Georgia among top nations that best combats human trafficking, says report

Georgia implemented several tools and has subsequently improved its position in the Trafficking in Persons Report. Photo by, 30 Jun 2016 - 18:53, Tbilisi,Georgia

For the first time Georgia has been named among a group of nations that best combat human trafficking and whose governments fully comply with the Torture Victims Protection Act (TVPA). 

Today the United States (US) Department of State released its annual Trafficking in Persons Report 2016 (TIP report), which saw Georgia significantly improve its rank and feature among leading states for the way it combats human trafficking.

The TIP report said Georgia had upgraded from Tier 2 to Tier1, which meant unlike previous years the country was now in full line with TVPA provisions.

The 2016 report aimed to monitor and combat human trafficking and ranked governments based on US perceptions of their efforts to acknowledge and combat human trafficking. 

The 188 countries in 2016 the report were ranked on three tiers, with a ‘watchlist’ between Tier 2 and 3.

  • Tier 1 countries: Governments that fully comply with the TVPA's minimum standards.
  • Tier 2 countries: Governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.
  • Tier 2 watchlist countries: Governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards; and A) the absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing; B) there is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year; or C) the determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with TVPA’s minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year.
  • Tier 3 countries: Governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.

Last year Georgia was a Tier2 country but after implementing new mechanisms to combat human trafficking, the country has this year improved to Tier 1 alongside 36 other nations.

This year 78 countries were ranked Tier 2, 44 countries were on the Tier 2 watchlist, 27 countries were ranked Tier 3 and there were three special cases where countries weren’t ranked.

The 2016 report said the Government of Georgia "fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking”.

The Government increased the anti-trafficking capacity of its law enforcement through funding an unprecedented number of trainings for police, prosecutors, judges, and shelter operators. The Government adopted a more victim-centered approach through the inclusion of victim witness coordinators from the initial stages of investigations through the end of court proceedings,” read the report.

It also emphasised the Georgian Government continued to provide comprehensive care for all identified victims of human trafficking and increased services available to victims, including child care for dependents of victims staying in two government-operated shelters. 

Furthermore, the state established a labour inspectorate, hired 50 full-time labour inspectors and provided them with comprehensive training on how to identify potential cases of human trafficking. 

It is a huge achievement and I want to thank our law enforcers, social servants and all the state bodies who provided significant efforts for this success,” said Georgia’s Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani   shortly after the report was released this afternoon. 

The report recommendations for Georgia included: 

  • Increase efforts to identify trafficking victims; 
  • Increase efforts to investigate and prosecute suspected traffickers and convict labor and sex traffickers;
  • Conduct a comprehensive study on children living and working on the street; 
  • Create integrated, interagency strategies for reducing vulnerability and countering forced begging; 
  • Train law enforcement officials on interview skills and long-term case development; 
  • Encourage police and prosecutors to use money laundering investigations to develop evidence, and employ expert witnesses to explain victims’ behaviour and experiences at trial; 
  • Increase the use of plea bargaining to motivate less serious offenders to testify and uncover larger criminal organisations, if detected; 
  • Increase transparency of the inter-ministerial trafficking coordination council.