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Kyrgyzstan’s Government not fully meets standards for elimination of trafficking

The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. The annual Trafficking in Persons report of the U.S. Department of State says.

«These efforts included the adoption of the national referral mechanism (NRM) that also established formal policies on victim identification and provision of social services, among others. The government also increased investigations and established an interagency focus group to accelerate implementation of the NRM and improve the quality of law enforcement investigations,» the report says.

Kyrgyzstan is included in the second category of states whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

The report says that the government of the republic did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period. The government did not prosecute or convict any traffickers.

As noted, adult male labor migrants working abroad are reportedly at the highest risk of trafficking. Kyrgyz men, women, and children are exploited in forced labor in Russia and Kazakhstan, and to a lesser extent in Turkey and other European countries, as well as within the Kyrgyz Republic, specifically in agriculture, construction, textiles, domestic service, and childcare.

The Russian re-entry ban has changed the nature of labor migration in the Kyrgyz Republic; thousands of Kyrgyz migrants are included and unable to return legally to Russia for work.

Kyrgyz families on the Russian re-entry blacklist are increasingly sending their children to work in Russia, where they are vulnerable to trafficking.

«Sex traffickers exploit Kyrgyz women and girls abroad, reportedly in India, Kazakhstan, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and within the country,» the document says.

Concerns persist about police misconduct and corruption, including allegations that police threaten and extort sex trafficking victims, including children, and reports continued of police accepting bribes from alleged traffickers to drop cases. Street children who engage in begging and children engaged in domestic work (often in the homes of extended family members) are vulnerable to traffickers.

International organizations and NGOs reported some Kyrgyz individuals who join extremist fighters in Syria are forced to remain against their will and recruiters may deceive others, including minors, promising jobs in Turkey, before extremist groups force them to fight, work, or suffer sexual servitude in Syria.

Kyrgyzstan is recommended to:

  • Vigorously investigate and prosecute suspected trafficking crimes, including government officials allegedly complicit in trafficking or who abuse and exploit trafficking victims;
  • Convict and punish trafficking offenders, ensuring those convicted serve proportionate and dissuasive prison sentences;
  • Increase efforts to proactively identify trafficking victims, particularly among vulnerable groups;
  • Ensure identified trafficking victims are exempt from punishment for unlawful acts traffickers compelled them to commit.