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Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan): Assistance to Victims of Human Trafficking

(Feb. 6, 2012) On November 21, 2011, the Kyrgyz President signed into law the amended version of the country's Law on Preventing and Countering Human Trafficking. (Law on Amendments to the Law on Preventing and Countering Human Trafficking Signed [in Russian], President of the Kyrgyz Republic website (Nov. 21, 2011).) The new Law is based on the principle of providing protection and assistance to victims of human trafficking and trade in humans and respecting the victims' rights (Law, art. 3).

The amended Law focuses on assistance measures to those who became the objects of trade in human beings. For example, article 21 of the Law regulates the creation of shelters for victims. It states that temporary living centers for human trafficking victims will be established in order to “offer civilized living conditions” to the victims and provide them with an opportunity to reestablish contact with their relatives or legal representatives. The Law states that those who declare themselves to be victims of trade in humans may stay in government-run shelters for a ten-day period. This stay can be extended for the entire duration of the investigation and trial of the person's case upon the request of the authorities or the victim (id. art. 21-4).

The stay in the shelter will be free of charge for the victim. The Law requires that the government involve public associations and NGOs in the operation of these shelters. If a victim of human trafficking is a child, child protection services will be informed immediately (id. art. 27). (Press Service of the KR President: Commentaries on the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic on Amendments to the Law “on Preventing and Countering Human Trafficking”[in Russian], 24.KG INFORMATION AGENCY (Nov. 21, 2011).)

Simultaneously, relevant provisions of the Kyrgyz Criminal Code were amended to include stricter punishment for human trafficking. (Mahinur Niiazova, Kyrgyzstan Makes Punishment for Human Trafficking Stricter [in Russian], 24.KG INFORMATION AGENCY (Nov. 11, 2011).) Article 124 of the Criminal Code, which establishes the sentencing framework for this crime, now provides for a term of imprisonment of from five to eight years for committing the offense of trafficking in humans. The increased minimum length of the prison term for commission of the crime automatically moved it into the category of “grave crimes,” with stricter requirements for probation release, for conditions of serving the prison term, and for the length of the statute of limitations. (Law No. 204 of Nov. 10, 2011 [in Russian], BASE.SPINFORM.RU (last visited Jan. 31, 2012).)

The head of the Kyrgyz national office of the International Organization for Migration, Bermet Moldobayeva, stated that the crime of trafficking in humans is widely committed in Central Asia, but that almost 92% of human trafficking cases occur in the field of labor exploitation, and only about 8% constitute cases of sexual exploitation. According to Moldobayeva, 69% of victims are men who are often sold for slave labor abroad, as well to other regions within Kyrgyzstan. (Anastasiia Bengard, Bermet Moldobayeva: In Central Asia Only 8.2% of Human Trafficking Is Because of Sexual Exploitation [in Russian], 24.KG INFORMATION AGENCY (Nov. 29, 2011).)