Cablegate: Estonia: Submission for Tenth Annual Trafficking in Persons

Published: Fri 12 Feb 2010 11:45 AM
DE RUEHTL #0072/01 0431147
R 121145Z FEB 10
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Estonia: Submission for Tenth Annual Trafficking in Persons
1. (U) The following is Embassy Tallinn's Anti-Trafficking Report
for Estonia. Responses are keyed to the checklist in REF A.
Post's points of contact on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) are
Political Officer Johnathan Hilton (Email:; Tel:
+372-668-8291) and Political Assistant Riina Tannia (Tel:
+372-668-8233; Email:
). Per REF B, completion of this report required approximately 61
hours from three officers and one local employee.
Estonia's TIP Situation
2. (SBU)25A: The following agencies and organizations served as
sources of information on Estonia's TIP situation: the Estonian
Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA),
Ministry of Social Affairs (MSA), Ministry of Interior (MOI), local
NGOs, the local branch of the International Organization for
Migration (IOM), the Nordic Police and Customs Cooperation Office
in Tallinn and the Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish Embassies in
Tallinn. The information assembled in this report is based on the
most current and reliable data available at this time.
3. (SBU) 25B: Estonia is believed to be a country of origin,
transit and destination for women trafficked for the purposes of
sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation mainly occurs domestically
when victims are brought from rural areas to the capital Tallinn.
In some cases women are later taken abroad for the purposes of
prostitution. The Estonian Central Criminal police consider Finland
to be the main destination country for trafficked women from
Estonia. In December 2009, two Estonian nationals received
unconditional 18-month prison sentences in Finland for taking an
Estonian woman to work as a prostitute in Helsinki. Other known
destination countries are the Netherlands, Great Britain
(Scotland), and Italy. Estonian NGO Atoll assisted three women from
Latvia that were brought to Estonia to work as prostitutes. During
the reporting period, one trafficking case was registered in the
Estonian court.
4. (SBU) 25C: Trafficking victims are mainly subjected to forced
labor or sexual exploitation.
5. (SBU) 25D: Mentally or physically disabled women should be
considered vulnerable to traffickers for purposes of sexual
6. (SBU) 25E: According to Estonian law enforcement agencies, most
traffickers were small-scale operators, sometimes family members,
who often had ties to local organized crime groups. The
representatives of the Estonian NGOs Atoll and Eluliin remarked
that, in some cases, former prostitutes became traffickers and
pimps. The most common lure by traffickers remains the promise of
legitimate employment abroad (e.g., hotels, restaurants, massage
parlors, and strip clubs.)
7. (SBU) 25E, cont.: In December 2007, Estonia formally joined the
EU's Schengen Agreement for Common Visa and Immigration Borders on
Land and Sea. Estonia joined the Schengen area for air borders on
March 30, 2008. These agreements allow for the free movement of
people within Schengen countries (the UK, Ireland, and Denmark are
not members), eliminating the need for traffickers to obtain false
documentation to move victims between Estonia and the rest of the
8. (SBU) 25E, cont.: There is no evidence that during the reporting
period any travel or tourist agencies or marriage brokers were
involved in trafficking individuals.
Setting the Scene for the Government's Anti-TIP Efforts
9. (SBU) 26A: The government of Estonia has acknowledged that human
trafficking is a problem in the country.
10. (SBU) 26B: During the reporting period, the following
ministries and agencies were involved in anti-trafficking
activities: MFA, MOI, MOJ, MSA, Ministry of Education and Research
(MOER), Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Citizenship and Migration
Board (CMB), the Border Guards, the Police Board, the Central
Criminal Police (CCP), INTERPOL and EUROPOL liaison offices, and
the Prosecutor's Office. Recognizing that trafficking extends
beyond the scope of any single agency, the GOE's National Action
Plan designates the MOJ as the lead ministry to coordinate the
government's efforts. During the reporting period, the MOJ, MSA,
MOI, and MFA met regularly at various working levels.
11. (SBU) 26C: Previously, inadequate funding limited the GOE's
ability to combat trafficking. However, the GOE recognized this
deficiency and has steadily increased the amount of funding
committed to anti-trafficking measures. In 2006, the
anti-trafficking budget was approximately 14,000 USD. In 2007, the
GOE spent approximately 181,000 USD on prevention and victim
assistance, in 2008 the amount spent was approximately 200,000 USD,
and in 2009 the amount spent on trafficking related activities
reached 241,569 USD. The budget increase in 2009 is particularly
noteworthy, as it came when most government ministries were being
forced to take budget cuts of about nine percent and an overall
drop in GDP of 15.5 percent. Corruption is not a problem in
12. (SBU) 26D: In 2006, the GOE founded the National
Anti-Trafficking Network. The Network is comprised of seventy-five
persons from the relevant ministries, police units, border guards,
prosecutors, and NGOs; altogether thirty-five government and
non-governmental organizations dealing directly with the
trafficking issue. Representatives meet throughout the year and
correspond frequently via e-mail. Each year, the Network drafts an
assessment of the previous year's activities. GOE ministries are
currently circulating the 2009 assessment, and the 2010-2013
National Action Plan for combating TIP is being finalized and will
likely be presented to parliament by the end of the first quarter
of 2010.
13. (SBU) 26E: The GOE has taken all necessary steps to document
the population. After a child is born, parents must apply for a
birth certificate at the nearest local government office, using
documentation they receive from the hospital after the child is
born. Parents must also present their passports and marriage
certificate (if parents are married). After the child receives
his/her birth certificate, parents may apply for a passport for
their child. Depending on parents' citizenship status the child is
issued either an Estonian passport, an Alien passport or, if
parents are third-country nationals, they may apply for the
passport at the embassy of the country of which they are citizens.
14. (SBU) 26F: The GOE is capable of gathering the data required
for an in-depth assessment of law enforcement efforts. The
widespread use of e-Governance tools by law enforcement agencies in
Estonia has also enhanced their capability to gather and interpret
Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers
15. (SBU) 27A: Estonia does not yet have trafficking-specific laws
in its criminal code. The GOE considers trafficking to be
prohibited under Article 133 of the Criminal Code (the prohibition
of enslavement). In March 2007, the GOE expanded Article 133 in
accordance with a July 19, 2002 framework decision of the EU
Council. Article 133 now includes an additional definition of
"enslavement" as "taking advantage of a person's helpless
situation." Also in 2007, Article 134 was expanded to include
forcing a person to work or perform duties against their will, for
the benefit of another person. Last year the MOJ analyzed the TIP
situation and decided that it needs new legislation to enhance
Estonia's ability to cooperate internationally on TIP cases.
According to the Embassy contact at MOJ, new TIP-specific
legislation is currently being prepared, and the draft should be
ready to present to the government in the first half of 2010 for
possible approval by parliament by the end of the year.
16. (SBU) 27A, cont.: Over the last few years, the MOJ has expanded
the number of articles it can use to prosecute trafficking and
related crimes. The following is a list of laws that the GOE can
use in addition to Article 133 when prosecuting traffickers:
-- Article 134: Abduction;
-- Article 136: Unlawful deprivation of liberty;
-- Article 138: Illegal conduct of human research;
-- Article 139: Illegal removal of organs or tissue;
-- Article 140: Inducing persons to donate organs or tissues;
-- Article 143: Compelling persons to engage in sexual intercourse;
-- Article 143/1: Compelling persons to engage in
satisfaction of sexual desire;
-- Article 172: Child kidnapping;
-- Article 173: Sale or purchase of children;
-- Article 175: Disposing minors to engage in prostitution;
-- Article 176: Aiding prostitution involving minors;
-- Article 177: Use of minors in manufacture of pornographic works;
-- Article 178: Manufacture of works involving child
pornography or making child pornography available;
-- Article 259: Illegal transportation of aliens across
state border or temporary border line of Republic of
-- Article 268: Provision of opportunity to engage in
unlawful activities, or pimping;
17. (SBU) 27A, cont.: During the reporting period, the MOJ recorded
116 individual criminal offenses related to these statues, although
as a single suspect can be charged with multiple violations, the
actual number of court judgments related to the above statutes is
90. The MOJ noted that in one instance the alleged violations
specifically related to trafficking. The remaining violations were
related to illegal commercial sex activities (e.g., pimping,
exploitation of minors, kidnapping, etc.).
18. (SBU) 27B: The penalty for "enslavement" for the purposes of
sexual exploitation is up to five years imprisonment. If there are
two or more victims or if the victims are minors, the penalty is up
to 12 years of imprisonment. During the reporting period, there was
one conviction for "enslavement" for the purposes of sexual
exploitation under Article 133 of the Penal Code.
19. (SBU) 27C: The prescribed penalty for labor trafficking is one
to five years imprisonment. In severe cases, the penalty is three
to twelve years imprisonment. During the reporting period there
were no convictions for labor trafficking.
20. (SBU) 27C, cont.: Estonian labor laws forbid inappropriately
high or illegal fees or commissions by labor recruiters,
confiscating of workers' passports/travel documents and the
destruction, damaging, theft or concealment of these documents.
Violators can be prosecuted under paragraphs 209 and 346 of the
Estonian Penal Code dealing with fraud and theft, and receive
punishment in the form of a minimum fine of 5,000 USD or five to 15
years imprisonment. The switching of contracts or terms of
employment without a worker's consent is forbidden by paragraph 12
of the Labor Market Services and Benefits Act. The Labor
Inspectorate, a government agency operating under the umbrella of
the MSA, enforces these provisions. There were no prosecutions for
these crimes during the reporting period.
21. (SBU) 27D: The penalties for trafficking under enslavement,
abduction, rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse of minors are
five years imprisonment in the case of adult victims, and 12 years
for child victims under age 18. Prosecutors may also add
violations of additional statutes to increase the penalty (i.e.,
rape, abuse of a minor, etc.).
22. (SBU) 27E: The GOE took legal action against human trafficking
offenders during the reporting period using different paragraphs of
the Estonian Penal code. One person was convicted under the
enslavement article (paragraph 133) of the Estonian Penal Code and
was sentenced to three years in prison.
23. (SBU) 27F: During the reporting period, the MSA, together with
relevant NGOs, conducted 40 training sessions introducing the new
trafficking victim identification model and guide to prosecutors,
judges, social workers, child protection specialists, victim
assistance specialists, staff of women's shelters, and foreign
consular officers currently residing in Estonia. A total of 600
people were trained.
24. (SBU) 27F, cont.: The new identification guide is available on
intranet sites of relevant ministries and to other organizations
dealing with trafficking. Law enforcement and immigration
officials' study materials were put together several years ago and
are used to train new officers whenever necessary. NGO Eluliin
trained Estonian Consular Officers going abroad to identify
trafficking victims and provide necessary assistance to them. In
the predominantly Russian-speaking region of northeast Estonia, the
GOE supported training on the new identification guide in Russian
among NGO representatives.
25. (SBU) 27G: The main information exchange channels are Interpol,
Europol, Eurojust and police liaison officers. The main foreign
partner of the Estonian Criminal Police in 2009 was the Finnish
Police. There was also information exchange with Sweden, Great
Britain (Scotland), Latvia, Poland and the Netherlands. During the
reporting period Estonian Criminal Police received seven requests
for assistance from the Finnish police, one request from Ukraine
and one from Great Britain.
26. (SBU) 27H: GOE policy is to extradite persons, including its
own nationals, who are charged with trafficking in other countries.
One trafficking related extradition to Finland took place during
the reporting period.
27. (SBU) 27I: There was no evidence of government involvement in
or tolerance of trafficking at either the local or national level.
28. (SBU) 27J: There was no evidence of government officials being
involved in human trafficking during the reporting period.
29. (SBU) 27K: There was no evidence of Estonian peacekeepers'
deployed abroad engaging in trafficking during the reporting
30. (SBU) 27L: Estonia does not have an identified child sex
tourism problem (either as a source or a destination country.)
There were no foreign pedophiles prosecuted/extradited or deported
during the reporting period. There was no evidence that Estonian
nationals were perpetrators of child sex tourism during the
reporting period. Estonian child sex abuse laws do not have
extraterritorial coverage.
Protection and Assistance to Victims
31. (SBU) 28A: The Estonian Witness Protection Act entered into
force on July 25, 2005. This Act provides for:
1) The procedure for witness protection, the legal bases for
witness protection authorities and their activities and for the
application of protection measures; and
2) The procedure for the performance of the international
obligations of the Republic of Estonia related to protection of
participants in criminal proceedings.
32. (SBU) 28A, cont.: All the information regarding witness
protection activities is considered to be a state secret in order
to protect witnesses.
33. (SBU) 28B: In 2007, three shelters designated specifically for
trafficking victims began operating in Estonia. The shelters,
available to foreign and domestic victims alike, were established
as part of a Nordic-Baltic pilot project and offer psychological,
career and legal counseling to victims. The shelters are operated
by NGOs. There are no special shelters for male victims or
34. (SBU) 28B, cont.: According to the MSA, during the reporting
period 76 past and present victims received services in these
facilities. At first, funding for the shelters was provided by the
Nordic countries through the European Women's Lobby. These
shelters also received funds under an MOI-directed program to
support regional investments with taxes on gambling. As of 2009
however, the two shelters for TIP victims and the rehabilitation
center in Tallinn receive funding from the MSA in the amount of
100,000 USD per year.
35. (SBU) 28B, cont.: The GOE also operated a children's 24-hour
hotline dedicated to the early recognition of child victims and
providing assistance for victims of TIP and other crimes targeting
minors. Social workers answer the phones and forward calls to
psychologists or police when necessary. MSA also supports a
hotline operated by the NGO Living for Tomorrow which primarily
deals with calls from adults. They received 639 calls during the
reporting period primarily dealing with questions about foreign
labor contracts. However, they identified six TIP victims among
these callers (three cases of sexual exploitation and three cases
of forced labor.) The GOE allocated approximately 75 percent of
its 242,000 USD anti-trafficking budget to victims' assistance
36. (SBU) 28C: The government does provide trafficking victims
access to legal, medical and psychological services, primarily
through support to the NGOs Eluliin and Atoll. These shelters, as
well as law enforcement officials, assist the victims in getting
necessary medical treatment. The Estonian Government provides
funding for the shelters in the amount of 100,000 USD per year.
37. (SBU) 28D: In 2006, the GOE incorporated EU Council Directive
2004/81/EC into national law to make it possible for trafficking
victims to obtain a temporary residency permit for the duration of
criminal investigations and legal proceedings. The law was enacted
in February 2007. No trafficking victim applied for a residency
permit during the reporting period.
38. (SBU) 28E: The government does provide long-term shelter to
victims, as well as psychological/legal/social counseling, and
other aid required in rebuilding their lives. Victims can stay at
the shelters for as long as they need.
39. (SBU) 28F: According to the MSA, the Estonian police have a
good relationship with the shelters and the rehabilitation center.
Police can transfer TIP victims to the nearest facility whenever
assistance is required.
40. (SBU) 28G: During the reporting period the NGO Atoll in the
course of fieldwork identified 76 past and new trafficking victims.
The majority of them were victims of sexual exploitation. The NGO
Living for Tomorrow identified another six victims (three cases of
sexual exploitation and three cases of forced labor.) All victims
received the required assistance from the NGOs.
41. (SBU) 28H: The new Estonian victim identification model was
implemented in February 2009. The model includes general
identification indicators of trafficking victims and was put
together and approved by the members of the National
Anti-Trafficking Network. There are separate indicators for victims
of forced labor, sexual exploitation, organ trafficking and minor
victims as well as contact information for agencies and NGOs
providing assistance. The identification model manuals are
available at all relevant organizations/ministries and to all
relevant officials.
42. (SBU) 28I: Post found no evidence that trafficking victims were
unlawfully detained, jailed, and/or deported. There were no
incidents of trafficking victims or witnesses having their rights
to seek damages impeded.
43. (SBU) 28J: The government informs the victims of their rights
for defense, ways of assistance, various risks, means of obtaining
restitution, how the criminal system operates, including
consequences of investigation and legal proceedings, length of
legal proceedings, witness responsibilities, and enforcement of the
court sentence. All of this helps the victims to evaluate their
situation and to decide whether they want to assist in the
investigation and prosecution of trafficking. During the reporting
period no victims assisted in the investigation and prosecution of
44. (SBU) 28J, cont.: Victims can file civil suits and seek legal
action against traffickers. Paragraph 25 of the Constitution of the
Republic of Estonia declares that, "Everybody has the right to
compensation for moral and material damage caused by the unlawful
action of any person." No one impedes victim access to such legal
45. (SBU) 28J, cont.: Any victim, who may be a material witness in
a court case against a former employer, is permitted to obtain
other employment. As the court cases are usually very long, the
victims are allowed to leave the country, provided they return for
the court hearing.
46. (SBU) 28J, cont.: TIP Victims may receive restitution by means
of the Estonian Law of Obligations Act. Chapter 52 of the Act
covers unjustified enrichment. Paragraph 1027 of the Law says, "A
person shall transfer to another person, on the bases of and to the
extent provided for in this Chapter, that which is received from
the other person without legal basis." Paragraphs 1028, 1036, 1037,
1040, 1041 and 1042 are also used in order to obtain restitution.
Chapter 53 covers "unlawful causing of damage" and ???? 1043 of the
Act provides compensation for unlawfully caused damage: "A person
(tortfeasor) who unlawfully causes damage to another person
(victim) shall compensate for the damage if the tortfeasor is
culpable of causing the damage or is liable for causing the damage
pursuant to law."
47. (SBU) 28K: The MSA conducted courses on the new trafficking
victim identification model for victim assistance personnel,
judges, women's shelter personnel, child protection staff of county
governments and representatives of relevant NGOs.
48. (SBU) 28K, cont.: The MSA also holds an annual training session
for consular officers on recognizing and assisting trafficking
victims. The training material is available electronically as
well. NGO Eluliin conducted a special training course for Estonian
consular officers on assistance to trafficking victims. Estonian
consulates and embassies have developed good working relationships
with local NGOs and international organizations that serve
trafficking victims, and Estonian consular officers are prepared to
assist victims by providing the necessary travel documents,
referrals and financial assistance. During the reporting period
there were no trafficking victims identified abroad.
49. (SBU) 28L: The Government of Estonia provides medical aid,
shelter, financial and legal assistance to its nationals who are
repatriated as victims of trafficking.
50. (SBU) 28M: The following NGOs and international organizations
work with trafficking victims:
--Living for Tomorrow (prevention and outreach; trafficking
prevention hotline);
--HIV/AIDS Prevention Center (prevention and outreach);
--International Organization for Adolescents (prevention,
outreach, and victim assistance);
-- International Organization for Migration (prevention and
assistance to victims);
--Human Rights Legal Information Center (prevention and
--Estonian Women's Studies and Resource Center (ENUT);
--Tartu Child Support Center (prevention and support);
--Atoll (outreach and assistance to prostitutes);
--International Organization for Migration (outreach, prevention,
assistance to victims);
--Eluliin / The Vega Center (an integrated support center which
also offers assistance to TIP victims.)
51. (SBU) 29A: The MFA has been active in disseminating
informational materials on trafficking and consular services at the
Ministry itself, on their webpage and at the Tallinn airport and
harbors. For the last three years MFA has been actively
disseminating trafficking-related materials at TourEst 2009, the
annual tourism fair, which was attended by approximately 23,684
people over three days.
52. (SBU) 29A, cont.: At the Tourest 2009 fair, the Estonian
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet, General Director of the
Consular Department Lauri Bambus and Undersecretary on Legal and
Consular Affairs Aino Lepik von Wir????n conducted a seminar on
consular issues for the attendees of the fair. The MFA also
operated a 24-hour hotline for Estonians traveling abroad. Estonian
embassies and the MFA offered voluntary registration for Estonian
citizens traveling abroad. Over 7,000 Estonians registered with the
MFA and Estonian foreign missions prior to their travel abroad in
53. (SBU) 29B: The GOE adequately monitored its borders for
trafficking. The GOE monitored immigration and emigration patterns
for evidence of trafficking unilaterally and in concert with
regional border guards and law-enforcement partners.
54. (SBU) 29C: In 2006, the GOE founded a national Anti-Trafficking
Network that comprises not only representatives of the relevant
ministries, but also NGOs. The working group consists of
seventy-five representatives from MFA, MOI, MOJ, MSA, Ministry of
Education and Research (MOER), Ministry of Finance (MOF),
Citizenship and Migration Board (CMB), the Border Guards, Police
Board, Central Criminal Police (CCP), INTERPOL and EUROPOL liaison
offices and the Prosecutor's Office and other government and
non-government organizations.
55. (SBU) 29D: The National Anti-Trafficking Network drafted a
National Action Plan to combat trafficking for the period
2006-2009. The MOJ is the lead agency and is responsible for the
implementation of the plan and inter-agency coordination. Each
year, a thorough review is conducted of the previous years' goals
and areas for improvement are identified. The 2009 goals are
currently under review at the inter-ministerial level. The
representatives of the ministries have stressed that NGO
participation in the network is crucial, as they have the best
knowledge of the problem and have the closest contacts with
trafficking victims. The 2010-2013 National Action Plan is also
being reviewed by all relevant ministries and members of the
network and will likely be presented to parliament by the end of
the first quarter 2010.
56. (SBU) 29E: Although there were no special campaigns to reduce
the demand for commercial sex acts during the reporting period, the
topic was covered at trainings and seminars that the MSA conducted
during the year. Training materials that were published earlier
were used for that purpose. When consulting with contacts in
various ministries about areas of interest for exchange and speaker
programs, U.S. efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex acts is
a topic in which they have expressed interest.
57. (SBU) 29F: There is no evidence of Estonian nationals'
participation in international child sex tourism. However, the
issue of sexual abuse of minors has become very important and has
been under discussion on many instances in Estonian print media.
The Estonian Police are planning to create departments of child
protection in police prefectures all over the country in order to
reveal cases of child abuse and catch pedophiles.
58. (SBU) 29F, cont.: The Estonian NGO Child Support Center
participated in an international project on international child sex
tourism. As a result a brochure was published and has been
disseminated among travel agents and tourist agencies, and students
studying tourism, introducing the issue to them and also teaching
how to recognize an abused or sexually exploited child and how to
assist him/her.
59. (SBU) 30A: Estonia is a member of the Council of Baltic Sea
States (CBSS) Expert Group for Cooperation on Children at Risk
(EGCC). It is a group of senior officials from the ministries
responsible for children's issues in the member countries of the
CBSS and the European Commission. Other member countries are:
Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway,
Poland, Russia and Sweden. The EGCC priorities for the period
through July 2011 are: the protection of children from all forms of
sexual exploitation; unaccompanied and trafficked children;
children abused by being offered money or other forms of
remuneration in exchange for sex; and children and online sexual
60. (SBU) 30A, cont.: Estonia is also a member of The Task Force
against Trafficking in Human Beings (TF-THB) with focus on adults.
The joint CBSS TF-THB/UNODC Conference was held on December 7-8,
2009, in Stockholm, Sweden. The Conference presented the findings
of the regional assessment of the joint project with the United
Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on fostering NGO and Law
Enforcement Cooperation in Preventing and Combating Human
Trafficking in, from and to the Baltic Sea Region. An MFA official
represented Estonia at the conference.
61. (SBU) 30A, cont.: In October 2009, the Government of Estonia
approved Estonia joining the Council of Europe's Convention Against
Trafficking in Human Beings. Foreign Affairs Minister Urmas Paet
said that, "By joining the convention, Estonia is demonstrating its
desire to protect people from becoming victims of human trafficking
by promoting both domestic and international cooperation." He also
noted that, "The fight against human trafficking is necessary, and
joining the convention of the Council of Europe will help Estonia
contribute to it more effectively."
62. (SBU) 30B: As a member of the CBSS Task Force against
Trafficking in Human Beings Estonia assisted in organizing a TIP
seminar for foreign embassies in Tallinn in April 2009.
63. (SBU) 30B, cont.: Estonia currently participates in the ongoing
CBSS Project "Assessment on Data Collection Mechanisms on
Trafficking in Human Beings". Eleven CBSS member states participate
in this project.
64. (SBU) 30B, cont.: During the reporting period the Government of
Estonia approved a project that would provide financial assistance
in the amount of 5,000 USD to the Gali Women's Union of Georgia for
the creation of a psycho-social rehabilitation center. The center
will provide free consultations to refugees, which among other
things, will help prevent them from becoming victims of
trafficking. The dates of the project are February 1-July 30, 2010.
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media