The government increased law enforcement efforts. Sections 133, 133¹, and 175 of the penal code criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Section 133 (trafficking in human beings) criminalized placing a person in a situation of exploitation through force, fraud, or coercion and prescribed penalties of between one and seven years’ imprisonment for offenses involving an adult victim and three to 15 years’ imprisonment for those involving a child victim. Section 133¹ (support to human trafficking) separately criminalized the transportation, delivery, escorting, acceptance, concealment, or accommodation of an individual into a situation of exploitation through force, fraud, or coercion, and prescribed penalties of up to five years’ imprisonment for offenses involving an adult victim, and between two and 10 years’ imprisonment for those involving a child victim. Section 175 (human trafficking in order to take advantage of minors) criminalized inducing a child to engage in a criminal offense, begging, prostitution, or the production of pornography without requiring a demonstration of force, fraud, or coercion and prescribed penalties of two to 10 years’ imprisonment. The penalties under Sections 133, 133¹, and 175 were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with the penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Police investigated five new cases under Section 133, compared with four in 2018. Authorities prosecuted four cases (three in 2018), and courts convicted 12 traffickers (12 in 2018). Only four convicted traffickers received prison sentences; the remaining 11 received probation. Under Section 175, authorities investigated 32 crimes (28 in 2018), prosecuted 22 cases (30 in 2018), and convicted three traffickers (none in 2018). The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in trafficking offenses.
Overextension of government personnel continued to constrain productivity. Given such constraints on human resources and the specialized knowledge required to combat trafficking, police expressed the need to establish a centralized unit that would collect and verify information on trafficking-related crimes. Experts reported the need for increased training for law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and front-line personnel on understanding different forms of exploitation. The Ministry of Social Affairs organized a training on referral guidelines and working with persons with special needs and mental disabilities; 70 specialists from the police, Prosecutor’s Office, Labor Inspectorate, and Victim Support Services attended. The Labor Inspectorate conducted a training for 10 inspectors.