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People in slavery in Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, June 2
According to a report published by Walk Free Foundation, 20 900 people in Georgia live as slaves. The organization has conducted research for the issue in 167 countries.

According to the document, with the exception of Georgia and Moldova, responses to modern slavery within this region are still in their infancy.

Georgia and Moldova were the only countries to score above 50 percent for a government response, with Georgia ranking number 18 in the world on its government responses to modern slavery (a BB rating) and Moldova at number 36 (also a BB rating).

The Walk Free Foundation said half of the countries in this region have conducted modern slavery awareness-raising activities since 2010.

These campaigns were only conducted systematically in two countries. In Georgia, awareness-raising media was broadcast between 2012 and 2014. In Armenia, an anti-trafficking hotline has regularly been promoted since 2007.

All countries except Turkmenistan operated some form of public reporting mechanism. All countries except Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan have carried out anti-trafficking training for front-line police officers.

The report said Russia was the only country in the region to adequately criminalise child prostitution.

“Where laws exist, punishments vary: for example, trafficking can be punished by a temporary disqualification from positions of authority in Georgia, and child prostitution can be punished by community service in Kazakhstan. While all countries except Russia and Belarus allowed victims to participate in the legal process, only Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan recognised in legislation that survivors of slavery are not criminals for crimes committed under the control of perpetrators,” the survey said.

The report also said official complicity in modern slavery cases was found in all regional countries except Georgia. For instance, in Moldova, the head of a human rights organisation was arrested for subjecting children to forced begging.

Georgia is still on its way to providing improvements in this regard.

Modern slavery still exists in Georgia, and one can see many children begging in the country.

The relevant bodies and NGOs say many of the children are allegedly subject to permanent pressure and abuse.

Steps are being taken. However, this is a complex issue, needing the involvements of a range of structures and bodies and also requires time and good financing.

The process, due to a lack of finances and similar problems, might be slow in Georgia, as in many cases victims of slavery require adequate care and shelter that the country is unable to provide at this time.