Read below for more in-depth information about trafficking in Lithuania and additional resources.
Common characteristics of trafficking & commercial sexual exploitation
Sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls can and does take many forms, from traditional prostitution to being exploited in strip clubs or via the internet. Exploited women and girls often have no control over their buyers, how long and how frequently they must provide sexual services or condom use; victims are forced to hand over their earnings to pimps and traffickers. They often have no permanent residence and their addresses change frequently. If they are foreign, they typically are not in possession of their passports or other identification and/or have forged documents. They are usually transported in groups where a trafficker or pimp controls their movements and travel documents. These women and girls do not have the autonomy to make many choices for themselves.
Sex trafficking in Lithuania
Lithuania has been a member of the European Union (EU) since 2004. EU anti-trafficking law requires all EU member states to actively tackle human trafficking, both domestic and across national borders. This includes a legal obligation to actively reduce the demand for trafficking for sexual exploitation. Some of the issues being faced by the anti-trafficking movement in Lithuania include:
- Loopholes in trafficking legislation and lack of implementation of existing laws
- Scarcity of services available for victim assistance
- Insufficient training of anti-trafficking personnel
Assisting sex trafficking victims in Lithuania
Klaipeda Social and Psychological Services Center employs a holistic survivor-oriented approach in helping Lithuanian survivors—and often their families—of trafficking as well as to foreign women who have been trafficked to Lithuania. They have identified the following as keys to successfully assisting survivors:
- Survivors must be empowered to take back control of their lives and make decisions for themselves
- Survivors must be provided with counselling and other mental health support services, as well shelter, food and clothing, as necessary, in order to rebuild their lives
- Vocational training in order for survivors to be able to provide for themselves and their families
They are also working to raise public awareness of the situation in Lithuania and advocating for coordination between NGOs, the government and law enforcement to ensure all these groups work together.
For in-depth information on trafficking in Lithuania, please read Klaipeda’s report, Model of Assistance for Women Victims of Human Trafficking in Lithuania, and visit the country’s page on the EU Anti-trafficking website.
If you're interested in European campaigns, awareness raising videos, films, posters and other materials related to prostitution and trafficking for sexual exploitation, as well as information on local organizations you can get involved with, visit the European Women Lobby's website for their campaign "Together for a Europe free from Prostitution."