MIA: Macedonia only country ranked in the regional group TIER1 for the fifth time

The Ministry of Interior has welcomed the latest State Department Trafficking in Persons report, where Macedonia is again ranked in the “Tier One” group of countries that meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards for elimination of trafficking.

“The fact that Macedonia has maintained its leadership status in the region is an obligation for serious analysis of the report and proceeding upon its recommendations”, the MoI said in a press release on Tuesday.

Macedonia has maintained its Tier One status, ranked in the same category as Austria, Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, Czech Republic, Canada, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden etc.

Regional states are all ranked in the Tier Two group – countries that do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

“This ranking is a confirmation of the country’s continual engagement and commitment in dealing with this form of organized crime”, says the press release.

According to the report, Macedonia is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Macedonian women and girls are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor within the country in restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Children, primarily Roma, are subjected by relatives to forced begging and sexual exploitation through forced marriages. Foreign victims subjected to sex trafficking in Macedonia typically originate from Eastern Europe, particularly Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine. Macedonian citizens are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor in construction and agricultural sectors in Southern, Central, and Western Europe. Traffickers frequently use a portion of the proceeds from exploiting victims to bribe police and labor inspectors. Police have been investigated and convicted for complicity in human trafficking.

“The Government of Macedonia fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government investigated seven police officers for complicity in trafficking crimes and prosecuted and convicted four. The government decreased total prosecutions and convicted the fewest number of traffickers in five years. The government increased funding for victim assistance and identified the first forced begging victim but identified fewer total victims compared with 2013. The government continued to screen children engaged in street selling and begging for trafficking and operated mobile outreach teams with NGOs to identify and refer victims. The government did not offer specialized services for male victims, and victims had difficulty accessing compensation. Training for law enforcement and other officials was ad hoc and supported by outside funding”, says the U.S. State Department

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