Viewing cable 05VILNIUS683
Title: LITHUANIA TIP UPDATE: JANUARY-JUNE 2005

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05VILNIUS6832005-06-29 15:14:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000683 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR USAID, G/TIP, INL, DRL, PRM, IWI, EUR/PGI, EUR/NB 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PHUM KCRM KWMN ELAB SMIG ASEC KFRD PREF LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA TIP UPDATE: JANUARY-JUNE 2005 
 
REF: A. JUNE 2005 TIP REPORT: LITHUANIA COUNTRY NARRATIVE 
 
     ¶B. VILNIUS 306 
 
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SUMMARY 
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¶1.  The Government of Lithuania advanced its campaign against 
trafficking in persons during the first six months of 2005. 
Joint Lithuanian and British law enforcement efforts resulted 
in the breakup of a cross-border human trafficking chain that 
had sent women and girls to the UK.  The Government approved 
a three-year program to combat human trafficking and 
prostitution.   Parliament passed legislation that increased 
sentences for trafficking-related offenses, and Parliament is 
considering legislation that will bring Lithuania's laws on 
solicitation of prostitution into compliance with 
international norms.  Lithuanian authorities completed their 
first extraditions of suspected traffickers.  The U.S. 
Mission continues to emphasize TIP issues in our public 
events (including next week's Fourth of July reception at the 
Ambassador's Residence) and in our discussions with GOL 
principals.  USG attention to trafficking issues has helped 
push reform.  END SUMMARY 
 
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GOL AND UK COOPERATE TO STOP "SEX SLAVE EXPRESS" 
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¶2. Lithuanian and British law enforcement agencies 
collaborated to bust a major human trafficking ring that had 
transported nearly 100 women to Great Britain from Lithuania. 
 A two-year investigation led to the breakup of the 
trafficking ring that local media dubbed the "Sex Slave 
Express."  All the victims of this ring were under 25, some 
juveniles. 
 
¶3. Police allege that a Lithuanian fashion designer, 
currently in custody, approached potential victims with 
promises of lucrative jobs in the fashion industry overseas. 
In total, nine Lithuanians from the northern-Lithuanian town 
of Siauliai allegedly participated in this ring.  Lithuanian 
authorities have detained six and continue to pursue the 
others.  Media reports portray the UK as a main destination 
for victims of trafficking. 
 
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TRAFFICKING ON THE RISE? 
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¶4. Government and NGO officials agree that reporting of TIP 
cases is increasing, though they posit different 
explanations.  Undersecretary Stanislovas Liutkevicius, who 
heads the Ministry of Interior's anti-TIP efforts, told the 
press that the number of cases had increased due to greater 
government efforts to combat trafficking.  Audra 
Silpaviciene, director of the Lithuanian office of the 
International Organization for Migration (IOM), and Ona 
Gustiene, Director of the Missing Persons Families Support 
Center in Vilnius, told us they believe that increased 
assistance to victims has led to a greater number of victims 
self-reporting. 
 
¶5. Silpaviciene and Gustiene also said there has been an 
increase in trafficking in persons following Lithuania's 
accession to the European Union.  Mindaugas Petrauskas, Head 
of Lithuania's Europol unit, agrees and estimates that 
traffickers send up to 15 women and girls from Lithuania to 
the UK each month.  Petrauskas said he believes trafficking 
in women from Lithuania appears to have intensified in the 
year since Lithuania's accession to the EU because of the 
easing in travel restrictions to member nations. 
 
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COMBATING TRAFFICKING - A GOL PRIORITY FOR 2005-2008 
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¶6. The Government adopted a program for 2005-2008 to reduce 
human trafficking and prostitution.  The plan calls for 6.2 
million LTL (USD 2.2 million) in national, municipal, and NGO 
funds to support this program.  Program goals include 
assessment of the extent of trafficking and prostitution in 
Lithuania, establishment of a support system for trafficking 
victims, and allocation of resources to the new specialized 
police unit responsible for combating human trafficking. 
(Note: Creation of the unit responds to the recommendation of 
the U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons report.) 
Igoris Bazylevas, Lithuania's national coordinator for 
anti-TIP efforts, told us that the USG attention to TIP 
buttressed the GOL's efforts to increase its capacity to 
combat trafficking. 
 
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PARLIAMENTARY INITIATIVES 
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¶7. Parliament on June 23 adopted an amendment to the Criminal 
Code increasing the penalties for trafficking-related 
offenses.  The legislation raised the maximum sentence for 
holding a person against her will using violence from eight 
to 10 years, and raised the maximum sentence for trafficking 
in children from eight to 12 years.  The amendment prescribes 
the same penalties in cases of trafficking for the purpose of 
organ transplants. 
 
¶8. The GOL in 2005 sent to Parliament a legal amendment to 
impose penalties on solicitors of sex services.  (Currently 
only purveyors of sex services are subject to penalties under 
Lithuanian law.)  The bill proposes a fine of 400 LTL for 
first-time customers of prostitutes; 750 LTL for repeat 
offenders.  This legislation will also bring Lithuania into 
compliance with international norms by exempting victims of 
human trafficking from legal or administrative penalties. 
Bazylevas told us he expects that Parliament will adopt the 
amendment in July 2005. 
 
¶9. Members of Parliament have taken a more pro-active 
approach in shaping the GOL's anti-TIP efforts.  MPs Ona 
Valiukeviciute of the Human Rights Committee and Rima 
Baskiene of the Social Affairs Committee held a press 
conference June 18 to highlight the problem of trafficking in 
children.  The MPs called for the Government to increase 
funding to Lithuanian NGOs working on anti-TIP programs. 
They also encouraged the GOL to focus more attention at the 
municipal level and in rural communities, working in 
particular with schools and families to increase awareness of 
trafficking issues. 
 
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FIRST EXTRADITION CASES 
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¶10. Lithuanian law enforcement officials in April executed 
their first extradition of a suspect on trafficking in 
persons charges, sending Costa Rican Mauricio Brenes Loaiza 
to his home country (ref A).  In June, a Vilnius court 
granted a request to extradite a Lithuanian national whom 
German authorities plan to prosecute for trafficking women 
from Lithuania and Ukraine for prostitution in Germany. 
 
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U.S. Mission Efforts 
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¶11. Trafficking in persons continues to be a high mission 
priority and a theme on which we engage Lithuanians at all 
levels.  The Ambassador recently raised the issue with 
Minister of Social Security and Labor Vilija Blinkeviciute, 
seeking her assistance in securing municipal approval to 
locate a USG-funded shelter for victims of trafficking (ref 
B).  At the July 4 Independence Day celebration, the 
Ambassador will laud the efforts of two police investigators 
who brought down a UK-Lithuania trafficking ring.  USG funds 
support an IOM project that promotes intra-governmental 
cooperation on trafficking issues and builds the 
institutional capacity of Lithuanian law enforcement. 
Mission support for local NGOs increases awareness of 
trafficking, especially at the local level and among at-risk 
populations, such as youth. 
 
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COMMENT 
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¶12. Lithuania is demonstrating serious commitment and 
leadership in battling what many experts perceive to be a 
growing problem of trafficking in persons.  The nationwide 
anti-TIP strategy, in particular, is an important tool 
allowing the GOL to coordinate better its expanding efforts 
in this area.  USG, NGO, and media interest has helped focus 
GOL policymakers on the need to address TIP issues.  We will 
continue to encourage the GOL to push forward with its 
anti-trafficking efforts, focusing especially on increasing 
outreach to vulnerable groups that are the targets of 
traffickers and encouraging authorities to see that law 
enforcement has the resources it needs. 
Mull