Latest Country Reports
Trafficking in Persons Report 2011 Turkmenistan
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Turkmenistan (Tier 3)
Turkmenistan is a source country for men and women subjected to forced labor and forced prostitution. Women from Turkmenistan are subjected to forced prostitution in Turkey, and men and women from Turkmenistan are subjected to conditions of forced labor in Turkey, including in textile sweatshops, construction sites, and in domestic servitude. Turkmen trafficking victims were also identified for the first time in Russia, the United Kingdom, and within Turkmenistan.
The Government of Turkmenistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and is not making significant efforts to do so. Although the government continued discussions with the International Organization on Migration (IOM) on providing shelter space, it did not fulfill its commitment to allocate financial or in-kind assistance to anti-trafficking organizations. Moreover, it did not work with public associations to carry out a human trafficking awareness program for students in the country's five provinces, as anticipated in the 2010 TIP Report. Furthermore, the government did not show any significant efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes or to identify and protect victims of trafficking during the last year.
Recommendations for Turkmenistan: Improve implementation of the 2007 Law on Combating Trafficking in Persons; use Article 1291 to investigate and prosecute suspected trafficking offenses and convict and punish trafficking offenders; continue to provide training for prosecutors and other relevant government authorities on the proper application of Article 1291; develop systematic victim identification and referral procedures and train border guards, police, and other relevant government officials to use these procedures; provide financial or in-kind assistance to anti-trafficking organizations assisting victims; establish safeguards and training procedures to ensure victims are not punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, such as migration violations; conduct a trafficking awareness campaign to inform the general public about the dangers of trafficking; and develop a national action plan for countering trafficking in persons.
The Government of Turkmenistan demonstrated no significant law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking in persons during the reporting period. The government prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through Article 1291 of its criminal code, which was adopted in May 2010 and went into effect in July 2010. It prescribes penalties ranging from four to 25 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The government did not report whether it investigated or prosecuted suspected traffickers or convicted or punished any trafficking offenders during the reporting period. However, there were reports from other sources of one trafficking investigation and one unrelated conviction of a trafficking offender under a non-trafficking statute. During the previous reporting period, the government also had not reported efforts to investigate or prosecute suspected traffickers or convict or punish any trafficking offenders. The General Prosecutor's Office conducted trainings for law enforcement officials on implementing Article 1291. Various international organizations provided anti-trafficking training for more than 100 prosecutors, customs officers, police, migration officers, and judges. Five law enforcement officials participated in an IOM study tour in Turkey designed to improve anti-trafficking efforts and collaboration. Prosecutors also shared information about trafficking with Turkish counterparts. There were no reports of government officials complicit in human trafficking.
The Government of Turkmenistan demonstrated no efforts to protect or assist victims during the reporting period, despite provisions in the 2007 trafficking law for victim care facilities and protection and assistance for victims of trafficking. The government did not provide counseling, shelter, legal assistance, or rehabilitative services to victims of trafficking, nor did it supply funding to international organizations or NGOs to provide such services to victims. In 2010, 38 victims were assisted by organizations that did not receive government funding, compared with 25 victims assisted by such organizations in 2009. The government did not refer any victims to NGOs or IOM for assistance in 2010. Government personnel employed no formal victim identification procedures and did not provide victim identification, victim referral, or victim sensitivity training to border guards or police. There was one report of a victim assisting in an investigation and receiving protection in return, although the government did not report encouraging victims to assist in trafficking investigations or prosecutions. Anecdotal information suggested, however, that many victims did not turn to the authorities for assistance. There were reports that the government fined trafficking victims upon return to Turkmenistan for visa violations.
The Government of Turkmenistan demonstrated limited efforts to prevent human trafficking during the reporting period. The government did not fund or conduct any anti-trafficking awareness campaigns in 2010. Efforts to raise public awareness were made by NGOs; the government permitted NGOs to place advertisements about an NGO-operated trafficking hotline in a nationwide state-run newspaper. The government provided reduced rent to one anti-trafficking NGO and meeting space for other anti-trafficking NGOs. Transparency in anti-trafficking efforts was lacking, as the government did not report publicly on its anti-trafficking policies or activities, and it did not collaborate significantly with civil society organizations to address human trafficking issues.