Legislative Trends and New Developments

last updated December 2011

In July 2010, the Moldova Parliament adopted amendments to the penal code that criminalize sexual harassment. Punishment ranges from a fine to a maximum of two years in prison. In particular “sexual advances that affect a person’s dignity or create an unpleasant, hostile, degrading, or humiliating environment in a workplace or educational institution” are outlawed by the new amendments.

The Law on Preventing and Combating Violence in the Family was passed on March 1, 2007, and entered into force 18 September 2008. The new law defines, for the first time, what constitutes domestic violence. The law’s framework states plainly that violence against women is a criminal offense and defines appropriate punishments for perpetrators. The law was amended in 2010 according to Law No. 167. Articles 7, 8, and 11 of Law 45-XVI were supplemented to increase authorities and institutions responsible for preventing and combating family violence and to broaden the victim’s right to protection and services.

In February 2006, the Moldova Parliament adopted the Law on Ensuring Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (Law No. 5-XVI from 09.02.2006). The law stipulates the basic notions of gender equality and presents the institutional framework in which the law is to operate. The law does not, however, address enforcement mechanisms and specific programs for ensuring equal opportunities between women and men. Also, the law does not provide clear procedures for submitting and examining gender-based discrimination complaints or for sanctioning reported cases of discrimination, and it does not establish specific budgets for implementation of the law. Finally, the law does not include any reference to violence against women.

In December 2005, the Criminal Code was amended by Article 362, “Organization of Illegal Migration.” This provision stipulates that “organization, for financial gain, of the illegal entry and/or residence on a state’s territory of a person that is not its citizen or resident” is a criminal offence.  It is punishable by a fine or by imprisonment of three to five years, with deprivation of the right to hold certain positions, to exercise certain activities for one to three years, or by the closure of the organization concerned.

In October 2005, the Moldova Parliament ratified Law No. 241-XVI on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (PDF, 18 pages). The law a) regulates legal relationships concerning the prevention and combating of human trafficking, b) provides a framework for protection of and assistance to victims and c) provides for cooperation of public authorities with NGOs and cooperation with other states and international organizations competent in the field. The law introduces basic principles for combating trafficking, elaborates on a National Plan to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Human Beings (approved for a two-year term), establishes a National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings as the national coordinator of all actors involved in prevention and combating of human trafficking, establishes the Territorial Commissions to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, appoints law enforcement bodies in the field, and stipulates the functions and attributes of all public administration authorities in the field. Regarding protection of and assistance to victims of trafficking, the law identifies the entities that may establish centers for protection, but does not require the creation of such centers, and provides that trafficking victims shall benefit from a minimum package of social and medical assistance. With regard to funds for enforcement of all enumerated measures, the law stipulates, “[u]pon the proposal of authorities responsible for implementing this Law, the budget law shall annually provide necessary funds.”

The new Criminal Code (No. 985-XV) entered into force on 1 January 2003. Articles 165 and 206 explicitly criminalize trafficking in persons and trafficking in children.

Article 165 (1) defines trafficking as the "[r]ecruitment, transportation, transfer, sheltering or reception of a person for the purpose of commercial or non-commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or forms similar to slavery, of using a person in armed conflicts and criminal activities, drawing of human organs or tissues for transplant" when committed using: threats of or actual physical violence or psychological violence (such as abduction, confiscation of documents and debt bondage), deception, or abuse of vulnerability or power. Sentences range from seven years to life imprisonment, depending on the circumstances.

Article 206 punishes trafficking in children for purposes of sexual exploitation, pornography, forced labor, slavery, armed conflict, criminal acts, organ transplantation or abandonment outside of the country. Sentences range from ten to fifteen years. When certain aggravating factors are present, the prison sentence increases incrementally to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.