1. GENERAL INFORMATION- SITUATION ON TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS
Trafficking in human beings continues to be a constantly dynamic phenomenon, both in terms of the interest shown by traffickers, in their unceasing search for means of rapid and illegal enrichment, and, in a natural and proportional manner, of the interest shown by the great international bodies involved in combating this phenomenon.
In order to limit the scale of this phenomenon, the Romanian Government has given significant importance to human trafficking for over 15 years, adopting the necessary institutional and legislative framework and setting standards for assistance to victims of trafficking and prosecuting traffickers by adapting its working tools and developing mechanisms that address the TIP phenomenon at national, regional and local level. The interest and concern to counteract the impact of this type of crime manifested in all society's levels, from civil society to Parliament, each using the tools available to engage in preventing and combating trafficking in persons.
Trafficking in persons with all the elements defining the intervention against this social and criminal phenomenon keeps full the working agenda of the Romanian institutions and organizations responsible for combating TIP and for protecting and supporting the victims.
In 2017, Romania maintains the profile of country of origin for victims of trafficking in persons. At the same time, domestic trafficking continues to have a high rank within the statistics, a significant proportion of victims, especially minor, being exploited in Romania in 2017 (401).
Data analysis at national level allows the profile of the main characteristics of victims of trafficking, identified in 2017. Therefore, in statistical terms, 2017 saw a 12% fall in the victims' population, from 756 victims identified in 2016, to 662, identified in 2017. As in previous years, the Romanian citizens represent the majority of victims, with only one person with a different citizenship being trafficked.
As in the previous year, in the case of cross-border trafficking, the top five destination countries for the exploitation of victims are, in a different order from 2016, Italy, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. The concern of the Romanian authorities aims at improving the international cooperation efforts of all institutions with responsibilities in the fight against human trafficking, especially with the institutions of the destination countries, in order to identify the most effective responses to prevent the phenomenon, to dismantle the trafficking networks and to protect the rights of the victims, but also to improve the economic and social conditions of the vulnerable population, which is one of the main factors favoring the victimization of Romanian citizens abroad.
The feminine population, both adults and minors, has an increased share in the total of the identified victims, reaching 76.4% in 2017, while trafficking for sexual exploitation accounts for about 68.8% of the total. The low and very low level of education among the identified victims remains constant, with 88% of them having completed middle school studies at the time of trafficking, while the share of non-educated victims reaches 8% of the total (compared to 9% in 2016).
Most of the identified victims were sexually exploited, regardless of the destination of exploitation, domesic or transnational.
The total number of registered victims in the period 2010-2017, as well as the distribution of victims trafficked and exploited abroad, out of the total number of identified victims, are shown in the table below.
2010 – 2017 Annual Dynamics of victims of trafficking in persons
Table of trafficked and exploited victims outside the national borders
The low level of wellbeing of the vulnerable population and the lack of real opportunities to overcome long-term difficulties create feelings of discouragement/ mistrust in the chances of individual welfare in the country and favor migration. Also, the lack of sufficient income for daily living pushes jobseekers to take very high risks, ignoring or bypassing preventive measures aiming at avoiding dangerous or harmful situations.
Given the current characteristics of society, confronted with numerous and complex challenges, the need for sustained development of relevant educational programs is increasingly evident. Reducing the level of vulnerability associated with risk categories requires to transfer to each individual various ideas and knowledge to shape behaviors and attitudes that are useful at the social level.
Despite the very high number of raising awareness campaigns conducted in the benefit of the general population, human trafficking is still associated with collective prejudices and social stereotypes about the victim. In many cases, the media still selectively focuses on the phenomenon of trafficking in human beings, retaining those facts and data that present the characteristics of a breaking news, which contributes to promoting an incomplete image and perpetuating stereotypes regarding the victim's profile and the types of exploitation.
The intensification of the migration phenomenon as well as the increased vulnerability of the immigrant population outline the framework and the premises for the crimes, abuses and exploitation in any form among the members of this population, thus that determines the responsible Romanian authorities to monitor this vulnerable category through mechanisms and existing procedures in order to prevent and identify the possible victims of trafficking in human beings, foreign citizens on the territory of our country.
2. INSTITUTIONAL, LEGAL AND POLICY FRAMEWORK TO ADDRESS TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS
o RELEVANT LEGISLATION
Romania continues to align its efforts with the European and international standards on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, having national regulations harmonized, but also adjusted to the particularities of trafficking as it is the case for the Romanian citizens.
On February 1 2014, the new Criminal Code came into force, bringing about changes to the anti-trafficking legislative framework.
The new Criminal Code responds to the practical needs that have long been calling for criminal law adjustments, while also meeting the relevant European standards. The legal and social message of the new Code is primarily grounded on the purpose of reforming punitive policy, and the conceptual approach includes a review of punishments, a logical order by compressing legislation (in this respect a series of offenses under the special laws have been included under modified or unmodified form in the new Code), as well as facts and sanctions adapted to current realities.
According to an analysis of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of April 5 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, and protecting its victims, and replacing the Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA, it has being found that most of the substantive and procedural criminal law provisions contained in the Directive were already covered by domestic law, not needing major interventions when transposing the Directive into Romanian law.
Another important change, with consequences in the area of trafficking in persons, is also the one in the legislation regarding foreign citizens which, through art. 5 ind. 1 of the Law no. 331/2015 for the amendment of the Law no. 122/2006 on asylum in Romania, includes the victims of trafficking in the vulnerable person category, the legislative provisions in the field related to vulnerable persons also applying to victims of trafficking.
Recently, it is worth mentioning the completion in 2017of Law no. 156/ 2000 on the protection of Romanian citizens working abroad. By these amendments, applicable from March 2018, and later by the norms for the implementation of this law, additional thresholds are set for the registration of firms and it also sets a thorough check on the individual appointed as the manager of that firm (eg. the condition of not having a criminal record). Also, a condition stipulated by the new changes imposes, under sanction, the obligation not to commission the employee service.
The main national normative acts in the field of trafficking in persons:
- Law no. 678/2001 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, as subsequently amended and supplemented;
- Law no. 286/2009 on the Criminal Code of Romania;
- Law no. 135/2010 on the Code of Criminal Procedure;
- Government Decision no. 299/2003 for the approval of the Regulation for the application of the provisions of Law no. 678/2001 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings;
- Government Decision no. 1238/2007 for the approval of National Specific Standards for specialized services for the assistance and protection of victims of trafficking in human beings;
- Order of the Minister of Interior and Administrative Reform, Minister of Labor, Family and Equal Opportunities, Minister of Education, Research and Youth, Minister of Public Health, President of the National Authority for the Protection of Child's Rights, of the General Prosecutor of The Court of Cassation and Justice and the of Minister of Justice no. 335/2007/2881/2007/1990/2007/1072/2007/266/A 6880/409/C/2353/C/2008 for the approval of the National Mechanism for Identification and Referral of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings.
National legislation on child trafficking, the rights of the child and the fight against all forms of exploitation of children:
- Law no. 272/2004 on the protection and promotion of children's rights, with its subsequent amendments;
- Government Decision no.1443 / 2004 on the methodology for the repatriation of unaccompanied Romanian children and on the provision of special protection measures in their favor;
- Government Decision no. 617/2004 on the establishment and organization of the National Steering Committee for the Prevention and Combating of the Exploitation of Child Labor, as subsequently amended and supplemented;
- Government Decision no. 76/2008 for the amendment and completion of the Government Decision no. 617/2004 on the establishment and organization of the National Steering Committee for the Prevention and Combating of the Exploitation of Child Labor;
- Government Decision no. 867/2009 on the prohibition of hazardous work for children;
- Government Decision no. 49/2011 for the approval of the Framework Methodology on the Prevention and Intervention through Multidisciplinary Teams and Networking in Child Violence and Domestic Violence situations, and for the approval of the Multidisciplinary and Interinstitutional Intervention Methodology on Exploited Children or in a risk situation of being trafficked for forced labor, children victims of trafficking in human beings, as well as Romanian migrant children, victims of other forms of violence on the territory of other states.
Other national legislation related to the field of trafficking in human beings:
1. Law no. 156/ 2000 on the protection of Romanian citizens working abroad, republished;
2. Law no. 682/2002 on the protection of witnesses, as subsequently amended;
3. Law no. 39/2003 on preventing and combating organized crime, as subsequently amended and supplemented;
4. Law no. 211/2004 on certain measures for the protection of victims of crime, as subsequently amended and supplemented;
5. Law no. 302/2004 on International Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters, republished;
6. Law no. 508/2004 on the establishment, organization and functioning within the Public Ministry of the Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism Offenses, as subsequently amended and supplemented;
7. Law no. 95/2006 on healthcare reform, as subsequently amended and supplemented;
8. Law no. 292/2011 on social assistance;
9. Government Emergency Ordinance no. 194/2002 regarding the alien regime in Romania, republished, with the subsequent modifications and completions.
o PROSECUTION OF TRAFFICKERS AND PERPETRATORS
Victims of trafficking in human beings are entitled to receive information about their rights and how to access them:
· The right to a reflection period of up to 90 days in order to be able to recover and get out of the reach of traffickers and to be able to make an informed decision regarding the cooperation with competent authorities.
· The right to physical, psychological and social recovery. Assistance is provided for all victims of trafficking in human beings, without discrimination, irrespective of the type of exploitation and their decision to participate in judicial proceedings.
· The right to free legal aid.
· The right to financial compensation from the state.
· The right to protection. Victims of trafficking in human beings can receive physical protection. Individuals who provide decisive information for the identification and conviction of perpetrators may be included in the Witness Protection Program.
Victims of trafficking in human beings are entitled to assistance based on their own situation and identified needs, following an early assessment and a comprehensive analysis of each case. Victims can be assisted by social services providers in the public or private environment. These entities can also provide assistance services in partnerships. All victims of trafficking in human beings are entitled to assistance and protection without discrimination, irrespective of the type of exploitation and their decision to participate in judicial proceedings or not.
The social services provided to victims of trafficking in human beings are as follows:
· information and social counseling;
· accommodation in a shelter administered by non-governmental organizations or by the state;
· support for other basic needs;
· psychological counseling;
· judicial assistance;
· financial and material assistance;
· professional counseling;
· educational assistance;
· recreational activities.
In 2017, a total of 307 victims were assisted. Assistance was granted by public institutions and/ or NGOs and resulted in the services mentioned above.
Victims can also receive support during judicial proceedings under the Victims Witness Coordination Program initiated by the National Agency against Trafficking in Persons in 2006. The program aims at creating a coordinated framework for trafficked persons who are witnesses or parties injured in a criminal proceeding through the institutional coordination of those involved in combating trafficking in human beings, so that victims are encouraged and supported to participate in judicial proceedings. The program ensures that they maintain a permanent relationship with victims in order to provide them with information on the rights and services they are entitled to, on judicial procedures, as well as updated information on the evolution of the case, emotional support, or safe transportation to procedural activities. The program has contributed to an increased number of victims of trafficking, injured party or witnesses, participating in criminal proceedings and to an extent of their participation in the trial phase, but also to significantly reduce cases of abandonment of assistance programs before the end of the intervention and reintegration process.
A total of 417 victims of trafficking in human beings were coordinated in the criminal trial in 2017, by providing them with information on their rights, social counseling, legal assistance, physical protection and transportation.
Romania's approach to combating trafficking in human beings complies with the general approach at European level. The preventive initiatives that have been undertaken aim to support efforts to reduce supply and demand that favor trafficking in human beings, a complex criminal phenomenon in the epicenter of global crime. The central purpose of preventing victimization activities was to provide the target groups with the information they need to reduce the risks and adequately manage their vulnerabilities. Similarly, preventive actions aimed at raising public awareness of the implications associated with trafficking in human beings as well as alerting potential beneficiaries of the services offered by trafficked persons to the criminal consequences of these illegal practices.
The main tool used to carry out prevention activities was the partnership. All preventive actions of Romania have been carried out in co-operation with institutions and organizations involved in the fight against trafficking in human beings, thus ensuring a comprehensive and effective approach to strategies for the transmission of various anti-trafficking messages. Attracting new partners and strengthening existing collaborations has highlighted a priority of action directions set at national level.
Another key component of the preventive concept proposed by Romania was to increase the involvement in the prevention activities the stakeholders in order to reduce the number of inaccurate and ambiguous information on some aspects of trafficking in persons. Addressing this goal is a real challenge and is based on the decisive influence the opinion leaders can have on vulnerable people, on those who make up vulnerable populations or desirable victims for traffickers.
Trafficking prevention campaigns, both nationally and locally, focused on the main forms of exploitation, targeting specific population as well as the online audiences, users of social networks. These campaigns, initiated and implemented together with the institutional and organizational partners, have been tailored both to the local and regional specificities of trafficking and to the various types of exploitation, taking into account the particularities of the target groups of the anti-trafficking message.
Also, Romania's preventive approaches have as main objectives: informing and raising public awareness about the phenomenon of trafficking in human beings; reducing the vulnerability to traffic of target groups at risk; enhancing the self-protection capacity of the public to the threats of this phenomenon, reducing the demand for trafficking in human beings, promoting the Hotline number 0800 800 678.
Anti-Trafficking communication channels for preventive actions have led to the use of different means of implementation, ranging from direct meetings with the target groups and the distribution of information and promotion materials to theatre performances, audio spots, video clips, flashmobs, online campaigns, media promotion, etc
o PROSECUTION OF TRAFFICKERS AND PERPETRATORS
At the national level, specialized anti-trafficking structures carried out procedural investigative activities, under the delegation of case prosecutors, in 543 newly registered (initiated) criminal cases in 2017, regarding 946 perpetrators, out of which 1 legal person. Out of these, 50 are unknown authors, and 5 are foreign citizens, investigated for trafficking offenses.
3. NATIONAL ACTION PLAN
In 2017, with the contribution of institutions with responsibilities in the field and of the non-governmental organizations, the third National Strategy against Trafficking in Persons for the period 2018-2022 was drafted, as well as the 2018-2020 National Action Plan for the implementation of the Strategy.
Fields of action:
1. Preventing trafficking in human beings.
2. Victim protection and assistance (increasing the capacity of the social assistance system to respond to the specific needs of victims).
3. Investigation of human trafficking crimes, with emphasis on the pursuit of assets and profits obtained from committing the trafficking offense.
4. Research and monitoring of the TIP phenomenon.
5. Inter-institutional cooperation and international cooperation (in particular with destination countries).
4. CROSS-BORDER COOPERATION TO ADDRESS TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS
Romania has proposed to extend international, regional and bilateral cooperation through the:
· Implementation of EU and United Nations cooperation lines (GloACT - Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants), etc.
· Signing bilateral agreements between:
- authorities coordinating labor inspection in Romania, Spain, Italy and the UK, but also with other countries where Romanian communities are located;
- Ministry of Home Affairs through the National Agency against Trafficking in Persons (ANITP) and its correspondent structures from the respective states, observing the European norms;
- National Authority for the Protection of the Rights of the Child and Adoption (ANPDCA) and its counterparts in the three states, observing the European norms;
- with national and international non-governmental organizations for monitoring, according to the established international model.
· Extension of the external representation network of the involved ministries by sending three diaspora liaison officers, according to the provisions of Law no. 299/2007 on the support for Romanians abroad, republished, with subsequent amendments and completions, in Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom, and by extending the network of internal attachés on labor and social issues.
· Cooperation with non-governmental organizations from the Romanian diaspora, which also frequently report such cases, with the Romanian language media abroad, as well as with the Council of Romanians Abroad.
In this context, a number of measures are in progress on the relationship with:
· Continuation of the negotiations on the Memorandum for "Approval of the initiation, negotiation and signing of a joint declaration between Romania and the Italian Republic on the cooperation in the field of labor and social affairs", approved at the Government meeting of 6 July 2017 and forwarded to the Italian Ambassador in Bucharest.
The document includes the joint commitment to the signing of bilateral documents at intergovernmental level on:
- the cooperation in the Ragusa Regional Joint Committee for the Integration of Foreign Workers, launched as a pilot project in 2016 by Italy;
- the opening of a Ragusa-based care-assistance center for persons vulnerable to trafficking in Sicily and Calabria.
· Strengthening the bilateral police cooperation by continuing the operative support missions of Romanian police officers in the UK.
· Expanding the use of the Joint Investigation Teams (JIT) operational mechanism in judicial cases handled in the two countries, regarding trafficking in human beings and involving Romanian citizens.
· Developing a direct partnership with the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner (IASC) and exchanging best practices in the field.
· Carrying out a joint assessment of the phenomenon of trafficking in cooperation with the UK, both from the investigative and from the victim assistance perspective.
Thus, in order to continue, expand and intensify the campaigns both at the national level and in the EU Member States where there are Romanian communities, it is necessary to:
· Launch the information campaign: "Information at home! Safety in the World!", targeting Romanians who want to work, study and live abroad. The general objective of this national campaign is to increase the level of information and to raise awareness of Romanian migrant workers about their rights in EU countries. The campaign starts with a pilot project in the counties of Botosani (August 9), Suceava (August 10) and Neamt (11 August) and will continue in other regions of the country.
· In Spain, on the basis of the Convention between Romania and Spain on cooperation in the fight against crime, signed in Madrid in 2006, a number of contacts were established with Spanish partners both from the Spanish National Guard and from the National Police.
· ANITP also became a partner, alongside the Trabe Association of Spain, the Caristas Prague Association and the eLiberare Association in Bucharest, within the project "Alternative Creation. Integration into the host society of sexually exploited victims of trafficking in human beings ", implemented by the Madrid Local Council.
· In the UK, between March and April 2016, ANITP, together with the Romanian Embassy in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the AngliaMea.ro news portal conducted the campaign to prevent trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation "With a phone call you will save a life! Be her savior!". The campaign targeted the Romanian community in the UK and addressed both people at risk, victims/ potential victims of trafficking in human beings and representatives of the general public.
· At national level, in 2017, ANITP ran the online campaign for information, awareness raising and demand reduction of trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation under the title "Do you choose to cherish or to crush?", in partnership with the Ecumenical Association of Churches in Romania - AIDRom. The main target group consisted of male users of social networks and the purpose was to to inform and raise awareness of the phenomenon of trafficking in human beings.
· In this regard, we emphasize the importance of the operationalization of the Telverde Line (Free Toll Line) managed by ANITP and its transformation into an effective instrument at national and international level (Telverde Line: 0800-800-678).
· Romania supports both the integration process of Romanians in the countries where they live, study or work through projects aimed at increasing the degree of integration in host societies, as well as facilitates the process of returning to Romania of those who have difficulties in the host states or who wish to use their professional skills acquired abroad.
5. RELEVANT REPORTS
6. RELEVANT LINKS TO NATIONAL AUTHORITIES/INSTITUTIONS WEBSITES AND OTHER RELEVANT CONTACTS
o NATIONAL RAPPORTEUR OR EQUIVALENT MECHANISM:
o LAW ENFORCEMENT:
o CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS:
· Asociaţia FREE (FREE Association)
Bucharest, Phone: +40 767055502; e-mail: asociatiaFREE@gmail.com;
· Asociaţia Touched România (Touched Association Romania)
Bucharest, Phone: + 40 21 211.56.51; 031 405.77.61,
· Asociaţia Solwodi (Solwodi Association)
Bucharest, Phone: + 40 21 332 50 20; e-mail: email@example.com;
· Arca – Forumul Roman pentru Refugiaţi şi Migranţi (Arca – The Romanian Forum for Refugees and Migrants)
Bucharest, Phone: +40 21 252 73 57; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
· Fundaţia „Pro Prietenia” (Pro Prietenia Foundation)
Arad, Phone: +40 257 210 606, e-mail: email@example.com;
· Institutul Est-European de Sănătatea Reproducerii (East – European Institute for Healthy Reproduction)
Târgu Mureş, Phone: +40 265 255532, +40 265 255931; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Asociaţia Ecumenică a Bisericilor din România—AIDRom (Ecumenical Association of Churches in Romania - AIDRom)
Bucharest, Phone : +40 21 212 48 68; E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org; web: http://www.aidrom.ro/contact/
 Source: DCCO (Directorate for Combating Organized Crime), 2018.
 Other information regarding the 5 citizens is confidential.
 Source: CSM (The Superior Council of Magistracy), 2018.
 The normative acts on the basis of which the persons accused of trafficking in persons have been convicted are: the Criminal Code of Romania, art. 210 - Trafficking in persons, art. 211 - Trafficking in Minors, Art. 263 - Trafficking in Migrants and Law 678/2001 on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (Article 12 - Trafficking in Human Beings and Article 13 - Trafficking in Minors).