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Migration and Home Affairs

General information: situation on trafficking in human beings

The fight against trafficking in human beings was given political momentum in February 2002, when Slovenian Government  appointed a National Anti-trafficking Coordinator. This was followed by setting up an Interdepartmental Working Group (IWG). The tasks of the group are to prepare periodic action plans and supervise their implementation, prepare periodic reports for the Government, and assist the national coordinator in preparing proposals to enhance the efficiency of politics and actions to combat trafficking in human beings.

Since 2004, nine National Action Plans prepared by the IWG have been adopted by the Slovenian government.

Slovenia is mostly a transit country for victims who are trafficked from Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and the Dominican Republic for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The victims are transported through Slovenia to Western Europe. The majority of trafficking victims in Slovenia are being trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation. In recent years, the number of other forms of exploitation has also been increasing, especially forced begging, forced labor (construction, massage centres etc.) and forced marriages in Roma communities. Moreover, in 2018 the Police dealt with a case of trafficking for the purpose of criminal activity.

But the problem is still being predominantly focused on trafficking in human beings for the purposes of sexual abuse or exploitation and women - foreign nationals - working in night clubs. These persons are staying in Slovenia legally and have their residence status regulated. They also hold work permits. The majority are Ukraine, Serbian and Moldova nationals, but also the Slovak and Hungarian nationals. The police have been monitoring the employment of these female foreigners in nightclubs, but they have been facing the same problem for the past years; the alleged victims do not recognize themselves as victims of trafficking in human beings in the police procedures, despite the cooperation with NGOs. This is mainly, because the perpetrators no longer force them physically and do not control them by restricting their movement, but by using subtle methods of pushing them into financial dependence, i.e. they are forced out of economic necessity (financial sanctioning for breaking house rules and rules at work, fictitious minimum wage, repayment of debt from acquiring the work permit and transport to Slovenia, etc.).

It needs to be emphasized that female citizens of Dominican Republic and Ukraine who do not recognize themselves as victims of trafficking in human beings usually come from poor social and economic backgrounds.

Target countries are recognized in the following cases:

  • Citizens of third countries from Eastern Europe (Ukraine and Serbia) and South America with a temporary residence and work permit. These women in night clubs are mostly employed as dancers or entertainers, further they are utilized for the purpose of prostitution and other kind of sexual abuse.
  • Women from the area of EU (Slovakia, Czech Republic) and women from the area of South America (Brazil), which for entry into the EU don't need a visa and mostly don't have arranged temporary residence, and also they are not employed and don't have proper social and health insurance in Slovenia. These women are dealing with the prostitution in apartments and hotels.
  • Citizens from the area of EU (Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania) in association with forced labor – begging, also there was detected a case of criminal act of stealing.

Slovenia as the transit country detects:

  • Women from South-Eastern Europe, Balkan countries and countries of the former Soviet Union, which continue their journey to the west, to Italy, France and Germany.
  • Citizens from the area of EU (Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania) – in association to begging as the kind of forced work. Police in Slovenia is detecting occasional presence of the criminal groups, which are dealing with the trafficking in human beings, with purpose of forced begging. In this the criminal groups usually travel from the source country (Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia) through Slovenia to the other EU countries (Italy, Austria, France...). On the indicated way, in Slovenia they retain only for a short time, mostly in the highway rest stops.

Institutional and legal framework

Criminal Code

In 2013 Slovenia implemented the Directive 36/2011/EU, which means that Slovenian legislation in the field of trafficking in human beings is in compliance with the EU standards.

All forms of trafficking are prohibited through paragraph 113 of the Criminal Code. The specific offence of trafficking in persons was established in Slovenia in 2004. However, the offences of “abuse of prostitution” and “placing in the condition of a slave” have been used to prosecute some forms of human trafficking both before and after the establishment of this offence.

In November 2008, the government amended Slovenia’s criminal code to increase the maximum penalty for trafficking to 15 years' imprisonment.

On 9 July 2015, the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the Act amending the Criminal Code (KZ-1C), which amended Article 113 (Trafficking in Human Beings) and added a new Article 132a (Entering into a Forced Marriage or Setting up a Similar Community).

Paragraph one, two and five of the new Article 113 are amended with the introduction of a mandatory financial penalty (in addition to the prison sentence). The new paragraph three implements Article 20 of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings by criminalizing the previous preparatory act of retaining, removing, concealing, damaging or destroying a public document used to prove the identity of a victim of trafficking in human beings. Such acts are criminalized in accordance with the proposal based on practice. The new paragraph four follows the provisions of the Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims (Article 18, paragraph four) and provides for the punishment of users of services provided by victims of trafficking in human beings with the knowledge that the services are provided by victims of trafficking in human beings. Actual awareness of the fact that the services are provided by victims of trafficking in human beings is key in this context. That being said, adequate standards will have to be developed by case law, defining relevant circumstances leading to the conclusion that a user was aware of a victim’s position.

The new Article 132a of the Criminal Code (KZ-1C) implements Article 37 of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), which stipulates that parties to the Convention should take the necessary measures to ensure that forcing an adult or a child to enter into a marriage is criminalized. A one to two year prison sentence was proposed for the basic form of the criminal offence. For the aggravated form defined in paragraph two, which includes the protection of minors and other vulnerable persons defined as helpless persons, a one- to three-year prison sentence is prescribed. This act is thus additionally criminalized, as this was not completely covered by Article 132 of the Criminal Code KZ-1 (Criminal Coercion).

Employment, Self-Employment and Work of Aliens Act

In addition to the amendments to the Criminal Code, the new Employment, Self-Employment and Work of Aliens Act entered into force in September 2015, replacing the previous Employment and Work of Aliens Act, according to which all victims of trafficking in human beings who reside in the Republic of Slovenia on the basis of a temporary residence permit are entitled to free access to labor market.

Manual on the Identification of, Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings

Manual on the Identification of, Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings was adopted by the Inter-Ministerial Working Group on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (IWG THB) on 21 December 2015 and approved by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia on 5 May 2016.

The manual defines the term trafficking in human beings, the role and tasks of state authorities, bodies exercising public powers, public service providers, bodies of self-governing local communities and non-governmental and humanitarian organizations in dealing with trafficking in human beings, and determines victim assistance and protection measures. Added to that, the manual contains indicators for recognizing victims of trafficking also with regard to the form of exploitation. These indicators serve as a basic tool for detecting other forms of trafficking in human beings, such as labor exploitation, forced labor and trafficking in children. At the same time, the manual represents the basic material in training for state authorities that encounter such issues in the course of their work.

Foreigners Act

In 2017, the Act Amending the Foreigners Act (ZTuj-2E) was adopted which amended also  Article 50 concerning conditions for issuing a temporary residence permit to victims of trafficking. Namely, the condition that the victim's testimony must be relevant was deleted, and a new reason for refusal was added - "there must be a reasonable suspicion that the victim's criminal complaint is guilty, or a conclusion that victim's participation is false”.The rejection reason for the existence of a danger to public health has also been deleted.

In March 2021, an amendment to the Foreigners Act (ZTuj-2F) was also prepared, according to which the amendment to the first paragraph of Article 50 introduces a new reason on the basis of which the police may allow a victim of trafficking in human beings (and a victim of domestic violence) to stay for 90 days. It is the reason for the existence of personal circumstances justifying the victim's residence in the Republic of Slovenia, thus transposing the provisions of the Istanbul Convention and the provisions of the first paragraph of Article 14 of the Convention of the Council of Europe on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings into Slovenian law.

Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs 

In December 2018, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia signed  the Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs  adopted in Santiago de Compostela on 25 March 2015.  The purpose of the Convention is to prevent and combat trafficking in human organs with criminalisation of certain deeds, protect the rights of victims of criminal offences defined in accordance with the Convention and enable cooperation at the national and international levels when taking action against trafficking in human organs.

Criminal Procedure Act

On 26 March 2019, the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the Act Amending the Criminal Procedure Act (ZKP-N) that entered into force on 20 April 2019 and started to apply fully on 20 October 2019.The main purpose of the amendment is the implementation of Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA. With this amendment, new legislative solutions were introduced into the Slovenian legal order that provide the victims of criminal offences with a wide range of rights in pre-trial and criminal proceedings regarding the protection, support, and compensation for victims.

Residence Registration Act

In March 2021, he National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the Act Amending the Residence Registration Act. In Article 19, which regulates the determination of legal residence, a new fifth paragraph was added According to this paragraph registering a legal residence only on the basis of the consent of the social work centre is possible thus enabling faster decision-making in the registration procedure, as in this case no additional proof will be required.

Other internal legal acts

Other internal legal acts of relevance to action against THB are:

  • the Act Ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, which defines the responsibilities of ministries in the implementation of the Convention and regulates the organization of assistance to victims of trafficking
  • The Criminal Procedure Act (CPA), which provides in Article 65 that child victims of THB are entitled to have an authorized person assisting them
  • the Aliens Act, which provides for measures and procedures regarding victims of trafficking, including a three-month recovery and reflection period and the possibility to obtain a temporary residence permit (Articles 30 and 50)
  • the Witness Protection Act, which includes provisions referring to the protection of witnesses of trafficking in human beings
  • the Act on Compensation of Victims of Crime, which provides for State compensation to victims who are Slovenian and EU nationals, including in cases of THB (Article 5)
  • the State Prosecutor Act, which envisages that the criminal offences of trafficking in human beings and establishing slavery relations are dealt with by the Specialized Office of the State Prosecutor of the Republic of Slovenia (Article 192)

Coordination of anti-trafficking actions at national level

Anti-Trafficking Coordinator

A National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator was appointed in Slovenia in February 2002. The Coordinator is located in the Ministry of the Interior. Its responsibilities include the preparation of annual reports and strategic documents that are then submitted to the Government. The Coordinator is also tasked with aligning the work of different governmental sectors and non-governmental organisations whose representatives are members of the Inter-ministerial Working Group.

Inter-ministerial Working Group

An Interdepartmental Working Group (IWG) was established on 18 December 2003. The appointed members are representatives of competent ministries, non-governmental organizations and international intergovernmental organizations. The tasks of the group are to prepare periodic action plans and supervise their implementation; prepare periodic reports for the Government; and assist the national coordinator in preparing proposals to enhance the efficiency of politics and actions to combat trafficking in human beings. At its 21st regular session on 5 July 2012, the government of the Republic of Slovenia adopted Decision No. 01201-7/2012/4, whereby it reappointed the national coordinator to combat trafficking in human beings and established the Inter-ministerial Working Group on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, which is led by this coordinator. This was a reestablishment, or approval of this working group, in view of the government guideline to reduce the number of such working bodies.

The National Coordinator and IWG function as consultative authorities for the government without executive powers.

Anti-Trafficking Service

As per the long-standing recommendations of the GRETA supervisory mechanism, the Anti-Trafficking Service was established on 26 November 2018 under the auspices of the Ministry of the Interior. The relevant service provides expert support to the national coordinator combating human trafficking and when drafting proposals to enhance the efficiency of policies and measures to fight against trafficking in human beings, periodical reports for the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, action plans and other strategic documents in this field and monitors the implementation of the measures planned. The service ensures inter-ministerial cooperation and harmonisation of activities relating to the prevention of human trafficking and fight against it at the level of the entire country. It cooperates with EU institutions and international organisations combating trafficking in human beings and ensures the realisation of requests and recommendations of various relevant international supervisory mechanisms.

National Rapporteur and equivalent mechanisms

An independent National Rapporteur has not been established in Slovenia. However, the National Coordinator exercises the role of an equivalent mechanism.

Each year, the Commission for Petitions, Human Rights and Equal Opportunities of the National Assembly is informed about the Report on the work of the Inter-ministerial Working Group on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings by the National Coordinator.

Implementation of anti-trafficking policy

Prevention

The field of prevention is strictly defined in National Action Plans, prepared by the IWG and approved by the Government. Efforts to prevent human trafficking include projects and awareness-raising campaigns. Prevention goals include raising public awareness, raising target population awareness, and the education and training of experts in the field. In the recent years, a special emphasis has been made on education and training of prosecutors, judges, labor inspectors and consular staff. Recently, special trainings have been conducted also for officers working at the Administrative units about forms of trafficking in human beings with the purpose of their early detection in procedures of issuing Single Permits for work and residence.

More about the field of prevention can be found in National Action Plans at the following link: https://www.gov.si/en/registries/working-bodies/the-national-working-gr…

Assistance and support provided to victims

In Slovenia, the organization of assistance to victims of THB is regulated by the Act on Ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.

On this basis the assistance to victims of trafficking is provided in the framework of two programmes financed by the government and implemented by NGOs which are selected through public procurement. Annually, the Slovenian Government allocates EUR 90,000 for these projects.

The first programme is called “Providing assistance to victims of trafficking in human beings – crisis accommodation” and is funded by the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs. The programme gives shelter and support to victims during the 30-day recovery and reflection period. The programme is open to all victims of THB, irrespective their decision to co-operate in the criminal proceedings or not.

The second programme, called "Providing assistance to victims of trafficking in human beings – safe accommodation", is funded by the Ministry of the Interior. The programme focuses on the period after the initial crisis accommodation. It helps all recognised victims of trafficking in human beings who need further comprehensive care or are willing to cooperate with the law enforcement authorities in the criminal procedure against the perpetrators.

More about the field of Assistance and support provided to victims can be found in Annual Reports by the IWG:

http://www.vlada.si/en/projects/fight_against_trafficking_in_persons/

Reintegration

Since January 2019, the project of reintegration of the victims of trafficking in human beings has been carried out and co-financed by the Ministry of the Interior with funding from the EU Internal Security Fund in 2019 and 2020. The project is intended for citizens of the Republic of Slovenia who have been treated as victims of trafficking in human beings abroad, as well as for EU citizens and third-country nationals who have been treated as victims of trafficking in human beings in the Republic of Slovenia and legally reside in the Republic of Slovenia. The programme, which is a logical consequence of programmes for providing assistance to the victims of trafficking in human beings, is the first step towards leading an independent life free from violence, exploitation and violations of human rights.

Residence permit

Identified foreign victims are granted a 90 day reflection period. Victims are encouraged to participate in trafficking investigations and assist with the prosecutions of trafficking offenders. Foreign victims who assist law enforcement can apply for a temporary residence permit and remain in Slovenia for the duration of the trial. The victim may choose to stay longer if they are working or studying.

Special protective measures for children

The Slovenian government has given high priority to combat child pornography and illegal migration, which are two issues closely related to human trafficking. In the Criminal Code, the presentation, production, holding and forwarding of child pornography on the Internet is defined as a criminal offence under Article 187(2) and (3) of the Criminal Code.

Investigation and prosecution

Offences related to trafficking in human beings and sexual exploitation is investigated by anti-organised crime units within the police force. About fifteen officers are assigned full time to the policing of human trafficking. Moreover, at least one investigator at each of the 11 regional police directorates is responsible for the coordination of activities related to human trafficking and exploitation through prostitution.

Prosecution of trafficking in human beings cases falls within the competence of the Specialized Office of State Prosecutor of the Republic of Slovenia which deals with organized crime, terrorism, corruption and other crimes requiring special competences. There are 11 prosecutors within this Specialized Service, two of whom deal with THB offences.

The statistics and the trends about the field of investigation and prosecution can be found in Annual Reports by the IWG: http://www.vlada.si/en/projects/fight_against_trafficking_in_persons/

Latest initiatives and activities related to anti-trafficking policy

On 20 October 2010 the National Anti-trafficking Coordinators from South-Eastern Europe (NATCs SEE) Network was set up upon the initiative of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Slovenia. This informal network has been meeting regularly ever since, exchanging good practices and discussing possible joint action areas.

On the occasion of the 6th EU Anti-Trafficking Day on 18 October 2012, the NATCs SEE also agreed upon a joint declaration during their meeting in Ljubljana setting their priorities in the field of combating trafficking in human beings.

Furthermore, the network was given the political support for continued work at the seventh Informal Conference of Interior Ministers of the Brdo Process, which was held on 15th and 16th of March 2018 at Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia. The ministers also endorsed a joint declaration to this end.

On 3 March 2020, a meeting of NATC SEE was once again held in Ljubljana.  In the light of the tenth anniversary of the NATC SEE, a strategic document on the future operation of the network was adopted and prepared jointly with the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD). On 4 March, the ministers of the interior of the Brdo process also discussed the further strengthening of regional cooperation in the combat against trafficking in human beings, reaffirming the importance of the work of the NATC SEE network and its commitment to its further work in the future.

EU and international cooperation

National Coordinator is collaborating well with his EU colleagues as well as the colleagues from the WB region. He also contributed to establishing a better cooperation between national coordinators from the WB Region with the EU national coordinators. He is a member of the Informal Network of National Reporters of EU or an Equivalent Mechanism to prevent trafficking in human beings and of the informal network of NATC of SEE region.

The Ministry of the Interior has financed the project 'Introducing the mechanism for recognition, assistance and protection of victims of trafficking in human beings and/or sexual violence in asylum procedures in Slovenia' (PATS) for years. The project is carried out in the Asylum center of the Ministry of the Interior.

Resources

Legislation

  • Aliens Act 2006 - ZTuj-1-UPB2 2009 ;(English and Slovenian)
  • Criminal Code - Kazenski zakonik ;(KZ-1) - Paragraph 113 (Slovenian only).

National Action Plans

All National Actions can be found at Governmental website: https://www.gov.si/en/registries/working-bodies/the-national-working-group-for-combating-trafficking-in-human-being/

Reports

National reports on implementation

All Annual national reports can be found at Governmental website: https://www.gov.si/en/registries/working-bodies/the-national-working-group-for-combating-trafficking-in-human-being/

Other reports and publications

Links

Contacts

National Rapporteur or equivalent mechanisms

National Coordinator

Mr. Branko Lobnikar, PhD, State Secretary

Ministry of the Interior

Telephone: +386 1 428 43 24

E-mail: branko.lobnikar@gov.si

Website: https://www.gov.si/en/registries/projects/combating-trafficking-in-human-beings/

 

NGOs

Caritas Slovenia

Kristanova ulica 1, 1000 Ljubljana

Phone: +386 1 300 59 60

Website: https://www.karitas.si/

E-mail: info@karitas.si

Society Ključ

Society, Centre for the fight against trafficking in persons

p.p. 2722 - 1110 Ljubljana

Telephone: +386 080 1722

Hotline: 080 17 22

Website: https://drustvo-kljuc.si/

E-mail: info@drustvo-kljuc.si