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Latvia had 48 confirmed victims of human trafficking in 2020

In 2020, 48 persons were recognized as victims of human trafficking in Latvia, according to a report by the Ministry of Interior February  5.

Of those, 34 victims are men, 12 women and two minors. 18 are Tajikistan nationals, 17 - Latvian, 7 - Indian and 6 - Uzbek nationals, according to the Ministry of Interior.

37 persons were involved in forced work in construction, food industry, agriculture and cleaning, 10 persons suffered from sexual exploitation (including pornography), but one person from forced marriage of convenience.

The ministry noted that the most vulnerable groups of society - the unemployed, young people, women, people of pre-retirement age and minors - are at highest risk of being trafficked.

The risk of becoming victims of human trafficking is most often related to a difficult financial situation, a lack of permanent paid work, limited skills and education.

Often, Latvian citizens who have lost their jobs and are psychologically worn during the Covid-19 pandemic are traveling abroad without careful consideration of the job advertisements offered.

There is also an increased risk of sexual exploitation, with more people spending time on the Internet during the pandemic, where different job offers are available. The report concludes that Latvia is both the country of origin, destination and transit of the victims of human trafficking.

Seven criminal proceedings were launched on  human trafficking in 2020, six for exploitation and one for sexual exploitation. 

The Ministry of Interior, in cooperation with the State Police, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other organizations, has implemented campaigns for informing the public in order to raise awareness and educate about the characteristics, risks, and consequences of human trafficking.

On 19 October 2020, a memorandum of cooperation was signed between the Rīga International Airport, the national airline airBaltic, Ministry of Interior, the association “Shelter Safe House” and the association “Center Marta” on preventing human trafficking in the aviation sector.

Where to call for help:

  • association “Shelter Safe House” — 28612120;
  • association “Center Marta” — 67378539;
  • children's and teens' trust line – 116111;
  • emergency phone for consular assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - 26337711;
  • “Hotline for victims of crime” – phone 116006.
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