In May, Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas resigned after one party pulled out of his coalition government, causing a political crisis. In July, Gediminas Kirkilas formed a new government at the head of a four-party minority coalition.
Trafficking of women and girls
Trafficking of women and girls for purposes of sexual exploitation remained a serious problem. According to statistics from the European Police Office, Europol, well over 1,000 women and girls were trafficked abroad annually from Lithuania, primarily to western European countries. Non-governmental organizations reported that the actual number was much higher. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Lithuania was one of the four central and south-eastern European countries where women and girls were at highest risk of being trafficked. In addition to being a country of origin for trafficking victims, Lithuania remained a country of transit and destination, primarily for women and girls from Belarus, Ukraine and the Russian Kaliningrad region.
In February, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) published a report based on findings during a 2004 visit to Lithuania. The CPT reported that it had received several allegations of ill-treatment in detention facilities, supported by medical reports. The CPT also noted that people complaining of ill-treatment could not obtain a forensic medical examination without prior authorization by an investigator or prosecutor, and that the authorities should remedy this.
The CPT stated that conditions in a number of detention facilities were totally unacceptable. It stated that detainees were locked up 24 hours per day in filthy, overcrowded cells, with little or no access to natural light and, in many cases, dim artificial lighting. In some cells, there were no sanitary facilities. Prompt medical screening was not available to people held in police detention centres.