There were major critical remarks issued towards authorities in North Macedonia regarding the fight against human trafficking in the US Department of State’s latest report about the condition with human trafficking in the world during 2019.

The report starts with critical remarks that the government does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.

“The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore North Macedonia remained on Tier 2. These efforts included investigating, prosecuting, and convicting more traffickers and identifying more potential victims. The government increased resources for victim protection and amended the penal code to include a non-punishment clause for trafficking victims. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. Judges continued to issue weak sentences that were below the trafficking statute’s minimum penalty. While the government investigated a police officer for complicity, corruption and official complicity in trafficking crimes remained significant concerns, and the government had not prosecuted a government official for complicity in recent years” states the report

Another critical remark is that the government did not award grants to anti-trafficking NGOs for the fourth consecutive year, despite relying heavily on their support, and some first responders were inconsistent in referring victims to care.

The US Department of State recommends a vigorous investigation, prosecution, and conviction of traffickers, including complicit officials, and other measures.