March 21, 2023


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2022 Trafficking in Individuals Report: Kazakhstan

2022 Trafficking in Individuals Report: Kazakhstan


The Authorities of Kazakhstan doesn’t absolutely meet the minimal requirements for the elimination of trafficking however is making important efforts to take action. The federal government demonstrated total rising efforts in contrast with the earlier reporting interval, contemplating the impression of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capability; subsequently Kazakhstan remained on Tier 2. These efforts included rising the variety of trafficking convictions for a second consecutive 12 months and sentencing a complicit official for intercourse trafficking. The federal government elevated funding to help shelters and continued to extend collaboration with NGOs and worldwide organizations, together with in consciousness campaigns all through the nation. Nonetheless, the federal government didn’t meet the minimal requirements in a number of key areas. It recognized far fewer victims and investigated considerably fewer traffickers than the earlier 12 months; and civil society and authorities interlocutors reported that legislative insufficiencies continued to hinder efficient anti-trafficking enforcement and sufferer identification. Authorities continued to establish few international victims and to keep up obstacles for his or her entry to safety providers; international victims couldn’t entry providers except a felony case had been initiated towards the traffickers. The federal government’s efforts to deal with compelled labor remained insufficient.

2022 Trafficking in Individuals Report: Kazakhstan


Approve and implement insurance policies permitting formal recognition of international nationals as trafficking victims and their referral to strong safety providers, together with shelter, regardless of whether or not felony circumstances have been initiated towards their traffickers. • Amend trafficking legal guidelines to align the definition of trafficking with worldwide requirements and practice legislation enforcement officers and labor inspectors on their software, significantly within the detection of circumstances involving psychological coercion and different much less overt trafficking indicators. • Vigorously examine, prosecute, and convict suspected trafficking circumstances on an ongoing foundation, together with allegedly complicit authorities officers. • Improve investigations and prosecutions of potential compelled labor circumstances, particularly in distant areas.

Sufficiently enhance the variety of labor inspectors and supply them with systemic, specialised coaching to establish victims of compelled labor and report potential trafficking circumstances to the police, together with by permitting unfettered entry to factories, development websites, and farms for unannounced inspections. • Considerably enhance efforts to establish trafficking victims amongst weak populations and refer these victims for help, with an emphasis on international compelled labor victims. • Guarantee victims are conscious of their proper to hunt compensation and practice attorneys and legislation enforcement officers on tips on how to help within the course of. • Set up and implement a centralized anti-trafficking knowledge assortment system.

Improve oversight and regulation of labor recruitment businesses. • Proceed to supply authorized options to deportation, particularly when international trafficking victims might face hardship, abuse, or re-trafficking of their nations of origin.


The federal government maintained anti-trafficking legislation enforcement efforts however elevated convictions for a second consecutive 12 months. Articles 128, 134, 135, 308, 125(3.2), and 126(3.2) of the penal code criminalized intercourse trafficking and labor trafficking. Nonetheless, inconsistent with the definition of trafficking underneath worldwide legislation, the legislation didn’t embody power, fraud, or coercion as a necessary ingredient of the crime however fairly thought of them an aggravating circumstance. NGO observers and authorities officers alike famous this was significantly illustrative in Article 128 (Trafficking in Individuals) and Article 135 (Trafficking in Minors), which criminalized the acquisition or sale of individuals underneath sure circumstances; its lack of specificity reportedly prevented authorities from correctly investigating or prosecuting some circumstances involving psychological coercion or different extra complicated trafficking indicators. The legislation, as amended in 2019, prescribed penalties of 4 to seven years’ imprisonment for grownup trafficking and 5 to 9 years’ imprisonment for baby trafficking; the penalties could possibly be elevated to as much as 18 years’ imprisonment underneath aggravated circumstances. These penalties had been sufficiently stringent and, with respect to intercourse trafficking, commensurate with these prescribed for different critical crimes, resembling rape. Article 134 was amended in 2021 to extend penalties for baby intercourse trafficking to 3 to 6 years in jail (beforehand three to 5 years). Kazakhstani officers reportedly continued consultations with worldwide organizations and international governments on the creation of latest laws, which might create a nationwide referral mechanism and delineate tasks for presidency businesses to establish and supply providers to trafficking victims and examine and prosecute traffickers.

Police initiated investigations in 20 trafficking circumstances in 2021 (16 for intercourse trafficking and 4 for compelled labor), in contrast with 72 in 2020, and continued 47 investigations initiated within the earlier reporting interval. The federal government prosecuted 49 human trafficking circumstances in 2021, in contrast with 45 prosecutions in 2020, and it convicted 23 intercourse traffickers, in contrast with 11 intercourse traffickers in 2020 and eight in 2019. Of the 23 convictions, courts convicted 4 traffickers underneath circumstances initiated in 2021 and 19 traffickers underneath circumstances from earlier years. From the 23 convictions, 16 traffickers acquired sentences starting from seven to 18 years’ imprisonment, and 7 traffickers acquired sentences starting from one to 5 years (in contrast with 9 sentences starting from seven to 17 years, a four-year sentence, and a three-year sentence in 2020); three traffickers had been acquitted. As in earlier years, most of the trafficking circumstances had been the results of three multi-day particular anti- trafficking police operations, referred to as “Cease Trafficking,” through which police performed enforcement operations with native authorities in brothels, therapeutic massage parlors, development websites, and farms and collaborated with NGOs to interview potential victims. NGOs famous some police lack the understanding of the felony code, the trafficking legislation, and trafficking in individuals essential to successfully examine circumstances, primarily resulting from staffing rotations in legislation enforcement businesses, and reported victims had been typically seen as violators of migration legal guidelines or as people experiencing homelessness. NGOs continued to report investigators closed or determined to not open some felony circumstances resulting from a perceived lack of proof, regardless of the out there testimony from trafficking victims, and that they continued to concentrate on investigating intercourse trafficking circumstances to the exclusion of these involving compelled labor. Kazakhstani legislation enforcement continued to cooperate with international governments (Uzbekistan, Moldova, and Bahrain) on the investigation of trafficking crimes, which resulted in 4 extraditions (three to Uzbekistan and one to Moldova); 13 sentences (together with two Russian residents) to jail phrases between 15 months and 14 years; three Kazakhstani residents extradited again to Kazakhstan; and the repatriation of 23 Kazakhstani victims from Bahrain.

In earlier years, NGOs reported traffickers bribed low-ranking police officers to keep away from prices and alleged that some cops facilitated compelled labor or intercourse trafficking crimes. A border guard worker of the Navy Investigations Division of the Ministry of Inside Affairs (MIA) facilitated actions of a felony group working a brothel within the Atyrau area, which coerced girls, together with migrants from Uzbekistan, in intercourse trafficking. On October 20, 2021, the Navy Court docket of Aktobe convicted the border guard and sentenced him to 4 years in jail. Observers reported investigative, prosecutorial, and judicial authorities have important leeway in tips on how to categorize crimes underneath

Kazakhstan’s anti-trafficking prohibitions, resulting in corruption and misclassification of trafficking circumstances.

The federal government continued to coach police, prosecutors, and judges on the identification, investigation, and prosecution of trafficking crimes; these actions had been largely performed on-line as a result of pandemic. Regulation enforcement businesses and courts tailored to pandemic lockdowns by processing circumstances on-line, together with conducting many court docket hearings on-line throughout lockdown durations. The Supreme Court docket educated 143 judges, in contrast with 36 judges in 2020. Like within the earlier reporting interval, these trainings had been primarily authorities funded. The Prosecutor Normal’s Workplace assigned 51 specialised prosecutors, and the Supreme Court docket assigned 17 specialised judges to prosecute trafficking circumstances.


The federal government made combined safety efforts; nevertheless, efforts to establish and shield compelled labor and international nationwide victims remained insufficient. The federal government recognized 20 trafficking victims, in contrast with 88 in 2020 and 40 in 2019. Of the victims recognized, 16 had been intercourse trafficking victims (14 residents from Kazakhstan and two from Uzbekistan), together with one intercourse trafficking sufferer exploited in Georgia, and 4 had been compelled labor victims (three Kazakhstani residents and one from Uzbekistan). Regulation enforcement items devoted to migration and trafficking points operated underneath normal pointers for the identification of victims amongst weak populations, together with undocumented migrant communities and people in business intercourse. The federal government amended these pointers to implement a victim-centered method to investigations, together with by recording sufferer testimonies to scale back the necessity for a number of interviews and enabling felony circumstances to maneuver ahead within the absence of sufferer testimony. Separate referral procedures had been outlined underneath the 2015 Particular Social Companies Requirements, which instructed legislation enforcement businesses on efficient coordination with NGOs to attach victims with safety providers. Police additionally maintained a proper referral mechanism for victims initially arrested or detained throughout police operations. The PGO and the MIA every had a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a global group, and the MIA had memoranda of cooperation between police departments and 17 NGOs throughout the nation to supply help with trafficking circumstances. Victims recognized by authorities authorities are referred to government-funded NGO-run shelters; nevertheless, the federal government didn’t report the variety of victims it referred to NGOs for help this 12 months. Reviews point out NGOs continued to supply shelter, authorized help, and different providers to a whole bunch of victims. One NGO reported it recognized 200 victims (193 victims of compelled labor, six victims of intercourse trafficking, and one sufferer of each intercourse trafficking and compelled labor, together with 166 males and 34 girls) and offered help to 193 victims, which included 161 victims from Uzbekistan, 24 victims from Kazakhstan, and 12 victims from Russia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine; the citizenship of three victims was unknown.

NGOs continued to report regional anti-trafficking items, composed of 1 or two cops, successfully referred victims to the NGOs for care and facilitated sturdy cooperation. NGOs reported an unknown variety of compelled labor victims might stay unidentified and with out entry to providers as a result of distant location of farms all through the nation. Regulation enforcement items mandated to deal with migration or trafficking points had a proper system to establish trafficking victims amongst at-risk individuals, resembling undocumented migrants or people in business intercourse. Nonetheless, though the federal government improved efforts to establish international victims and expanded the mandate of the labor inspectorate to require monitoring for trafficking indicators, officers’ efforts to establish international victims and labor trafficking victims remained insufficient.

The federal government allotted 148.9 million tenge ($340,830) for 2021-2023 to help 17 shelters in 17 areas (in contrast with 9 areas in 2020); from this quantity, NGOs acquired 107 million tenge ($244,920) in 2021 (a rise from $164,740 in 2020 and $180,880 in 2019). These trafficking shelters provided authorized, psychological, and medical help and had been accessible to all Kazakhstani trafficking victims. Though authorities beforehand prolonged the size of NGO service suppliers’ native authorities contracts from one to 3 years to scale back administrative burdens on organizations offering important providers to trafficking victims, some NGOs reported funding delays. The federal government inspired victims—together with international nationals—to take part in investigations and prosecutions by offering witness safety throughout court docket proceedings, entry to pre-trial shelter providers, and primary provisions resembling meals, clothes, transportation, and medical and authorized help. These and different safety providers weren’t conditional upon Kazakhstani victims’ cooperation with legislation enforcement, however international nationwide victims couldn’t entry providers except a felony case had been initiated towards the traffickers. The Regulation on State Safety of Members of Prison Proceedings from 2000 allows international nationwide victims to obtain help, together with short-term housing and monetary help for primary wants throughout felony investigations. In circumstances the place legislation enforcement recognized international nationwide victims, victims typically refused to cooperate resulting from lack of belief in authorities, feeling unsafe, lengthy felony procedures, and typically not with the ability to work throughout the course of, particularly contemplating the federal government’s failure to successfully encourage them to so do by stopping their entry to providers except a felony case had been initiated towards the traffickers. In line with specialists, international nationwide victims regularly reported their exploitation to native police upon return to their dwelling nation, the place they felt safer. In 2020, the federal government began drafting amendments to the Social Code that will lengthen safety providers to international nationwide victims regardless of the initiation of felony circumstances; these draft amendments remained pending on the finish of this reporting interval. The Ministry of Overseas Affairs (MFA) reportedly utilized different channels to supply safety providers to an unspecified variety of international nationwide victims within the interim. Whereas victims had been in a position to obtain compensation by submitting civil fits together with the felony circumstances, many victims and their attorneys continued to be unaware of the suitable to hunt compensation, and excessive authorized charges continued to dissuade some victims from doing so. The federal government may present Professional bono attorneys to trafficking victims, though statistics on provision of authorized providers had been unavailable for the reporting interval, and NGOs reported these attorneys had been typically inexperienced.

The MIA allotted 1 million tenge ($2,290) to help seven victims, together with 5 residents of Kazakhstan and two residents of Uzbekistan, for collaborating in investigations—the victims had been supplied with housing, meals, and witness safety. Some victims had been unwilling to cooperate out of worry of reprisal or need to keep away from involvement in any legislation enforcement exercise. The Administrative Code of Kazakhstan, underneath which the federal government imposes non-criminal punishments, protects international nationwide victims from deportation if a felony case is initiated. The federal government deported undocumented migrants for violation of labor and migration laws—it isn’t clear whether or not undocumented migrants had been screened for trafficking indicators previous to deportation. Consultants famous that some victims weren’t allowed to work in Kazakhstan throughout the interval of felony investigation, which may final for months or perhaps a 12 months, and most popular to settle outdoors of court docket fairly than initiating a case. NGOs reported international nationwide victims typically had been unable to entry medical care resulting from an absence of medical insurance and/or residence permits or monetary pressure generated by lack of employment throughout the pandemic. Though Kazakhstan’s 2021-2023 TIP Nationwide Motion Plan (NAP) included provisions outlining a mirrored image interval in lieu of statutory deportation for international nationwide victims, these provisions didn’t come into impact by the tip of the reporting interval. NGOs continued to report a scarcity of legal professionals approved to take part in administrative deportation circumstances.

The federal government at occasions penalized international nationals for unauthorized entry after they fled exploitation overseas and sought refuge in Kazakhstan, together with these from the Folks’s Republic of China (PRC), the place they may face retribution or hardship. This reportedly had the potential to disincentivize some victims from accessing asylum and safety providers. Civil society contacts continued to report that some international trafficking victims, together with ethnic Kazakh survivors of Xinjiang detention camps and Turkmen victims in southern Kazakhstan, had been hesitant to report their abuses to native authorities resulting from mistrust of legislation enforcement, perceived corruption, and worry of punitive deportation or different punishments. Some NGOs reported a slight enhance of Turkmen migrants in border areas who could possibly be weak to compelled labor. Authorities at occasions dedicated politically-motivated harassment towards activists making an attempt to boost consciousness and advocate for the human rights of ethnic Kazakhs in Xinjiang, who in some circumstances are subjected to compelled labor circumstances. Enduring insufficiencies in sufferer identification procedures positioned some

unidentified international nationwide victims—particularly these exploited in compelled labor—prone to penalization for illegal acts traffickers compelled them to commit. Some NGOs reported police and migration officers detained victims for immigration violations.

Almost 600 girls and kids have been repatriated from battle zones in Syria since 2019 (37 males, 157 girls, and 413 kids). Consultants have famous that the reintegration program has been extremely profitable and is nicely resourced and staffed to supply providers in government-run rehabilitation facilities. Start certificates got to the kids born in battle zones, and their moms had been supplied with identification paperwork to facilitate integration.


The federal government maintained total prevention efforts. The Interagency Trafficking in Individuals Working Group, led by the MIA, held three digital classes in 2021 to debate implementation of the 2021-2023 NAP. Some anti-trafficking NGOs famous elevated political will, extra proactive efforts, and enhanced coordination with NGOs on the a part of the federal government. The federal government continued to fund anti-trafficking info and training campaigns focusing on potential trafficking victims, together with kids, migrants, and Kazakhstani residents touring overseas. The federal government collaborated with worldwide organizations and NGOs on consciousness campaigns, which included distributing consciousness supplies in a number of languages by way of media and in public locations, and positioned consciousness supplies in airports and border crossing checkpoints. The federal government additionally continued its media outreach plan, which included press excursions, briefings, press conferences, roundtables, and seminars to boost consciousness of human trafficking, and because of this, native and nationwide media revealed or produced 573 supplies. The federal government continued to promote and fund an NGO-operated migration and trafficking hotline, together with a global donor—which acquired 2,066 calls in 2021, eight of which had been referred to anti-trafficking police items (in comparison with 1,341 telephone calls in 2020, culminating in 21 referrals). Per MIA’s request, a global group organized trainings for hotline operators and administration on assessing circumstances of trafficking, service provision, and a victim-centered method.

The MIA signed MOUs with two enterprise associations to extend collaboration with civil society and the non-public sector to boost consciousness of compelled labor and forestall human trafficking. Throughout the earlier reporting interval, the federal government formally amended the place descriptions of labor inspectors to incorporate accountability for the identification of trafficking victims and subsequent notification to legislation enforcement; the inspectors’ inspection guidelines was amended throughout the reporting interval to incorporate particular indicators for the identification of compelled labor. Nonetheless, authorities didn’t report if the labor inspectors’ new mandate resulted within the referral of circumstances to legislation enforcement. In 2021, state labor inspectors carried out 4,300 inspections, in comparison with 3,982 inspections in 2020 and 6,681 in 2019; nevertheless, the federal government didn’t report if any inspections led to the opening of felony case investigations. These violations had been predominately for wage irregularities, contract violations, and labor with out correct employment agreements—all of which had been frequent labor trafficking indicators. Authorities recognized 9 circumstances of kid labor in 2021, involving 14 kids discovered to be working with out employment agreements both at development websites or in cafes. Authorities reported offering trainings for labor inspectors on trafficking dangers and prevention. The variety of labor inspectors employed underneath the Ministry of Labor and Social Safety (MLSP) decreased from 274 to 256 throughout the reporting interval; the inspectorate remained insufficient to successfully implement labor rules throughout the nation. In earlier years, migrant employees reported utilizing unofficial third-party intermediaries to seek out employment and meet Kazakhstani migration registration necessities; these intermediaries typically circumvented the legislation and will facilitate the trafficking of international nationwide victims with relative impunity resulting from their unofficial standing. The federal government didn’t make efforts to scale back the demand for business intercourse acts. The MIA and the MFA reported holding on-line trainings on trafficking consciousness, identification, and reporting procedures for diplomatic personnel.


As reported over the previous 5 years, human traffickers exploit home and international victims in Kazakhstan, and traffickers exploit victims from Kazakhstan overseas. Domestically, the relative financial prosperity within the capital Nur-Sultan, the monetary heart Almaty, and the western oil cities of Aktau and Atyrau attracts giant numbers of rural Kazakhstanis, a few of whom traffickers lure by way of fraudulent affords of employment after which exploit in intercourse trafficking and compelled labor in agriculture, development, and different sectors. Traffickers power some kids to beg and can also coerce adults and kids into felony habits. Essentially the most weak teams prone to trafficking embody undocumented migrants, individuals with out identification paperwork, unemployed people, people experiencing homelessness, and disabled individuals.

Members of Kazakhstan’s LGBTQI+ communities are prone to police abuse, extortion, and coercion into informant roles; LGBTQI+ people, significantly transgender individuals required to endure invasive and bureaucratic processes for gender-affirming care, are weak to trafficking amid widespread social stigma and discrimination that usually jeopardizes their employment standing or prospects within the formal sector and complicates their entry to justice. Home violence can also drive many Kazakhstani trafficking victims to hunt and settle for unsafe employment alternatives through which traffickers might exploit them. Kazakhstani and international nationwide victims of compelled labor might go unidentified in farms positioned in distant rural areas, resembling in Karaganda. An rising variety of Turkmenistani residents coming into Kazakhstan with out correct documentation are weak to compelled labor on farms.

Girls and ladies from neighboring East Asian, Central Asian, and Jap European nations, in addition to from rural areas in Kazakhstan, are exploited in intercourse trafficking in Kazakhstan; normally, traffickers goal younger women and girls, luring them with guarantees of employment, together with by way of social media, as waitresses, fashions, or nannies in giant cities. Traffickers more and more exploit Central Asian residents, particularly Uzbekistani women and men and lesser numbers from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, in compelled labor in home service, development, bazaars, and agriculture in Kazakhstan. Many Central Asian migrant employees that had been subjected to Russia’s 2014 re-entry ban have subsequently sought non permanent work and residence in Kazakhstan, the place traffickers exploit them. 1000’s of undocumented Uzbekistani migrants transit into Kazakhstan every day by way of casual border crossings for seasonal labor in development, agriculture, retail, hospitality, and business intercourse; these people are significantly weak to trafficking by advantage of their irregular immigration standing, as are their accompanying kids, who typically don’t attend college regardless of their eligibility to take action. NGOs have reported a rise in traffickers’ use of debt-based coercion within the exploitation of migrants in recent times. Traffickers capitalize on robust legislation enforcement insurance policies to coerce migrants to stay in exploitative conditions and leverage these insurance policies to threaten victims with punishment and deportation in the event that they notify authorities, fostering mistrust in legislation enforcement.

Traffickers coerce or power Kazakhstani women and men into labor, largely in Russia, but in addition in Bahrain, Brazil, the Republic of Korea, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. Intercourse traffickers exploit Kazakhstani girls and ladies within the Center East, Europe, East Asia, and the US. Chinese language authorities arbitrarily detain some Kazakhstani residents visiting household in Xinjiang and topic them to compelled labor; their kids, subsequently unaccompanied, are additionally at elevated danger of trafficking at dwelling in Kazakhstan. Organized crime teams and small trafficking rings with recruiters function together with brothel operators in Kazakhstan and overseas. Kazakhstani males who traveled to Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan to battle alongside or search employment inside armed teams introduced their households with them. The few Kazakhstani residents left in these battle zones, together with their kids, could also be prone to trafficking, together with in refugee camps in Syria.