Slovenia is a transit and destination country and, to a lesser extent, a source country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Foreign women and children are subjected to sex trafficking and men, women, and children to forced labor in Slovenia. Victims of labor exploitation in Slovenia come from Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sometimes these persons migrate through Slovenia to Italy, Austria, and Germany, where they are subsequently subjected to forced labor. Women and children from Slovenia, Moldova, Serbia, Croatia, Ukraine, Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and the Dominican Republic are subjected to forced prostitution within the country and also transit through Slovenia to Western Europe, primarily to Italy and Germany, where they face the same form of exploitation.
The Government of Slovenia fully complies with the minimum standards for combating trafficking in persons. The government improved its law enforcement efforts during the reporting period, as authorities launched more trafficking investigations and prosecutions and convicted offenders under its trafficking statute. NGOs receiving government funds offered comprehensive care to adult and child victims of trafficking. The government sustained efforts to prevent trafficking by funding an outreach campaign, releasing an action plan and an annual report, leading a regional forum to coordinate trafficking investigations, and training government employees who encounter vulnerable populations on victim identification.
Recommendations for Slovenia: Vigorously investigate and prosecute sex trafficking and labor trafficking offenses, and convict and punish trafficking offenders under the trafficking in persons law; bolster training for investigators, prosecutors, and judges in applying the human trafficking statute; increase efforts to identify victims of both sex and labor trafficking among vulnerable populations, including women in prostitution, dancers in nightclubs, and children in begging; ensure that potential trafficking victims are fully informed of their rights upon identification; increase the number of victims referred to NGOs for assistance; ensure that proper and safe facilities exist to assist child victims of trafficking; continue prevention outreach to vulnerable populations, such as Roma children; and raise awareness of forced labor and forced prostitution among the general public.
The Government of Slovenia demonstrated improved anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts in 2012, as trafficking investigations and prosecutions increased and its judiciary utilized the trafficking statute to convict trafficking offenders. Slovenia prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through Article 113 of its criminal code, which prescribes penalties ranging from one to 15 years’ imprisonment for offenses. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The government also prosecutes some trafficking cases under Article 112, which prohibits enslavement. In the previous reporting period, the government prosecuted some trafficking cases under Article 175, which prohibits participation in the exploitation of prostitution; Article 175 covers more than trafficking crimes, because it also applies to cases in which a defendant passively profits from the prostitution of another. In 2012, the government conducted 13 trafficking investigations, compared with four in 2011. Authorities prosecuted 27 suspected trafficking offenders, compared with 16 in 2011. The government convicted eight traffickers in 2012, including two under Article 112. This was an improvement from 2011, in which authorities did not convict any trafficking offenders under articles 112 or 113 but convicted six under Article 175. The eight offenders convicted in 2012 received prison terms ranging from one year to four years and eight months. Two of these sentences also included restitution, which marked the first time Slovenian courts forfeited funds from convicted traffickers. The Ministry of Interior provided training for investigators on trafficking and labor exploitation and for state prosecutors on prosecuting trafficking in persons cases. In fall 2011, approximately 160 judges participated in a training on human trafficking that is provided by the government biannually. Slovenian police cooperated with Bulgarian and Slovak entities in two separate transnational investigations. There were no investigations or prosecutions of public officials for alleged complicity in trafficking-related crimes during the reporting period.
The Government of Slovenia sustained victim protection efforts during the reporting period. In 2012, the government allocated the equivalent of approximately $132,200 for victim protection, compared to the equivalent of approximately $137,800 in 2011. In June 2012, media reports documented the sex trafficking of women recruited from the Dominican Republic under the guise of work as entertainers in Slovenia, in which traffickers took advantage of lax regulations to have residency permits issued to the women. The reports also alleged that Slovenian officials were being pressured by politically connected businessmen into issuing the residence permits. A foreign government’s intervention stopped the issuance of these visas, and there have been no further reports of such cases. NGOs reported identifying and assisting 15 of these trafficking victims; the remaining 52 victims identified in this investigation declined assistance. The government funded comprehensive victim protection provided by two NGOs, including crisis accommodation, long-term accommodation, telephone counseling, psycho-social support, repatriation assistance, help in establishing contact with the police and court monitors, and assistance adjusting immigrant status. Victims housed in government-funded shelters were permitted to leave at will and unescorted. Assistance was available to both male and female, adult and child, and foreign and Slovenian victims of trafficking. The Slovenian Aliens Act provides a three-month reflection period, after which foreign victims of trafficking can receive victim protection if they participated in criminal proceedings. In cases of participation in pre-trial and criminal proceedings, foreign victims received a temporary residence permit that lasts until the end of proceedings, or longer if the victim was employed or in school. During the reporting period, four victims cooperated with law enforcement on trafficking cases; all four received temporary residence permits. Police officers were required to employ a referral procedure—reflecting a previous agreement between police and the Ministry of the Interior—to direct identified trafficking victims to NGOs offering care facilities for trafficking victims. Police must provide protective escort for trafficking victims during legal proceedings. There were no reports of victims punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
The government sustained strong efforts to prevent human trafficking during the reporting period. The government coordinated its anti-trafficking efforts through the Ministry of Interior’s Interdepartmental Working Group (IDWG), which brought together representatives of the relevant ministries, the National Assembly, the state prosecutor, and NGOs. The working group met six times during the year, published a national action plan for 2012-2013, and published the national coordinator’s annual report evaluating the government’s anti-trafficking efforts. The IDWG spent the equivalent of approximately $15,700 on its anti-trafficking outreach campaign, which used television, radio, Internet, and in-person outreach programs to target potential trafficking victims, particularly young people. The IDWG also conducted several training programs for border police, labor inspectors, asylum officers, and consular officers, as well as public servants who issue temporary residence permits. NGOs called for the government to do more in the area of international cooperation regarding the exchange of information on victims and their relatives. The Slovenian government led efforts to implement a forum with other southeast European states to coordinate trafficking investigations and develop best practices for victim protection. The government did not take significant measures during the reporting period to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts or participation in international sex tourism by Slovenian nationals.