Georgia maintaining “highest level” in combating trafficking - US State Department

  • It also continued to “demonstrate serious and sustained efforts” during the reporting period, including in identifying and investigating cases of trafficking, the report noted, adding the county was taking appropriate measures to prevent trafficking and protect victims. Photo via the US Department of State

Agenda.ge, 15 Jun 2023 - 22:04, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian Government has maintained the “highest level” of performance in combating human trafficking, the United States Department of State has said in its annual 2023 Trafficking in Persons Report, published on Thursday.

The report said the Georgian Government fully met the “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” and remained on Tier 1 in performance evaluation on the metric.

It also continued to “demonstrate serious and sustained efforts” during the reporting period, including in identifying and investigating cases of trafficking, the report noted, adding the county was taking appropriate measures to prevent trafficking and protect victims.

It also pointed out law enforcement measures were being effectively implemented by the state, and positively evaluated Criminal Code consequences outlined for the crime.

The amendments made to the Criminal Code in June 2021 to provide witnesses and victims with coordinator assistance were also positively evaluated.

The 2023 report noted the Government maintained several specialised trafficking units, including the Anti-Trafficking and Illegal Migration Unit in the Central Criminal Police Department and its six mobile units. It also highlighted a task force in the Adjara Autonomous Republic region, with its specialised investigators and prosecutors, was “proactively investigating trafficking”.

The signing of an updated memorandum between the Central Criminal Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia and the Labour Inspection, which aimed to detect cases of forced labour through joint inspections by mobile teams and labour inspection units, also found a mention in the document.

It noted protection efforts had been “slightly” increased and “equal services for Georgian citizens and foreign national victims” had been provided, granting foreign victims renewable one-year residence permits with the ability to seek legal employment. 

The Department of State said investigators, members of mobile groups, border police, prosecutors, labour inspectors, witness and victim coordinators were trained in combating trafficking with the financial and technical support of international organisations.

The document noted the Russian-occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) remained outside the Georgian Government’s control and supported by Russian forces.

The report included priority recommendations on increasing efforts to identify victims proactively and encouraging their participation in investigations and prosecutions through victim-centred court procedures, as well as on improving measures to order restitution for victims, among other advices.

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