An estimated 40 percent of identified Lithuanian trafficking victims are women and girls subjected to sex trafficking within the country.Both children and adults are increasingly forced to engage in minor criminal activities, such shoplifting, theft and drug selling, in Nordic countries and Western Europe.Some Lithuanian men are subjected to forced labor in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The latest US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report saw Lithuania rise from Tier 2 to the much-coveted Tier 1 status.
The tiers tell how well each country managed to tackle this particular crime in a given year.
Lithuania's rise in the rankings came about as a result of greatly increased availability of training for police officers, prosecutors and judges, as well as the increase in the rate of victim identification.
To put this in perspective, 2014 saw 47 persons identified as victims (of which only 3 were children), while in 2015, 79 (including 18 children) received victim status.
The report also drew attention to the Prosecutor General's Office's recommendations for best practices on victim identification, investigations and interagency coordination.
The authors also mentioned the increasing effectiveness of criminal prosecution: while only 18 out of 40 suspects were convicted in 2014, the proportion looks much better in 2015, with 17 convictions out of 27 proceedings.
Furthermore, all those convicted in 2015 received actual prison sentences.
The report also includes recommendations in areas where the country is still lacking.
The authors stress the fact that victim assistance services and the NGOs that provide that are severely underfinanced.
Furthermore, no specialized assistance is offered to child victims of human trafficking.
The state was urged to redouble its efforts in tackling child sexual exploitation in state-run orphanages and to prosecute complicit or negligent authorities of such institutions.