Released by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
June 14, 2010
The 177-country report is the most comprehensive worldwide report on the efforts of governments to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons, a modern form of slavery. Its findings are intended to raise global awareness and spur countries to take effective actions to counter trafficking in persons. The assessment includes reports on 175 countries assigned ranks, including the first-ever ranking of the United States.
The United States estimates that each year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked all over the world. Human trafficking victims can be subjected to labor exploitation or sexual exploitation, or both. These forms of modern slavery happen in an individual’s own country, and are often the results of cultural attitudes and traditions as well as economic challenges.
KYRGYZ REPUBLIC (Tier 2)
The Kyrgyz Republic (or Kyrgyzstan) is a source, transit, and to a lesser extent a destination country for men and women subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically conditions of forced labor, and women in forced prostitution. Kyrgyz men and women are subjected to bonded labor in China and to conditions of forced labor in Kazakhstan and Russia, specifically in the agricultural, construction, and textile industries. Women from the Kyrgyz Republic are subjected to forced prostitution in UAE, Kazakhstan, China, South Korea, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Thailand, Germany, and Syria. Some men and women from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan transit Kyrgysztan as they migrate to Russia, the UAE, and Turkey, where they are subsequently subjected to forced labor and forced prostitution. Men and women are trafficked within the Kyrgyz Republic for forced labor, and women are subjected to forced prostitution within the country. The city of Osh is a growing destination for women trafficked from Uzbekistan for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.
The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting period, the government’s efforts to prosecute and convict trafficking offenders continued to decrease. Despite the fact that at least 113 victims of trafficking were identified in Kyrgyzstan, only four suspected traffickers were prosecuted and only three trafficking offenders were convicted in 2009. The government sustained its limited victim assistance efforts and made important efforts to improve birth registration records, a move that may prevent future incidents of trafficking.
Recommendations for the Kyrgyz Republic: Increase efforts to prosecute and convict trafficking offenders and ensure that a majority of convicted trafficking offenders serve time in prison; vigorously investigate, prosecute, convict, and punish government officials complicit in trafficking; continue to improve the collection of trafficking law enforcement data; continue trafficking sensitivity training for police, prosecutors, and judges; and ensure that victims of trafficking are not punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
The Kyrgyz government improved its collection of trafficking-specific law enforcement data, although it demonstrated weak law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. The 2005 law on Prevention and Combating Trafficking in Persons criminalizes trafficking for both commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor and prescribes penalties of from 3 to 20 years’ imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with prescribed penalties for other serious crimes, such as rape. In 2009, the government conducted 11 trafficking investigations, including nine labor trafficking and two sex trafficking investigations, and prosecuted four individuals, including three for labor and one for sex trafficking, compared with eight prosecutions conducted in 2008. The government convicted 3 trafficking offenders – including 2 for labor and one for sex trafficking, down from 6 convictions in 2008. All three convicted trafficking offenders in 2009 were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment. Members of the judiciary, law enforcement, and other government officials received trafficking training provided by IOM and NGOs. NGOs contend that some low-level law enforcement officials are complicit in human trafficking and accept bribes from traffickers; other low-level police tolerate trafficking due to a lack of awareness. The government reported no efforts to investigate these allegations or to prosecute and punish any government officials complicit in trafficking.
The government maintained its limited efforts to assist victims during the reporting period. The government and NGOs identified at least 113 victims of trafficking in 2009, compared with 161 victims identified in 2008. Although the government provided no direct funding for shelter or assistance to victims, it continued to provide facilities for three shelters run by anti-trafficking NGOs. In 2009, 22 of the 113 victims assisted by NGOs and international organizations were assisted by shelters that received free facilities and utilities provided by the government, compared with 34 victims assisted by NGOs in 2008. Government officials referred 21 victims to IOM and NGOs for assistance in Kyrgyzstan and consular officials at Kyrgyz embassies in destination countries referred 18 victims to IOM for assistance with safe repatriation in 2009, compared with 20 victims referred by government officials in 2008. Although no foreign victims were identified in 2009, Kyrgyz law permits non- Commonwealth of Independent States’ citizens to remain in the country pending investigation and prosecution of a trafficking case if the prosecutor or investigator in the case makes a request to immigration authorities. The government encouraged victims to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions; two victims assisted law enforcement during the reporting period. There were no reports of victims penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked during the reporting period.
The Kyrgyz government sustained its prevention efforts over the last year and made important progress in improving its national identity record system. The government has not historically maintained accurate birth and nationality records, which has made Kyrgyz nationals traveling abroad more vulnerable to trafficking, as they lacked appropriate travel documents. However the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, in partnership with the United Nations, began to digitize passport records in a central database during the reporting period. In 2010, the Kyrgyz Bureau of Vital Records is expected to expand this program to include birth records. In 2009, the Border Guard Service increased its efforts to provide travelers leaving Kyrgyzstan at the airport, train stations, and at land crossings with fliers and other trafficking awareness materials prepared by IOM. The Kyrgyz government maintained migration offices in six key destination cities in Russia to assist and advise its nationals vulnerable to labor trafficking of their rights and also provided in-kind assistance to an NGO-run national labor migration hotline that provided legal advice and assistance to potential victims of trafficking. The government strengthened partnerships with anti-trafficking NGOs during the reporting period. In 2009, the government issued 17 criminal citations against unlicensed labor recruitment companies; though these penalties are administrative in nature, such actions may reduce the potential for unlicensed labor recruitment companies from trafficking unsuspecting victims.