The government maintained law enforcement efforts. Sections 133, 133¹, and 175 of the penal code criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Section 133 (trafficking in human beings) criminalized placing a person in a situation of exploitation through force, fraud, or coercion, and prescribed penalties of between one and seven years’ imprisonment for offenses involving an adult victim, and three to 15 years’ imprisonment for those involving a child victim. Section 133¹ (support to human trafficking) separately criminalized the transportation, delivery, escorting, acceptance, concealment, or accommodation of an individual into a situation of exploitation through force, fraud, or coercion, and prescribed penalties of up to five years’ imprisonment for offenses involving an adult victim, and between two and 10 years’ imprisonment for those involving a child victim. Section 175 (human trafficking in order to take advantage of minors) criminalized inducing a child to engage in a criminal offense, begging, prostitution, or the production of pornography without requiring a demonstration of force, fraud, or coercion and prescribed penalties of two to 10 years’ imprisonment. The penalties under Sections 133, 133¹ and 175 were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with the penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape.
Overextension of personnel remained the government’s primary constraint, limiting specialization and knowledge of trafficking; police expressed the need to establish a centralized unit that would collect and verify information on trafficking-related crimes and create a separate budget line for investigation efforts. During the reporting period, police investigated nine new cases (all labor trafficking) under Section 133, an increase from five in 2019. Authorities prosecuted 15 cases, an increase from seven in 2019, and courts convicted 14 traffickers (two labor trafficking, 12 sex trafficking), compared with 12 in 2019. Of the 14 convicted traffickers, only six received prison terms (43 percent), ranging from three to nine years; the remaining received probation, which did not deter the crime or adequately reflect the nature of the offense. Similarly, in 2019, only four of 11 convicted traffickers received prison sentences (36 percent). As in previous years, government data regarding Section 175 did not differentiate between cases exclusively related to trafficking or cases related to other crimes, such as child pornography. Under Section 175, authorities investigated 26 cases (all sex trafficking), prosecuted 19 cases, and convicted eight traffickers, compared with 32, 23, and three, respectively, in 2019. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in trafficking offenses. Estonian and Finnish authorities cooperated on a labor trafficking case in Finland, which resulted in the arrest and conviction of two traffickers. Experts reported the need for increased training for law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and front-line personnel on understanding different forms of exploitation. The police included a trafficking module, covering national and international law, forms of exploitation, and protecting victims, as part of the curriculum for future officers.