The Study Defines a New Concept of "Exploitative Sham Marriages" and Proposes Recommendations for their Reduction
Today, the results of the project "Preventing human trafficking and sham marriages: A multidisciplinary solution" (HESTIA)* were presented at the dissemination briefing organised by the Ministry of the Interior (MoI). The main goal of the project initiated in January 2015 and co-funded by the European Union (EU) "Prevention of and Fight Against Crime" programme was to seek correlations and explore the phenomenon of sham marriages in the context of human trafficking and to propose comprehensive action for their prevention.
Ieva Cielava, 5 July 2016, www.irir.lv
How Latvia fights human trafficking, an interview with Lāsma Stabiņa, Representative of the Ministry of the Interior.
"We can do a lot," says Lāsma Stabiņa, Senior Desk Officer of the Ministry of the Interior, about the started fight against human trafficking. She has been actively involved in both policy planning and the coordination of implementation of the approved policy since 2010, and now she is also a Latvian national coordinator of anti-trafficking issues.
Implementation of the project STROM II "Strengthening the Role of Municipalities in the Work against Trafficking in Human Beings" has been started
Follow up project STROM II "Strengthening the Role of Municipalities in the Work against Trafficking in Human Beings" is the joint project between the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM). The purpose of this joint project is to contribute to the prevention of persons being recruited for trafficking in human beings and to better protection of victims of trafficking in human beings in municipalities of the Baltic States and North-West Russia. The project aims to strengthen the capacity of municipalities to work on prevention and protection of victims.
This article first appeared in The Baltic Times, a pan-Baltic English newspaper which has been covering Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania since 1990. www.baltictimes.com
Author: Michael Mustillo, The Baltic Times, 30.06.2016.
Lasma Stabina was recently nominated by the US Embassy in Latvia as Latvia’s 2016 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Hero for her exceptional commitment to preventing human trafficking.
Stabina’s efforts to attract international funding for trafficking prevention activities and her public-private partnership promotion efforts have contributed enormously to preventing human trafficking in Latvia.
As Latvia’s National Anti-TIP Co-ordinator, Stabina has taken the lead in developing and carrying out two large international anti-TIP projects: "Preventing human trafficking and sham marriages: A multidisciplinary solution" (HESTIA)* and “Strengthening the Role of Municipalities in the Work Against Trafficking in Human Beings in the Baltic Sea Region.”
Implementing the project "Preventing human trafficking and sham marriages: A multidisciplinary solution" (HESTIA) on 28 – 30 June 2016 project partners from Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Ireland and Finland met at the project’s coordination meeting in Bratislava (Slovak Republic) hosted by the project’s Slovak partner – Ministry of the Interior.
The meeting was opened by Ms Petra Barnova, Head of the Secretary of the Governmental Council for Crime Prevention who highlighted the importance of cross-border cooperation and inter-governmental support to address trafficking in human beings efficiently and more targeted.
The U.S. Embassy has nominated Lāsma Stabiņa as Latvia’s 2016 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Hero for her exceptional commitment to preventing human trafficking. Ms. Stabiņa’s efforts to attract international funding for trafficking prevention activities and her public-private partnership promotion efforts contributed enormously to preventing human trafficking in Latvia. Today, Ambassador Nancy Bikoff Pettit is awarding Ms. Stabiņa a certificate of recognition as the Embassy’s 2016 TIP Hero.
Vucāne A. Fiktīva laulība cilvēktirdzniecības kontekstā: terminoloģijas problēmas (Marriage of Convenience in the Context of Human Trafficking: Terminology Issues). Jurista Vārds, No. 45 (897), 17 November 2015, p. 35.-38.
Mg. Astrīda Vucāne, PhD student at Ventspils University College/Liepāja University, Scientific Secretary at the Terminology Commission of the Latvian Academy of Sciences
A new global trend in human trafficking – trafficking in human beings for the purpose of forced criminality
On 11-12 April of this year Vienna, Austria, hosted the 16th high level Alliance against Trafficking in Persons Conference “Combating Trafficking in Human Beings for the Purpose of Forced Criminality” of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), during which discussions were held on the currently topical form of human trafficking – trafficking in human beings for the purpose of forced criminality.
- The main countries of origin of victims of sham marriages are the eastern member states of the EU – Latvia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia, the female citizens of which are willingly or fraudulently taken to western states to enter into sham marriages with citizens of third countries.
- A human trafficking victim is deprived of freedom, is sexually abused by being subjected to violent and degrading treatment and sometimes even being forced to give birth to a child, thus completely ensuring the third country citizen with the opportunity to stay within the EU. The respective person is employed against her own will, whereas the documents are used to obtain credit and loans.
- The Garda Síochána (the national police service of Ireland) is currently assessing 1700 marriages, including those between Latvian and third country citizens, which have been concluded over the past two years.
- The overall number of sham marriages has decreased. This has been facilitated by public awareness campaigns and activities in Latvia, as well as the regulatory framework that prescribes criminal liability for ensuring a third country national with a possibility to legally acquire the right to stay in Latvia, another member state of the EU, member state of the European Economic Area or in the Swiss Confederation in bad faith.
- The fight against sham marriages has been expanded to a level of cooperation between several states. The project “Preventing Human Trafficking and Sham Marriages: A Multidisciplinary Solution” (HESTIA) has been started.
On 29 February 2016 in Stockholm, Sweden a workshop on policy implications on future trends in trafficking was organised within the framework of the international project TRACE “TRafficking as A Criminal Enterprise”, and during it a presentation on sham marriages as a new form of human trafficking was given by the leading researcher of the international project “Preventing Human Trafficking and Sham Marriages: A Multidisciplinary Solution” (HESTIA), which is realised under the leadership of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Latvia, Ms Minna Viuhko from the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI) in Finland.