Armenia has advanced in the legislation and practices for preventing and combatting trafficking in human beings, said the Council of Europe Group of experts on action against trafficking in human beings (GRETA), in its new report published today. However, more needs to be done to prevent trafficking of children, trafficking for labour exploitation, as well as to protect and assist victims. The Armenian Government’s comments are published together with the report.
The new report by GRETA covers the period from 2012 up to December 2016. Armenia remains primarily a country of origin of victims of trafficking in human beings. During the reporting period, some 70 victims were identified, the majority (32) being women, followed by men (30) and children (17). Most of the identified victims were Armenian nationals exploited abroad, the main destination countries being the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and the Russian Federation. Four Chinese citizens trafficked to Armenia were identified in 2014.
On the positive side, GRETA welcomed the adoption of new, dedicated anti-trafficking legislation introducing a recovery and reflection period and residence permits for victims. GRETA also commended the setting up of new structures, involving civil society, for the identification of victims of trafficking; improved and more inclusive training; disconnecting identification from the victim’s co-operation with the law enforcement bodies; and adopting a procedure for the safe and voluntary return of victims of human trafficking.
However, GRETA urges the Armenian authorities to more effectively prevent trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation, including through better monitoring of recruitment and temporary work agencies, introducing licensing procedures and curbing fraudulent job offers on the Internet and social media. Authorities should also improve support to children in vulnerable situations, especially those from rural areas in risk of child labour, those placed in child care institutions, street and asylum-seeking children, as well as girls from the Yezidi community who may be at risk of sexual abuse and trafficking due to the early marriages. Victims of trafficking should be guaranteed safe accommodation, timely medical treatment and vocational training to facilitate their social reintegration. Access to compensation for victims of trafficking should be facilitated and guaranteed, including by making full use of the legislation on the seizure and confiscation of offenders’ assets to secure it. Finally, GRETA urges the authorities to ensure that legal entities in Armenia may be held liable for human trafficking offences.