Slavery in Armenia

Overview

 

Armenians are subjected increasingly to labor trafficking in Russia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Turkey; Armenian women and children are subjected to sex trafficking in the UAE and Turkey. Armenian women and children are subjected to sex and labour trafficking and forced begging within the country. Chinese women have been subjected to sex trafficking in Armenia. Some children work in agriculture, construction, and service provision within the country, where they are vulnerable to labour trafficking.

 

Men in rural areas with little education and children staying in child care institutions remain highly vulnerable to trafficking. Conflict-displaced persons, including Syrian Armenians, living in Armenia are at risk of exploitation and have been subjected to bonded labour.

 

The Government of Armenia fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government continues to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts

 

Prosecution of labour trafficking remains a challenge as many cases occur in Russia, where Armenian investigators face difficulties collaborating with law enforcement. Similarly, the absence of diplomatic relations with Turkey hinders law enforcement and victim protection efforts for cases involving that country.

 

The Border Control Training Center trains staff working at border checkpoints on issues of labour trafficking, child trafficking and victim identification.

 

The government has developed and adopted the 2016-2018 national action plan (NAP), in cooperation with all major government agencies, NGOs, and international organizations. The NAP prioritizes the implementation of measures that prevent trafficking of children and labour trafficking.

 

Legislation

 

Article 23 The Safety Provision of the Child The safety of the child is guaranteed by the state of the Republic of Armenia. The illicit relocation of the child (including to other states), kidnapping, trafficking is to be prosecuted by the legislation of the Republic of Armenia.

 

Article 32 Compulsory employment shall be prohibited.

 

Article 35 Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and found a family according to their free will. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and divorse.

 

Article 131 Kidnapping. 1. The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, or receipt of persons by means of the threat or use of force, of kidnapping, of fraud, of other deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or bribing to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of human organs, is punished with imprisonment for the term of 2 to 5 years.

 

Article 132 Trafficking 1. Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, or receipt of persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labour, by means of the threat or use of force, of fraud, of using the dependence, of blackmail, of threat of destruction or damage to property, if this was done for mercenary purposes, is punished with a fine in the amount of 300 to 500 minimal salaries, or correctional labor for up to 1 year, or arrest for up to 2 months, or imprisonment for the term of 1 to 4 years.

 

Article 133 Illegal deprivation of freedom. 1. Illegal deprivation of freedom not concerned with kidnapping is punished with correctional labour for up to 2 years, or with arrest for the term of 1 to 3 months, or with imprisonment for up to 2 years.

 

The Law on Identification and Assistance to Victims of Human Trafficking and Exploitation establishes a national referral mechanism and outlines actions for the Victim Identification Commission (consisting of national and local government bodies, NGOs, international organizations, and civil society) to identify and support trafficking victims. The law affords foreign trafficking victims the same rights and services as Armenian citizens.

 

In 2014, a draft law establishing victim-witness protection was submitted to parliament but the law remains pending.