Georgia has the potential to be a transit country for narcotics flowing from Afghanistan. The “Silk Road” or “Caucuses Route” winds through Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, presenting a stable drug trafficking route from Asia to Europe. This situation has been further compounded by the existence of uncontrolled territories, vestiges of long standing ethno-political conflicts that created transit routes for black market and illicit goods. Following the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia, the new Georgian administration has begun to take steps to make Georgia’s borders less permeable. There have been notable improvements along the Turkish border, the Black Sea coast, and the Russian border that have resulted in major increases in customs revenues. The Ministry of Internal Affairs, which has since merged with the Ministry of State Security to become the Ministry of Police and Public Safety (MPPS), has initiated a vigorous counternarcotics campaign. Unfortunately, statistics for law enforcement activities that resulted in seizures, arrests, and prosecutions for narcotics related crime in the country are scarce and much remains to be done to reduce the trafficking of all illicit goods into and through Georgia. Georgia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and receives assistance from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Georgia is a source and transit country for women and men trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor to destinations such as Russia, Greece, Israel, Turkey, and Western European countries. Evidence suggests that some women from Russia and Ukraine were trafficked to Turkey via Georgia. There are no reports on the full scale of the trafficking problem, and additional information emerged on trafficking of men. According to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, incidents of commercial sexual exploitation of children, particularly for prostitution and pornography, are reportedly increasing, especially among girls.
The Government of Georgia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Georgia has been placed on Tier 2 Watch List because of its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons compared to the previous year, and its commitment to take future steps over the next year. Georgia’s efforts were recognized by its Tier 2 classification in September 2003 following targeted law enforcement actions and increasing public awareness activities. During the latter part of the reporting period, a new government came into power. The changeover in government required reconstituting most government-supported mechanisms. The new government is expected to respond more effectively to institutional weaknesses and corruption which hindered the previous government’s anti-trafficking efforts. The government should create a formalized referral system to NGOs, ensure consistent resources for police and improve protection of victim identity in public fora.
- Newspaper circulation statistics (total circulation and largest paper): Newspapers Kviris Palitra, Qronika, Asaval-Dasavali, and Alia have the largest circulation, although exact numbers are not available. GORBI circulation data from October 2004 show Akhali Versia (Tbilisi) with 7,000, 24 Saati (Tbilisi) with 4,000, Rezonansi (Tbilisi) with 4,000, and Guria News (Chokhatauri) at 4,000.
- Broadcast ratings (top three ranked stations): Rustavi 2: 7.36%; Imedi: 3.07%; State Channel 1: 2.32% IPM-Media 2004 Number of print outlets, radio stations, television stations: NA
- Annual advertising revenue in media sector: According to an estimate by IMP-Media, the television advertising market during the period from January 1, 2004, until December 15, 2004, reached US$10 million. No data are available regarding the size of the advertising market for print media and radio.
- Number of Internet users: 150,500 CIA World Factbook
- Names of news agencies: AP Bureau, Reuters Bureau, BBC World Service, France Press Bureau, Black Sea Press, Novosti Gruzia, Sarke, Sakinformi, GT News (Media Holding Georgian Times), I-Media, Interpress, Infozavri, Info Georgia, Iprinda, Kavazpress, Kontakti, Media News, Prime News yellowpages.ge