Lithuania has made progress in tackling human trafficking in recent years, but improvements are needed to prevent trafficking for labour exploitation, protect children from trafficking and provide victims with assistance, accommodation, health care and access to compensation.
The report notes developments in Lithuania’s legal, institutional and policy framework for combating trafficking in human beings, the adoption of a new National Action Plan (2017-2019), as well as efforts made to train professionals and raise awareness, with particular attention being paid to children and persons in situation of social exclusion.
There are also positive developments in the area of assistance and access to compensation for victims of trafficking, and the number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions in human trafficking cases has increased significantly.
However, improvement is still needed in a number of important areas.
Firstly, GRETA urges the Lithuanian authorities to better prevent trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation, in particular by re-enforcing the mandate of labour inspectors to detect victims, effectively monitoring private recruitment agencies, and taking measures to prevent the recruitment for labour exploitation via the Internet.
The report also calls on the authorities to strengthen their efforts to protect children from falling victim to traffickers, which should include steps to prevent the disappearance of unaccompanied foreign children from state care and providing additional training to professionals working with children.
In addition, further measures are needed to improve the assistance to victims of trafficking, in particular men and foreign victims, and to provide in a timely manner funding to specialised NGOs involved in the assistance of victims.
Finally, GRETA urges the authorities to make State compensation accessible to all victims, regardless of their nationality and residence status.
GRETA is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.
Today’s report looks at developments since the publication of GRETA’s first evaluation report on Lithuania in March 2015.