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IJM celebrates new law increasing sentences for trafficking in Romania

May 2024

In a significant milestone, the Senate of Romania just passed a bill increasing minimum sentences and preventing suspended sentences for human trafficking.

IJM extensively advocated for these legislative changes, working closely with the Joint Special Committee of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate on Combating Trafficking in Persons.

Currently, approximately 1 in 5 convicted persons receive no jail time. This legislation changes that.  

The law increases minimum sentences for human trafficking from 3-10 years to 5-12 years, with up to 15 years for aggravated forms.

Generations of victims will be protected through this legislation, and accountability just took a huge step forward in Romania,” says Shawn Kohl, Director of IJM’s European Anti-Trafficking Programme (pictured above).

In the recently published report “Voices for Justice”, IJM recommended increasing sentences and excluding the possibility of suspended sentences for human trafficking.

Increasing penalties was among IJMs first recommendations to improve the fight against human trafficking in Romania.

“The next steps are increasing victims' access to services and compensation, but also more effective confiscation of proceeds of crime and money obtained illegally [by traffickers].

"Support from Parliament is particularly important in systematically combating this very serious crime,” explains Stefan Coman, Partnerships & Advocacy Lead for IJM Romania.

Cristian Băcanu, MP and Vice-President of the Joint Special Committee of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate on Combating Trafficking in Persons, shared,

Romania has been a source country for human trafficking for decades, we have a serious systemic problem. Unfortunately, approximately 50% of victims of human trafficking (in Romania) are children. 

“At the same time according to official data, 20% of criminals convicted of human trafficking received suspended sentences (in Romania).

“That is precisely why we proposed to the Parliament the radical increase in the penalties. The proposal represents the guarantee that future generations will be better protected.”

He also added that by adopting this draft law, the Romanian state both shows their support to survivors of human trafficking, and sends a strong message to those who are thinking of breaking the law.

Mr. Băcanu thanked IJM for the technical support provided and for our work helping stop human trafficking.

The law now goes for promulgation to the President of Romania.

Find out more about how IJM helps stop trafficking in Europe, including the UK >>

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