22.03.2022 | Criminal and legal fight against human trafficking was intensified. The position of Armenia was improved

The Department for Combating Crimes against Human of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Armenia has summed up the outcomes of the activities of the RA Prosecutor's Office and law enforcement bodies within the framework of the criminal fight against trafficking during 2021.


According to it, 16 criminal cases were initiated in 2021 on such cases, which is 60% more compared to 2020.


7 of the mentioned cases were related to labor exploitation, 4 such cases were transferred from 2020. 8 people were involved in 7 criminal cases as defendants in these criminal cases, which is twice more compared to 2020 (4 people in 3 cases). 4 cases out of them on 6 people were sent to court with indictment. This index is also twice higher than the outcomes in 2020 (3 defendants in 2 cases).


In 1 case on labor exploitation on a person according to Article 132.2, Part 1 of the RA Criminal Code was sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment.  According to Article 70 of the RA Criminal Code, the sentence of imprisonment was not applied conditionally, probation period of 2 years was appointed. The trial of the other case sent to court is not completed.


In general 14 people were recognized as victims of labor exploitation cases, out of which 9 were men and 5 were minors.


The other 9 cases out of 16 cases were on sexual exploitation (1 case in 2020). 2 out of them were sent to the court, on 4 cases preliminary investigation is ongoing.


8 people were charged for sexual exploitation (there was none in 2020), 2 out of which were sent to court with indictment. 3 defendants out of 4 in the criminal cases sent to court, are women and 1 is a man.


Detention was applied as a precautionary measure against 5 people in criminal cases related to sexual exploitation.


In 1 case of such nature sent to court, 1 person was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment under Article 132, Part 2, Points 1 and 4 of the RA Criminal Code and Article 132, Part 2, Point 4 of the RA Criminal Code. Only a person out these 15 victims in the case was a minor.


In general, 25 people were recognized as victims of sexual exploitation in these cases.


Compared with the previous year, the sharp increase in the number of cases of internal sexual exploitation (9 cases compared to 1 case in the previous year) is conditioned by the increase of public awareness, as well as the actions of law enforcement agencies.


No cases of exploitation were reported in special institutions (prisons, social child care homes, institutions for people with mental or physical disabilities) during 2021.


No cases of sexual exploitation have been reported in the UAE, Turkey or other countries. During 2021 the only case of foreign labor exploitation was in the Russian Federation, which referred to 2016-2018.


The study conducted at the RA Prosecutor's Office shows that the number of cases of exploitation of minors, the mentally ill, i. e. vulnerable groups has increased in general. It is considered as a positive trend internationally in the fight against trafficking, taking into account that people in this category could not identify themselves as victims of trafficking. That means the discovery of these cases is the result of proactive investigation by law enforcement agencies.


In a case of exploitation of a minor, the prosecutor initiated the proceedings, and after witnessing the begging of the incident took place. The investigation revealed a family in a socially bad situation, where other crimes against humanity were committed against other minors.


The absence of convictions in trafficking cases is an internationally actual issue. The indictment in 1 case in 2020 and 2 indictments in 2021 is considered a significant progress, taking into account that an indictment on sexual exploitation in Armenia was made in 2016, and on labor exploitation in 2014.


The mentioned indicators and tendencies were signals for the annual report of the US Department of State on Human Trafficking published on 01 July 2021, for improving Armenia's position from the 2-nd subgroup of the 2-nd group in the rating of countries in the field of anti-trafficking.


The RA Prosecutor General’s Office is highly involved in different international platforms of the development of the professional skills in the fight against human trafficking and information exchange.