The U.S. State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report has relegated Georgia to Tier 2, saying that despite government’s “significant efforts”, it “does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.”
In previous reports, for six straight years, Georgia was put in Tier 1 – the highest ranking, which although does not mean that a country has no human trafficking problem, but indicates that its government undertakes efforts to address this problem and meets minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
But the recent report, which covers developments in 2012 and which ranks countries into one of three tiers based on their level of compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, downgrades Georgia.
Like the previous report, which was covering developments of 2011, the recent one also says that Georgia is “a source, transit, and destination country” of trafficking in persons, but unlike the previous report, the new one says that fewer cases were investigated in 2012.
“While the government trained its officials on human trafficking and funded two anti-trafficking shelters, law enforcement efforts decreased, with fewer suspected trafficking offenders being investigated and prosecuted than in the previous year,” the report reads.
“Moreover, victim identification remained a challenge, with slightly fewer trafficking victims officially recognized by the government compared with the previous reporting period, and only limited efforts undertaken to identify victims proactively among vulnerable populations.”
“Women and girls from Georgia are subjected to sex trafficking within the country, as well as in Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and, to a lesser extent, Egypt, Greece, Russia, Germany, and Austria. Women from Uzbekistan and possibly other countries are subjected to forced prostitution in Georgia’s commercial sex trade in the tourist areas of Batumi and Gonio [on Black Sea coast],” according to the report.