Armenia Remains on Tier 2 Human Trafficking Watch List

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Armenia was once again included in this year’s US State Department report on human trafficking.

In the department’s fourth annual Trafficking of Persons Report–released Monday–Armenia was among 42 nations listed on the Tier 2 Watch List. Countries are classified into three categories–of which Tier 3 is the least favorable. Armenia moved from Tier 3 to Tier 2 last year after it made a number of reforms. US officials have indicated that Armenia may be placed in the Tier 1 category if a sweeping crackdown is initiated.

The State Department report notes that Armenia’serves as both a source and a transit country for women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation to the United Arab Emirates–Turkey–Russia–Greece and other European countries. The report also adds that the trafficking of persons to be used as labor has become an increasingly significant problem.

The government of Armenia does not currently comply with the minimum standards set for the elimination of trafficking.

It is–however–making a significant effort to do so. Cooperation between police and NGOs have increased the number of investigations–and provided police with a greater understanding of international and domestic sources of trafficking. The report also touched upon the improved efforts of law enforcement agents in assisting trafficking victims by referring them to care-providing NGOs.

Prevention activities increased during the reporting period–and were highlighted through the use of media. The National Police were featured in several training films and TV shows on trafficking–and the Ministry of

Education approved anti-trafficking educational lectures for secondary and university students. In January of 2004–the government approved an anti-trafficking national action plan for 2004-2006. The government contributed the equivalent of $11,000 of its own funds to support the work of the National Anti-

Trafficking Commission–with foreign donors providing the remaining funds. The government’s Department for Migration and Refugees conducted extensive outreach on migration issues–which prevented a significant number of individuals from succumbing to trafficking–according to an independent survey.

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