member State of the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation

    • For malicious provision with an opportunity to obtain legal right to reside in Latvian Republic, another EU Member State of the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation,-

    the applicable punishment is deprivation of liberty for a term not exceeding one year orshort-term imprisonment or community service, or a fine.

    • or malicious provision with an opportunity to obtain legal right to reside in Latvian Republic, another EU Member State of the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation, if it is committed for purposes of acquiring property or if it provided for two or more persons, or if it is committed by a group of persons,-

    the applicable punishment is imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or community service, or a fine.

    The NGO “Shelter “Safe House”” in August 2012 with the financial support of Philip Morris International and Euro AWK and support of the Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Riga City Council launched the informative campaign to inform/approach the society and the inhabitants of the five largest cities of Latvia: Riga, Valmiera, Liepaja, Daugavpils and Rezekne about the risks of human trafficking. The main subjects of this campaign are to inform about sham marriages and forced labor. The campaign invites every member of society to participate in reducing the problem of human trafficking by informing where the additional information is available, by discouraging people to take hasty decisions and focusing on the risks of human trafficking.

    Victims of human trafficking can be officially recognised/identified:

    In the beginning of 2012 NGO Marta Centre approached the Government with a proposal to amend the Criminal Law with a provision to criminalize the purchase of sexual services. The Prime Minister tasked the Minister of Justice to compose an inter-institutional working group to consider experience and best practices of foreign countries in reducing supply and demand of prostitution. The Informative Report with analysis of experience of foreign countries and proposals to reduce prostitution in Latvia should be submitted to the Government until the 1st of July 2012.

    The essential increase of marriages in convenience concluded mostly in Ireland between citizens of Latvia and third-country nationals (mostly from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India), with the sole aim of circumventing the rules on entry and residence of third-country nationals and obtaining for the third-country national a residence permit or authority to reside in the Member State, is observed. In many cases such concluded marriages of convenience turn in sex and domestic slavery for women. In some cases women accept work proposal, but after arrival in the destination country it appears that there is no offer to work, documents are taken away and she is forced to conclude a marriage with third country national. Considering this problem on June 13, 2012 two important events were organized – a meeting at the Human Rights and Social Affairs Commission of the Parliament and a round table discussion of experts and the National Task Force organized by the Ministry of the Interior in cooperation with NGO Shelter Safe House and the Embassy of Latvia in Ireland.
    Projects:

    The Nordic Council of Ministers in the end of 2011 has launched the project “Nordic, Baltic, Russian Cooperation on the Fight against Human Trafficking – Regional cooperation across Juridical, Law enforcement, Social authorities”. The aim of the project is to within the Northern Dimension region strengthen the regional operational network and cooperation mechanism through a joint multidisciplinary training process for Juridical, Law enforcement, Social authorities and NGO’s in fighting trafficking in human beings in North-West Russia and the Baltic and Nordic countries. The workshop on issues about pre-trial investigation (practice and particularities of investigation of human trafficking cases), prosecution (criminal procedural rights of victims), trial (court procedure in human trafficking cases) and inter-institutional cooperation (the role of NGOs in the rehabilitation of human trafficking victims and cooperation with the law enforcement agencies, recognition of human trafficking victim) took place in Riga on November, 2012.

    Within EC Prevention of and fight against crime programme Action Grants 2011 targeted call for proposals THB the project “A Safety Compass - signposting ways to escape trafficking” coordinated by NGO Marta Centre was approved and awarded. The main objectives of the project: to raise awareness of risks, trends of recruitment and new forms of trafficking in internet environment and social media; to reduce demand for services and products provided by VoT and facilitate fair trade; to reduce supply for trafficking by facilitating more intense cross-institutional cooperation among public, private and non-profit sector and developing exit/support programmes for victims; to form international referral mechanism among the UK, Latvia and Estonia using emergency help line system among partner countries.Planned number and type of participants: 1 120 000 adult women and men, teenagers, users of social networks, 120 hotels, night clubs, bars, massage parlours, administrators of social networks, websites, transport institutions like airports, taxi companies, 45 victims of trafficking, 10 000 sex buyers, 708 professionals from the law enforcement, legal practitioners, NGOs in the field, public officials and decision makers.

    National Referral Mechanism

    The established National Referral Mechanism complies with the provisions and the model of the National Referral Mechanism provided by 2004, OSCE/ODIHR, „National Referral Mechanisms Joining Efforts to protect the rights of Trafficked Persons. A Practical Handbook”.

    In order to coordinate the activities of governmental agencies, municipal institutions and non-governmental organizations within the implementation of the Programme for Prevention of Human Trafficking for Years 2009-2013 and to ensure the efficient exchange of information and coordinated actions related to the issues of the prevention and combating the human trafficking and the issues of providing the support of social services for the victims of human trafficking on March 3, 2010 an inter-institutional working group (National Task Force) by an order of the Prime Minister was established. (Up that time the framework of cooperation in terms of information exchange and issue’s coordination on human trafficking problem, definition and implementation of activities in order to prevent and combat trafficking in human beings as well as provide assistance to victims of trafficking in human beings had been enforced on ad-hoc meeting basis organized by the Ministry of Interior. During these meetings the representatives of informal inter-institutional working group had evaluated the progress implementing tasks of “National Programme for the Prevention of Human Trafficking 2004-2008”. In this informal inter-institutional working group the representatives of international organizations, NGOs, law enforcement institutions as well as ministerial level representatives have participated permanently.) The National Task Force and experts who are invited but are not members of the National Task Force is a well organized system which is able to deal with any challenge involving the changes related to the development of criminal offences related to human trafficking.

    The National Task Force is represented by officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education and Sciences, the Prosecutor’s Office of Liepaja City, the Ministry of Health, the State Border Guard, the Ministry of Economics, the Ministry of Welfare, the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Ministry of Justice, Riga City Council, the State Police, the Riga Municipal Police, the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior, Society “Shelter “Safe House””, Society “Resource Centre for Women “Marta”” and IOM Riga bureau.

    As experts the representatives from the State Labor Inspectorate, the State Employment Agency, Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia, Lawyers’ Association and the Information Centre of the Ministry of the Interior are involved in the National Task Force.

    Considering the tendencies of human trafficking the decision about expanding the National Task Force was taken. The improved composition of National Task Force was approved by the Prime Minister’s Decree No.207 on June 10, 2011. At the present National Task Force consists of 20 members.

  • 4. EU AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

    The Latvian State Police and the State Border Guard have developed cooperation with law enforcement institutions and special units from European Union Member States, especially with those which are destination countries of victims from Latvia. Cooperation has also been developed with other countries in the field of operational data exchange and support within the framework of investigation. Additionally, close cooperation is developed with relevant law enforcement agencies and specialised units in third countries such as Belarus, Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, which facilitates information and data exchange, the implementation of mutual operations, and exchange of best practice in the fields of legislation and personnel training.

    The Latvian State Police also has extensive cooperation with Interpol and Europol.

    The Ministry of the Interior, as the national co-ordinating body, organises the exchange of information and implements various activities in bilateral cooperation with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings in the framework of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS).

    Implementation of the Directive 2011/36/EU

    In order to transpose the requirements of the Directive 2011/36/EU the amendments were elaborated in the following national legal acts of Latvia:

    • The Criminal Law (Directive’s Article 2, Article 4 Para 2 (c) and (d), Article 8, Article 9 Para 2);
    • The Criminal Procedure Law (Directive’s Article 8, Article 15 Para 3 (b) and (c);
    • The Law on State Compensation to Victims (Directive’s Article 17);
    • Cabinet Regulation No 889 on “Procedures by which victims of human trafficking receive social rehabilitation services and the criteria for recognising a person as a victim of human trafficking” (Directive’s Article 11);
    • Cabinet Regulation No 291 “Requirements for Social Service Providers” (Directive’s Article 13 and Article 14)

    The new amendments of the Criminal Law inter alia provide the criminal liability for malicious (abusive) provision with an opportunity to obtain legal right to reside in Latvian Republic, another EU Member State, Member State of the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation. Latvia believes that this legal regulation will serve as effective tool to eliminate sham marriages.

    The Criminal Law Amending Law was adopted by the Parliament on December 13, 2012, published on December 27, 2012 in “Official Gazette” No 201 (4805), will come into force on April 1, 2013.

    The Criminal Procedure Law Amending Law was adopted by the Parliament on December 20, 2012, published on January 9, 2012 in “Official Gazette” No 6 (4812), will come into force on April 1, 2013.

    Amending Law on State Compensation to Victims was adopted by the Parliament on November 15, 2012, published on November 30, 2012 in “Official Gazette” No 189 (4792), came into force on January 1, 2013.

    Amending Regulation No 840 and No 841 was adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers on December 11, 2012, published on December 14, 2012 in “Official Gazette” No 197 (4800), came into force on January 1, 2013.

    Considering the requirements of Directive’s 2011/36/EU Article 22 Latvia will bring into force the laws and regulations necessary to comply with this Directive by 6 April 2013.

  • 5. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    The Ministry of the Interior and the State Police in cooperation with the State Labor Inspectorate and NGO „Shelter „Safe House”” elaborated „Guidelines for identification of human trafficking with the purpose of labour exploitation” which were published on January 6, 2012 on the website of the Ministry of the Interior http://www.iem.gov.lv/files/text/identificesanas vadlinijas.pdf available only in Latvian language, but it is planned that the document will be translated in English language during 2012. The guidelines were elaborated for law enforcement agencies, relevant public institutions and NGOs to identify cases and persons suffered from human trafficking with the purpose of labour exploitation as well as to implement necessary activities to bring to trial guilty persons according to the national legal acts. It is planned that these guidelines will facilitate and extend opportunities of involved public institutions and NGOs to identify possible victims of human trafficking, to check information more effective about possible human trafficking cases in Latvia and abroad.

  • 6. RESOURCES

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