The government maintained its victim protection efforts. The government identified one confirmed and 183 potential trafficking victims during law enforcement investigations, compared with 121 confirmed and potential victims in 2015 and 113 in 2014. The government reported law enforcement officials referred 55 victims to international organizations and NGOs for care, compared with 27 in 2015 and 32 in 2014. NGOs reported assisting 279 trafficking victims in 2016, 27 of whom were children. The government reported providing medical care and information to 70 individuals who may have been, but were not identified as, trafficking victims. The government reported screening individuals arrested for prostitution for trafficking indicators and exempting them from any legal liability; as a result, the government reported that of the 1,420 individuals convicted on prostitution charges in 2016, none were trafficking victims. The government reported training designated police officers and diplomats on victim identification and referral procedures.
The government provided in-kind assistance to anti-trafficking NGOs in the form of facilities for seminars, conferences, and training; expedited approval of projects and grants; and tax-exempt status. The government did not have trafficking-specific facilities available to care for victims, but local authorities operated 124 “crisis rooms” that offered temporary shelter, including beds, meals, and personal hygiene products to vulnerable adults, including victims of natural and manmade disasters, domestic violence, and human trafficking. Of the 124 facilities, 15 were newly opened in 2016. The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare conducted monitoring of the “crisis rooms” operations and, with assistance from NGOs, drafted a list of measures to improve services for implementation in 2017. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs also dropped limits on the amount of time vulnerable individuals could stay in the facilities. The government did not report the use of these facilities by any identified trafficking victims.
In previous years, observers reported most victims sought assistance at private shelters because the government’s centers were poorly equipped and lacked qualified caregivers. The education ministry maintained centers that could provide vulnerable children with shelter and basic provisions; however, similar to past years, no child trafficking victims have received services at these facilities, despite the government identifying child sex trafficking victims.