The Government of Romania does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, considering the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore Romania remained on Tier 2. These efforts included adopting a new NRM, creating new financial investigator positions nationwide, and establishing a specialized unit for financial investigations, including trafficking-related crimes, within the Organized Crime and Terrorism Investigation Directorate (DIICOT). In addition, the government operationalized 42 private hearing rooms for child victims of crime, approved an action plan to standardize child-friendly questioning methodologies, and trained police on interacting with child victims. Furthermore, the government institutionalized an anti-trafficking committee, composed of government and civil society members under the Prime Minister’s Office, elevating the trafficking portfolio and mandating the inclusion of civil society in a government committee. In response to the influx of refugees fleeing Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and arriving in Romania, the government developed procedures for identifying and reporting trafficking cases, particularly among unaccompanied, foreign, or stateless children; established procedures for the registration, transit, residence, and protection of vulnerable children; and, in collaboration with intergovernmental organizations, established eight safe centers at border crossing points, providing children and families with essential information and services. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. Authorities investigated, prosecuted, and convicted significantly fewer traffickers. Alleged complicity in trafficking crimes persisted, particularly with officials exploiting children in the care of government-run homes or placement centers. Authorities did not screen for trafficking indicators or proactively identify victims among vulnerable populations, such as asylum-seekers, migrants, individuals in commercial sex, or children in government-run institutions. Moreover, the government did not provide sufficient funding to NGOs for assistance and protection services, leaving most victims without services and at risk of re-trafficking. Finally, legislative changes impeded prosecutions and led to impunity for some officials complicit in trafficking crimes.
The Government of Romania should :
- Vigorously investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes and seek adequate penalties for convicted traffickers, including complicit officials and labor traffickers, which should involve significant prison terms.
- Ensure statutes of limitations are not inappropriately utilized to dismiss charges against suspected traffickers, significantly undercutting efforts to combat trafficking.
- Ensure all victims receive assistance, including medical assistance and psychological counseling, by assigning advocates to help victims understand their rights and navigate the assistance system.
- Proactively identify potential victims, especially among vulnerable populations, such as asylum-seekers, migrants, individuals in commercial sex, and children in government-run institutions.
- Provide financial support to NGOs for victim services by allocating funds through established mechanisms, such as the program for funding at the local level and the asset recovery system.
- Increase the number of trained police officers investigating trafficking crimes.
- Increase efforts to enforce child labor laws, especially in rural areas and where social welfare services lack personnel and capacity to address violations.
- Sanction recruitment agencies with criminal penalties for practices contributing to trafficking, such as charging workers with recruitment fees.
- Provide knowledgeable legal counsel and courtroom protections for victims assisting prosecutions.
- Grant labor inspectors the legal authority to conduct unannounced inspections at all worksites.
- Expand efforts to train investigators, prosecutors, and judges on working with trafficking cases and victims, sensitivity to trafficking issues, and understanding all forms of trafficking.
from 2023 Trafficking in Persons Report – U.S. Department of State
2023 Trafficking in Persons Report – United States Department of State