2 - peatükk

Prohibition of slavery and forced labour

When we speak of slavery and forced labour we must draw attention to the wider definition of slavery and its various forms, as the modern concept of slavery also includes human trafficking, which exists in various forms, and which, as a result limits a person’s freedom and destroys his or her dignity. Human trafficking is a crime that cannot be tolerated and the fight against it must be the state’s priority. Estonia has confirmed this in „Development Objectives of Criminal Policy until 2018“ – the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Internal Affairs consider the fight against human trafficking a common priority for the police and the prosecutor’s office and assure that there is a need to set clear and coherent aims for the police and the prosecutor’s office in the fight against crime.[1] Human trafficking is a serious problem as Estonia is the country of origin, transit and departure for women subjugated to prostitution. There is also a problem with people subjugated to conditions of forced labour (men as well as women).[2]

Political and institutional developments

At the end of 2014 the strategy for prevention of violence for 2015–2020 was prepared, which details human trafficking as one of its parts.[3] Estonia will adopt the EU directive on victims and plans to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse.[4]
Estonia’s „Development Objectives of Criminal Policy until 2018“ detail that as a method for preventing offences against person the Ministry of Social Affair in cooperation with local governments and the non-profit sector must guarantee sufficient number of shelters for victims of human trafficking all across Estonia. As a result of this the Ministry of Social Affairs has made a contract with the NGO Eluliin, who has created help centres in Harjumaa for women who have fallen victim to human trafficking.[5] Nevertheless, the necessary help and services might still not reach the victims.

Developing a policy on prostitution in not one of the priorities for Estonia, however, this topic does arise in the course of fight against trafficking in humans, and mostly in prevention of trafficking in humans. Reducing the demand for prostitution is one of the methods of preventing trafficking in humans. Sexual exploitation and the offence of trafficking in humans is often discovered while investigating offences of pimping. Regulations related to pimping are in place here as well as in other states and change is not necessary in this sphere. Estonia has made it illegal to buy sexual services from minors, however buying sexual services from victims of human trafficking has not been solved on the level of regulations.[6]

There is reason to believe that there are a lot more victims of human trafficking in Estonia than there are people receiving the help. The initial contacts are not sufficiently aware to spot the victims, and forward this information on to the Estonian National Social Insurance Board and the police for further processing. The skill for recognising offences of trafficking of humans in bodies conducting proceedings and other experts has to be increased.[7] It is also important that various institutions and experts exchange information and experience in identifying cases of human trafficking, processing cases, helping the victims, providing services, etc. Working together and partnership between various organisations increases efficiency in solving the cases and helping the victims as well as better planning of actions in the future. Information about institutions and organisations offering help for victims of human trafficking is available on the website of Ministry of Social Affairs,[8] but to what extent this information reaches the victims and persons in contact with them is not known.

Legislative developments

It can be claimed, as of 2015, that Estonian legislation is generally in compliance with the international and the EU law in making trafficking in humans illegal. The Penal Code states offences of trafficking in humans, which includes engaging a person in prostitution, forcing a person to work under unusual conditions, forcing a person to beg or commit a criminal offence or perform other disagreeable duties. It is also a punishable act to aide human trafficking, to pimp, and aide prostitution.

Whereas, buying and selling sexual services of adults is unregulated, which is why, from a legal point of view, trade in sexual services between adults are viewed as permitted activities.[9] Such unregulated area in Estonia’s legal system may aide the spread of concealed human trafficking.

The amendments to the Penal Code related to improving the wording of the act of law for increasing legal clarity in paragraphs related to human trafficking came into force 1 May 2015.[10]

On 10 December 2014 the act ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings was passed, which came into force 2 January 2015.[11] The aim of the convention is to prevent trafficking in humans, protect the victims and punish the human traffickers and it includes forms of organised crime as well as forms outside of it, and all forms of exploitation. Estonia had signed this convention already on 3 February 2010.[12] This can be considered a positive development and indicates political will to fight against human trafficking.

It has already been pointed out in earlier surveys of criminal policy that legislation in force in Estonia is generally in concordance with penal law articles of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and the Council, but in criminal proceedings there is no guarantee of prompt legal counselling of victims of human trafficking from third states (this means not Estonian or EU nationals).[13] Receiving legal counselling in the course of state legal aid is not prompt and requires going through separate proceedings.

Court practice

Human trafficking criminal offences have predominantly meant sexual exploitation of women, but now labour exploitation cases have been added to it. In 2014 there were 28 registered criminal offences of trafficking in humans, compared to earlier situation there are now also cases of forced labour and forced offences (theft and drug dealing). According to the HEUNI survey human trafficking in Estonia also exists for the purpose of labour exploitation; people have had experience of it, but the instances of forced labour are not yet reflected in criminal statistics.[14]

In 2014 the survey on criminal policy for 2013 was published, which reported that the number of offences linked to trafficking in humans rose.[15] In 2013 there were various instances of human trafficking where criminals forced victims to commit criminal offences, used violence on them, even threatened to take their life. There were 18 cases of human trafficking among cases registered in 2014, two of the registered cases in 2013 regarding support to human trafficking (§ 133¹ of Penal Code) had to do with receiving and organising passage of two Vietnamese persons from Russia via Estonia to Poland. One of the criminal proceedings was ended at the prosecutor’s office, the other continued with court proceedings, where a charge was brought of organising carriage of 27 Vietnamese citizens. 13 registered offences of pimping (§ 133² of the Penal Code) in 2013 generally had to do with organising prostitution in apartments in Tallinn (providing the apartment, aiding the provision of service, publishing advertisements, etc.) and pimping via advertisements for intimate services published online. The largest number of criminal cases had to do with advertisements published on voodi.ee.

There were 18 instances of human trafficking in order to take advantage of minors (§ 175 of the Penal Code) registered in 2013; 8 of these were connected. In several episodes a 13 year old male was influenced to have sexual intercourse with various men, which he was paid 10–50 euros for, and in some episodes another young male was influenced to do the same.

In 2015 the survey on criminal policies 20 “Crime in Estonia 2014” was published.[16] According to the survey, the number of offences connected to human trafficking has decreased compared to the previous year by 14; in 2013 there were 42 registered offences, in 2014 there were 28. Charges were brought on the paragraph of trafficking in humans on 5 instances: in two instances minors were among the victims, on one instance a mother exploited her daughter, and two cases had to do with illegally importing foreigners into Estonia. Charges were brought on the paragraph of pimping (§ 133² of the Penal Code) on 8 occasions; in 2014 it was generally a matter of pimping a person in Tartu via the webpage iha.ee in apartments and hotels. Repeated offences with the same participants were registered on six occasions. In addition there were two offences linked to pimping in massage parlours in Tallinn and Tartu, where in addition to erotic massage also prostitution service was offered. On 15 occasions human trafficking charges were brought for the purpose of exploiting minors. Human trafficking in order to take advantage of minors were committed against minors 10–17 years of age. Offences were committed for example via a chat room, a web camera, via a phone, also by meetings in apartments, including, on many occasions, the residence of the criminal. In two instances minors were forced to commit criminal offences – on one to steal a car, and on another to commit theft.

The case that drew most attention in the society was the Tartu County Court judgment in criminal case no. 1-14-2416,[17] where the court found three men (Renee Kibildas, Silver Sokk, Rainer Kristerson) guilty of § 133 section 2 points 2 and 7 of the Penal Code and gave them 10 years of imprisonment. The judgment came to force on 5 May 2015. It was a gang of men that forced an underage girl to prostitution. The victim was awarded 150,000 euros from the three convicted men in civil action claim. The court considered in a just compensation for the victim for suffering caused by criminal behaviour (for material as well as moral damages), whereas in the moral damage was deemed to be irreparable.

Good practices

In 2014–2015 the NGO Living for Tomorrow, with the help of Norway’s financial mechanisms 2009–2014 will carry out a project “Human trafficking prevention and victim support through anti-trafficking hotline +372 6607 320 service”, which aims to prevent trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation, and to support victims of labour exploitation. The task of the hotline is to inform people of possibilities, conditions, regulations and dangers abroad and help the victims (including giving consultations to relatives and close ones). The hotline will also educate the general public by including various media publications. Call statistics will be collected and trends of human trafficking will be analysed. Consultations are given in Estonian, Russian, English, Polish, Ukrainian and Finnish. The hotline +372 6607 320 is open on workdays 10.00–18.00; it is also possible to email the hotline at info@lft.ee.[18]


The number of articles on human trafficking in the media has increased as the media’s interest for the topic has grown. In 2014 the NGO Living for Tomorrow organised a competition for finding the best article, radio program or television clip in support of stopping trafficking in humans in the course of the project “Facing economic impact of human trafficking in Baltic states”. The purpose of the competition was to acknowledge analysing articles and programs in Estonian media on the topic of human trafficking, which helped explain the seriousness of the problem and raising the awareness of the general public.[19]


  • Pay more attention to increasing the minorities’ knowledge of acts of law by giving them information in their native languages.
  • Pay more attention to raising the awareness of young people on trafficking in humans.
  • Increase the public’s awareness of human trafficking for the purpose of forced labour, of labour law and acts of law by using media channels.
  • Raise awareness among officials in contact with minors (including local governments’ social workers and child protection officials) for noticing and spotting victims of human trafficking.
  • Ban advertising of sexual services, or marketing, in media.


[1] Ministry of Justice. Riigi kuritegevusvastased prioriteedid [The state’s priorities in crime fighting]. Available at: http://www.just.ee/26990.

[2] EUCPN Newsletter. September 2014. Available at: http://eucpn.org/sites/default/files/content/download/files/eucpnnewsletterseptember2014_0.pdf.

[3] Council of Europe. Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/trafficking/Docs/Profiles/ESTONIAProfile_en.asp

[4] Vägivalla ennetamise strateegia aastateks 2015–2020 [Strategy for prevention of violence for 2015–2020]. Available at: https://valitsus.ee/sites/default/files/content-editors/arengukavad/vagivalla_ennetamise_strateegia_2015-2020_kodulehele.pdf.

[5] Kriminaalpoliitika arvudes: võrdlusi statistikast ja uuringutest [Criminal policy in figures: comparisons of statistics and surveys]. Ministry of Justice. 2013. Available at: http://www.just.ee/orb.aw/class=file/action=preview/id=59115/Kriminaalpoliitika+kogumik+valmis.pdf.

[6] Anni Kivimäe, Anu Leps. Prostitutsioonipoliitika, sh seksuaalteenuste ostu puudutavate regulatsioonide analüüs [Policy on prostitution incl analysis of regulation regarding bying sexual services]. 2014.

[7] Vägivalla ennetamise strateegia aastateks 2015–2020 [Strategy for prevention of violence for 2015–2020]. Available at: https://valitsus.ee/sites/default/files/content-editors/arengukavad/vagivalla_ennetamise_strateegia_2015-2020_kodulehele.pdf.

[8] Ministry of Social Affairs. Inimkaubandus [Trafficking in humans]. Available at: http://www.sm.ee/et/abiandvad-organisatsioonid-eestis.

[9] Anni Kivimäe, Anu Leps. Prostitutsioonipoliitika, sh seksuaalteenuste ostu puudutavate regulatsioonide analüüs [Policy on prostitution incl analysis of regulation regarding bying sexual services]. 2014.

[10] State Gazette I, 12.07.2014, 1.

[11] State Gazette. II, 23.12.2014, 1 Available at: https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/223122014001.

[12] Council of Europe. Available at: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/trafficking/Docs/Profiles/ESTONIAProfile_en.asp.

[13] Ministry of Justice. Kriminaalpoliitika uuringud 17: Kuritegevus Eestis 2012. [Criminal policy survey 17: crime in Estonia 2012] Op. cit.

[14] Vägivalla ennetamise strateegia aastateks 2015–2020 [Strategy for prevention of violence for 2015–2020]. Available at: http://www.kriminaalpoliitika.ee/sites/www.kriminaalpoliitika.ee/files/elfinder/dokumendid/ves_2015-2020_1.pdf.

[15] Ministry of Justice. Kuritegevus Eestis 2013 [Crime in Estonia]. Available at: http://www.kriminaalpoliitika.ee/sites/www.kriminaalpoliitika.ee/files/elfinder/dokumendid/18._kuritegevus_eestis_2013.pdf.

[16] Ministry of Justice. Kuritegevus Eestis 2014 [Crime in Estonia 2014]. Available at: http://www.kriminaalpoliitika.ee/sites/www.kriminaalpoliitika.ee/files/elfinder/dokumendid/kuritegevuse_at_2015_0.pdf.

[17] No. 13260100284 in pre-trial procedure.

[18] NGO Living for Tomorrow. Available at: http://www.lft.ee/inimkaubitsemine/projektid-2-1/norra-finantsmehhanism-2009-2014.

[19] NGO Living for Tomorrow. Available at: http://www.lft.ee/uudised/i47/