wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05VILNIUS683 2005-06-29 15:14:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vilnius
Cable title:  

LITHUANIA TIP UPDATE: JANUARY-JUNE 2005

Tags:   PHUM KCRM KWMN ELAB SMIG ASEC KFRD PREF LH 
pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000683 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR USAID, G/TIP, INL, DRL, PRM, IWI, EUR/PGI, EUR/NB

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KCRM KWMN ELAB SMIG ASEC KFRD PREF LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA TIP UPDATE: JANUARY-JUNE 2005

REF: A. JUNE 2005 TIP REPORT: LITHUANIA COUNTRY NARRATIVE


B. VILNIUS 306

-------
SUMMARY
-------



1. The Government of Lithuania advanced its campaign against
trafficking in persons during the first six months of 2005.
Joint Lithuanian and British law enforcement efforts resulted
in the breakup of a cross-border human trafficking chain that
had sent women and girls to the UK. The Government approved
a three-year program to combat human trafficking and
prostitution. Parliament passed legislation that increased
sentences for trafficking-related offenses, and Parliament is
considering legislation that will bring Lithuania's laws on
solicitation of prostitution into compliance with
international norms. Lithuanian authorities completed their
first extraditions of suspected traffickers. The U.S.
Mission continues to emphasize TIP issues in our public
events (including next week's Fourth of July reception at the
Ambassador's Residence) and in our discussions with GOL
principals. USG attention to trafficking issues has helped
push reform. END SUMMARY



--------------------------

---
GOL AND UK COOPERATE TO STOP "SEX SLAVE EXPRESS"


--------------------------

---



2. Lithuanian and British law enforcement agencies
collaborated to bust a major human trafficking ring that had
transported nearly 100 women to Great Britain from Lithuania.
A two-year investigation led to the breakup of the
trafficking ring that local media dubbed the "Sex Slave
Express." All the victims of this ring were under 25, some
juveniles.



3. Police allege that a Lithuanian fashion designer,
currently in custody, approached potential victims with
promises of lucrative jobs in the fashion industry overseas.
In total, nine Lithuanians from the northern-Lithuanian town
of Siauliai allegedly participated in this ring. Lithuanian
authorities have detained six and continue to pursue the
others. Media reports portray the UK as a main destination
for victims of trafficking.



--------------------------


TRAFFICKING ON THE RISE?


--------------------------





4. Government and NGO officials agree that reporting of TIP
cases is increasing, though they posit different
explanations. Undersecretary Stanislovas Liutkevicius, who
heads the Ministry of Interior's anti-TIP efforts, told the
press that the number of cases had increased due to greater
government efforts to combat trafficking. Audra
Silpaviciene, director of the Lithuanian office of the
International Organization for Migration (IOM), and Ona
Gustiene, Director of the Missing Persons Families Support
Center in Vilnius, told us they believe that increased
assistance to victims has led to a greater number of victims
self-reporting.



5. Silpaviciene and Gustiene also said there has been an
increase in trafficking in persons following Lithuania's
accession to the European Union. Mindaugas Petrauskas, Head
of Lithuania's Europol unit, agrees and estimates that
traffickers send up to 15 women and girls from Lithuania to
the UK each month. Petrauskas said he believes trafficking
in women from Lithuania appears to have intensified in the
year since Lithuania's accession to the EU because of the
easing in travel restrictions to member nations.



--------------------------



--------------------------


COMBATING TRAFFICKING - A GOL PRIORITY FOR 2005-2008


--------------------------



--------------------------





6. The Government adopted a program for 2005-2008 to reduce
human trafficking and prostitution. The plan calls for 6.2
million LTL (USD 2.2 million) in national, municipal, and NGO
funds to support this program. Program goals include
assessment of the extent of trafficking and prostitution in
Lithuania, establishment of a support system for trafficking
victims, and allocation of resources to the new specialized
police unit responsible for combating human trafficking.
(Note: Creation of the unit responds to the recommendation of
the U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons report.)
Igoris Bazylevas, Lithuania's national coordinator for
anti-TIP efforts, told us that the USG attention to TIP
buttressed the GOL's efforts to increase its capacity to
combat trafficking.



--------------------------


PARLIAMENTARY INITIATIVES


--------------------------





7. Parliament on June 23 adopted an amendment to the Criminal
Code increasing the penalties for trafficking-related
offenses. The legislation raised the maximum sentence for
holding a person against her will using violence from eight
to 10 years, and raised the maximum sentence for trafficking
in children from eight to 12 years. The amendment prescribes
the same penalties in cases of trafficking for the purpose of
organ transplants.



8. The GOL in 2005 sent to Parliament a legal amendment to
impose penalties on solicitors of sex services. (Currently
only purveyors of sex services are subject to penalties under
Lithuanian law.) The bill proposes a fine of 400 LTL for
first-time customers of prostitutes; 750 LTL for repeat
offenders. This legislation will also bring Lithuania into
compliance with international norms by exempting victims of
human trafficking from legal or administrative penalties.
Bazylevas told us he expects that Parliament will adopt the
amendment in July 2005.



9. Members of Parliament have taken a more pro-active
approach in shaping the GOL's anti-TIP efforts. MPs Ona
Valiukeviciute of the Human Rights Committee and Rima
Baskiene of the Social Affairs Committee held a press
conference June 18 to highlight the problem of trafficking in
children. The MPs called for the Government to increase
funding to Lithuanian NGOs working on anti-TIP programs.
They also encouraged the GOL to focus more attention at the
municipal level and in rural communities, working in
particular with schools and families to increase awareness of
trafficking issues.



--------------------------


FIRST EXTRADITION CASES


--------------------------





10. Lithuanian law enforcement officials in April executed
their first extradition of a suspect on trafficking in
persons charges, sending Costa Rican Mauricio Brenes Loaiza
to his home country (ref A). In June, a Vilnius court
granted a request to extradite a Lithuanian national whom
German authorities plan to prosecute for trafficking women
from Lithuania and Ukraine for prostitution in Germany.



--------------------------


U.S. Mission Efforts


--------------------------





11. Trafficking in persons continues to be a high mission
priority and a theme on which we engage Lithuanians at all
levels. The Ambassador recently raised the issue with
Minister of Social Security and Labor Vilija Blinkeviciute,
seeking her assistance in securing municipal approval to
locate a USG-funded shelter for victims of trafficking (ref
B). At the July 4 Independence Day celebration, the
Ambassador will laud the efforts of two police investigators
who brought down a UK-Lithuania trafficking ring. USG funds
support an IOM project that promotes intra-governmental
cooperation on trafficking issues and builds the
institutional capacity of Lithuanian law enforcement.
Mission support for local NGOs increases awareness of
trafficking, especially at the local level and among at-risk
populations, such as youth.



--------------------------


COMMENT


--------------------------





12. Lithuania is demonstrating serious commitment and
leadership in battling what many experts perceive to be a
growing problem of trafficking in persons. The nationwide
anti-TIP strategy, in particular, is an important tool
allowing the GOL to coordinate better its expanding efforts
in this area. USG, NGO, and media interest has helped focus
GOL policymakers on the need to address TIP issues. We will
continue to encourage the GOL to push forward with its
anti-trafficking efforts, focusing especially on increasing
outreach to vulnerable groups that are the targets of
traffickers and encouraging authorities to see that law
enforcement has the resources it needs.
Mull