U.S. authorities urge Belarusian govt to lift ‘serfdom law’

In December, 2012 the Belarusian government retained a decree forbidding thousands of workers in the wood processing industry from leaving their jobs in state-owned factories without their employers’ permission, U.S. Department of State in its recent report on trafficking in persons.

U.S. authorities recommended Belarus to revoke the December 2012 presidential decree; significantly increase efforts to vigorously investigate and prosecute cases of forced labor and forced prostitution; increase the use of Article 181 of the criminal code to prosecute trafficking cases, even in cases also charged under other statutes; improve victim identification, including of teenagers in prostitution inside Belarus and forced labor victims; increase resources devoted to victim assistance and protection within Belarus, including in state-owned territorial centres for social services; provide funding through the January 2013 law allowing public funding for NGOs offering critical victim protection services in private shelters; cultivate a climate of cooperation with NGO partners; finalise and train officials on a national identification and referral mechanism; ensure all victims, including children and foreign nationals, are provided with appropriate assistance and protection, etc.


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