The government maintained protection efforts. The government developed new identification and referral guidelines, describing all relevant authorities’ responsibilities to assisting victims. In 2018, authorities identified 14 victims (12 in 2017), and 14 sex trafficking victims received government-sponsored assistance, the same as in 2017. Of the victims who received assistance, six were minors and seven were foreign nationals. The Victim Support Act and the penal code allowed multiple actors, including NGOs, to identify victims and refer them to the Social Insurance Board, permitting victims to receive comprehensive, government-funded, trafficking-specific services without first requiring the victim’s cooperation with police or the commencement of criminal proceedings. Victims who cooperated with law enforcement received services, such as accommodation, psychological, medical, and legal assistance, for an unrestricted time period while presumed victims who did not participate in criminal proceedings could receive government-funded services for up to 60 days. The law also guaranteed victims access to support and assistance when an authority of another country identified the victim and initiated criminal proceedings outside of Estonia. The Aliens Act enabled foreign victims to receive temporary residence permits, accommodation, and education; the government did not grant temporary residence permits to any foreign victims in 2018. Despite reports of an increased number of foreign victims of labor trafficking in Estonia, authorities did not identify any potential labor trafficking victims.
In 2018, the social board allocated €100,000 ($114,680) to an NGO providing support services to women in prostitution, some of whom may have been sex trafficking victims, compared with €99,500 ($114,110) in 2017. The social board also allocated €25,000 ($28,670) for trafficking victims’ support, such as shelters, compared with €33,960 ($38,940) in 2017. Authorities placed child trafficking victims and unaccompanied children in alternative care facilities, including a dedicated center for child victims of abuse, including sexual violence and trafficking. A witness protection law allowed trafficking victims to provide testimony anonymously, but authorities did not report whether this had ever been applied in a trafficking case or whether victims had ever served as witnesses in criminal trials. Courts ordered traffickers to pay €21,000 ($24,080) in restitution to five victims.