The US State Department has ranked Macedonia one place down in their Index in the fight against human trafficking, they have moved Macedonia to TIER 2, where countries do not even have the minimal conditions in combating human trafficking.
“The Government of Macedonia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. While the influx of refugees and migrants to the country placed a significant strain on government resources, government efforts to protect victims and prevent trafficking declined markedly. Overall government funding dedicated to anti-trafficking efforts decreased in 2015 to 4.1 million denars ($75,600) from 32.45 million denars ($601,108) in 2014”, says the report.
According to the report, the Macedonian Government in 2015 identified four victims of human trafficking, one adult, and three children, in comparison to 2014 when they identified seven victims. Last year, the report adds, that the NGOs identified 94 potential victims of human trafficking among the migrant and refugee population transiting through Macedonia, however, the authorities in the country, according to the US State Department, did not investigate any of the cases. As for the Anti-Trafficking Unit, they did not screen that part of the population for trafficking victims.
Unlike previous years, the Government has not allocated any financial grants to NGOs for 2016, even though the civil sector have been asking for such funds to help the victims. Because of the lack of funds and effort, they have had to reduce their activities in dealing with this issue.
Macedonia is a source, transit, and a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. Women and girls in Macedonia are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor within the country in restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Children, primarily Roma, are into forced begging and sex trafficking through forced marriages. Foreign victims subjected to sex trafficking in Macedonia typically originate from Eastern Europe, particularly Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine.
In previous reports by the State Department over the past few years, Macedonia was ranked in the zone of States ‘TIER 1’, which means that those country’s meet the minimum standards in combating human trafficking.