The Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) has urged the Republic of Moldova to guarantee access to justice for victims of trafficking in human beings by ensuring that they receive specialised assistance and free legal aid at an early stage, information about their right to compensation, and protection from intimidation during or after investigations and court proceedings. In a report published today, GRETA assesses the progress made by the country in the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings since 2016 – when it did its previous evaluation - with a particular focus on access to justice and effective remedies.
GRETA expresses concern about the negative effects of lengthy trials on victims and the outcome of the prosecution, and calls on the authorities to ensure that the length of court proceedings in human trafficking cases is reasonable. According to the report, the Moldovan authorities should take additional measures to ensure that human trafficking cases are investigated promptly, prosecuted successfully, and lead to effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions. In addition, the authorities should take steps to prevent that victims of trafficking be intimidated during the investigation and court proceedings, especially through the practice of cross-examination of victims and defendants.
Trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation has emerged as the main form of exploitation in the Republic of Moldova, accounting to 66% of all victims in 2019, followed by trafficking of sexual exploitation. According to official statistics, 1,496 persons were identified as victims of trafficking in the Republic of Moldova from 2015 to 2019. 47% of them were female and 21% were children. The main country of destination of Moldovan victims was the Russian Federation, followed by the Slovak Republic, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Turkey. One quarter of the victims was trafficked within the Republic of Moldova.