The government increased victim protection efforts. In 2020, the government identified 65 sex trafficking victims, a significant increase compared with 31 victims in 2019 but similar to 70 victims in 2018. All of the victims were adult females. Of the 65 victims, 26 were from Ukraine, 17 from Dominican Republic, seven from Serbia, five from Romania, three from Paraguay, two from Croatia, two from Moldova, one from Colombia, one from Slovenia, and one from Venezuela. Experts raised concerns regarding gaps in victim identification as the government again did not identify any child victims; it also did not identify any male or labor trafficking victims in 2020. NGOs identified an additional 12 victims in 2020. The government referred and provided assistance to all 65 victims, including providing psychological assistance to all victims as well as housing for two victims (one from Slovenia and one from Ukraine) in a government-funded, NGO-run safe house. The government also enrolled five trafficking victims (two from Slovenia, one from Madagascar, and one unknown) into its reintegration program. The government increased its allocation for housing victims in 2020 to €145,520 ($178,550), compared with €120,000 ($147,240) in 2019. Government officials continued to utilize the national Manual for Identification of Victims of Trafficking in Persons. The majority of victims continued to be proactively identified by police, and coordination between police and NGOs was strong; however, observers reported ongoing concerns regarding the under-identification of labor trafficking victims and the tendency for officials to overlook cases of labor trafficking. Following victim identification, government regulations required police to refer victims to one of two NGOs that had formal cooperation agreements arrangements with the government to ensure adequate provision of care to the victims. NGOs noted continued strong cooperation with police on the identification of sex trafficking victims, as police continued to invite NGO care-providers to police interactions with commercial sex establishments to assist in victim identification; however, authorities did not take similar concrete steps regarding NGO requests to cooperate on identification of labor trafficking victims.
The government continued to partially fund two NGOs, supplemented by private donations, which provided trafficking-specific crisis and safe housing for victims. Both NGOs were among a wider range of organizations providing services such as counseling, psycho-social support, legal representation during investigations and court proceedings, and filing of documentation for residency status. All victims could receive crisis housing for a maximum of 30 days, after which victims could enter safe housing for as long as court procedures remained ongoing; however, in 2020, the government did not report providing crisis housing to any of the 65 identified victims. Crisis housing and safe housing services were available for 30 days regardless of victim cooperation with law enforcement. Both foreign and domestic victims had access to the same protection services and had free movement in and out of shelters. Though the government did not identify any children during the reporting period, child victims of trafficking continued to lack adequate assistance, as there were no designated facilities for unaccompanied child trafficking victims. If identified, child trafficking victims could be sheltered with unaccompanied migrant children and receive care through the Center for Social Work. GRETA highlighted a concern over unaccompanied child victims disappearing from public care, urging the development of more suitable accommodations for children with fully trained staff or foster parents. While acknowledging the issues, the government did not report taking concrete steps to effectively address the lack of adequate facilities for children or children disappearing from public care during the reporting period.
Non-EU foreign victims had a 90-day reflection period to remain in Slovenia while recovering and considering whether to participate in an investigation. However, the government did not allow them to work during this period. Victims cooperating in criminal proceedings could temporarily stay for 180 days or longer, if needed, for the trial of their trafficker, but had limited options to extend their stay after the conclusion of criminal proceedings. The government did not issue any temporary stay permits during the reporting period. When participating in pretrial and criminal proceedings, victims had a right to interpretation services and a protective escort, though the government did not report how many victims received these services during the reporting period. While awaiting case adjudication, asylum-seekers were unable to legally work, though many did so illegally, which NGOs stated could increase their vulnerability to labor trafficking due to their illegal status, lack of knowledge of local labor laws, and language barriers. The 2018 GRETA report urged improving the process of providing comprehensive information to victims in a language they could understand to assess their options, including participation in programs to resist re-victimization. NGOs also noted there were insufficient professional interpreters fully trained in translating the details of rights of potential trafficking victims for asylum intake proceedings. Some victims were reluctant to speak with social workers and counselors about their situation, given that the same interpreters assisted in the different contexts of law enforcement investigations and court proceedings on their case. Only citizens of EU countries were eligible to apply for compensation from the state fund for crime victims; however, the government did not report awarding compensation to any victims during the reporting period. During the reporting period, prosecutors did not request restitution for any victims in criminal proceedings; historically, prosecutors typically did not do this, though there were no legal barriers to prevent it, instead requiring victims demand restitution for themselves in a separate court case. Experts urged prosecutors to systematically request restitution for victims at criminal trials. All victims, including non-EU citizens, could seek damages by filing a civil suit, though due to legal costs, victim re-traumatization, and the desire to avoid additional court proceedings, most victims did not pursue damages. The government had a witness protection program that trafficking victims could utilize, but it did not report using the program to protect any victims during the reporting period. Under the witness protection act, victims could provide testimony via video or written statements, and courts kept victim identities confidential.