In the US State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons Report published today, Estonia received a less-than-stellar review, but climbed a notch in the report's ranking because it has demonstrated "significant" steps towards tackling human trafficking issues.
Of the reports three possible tiers, Estonia placed in Tier 2 this year, a slightly higher position than the Tier 2 Watch List the nation held in 2011.
According to the report, Estonia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, yet is making significant efforts to do so.
The report points out that, in March this year, Parliament passed amendments to the Penal Code criminalizing human trafficking and ridding the country from the dubious title of being the only EU country to lack an anti-trafficking law. "The government collaborated closely with NGOs on the law, which should set groundwork for future efforts to prosecute trafficking offenders and protect victims," the report said.
However, the report also found that the government had "demonstrated limited prevention activities during the reporting period."
Similarly to last year, the report said that Estonian women are being subjected to sex trafficking in countries such as Finland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany, as well as in the nation's own capital, Tallinn.
The report noted that young women from Estonia had been forced into marriage after being lured abroad by promises of employment, while men were reportedly subjected to labor trafficking in Finland and the United Kingdom.