Sunday, 23 September

16 Individuals Suspected of Human Trafficking are Sought by Police

In comparison to years past, the number of criminal court cases dealing with human trafficking has gone down dramatically. In other words, either such criminal cases have decreased or law enforcement officials are finding it harder to expose such incidents.

To get to the bottom of the matter “Hetq” has been making inquiries at the Police Department’s Information Division for the past several weeks. We have been trying to make contact with any responsible official at the Police Anti-Trafficking Unit in order to contact an interview. Officials we have spoken to at the Information Division have remained steadfast in their demand that, “all such inquiries should be sent in writing and afterwards we will provide exhaustive answers in detail.”

The Public Information Division at the Police Department has not seen fit to organize an interview on the matter and only responded to our written inquiry 21 days later. In their response there was no answer to our question as to why there has been such a decrease in trafficking criminal cases in the courts.

 S. Shirinyan states that as of September 24th of this year only 8 criminal cases of trafficking have been initiated according to Article 132 of the criminal code (trafficking).

According to our sources a group of Russian women who were subject to trafficking was uncovered in Armenia this year. We requested to receive details on the matter.
“Female resident “Y” of the Russian town of Volgograd, along with her husband “V” and their daughter “A”, posing as an employment agency, collected and sent to Armenia a group of Russian women under false pretenses. They took advantage of the women’s helpless situation and under threat forced them to work as nude dancers at several Yerevan night clubs. Both “Y” and “A” have been arrested.” the Police have informed us.

In response to our queries as to who is being pursued and when did the investigation begin, the Police informed us that, « Presently, the Police Department of Armenia is in pusuit of 16 individuals in accordance with Article 132 of the ROA Criminal Code. »  We initiated the inquiry because according to information at our disposal one of the individuals is in Armenia. However during our telephone conversation Mr. Sayat Shirinyan stated that he couldn’t divulge the names of the individuals being pursued sinvce this was classified information.

This, of course, is a bit strange since not only are the full names published when an invetsigation is announced but photos as well. It is quite possible that these individuals are continuing to operate in Armenia today.

We also requested demographic information from the Police as to what countries Armenian women are being trafficked to.

Mr. Shirinyan gave the following terse answer, «The main countries where Armenian women are subject to abuse are the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. » Russia must also be added to this list since there has been a court case there involving three Armenians who were the victims of trafficking.

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