Slavery in Modern Times

Tied rope hands of abused woman

Disturbing trends

Profit-wise, human trafficking ranks second in the world after the drug trade. According to European Union statistics, the scale of human trafficking is increasing. This is slavery in modern times.

In Lithuania, the number of launched and completed investigations are decreasing: in 2017 there were 35 launched, with 14 in 2018, 16 in 2019, 11 in 2020; there were 61 completed in 2017, 54 in 2018, 46 in 2019, 27 in 2020.  This tendency is disturbing, because European Union statistics show an increase in scale. Contrary to the situation in other countries of the EU, most of the investigations initiated in Lithuania relate to non-sexual abuse situations. In 2020, the tendency in Lithuania and the rest of the EU was similar – most of the abused subjects were women. Before that (2016-2019) trafficking victims were more often men.

Most Lithuanian victims were captured in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Panevėžys, Mažeikiai, Zarasai and Šalčininkai. Three quarters of the victims were abused in Lithuania, with individual cases in the United Kingdom and Sweden. More and more people are being trafficked within the country, mostly young, working-age individuals between 21-30 years of age. The victims mostly complied because they were vulnerable and gullible.

Minister of the Interior Agnė Bilotaitė hopes to strengthen preventive measures and increase interinstitutional cooperation for victim assistance. Last year, 240,100 euros were budgeted fpr comprehensive assistance and 208 victims were recipients. Also in 2020, expert training was provided and preventive measures put in place. Unfortunately the pandemic and its resulting unemployment may cause an increase in human trafficking. More victims may fall prey to criminal elements, with third world citizens being used for forced work and sex-trade in Lithuania, as well as forced marriages.

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