Pursuant to section 110(b)(3)(B) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (Div. A. of Public Law 106-386), as amended, the Secretary of State is required to submit to the Congress an Interim Assessment of the progress made in combating trafficking in persons (TIP) by those countries placed on the Special Watch List in September 2010. The evaluation period covers the six months since the drafting of the June 2010 annual report.
This year, 61 countries are on the Special Watch List. These countries either (1) had moved up a tier in the 2010 TIP Report over the last year’s Report; or (2) were ranked on Tier 2 in the 2010 TIP Report, but (a) had a very significant or significantly increasing number of trafficking victims, (b) had failed to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat TIP from the previous year, or (c) were placed on Tier 2 because of commitments to carry out additional future actions over the coming year, placing them on the “Tier 2 Watch List.” Fifty-eight of the 61 countries on the Special Watch List are in the second category, ranked as Tier 2 Watch List, including one country initially ranked as Tier 3 in the June 2009 TIP Report but reassessed as Tier 2 Watch List by the State Department in September 2009 (Swaziland). The Interim Assessment includes an overview of the tier process.
The Interim Assessment is intended to serve as a tool by which to gauge the anti‑trafficking progress of countries which may be in danger of slipping a tier in the upcoming June 2011 TIP Report and to give them guidance on how to avoid a Tier 3 ranking. It is a tightly focused progress report, assessing the concrete actions a government has taken to address the key deficiencies highlighted in the June 2010 TIP Report. The Interim Assessment covers actions undertaken between the beginning of May – the cutoff for data covered in the June TIP Report – and November. Readers are requested to refer to the annual TIP Report for an analysis of large-scale efforts and a description of the trafficking problem in each particular country or territory.
The Department placed each of the countries or territories included in the 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report into one of the three lists, described here as tiers, mandated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, as amended (TVPA). This placement reflects an evaluation of a government’s actions to combat trafficking. The Department first evaluates whether the government fully complies with the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Countries whose governments do so are placed in Tier 1. For other countries, the Department considers whether their governments made significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance. Countries whose governments are making significant efforts to meet the minimum standards are placed in Tier 2. Those countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so are placed in Tier 3. Finally, the Special Watch List criteria are considered and, if applicable, Tier 2 countries are placed on the Tier 2 Watch List.
Tier 1: Countries and territories whose governments fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards.
Tier 2: Countries and territories whose governments do not fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.
Tier 2 Special Watch List: Countries and territories whose governments do not fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards, and:
a) The absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is increasing significantly; or
b) There is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year; or
c) The determination that a country or territory is making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country or territory to take additional future steps over the next year.
Tier 3: Countries and territories whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.
As required by the TVPA, in making tier determinations between Tiers 2 and 3, the Department considers the overall extent of human trafficking in the country; the extent of government noncompliance with the minimum standards, particularly the extent to which government officials have participated in, facilitated, condoned, or are otherwise complicit in trafficking; and what reasonable measures the government would have to take to come into compliance with the minimum standards within the government’s resources and capabilities.
The Government of Cameroon demonstrated modest progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the 2010 TIP Report. The government collaborated with the regional office of Interpol to improve its ability to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses; however, it has not reported any investigations of suspected trafficking offenses or convictions of trafficking offenders under its child trafficking or forced labor laws. In October, a suspected trafficker was charged and convicted to a five-year sentence for the separate crime of kidnapping in the North West Region. The government has not completed or enacted a draft law criminalizing the trafficking of adults, which it committed to doing following the passage of its 2005 Law Relating to the Fight against Child Trafficking and Slavery.
Members of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization, the General Delegation for National Security, and the National Gendarmerie have made little progress on investigations into reports of hereditary servitude in northern Cameroon, and have struggled to obtain proof of this practice, which traditional leaders say has ceased. In November, the Prime Minister established an inter-ministerial committee, composed of both government officials and civil society representatives, whose role will be to coordinate the government’s efforts to prevent and combat human trafficking. In December 2010, the inter-ministerial committee approved a document outlining Cameroon’s strategy to implement its Trafficking in Persons Action Plan.
Central African Republic
The Government of the Central African Republic demonstrated modest progress to combat trafficking in persons since the release of the 2010 TIP Report. The government completed its review of the Family Code and has submitted it for validation to the National Assembly. Under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office, the government in recent months began the process of establishing the National Council for the Protection of Children that will be composed of committees to address specific topics related to child exploitation. The Prime Minister’s office, with UNICEF’s assistance, conducted meetings with relevant government ministries, NGOs, and international organizations and conducted a national workshop to formalize the structure of the Council in November 2010. The Council has several TIP-specific committees which will address the issues of the sexual exploitation of children, child soldiers, and child labor. The Council will formally enter into existence after the Prime Minister signs the draft decree to establish it.
The government did not increase efforts to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, though the government’s presence outside the capital remained very limited, restricting its capacity to do so. The government did not provide care to children in commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor or undertake efforts to educate the public about the dangers of human trafficking.
The Government of Chad made modest progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report. Chad’s draft comprehensive anti-trafficking law remains pending with the Supreme Court, which is conducting a review of its compliance with applicable international conventions ratified by the government. It is unclear when the bill will be enacted. In October, 25 officials from the Ministries of Justice, Interior, and Defense and law enforcement services participated in an IOM-facilitated anti-trafficking training. The government did not report any investigations of, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences for trafficking offenses.
The Government of Chad ended all child conscription into its national army and continued to engage in efforts to demobilize all remaining child soldiers from the army and rebel forces. During the past six months, there was no evidence of children in any combat or armed-training activities conducted by the national security forces. In June 2010, the government and UNICEF co-hosted a conference to focus Central African governments on the need to eliminate the practice of child soldiering and commit to providing care and rehabilitation for demobilized children. The conference culminated in the signing of the “N'Djamena Declaration,” wherein the Government of Chad, together with five other African governments, pledged to end unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers, cooperate with one another and international institutions, provide rehabilitation assistance to victims, and develop a follow-on working group to implement their pledges. In the days before the conference, the government facilitated the release of 45 child soldiers by rebel groups into UNICEF's care, including 30 from the northwestern Tibesti-based MDJT (Movement pour la Democratie et Justice au Tchad), with whom the government had recently signed a peace agreement, and an additional 15 presumed children affiliated with the FPRN (Front Populaire pour la Renaissance Nationale). In partnership with the United Nations, the government began development of an official action plan to address the issue of child soldiers in Chad.
To follow-up on training on the rights and protection of children received by Chadian armed forces in June 2009, the Ministry of Social Action sponsored a workshop in November 2010 to continue the process of creating a cadre of human rights trainers in the national military and raising awareness of the illegality of using children in armed conflict. As a result of the government’s successful awareness campaigns among its own forces and rebel groups over the past year and a half, the first group of female child soldiers entered the UNICEF-led rehabilitation and reintegration process in the second half of 2010.
Republic of the Congo
The Government of the Republic of the Congo has made progress in combating trafficking since the release of the June 2010 Report and demonstrated a commitment to strengthen its capacity in the areas of prevention, protection and prosecution. The President signed the Child Protection Code into law in June 2010, which both prohibits and prescribes punishment for offenses against children, including trafficking, prostitution, forced labor, pornography, negligence, and other abuses. This law is the first to explicitly outlaw child trafficking in the Republic of the Congo. Based on its 2009-2010 national anti-trafficking action plan, the government continued to work with NGOs, community leaders, faith-based organizations, law enforcement, legal specialists, and an international organization on raising awareness of child trafficking in local communities, victim identification, and victim assistance.
The Ministry of Social Affairs, specifically the Direction Departementale des Affaires Sociales (DDAS), continued to lead the implementation of the national anti-trafficking action plan. The government allocated $100,000 to DDAS for anti-trafficking work in its 2011 budget, which marks the first time the department has had a budget earmarked for this activity. Over the past year, DDAS coordinated with police and judicial officials on repatriation, mostly to Benin, of 13 child trafficking victims that were identified by a local NGO and subsequently placed in temporary foster families. The government provided some funding to support the care of these children in foster families. During the same time period, DDAS partnered with an NGO, the Pointe Noire Mayor’s office, media outlets, community leaders, religious leaders, and a fishing community organization on anti-trafficking awareness campaigns utilizing radio and television announcements, door-to-door visits, religious gatherings, market radio, and theater productions. In addition to these efforts, DDAS held a workshop in July for 30 participants from NGOs, the religious community, the legal community, and border police on the following subjects: identity and dignity of children; mandatory education; economic exploitation of children; and border permeability. Despite these efforts, the government did not conduct training for law enforcement officials on how to identify suspected traffickers, detain them under relevant laws, or conduct thorough investigations. During the last six months, the government also did not provide training for social workers and law enforcement officials on the identification of trafficking victims among vulnerable groups, such as street children, illegal immigrants, or women in prostitution.
In December, the Ministry of Social Affairs and a delegation from the Government of Benin met in Brazzaville to discuss the technical aspects of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was expected to be signed by mid-February 2011. The MOU would facilitate repatriation of trafficked children to Benin, which is the country of origin for the majority of trafficked victims in the Congo.
The Government of the Côte D’Ivoire made progress to combat trafficking in persons since the release of the 2010 TIP Report. In September 2010, the country’s National Assembly approved a bill on trafficking in persons and the worst forms of child labor. The bill criminalizes human trafficking and provides a specific framework for the prosecution of human traffickers, the first of its kind in the country.
The government failed, however, to increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict trafficking offenders, particularly those who exploit children in the commercial sex trade or in forced labor, including in the agricultural sector. The government did not develop a formal procedure through which law enforcement and other government officials identify trafficking victims among women and girls in prostitution. Moreover, the government did not train law enforcement officials to follow established procedures to identify potential trafficking victims and refer them to protective services, nor did it investigate reports that police harass undocumented foreign women in prostitution, rather than screening for trafficking victims.
The Government of Equatorial Guinea made modest progress in combating human trafficking since the release of the 2010 TIP Report. In June, the Superior Civil Court in Bata convicted an army officer and two additional smugglers under the 2004 Law on the Smuggling of Migrants and Trafficking in Persons, sentencing them to 15 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $33,680. While specific details of this case are unavailable, those familiar with the proceedings suggested that the crimes included elements of human trafficking. In November, the government co-sponsored two one-week anti-trafficking training workshops, one in Malabo and one in Bata. Several ministers and vice-ministers, including the Vice-Minister of the Interior and the Director General for Human Rights, attended the opening sessions of the workshops. In total, 50 people received training, including 11 law enforcement officers and officials from the Justice, Social Affairs, and Foreign Affairs ministries.
The government did not establish a formal system to refer victims to care providers, though the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Promotion of Women put forward a proposal to the government’s Social Development Fund to prioritize funding for the establishment of a network of shelters for women and children, including TIP victims. The government neither provided care for nor ceased summary deportation of foreign trafficking victims.
The Government of Gabon has made significant progress to combat trafficking since the release of the June 2010 Report. In September, the government acceded to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol. The Ministry of Justice is now forming an Inter-Ministerial working group that will amend its current child trafficking law to include prohibitions against the trafficking of adults. Several ministries put forth a proposal to the Council of Ministers to change the court venue for the hearing of trafficking cases from the High Court to the lower courts given the infrequency of the High Court’s sessions (once a year).
The government used Law 09/04, its anti-child trafficking statute, to investigate or prosecute trafficking offenses. The Government requested Interpol assistance in a joint operation that resulted in the identification and rescue of 165 child trafficking victims and the arrest of 49 alleged traffickers in December. After preliminary investigations, the police recommended charges against 38 suspects comprising 10 nationalities, some of whom will be charged under Law 09/04 and others under articles in the labor code. This joint operation demonstrated close inter-ministerial cooperation. Magistrates manned the mission’s Operations Center to guide both police operations and interviews of suspects. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues to coordinate with Interpol, UNICEF, and foreign embassies on the repatriation of the children, while the Ministries of Justice, Social Affairs, Labor, and Interior are coordinating the preparation of cases for trial. The Inter-Ministerial Committee recently distributed the government’s manual for handling trafficking victims to all relevant ministries and conducted a joint door-to-door public awareness raising campaign in Libreville, in conjunction with other ministries and law enforcement officials. The government formed an anti-sex trafficking task force in advance of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations Soccer Tournament, which will be co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. Additionally, in November, the Ministry of Labor launched a “door-to-door” awareness campaign aimed at educating local leaders and residents about human trafficking and reporting the crime to local community leaders and law enforcement.
The Transition Government of Guinea made limited progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. Virtually all of the government’s attention and funding were focused on holding the country’s first democratic presidential elections which were completed in November.
The government did not increase efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses and convict and punish trafficking offenders. No new prosecutions or convictions were reported; 12 cases remain pending. A Child Code signed into law in December 2009 included an increase in penalties for the trafficking of children to 10 years in prison, but there is ambiguity over the authority of the Code, as some NGO observers believe that it must have an implementing text in order to be enforced. The government, although it has no plans to create such a text, maintains that the Code holds legal authority in its current form. In June 2010, the Ministry of Social Affairs represented the government at an IOM conference on reforming Guinea’s anti-trafficking laws. This gathering of NGOs, international organizations, and government officials yielded a draft law including a proposed criminal prohibition on the trafficking of adults. The timeframe for presentation in a future National Assembly session is unknown, as the date for legislative elections has not been set yet.
The government took steps to work more closely with NGOs and international organizations in caring for trafficking victims, especially minors. The National Committee to Fight against Trafficking in Persons reported that, since March, it has trained security forces and prosecutors about the fight against trafficking in persons and, with funding from UNICEF, given seminars to train members of the National Committee. However, the role played by the government in these efforts is uncertain. A point person within the Ministry of Social Affairs coordinated with local and international NGOs to repatriate children victims of trafficking to Mali and Sierra Leone, and to return Guinean children to their home villages. On a local level, police referred children rescued from traffickers to NGOs.
The Government of Guinea-Bissau demonstrated negligible progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. The government did not enact a draft law prohibiting trafficking in persons; however, in August, it shared a copy of the draft with several local and international NGOs for comment and advice. The government coordinated with several NGOs sponsoring anti-trafficking public awareness campaigns, but did not play a financial role in those efforts. Bissau-Guinean civilian officials have focused the bulk of their attention on obtaining resources to restore basic services following a year in which assassinations, illegal arrests, and other extra-legal activity by the military continuously threatened the country’s stability.
The government did not investigate whether girls are trafficked internally and to Senegal for involuntary domestic servitude, and did not report any prosecutions or convictions under trafficking-related or forced labor laws. Although a government official verbally expressed a willingness to implement the draft anti-trafficking national plan, the government failed to do so. Government efforts at law enforcement, including anti-trafficking efforts, were hampered by under-resourced law enforcement bodies, corruption, and the ill effects of the burgeoning cocaine trade.
The Government of Lesotho made progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. The government expanded its capacity for an effective national anti-trafficking strategy when the country’s Parliament passed an Anti-Trafficking in Persons law in December 2010. The bill criminalizes human trafficking and provides a specific framework for the prosecution of human traffickers, the first of its kind in the country. The Ministry of Gender and Youth Sports and Recreation established a facility to provide legal and social services to victims of gender-based violence, domestic violence, and human trafficking in Maseru in August. The center is located in the urban capital city near other essential resources. Residents from rural areas are able to reach the center, and NGOs have proposed plans to open similar centers in all 10 districts of Lesotho. The passage of the anti-trafficking legislation clears the way for the Multi-Sectoral Committee to finalize a National Action Plan, which had been delayed since June, awaiting the passage of the national anti-trafficking bill. Work on finalizing the national plan is slated to resume in early 2011.
In mid 2010, the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) began to track trafficking-related cases in their database. Before passage of the trafficking in persons bill, trafficking offenders had been convicted and punished under other domestic laws. In 2009, the Government of Lesotho prosecuted 84 trafficking-related cases this way. Currently, 22 trafficking-related cases are under investigation, involving men and women in forced labor and sex trafficking. A course on trafficking in persons is now a required portion of the Police Training College curriculum. Two trainings for law enforcement officers and agencies were held, one led by a U.S. government speaker and one led by UNODC, with presenters from the Government of Lesotho.
Police in Lesotho and South Africa began meeting monthly to discuss cross-border crimes, including human trafficking. The Ministry of Labor and Employment has forged a partnership with the Department of Labor in South Africa to monitor and regulate conditions of employment. Additionally, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Public Safety entered a partnership with its South African counterpart to hold annual sensitization campaigns on gender-based violence in the border regions, which included a portion on TIP. Some of these programs have used radio and published media, some targeted university, high school, and primary school students, and others involved distribution of materials at the border.
The de facto Government of Madagascar has not made combating human trafficking a priority since the release of the 2010 TIP Report and has made no visible progress in combating the problem. It did not issue a Presidential decree to codify and mandate the use of the anti-trafficking law at the provincial level. Law enforcement officials are unclear as to which law to use in addressing trafficking-related crimes and have not used Anti-Trafficking Law No. 2007-038 to prosecute human trafficking offenses. There have been no attempts to compile law enforcement data on trafficking cases, interview potential victims, or refer victims for assistance. Coordination between governmental departments on these issues remains lacking.
Though the de facto government instituted a ban on sending Malagasy workers to Lebanon in November 2009, it continued to issue an unknown number of “special authorizations” for travel to the country and did little to assist Malagasy trafficking victims exploited in Lebanon. The de facto government planned to send a delegation to Lebanon in late 2010 to renegotiate the terms of contracts for Malagasy workers, but by year’s end, a delegation had not yet been sent.
The Government of Mali demonstrated some progress to combat trafficking in persons since the release of the 2010 TIP Report, including improving its data collection ability for tracking trafficking cases. As result of this effort, the government was able to provide previously unreported data.
The government prosecuted one case of agricultural forced labor in March 2010, which resulted in an acquittal. A technical advisor at the Ministry of Justice undertook the research that yielded the case summaries for the current and previous cases. The Ministry is making additional improvements to its system for collecting data and disseminating information on trafficking crimes.
In the National Assembly’s October session, the government introduced a bill which would criminalize all forms of human trafficking, including traditional/hereditary slavery. The National Assembly commenced debate on this bill at the end of November but adjourned without voting on the legislation, as the priority of the November session was to pass the national budget. The anti-trafficking in persons bill has been added to the docket for the April 2011 National Assembly session.
The government took steps to streamline the existing inter-ministerial committee on trafficking in persons; a decree formalizing the inter-ministerial process and codifying specific roles is awaiting approval from the Secretary General of the Prime Minister’s Office. The National Directorate for the Protection of Children, housed within the Ministry of Women and Children, maintains data on the trafficking victims it assists in repatriating but has not released information on these figures after 2009. The government did not make efforts to enhance victim identification. Although the Ministry of Women and Children continued to conduct a public awareness campaign on child labor and child trafficking in the zone with the highest prevalence of forced agricultural labor, the government did not increase efforts to raise public awareness about trafficking and traditional hereditary servitude in other parts of the country.
The Government of Mozambique has made some progress in addressing human trafficking since the release of the 2010 TIP Report. In the past six months, the Judicial Tribunal of Manica and Zambezia Provinces prosecuted four cases it classified as human trafficking, leading to the conviction of eight trafficking offenders under the Law on Preventing and Combating the Traffic in People. While the anti-trafficking unit of the Criminal Investigative Police continues to investigate suspected trafficking offenses and the Women and Children Victim Assistance Program, responsible for the victim support units, provides limited assistance to victims, both entities require additional resources to replicate their programming in all provinces. A national anti-trafficking awareness campaign has not yet been launched by any ministry.
Law enforcement complicity in human trafficking remains a problem. In April, for example, 29 illegal Somali migrants were arrested while being transported in two minibuses, one of which was driven by an off-duty police officer. In addition, two policemen were arrested, accused of accepting bribes and facilitating the movement of illegal migrants. Some of those migrants are likely victims of human trafficking. Despite these arrests, the government has made little effort to investigate or prosecute its officials suspected of complicity with human trafficking crimes.
The Transition Government of Niger has demonstrated limited progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. Government officials have been focused on effecting a smooth transition from military rule established by a coup d’etat to a democratically elected government and electoral process to restore democracy, including popularizing a draft constitution and encouraging voter turnout in favor of the referendum on October 31.
In June, the Niger branch of the Coalition of African NGOs Working with Children lodged a complaint that led to the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of two people under the corruption of minors statute for trafficking five girls under the age of 15 for use by a prostitution ring. The trafficking offenders each received a six-month suspended sentence and a 50,000 CFA ($ 100) fine. In July, a judge denied child custody to a female former slave, instead awarding custody to the father of the children, the woman’s former owner. She appealed this verdict but no date has been set for a second trial. The country’s new constitution, approved by referendum on October 31, includes a provision against slavery. In November 2010, a technical committee within the Prime Minister’s office examined and updated draft comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, which has been pending since 2007. In December, the transition government announced the adoption of an anti-TIP law. However, the text has not been made public and it is unclear whether the legislation is new or a completion of the 2007 draft.
The government did not take steps to raise public awareness about the law criminalizing traditional slavery. It did, however, make efforts to raise awareness about other forms of trafficking. In May, the Ministry of Justice provided one day of training to law enforcement officers on migrants’ rights, trafficking prevention, and victim protection. In August, the government, with support from UNICEF, held a town hall meeting to raise awareness of child trafficking among community leaders, neighborhood wardens, civil society representatives, and law enforcement officials. Following this session, authorities, with the support of UNICEF, created several “vigilance committees” to track and report suspected cases of child trafficking. Representatives from the Ministries of Defense and Justice spoke at the opening and closing ceremonies of a capacity-building training held by an NGO for police, gendarmes, and the National Guard on the protection of human rights, including trafficking in persons.
The Government of Senegal has demonstrated significant progress combating trafficking in persons since the release of the 2010 TIP Report. In August, the Ministry of Justice sent a memo to Senegalese prosecutors, criticizing them for under-utilizing the 2005 Law to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Related Practices and to Protect Victims by investigating and prosecuting human trafficking cases under other articles of Senegal’s criminal code. The Minister of Justice then tasked local prosecutors with submitting a monthly report on all law enforcement and judicial efforts regarding human trafficking.
The government increased prosecutions of traffickers who subject children to conditions of forced labor, with emphasis on trafficking cases rather than smuggling operations. In September, nine Koranic school teachers were arrested and prosecuted under Senegal’s anti-trafficking law for forcing children to beg for money. All nine teachers were convicted and received various individual sentences of six months’ suspended imprisonment, five years’ probation and a fine, or one month imprisonment and five years’ probation. In November 2010, the government arrested and prosecuted, under Senegal’s anti-trafficking law, a Nigerian man in Tambacounda for bringing Nigerian women to Senegal and forcing them into prostitution. The court convicted the man for pimping with a sentence of six months, but acquitted him on the more serious charge of trafficking in persons. The government is appealing the acquittal.
The government continues to care for Koranic students – known as talibés – victimized by forced begging, as well as child victims of other types of exploitation–through a series of initiatives, including the GINDDI Center, operated by the Ministry of Family, and its 24 hour hotline. In November, the Senegalese first lady opened an NGO-run shelter in Dakar. The shelter, which will house 25 street children who may include victims of trafficking, was built on land donated by the district mayor and funded in part with money from the Senegalese government.
In August, the Prime Minister chaired an inter-ministerial meeting to implement the country’s National Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons. During this meeting, the Prime Minister announced the creation of a national task force charged with managing all public awareness campaigns and ensuring coordination among relevant ministries and authorities in suspected cases of trafficking. The government is drafting the regulations governing the task force’s operations and has sent letters to the relevant ministries instructing them to select representatives to serve on the committee. In September, the government created a Ministry of Human Rights, subordinate to the Ministry of Justice, tasked with preventing and monitoring all forms of human rights violations, including trafficking and violence against women and children.
The Government of Swaziland has demonstrated significant progress in its anti-trafficking efforts since the release of the 2010 TIP Report, committing high level interest and attention to the issue. The continued work of the Interagency Taskforce and the formation and training of an emergency response team show the political will and coordinated effort the government is making to address trafficking in persons. Despite these improvements, the need for additional professional-level training for law enforcement and prosecutors remains necessary to ensure proper interpretation and effective implementation of the 2009 anti-trafficking law.
The cabinet-appointed Interagency Taskforce for Prevention of People Trafficking and People Smuggling, created in July 2009 but officially launched by the Prime Minister in March 2010, increased cooperation with NGOs and international organizations, conducted public awareness events, and served as a forum for the collection of law enforcement and victim assistance data. Members of the Taskforce are participating in NGO-led research on human trafficking in the country, examination of current legislation, and development of victim assistance programs. During the August 2010 Reed Dances in Ludzidzini and Nhlangano, the Taskforce conducted civic education and showed films on human trafficking, with teachers and police also conducting question and answer sessions; similar activities were conducted at the Swaziland International Trade Fair. In October, the government established a secretariat to coordinate the activities of the Taskforce and to serve as the lead for the government’s anti-trafficking efforts. The government also formed a Day of the African Child Committee, which included NGOs that presented anti-human trafficking information during regional celebrations in June.
To assist in victim identification, the Deputy Prime Minister launched the Prevention of People Trafficking and People Smuggling Toll-free Hotline in June, which successfully referred at least five suspected cases of human trafficking to the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office for investigation. The government also formalized one of the Taskforce subcommittees into an emergency response team, which uses a referral system to handle cases reported to the toll-free hotline; the referral system links police, NGOs, and the Departments of Immigration, Social Welfare, and Customs and Excise. The Taskforce organized three workshops, funded and conducted by outside entities, to train on identifying and working with victims, cooperating with NGOs, investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases, and trial preparation.
The Government of Tanzania made limited progress since the release of the June 2010 Report towards implementation of its Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, as the government was largely focused on the October 2010 national elections and subsequent naming of the new cabinet. During this period, however, the government successfully prosecuted its first two cases under its anti-trafficking legislation. In August, a court in Mwanza used both the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2008 and the Penal Code to convict a Kenyan trader of human trafficking and abduction after he attempted to sell a Kenyan man with albinism to a Tanzanian businessman for $263,300 for the purpose of exploitation. This conviction resulted in a combined sentence of 17 years’ imprisonment or a fine of $119,600; he is currently serving his prison sentence. In September, a separate court in Mwanza region convicted a man of human trafficking for abducting two children from Isebania, Kenya and attempting to sell them at a mining site in Nyamongo area (Tarime District). He was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment.
In June, the national police named a new focal point on trafficking after a gap in coverage of the issue and established a Trafficking Desk. The Desk worked closely with counterparts in other law enforcement agencies, such as immigration, to respond to trafficking crimes. Nonetheless, police and immigration officials continue to find it difficult to distinguish human trafficking from smuggling. The police did not receive any reports of internal trafficking, likely attributable to the low level of understanding among the general public about the crime.
In June, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs formally transferred the chairmanship of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Human Trafficking to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare’s Department of Social Welfare. At the hand-over meeting, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the lead ministry for implementation of the anti-trafficking legislation, agreed to manage the process of drafting the regulations required to fully implement the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act. However, it could not begin this work without the approval of the Anti-Trafficking Committee or supporting Secretariat. Although the relevant ministries have named their representatives to the committee, the body has not officially been convened nor has the president appointed the Secretary, as required by the Act.
The government did not establish a fund to support trafficking victims. The government made no progress in compiling trafficking-specific law enforcement and victim protection data at the national level.
EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
The Government of Brunei demonstrated limited progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. In November 2010, the government announced its plans to create an anti-trafficking unit within the Royal Brunei Police Force. The government began to use its 2004 anti-trafficking in persons law to prosecute a smuggling case, but has yet to prosecute a trafficking offender using this law. The government increased regional coordination and participated in anti-trafficking training jointly organized with the French government, but did not yet adopt proactive procedures to identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable groups. The government publicized in local media the arrest and conviction of pimps, but did not report implementing an anti-trafficking awareness campaign directed at employers of foreign workers and clients of the sex trade. Government-influenced newspapers published articles on problems facing foreign workers, such as the non-payment of wages.
The Government of China made progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. China did not revise its National Plan of Action or revise its laws to criminalize all forms and means of trafficking in persons, but in August 2010, the government drafted amendments to its criminal code to raise the sentence for forcing others to work from three years to seven years’ imprisonment and fines. China did not disaggregate data on trafficking cases and its definitions differ from international standards. Therefore, the results of China’s law enforcement efforts against human trafficking since June 2010 are unclear. Chinese authorities reported an increase in rescue of women victims of trafficking crimes, as well as reported an increase in prosecution against those who traffic women.
Media sources report several arrests and convictions for offenses that constitute trafficking, with sentences ranging from five years’ imprisonment to death penalties. In early 2010, three Chinese police officers were sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for complicity in sex trafficking. Chinese authorities, however, have not reported broader efforts to actively investigate, prosecute, and convict government officials complicit in trafficking crimes. Central government authorities provided guidelines to local judicial officers on strengthening sentences for convicted traffickers and arranged training seminars. The Ministry of Public Security in the first half of 2010 used anti-trafficking training materials from IOM to train new police recruits. Memoranda of Understanding between the Yunnan provincial government and the Governments of Laos, Burma, and Vietnam reportedly have improved cross-border police coordination. In July and September, China signed law enforcement agreements with Vietnam, the United Kingdom and South Africa. However, it is unclear how these agreements will be used to cooperate on human trafficking. Chinese officials met with ASEAN, French, and British police agencies to discuss transnational crime, including human trafficking, which may increase cooperation on international TIP cases in the future. China in 2010 provided modest support for Chinese trafficking victims abroad. China maintains a national DNA database that, among other uses, could help reunite child victims of trafficking with their parents, but it is unclear how many trafficking victims have been identified and reunited with their parents since June.
China made progress in protecting victims of trafficking, but overall problems remain. Since June 2010, police reported continuing to rescue small numbers of people from illegal brick kilns during government inspections of targeted workplaces. The government instructed Public Security Bureaus to screen women in prostitution in order to identify trafficking victims, but did not institute formal proactive procedures throughout the country to systematically identify victims of trafficking. The Ministry of Public Security instructed police to treat all persons in prostitution as trafficking victims during the course of investigations. Local authorities continued to receive training on shelter management. China continued to forcibly repatriate North Korean refugees, including those found to be trafficked; however, media reports note that China arrested and prosecuted individuals found to be trafficking in North Korean refugees. It is unclear whether China devoted significantly increased resources to victim protection efforts, including funding for shelters equipped to assist victims of trafficking. It did not report expanding counseling, medical, reintegration, and other rehabilitative services to all trafficking victims, including victims of forced labor or Chinese victims trafficked abroad. The government similarly did not report efforts to expand legal assistance programs to assist both foreign and Chinese victims. China continued to devote most of its resources into prevention of trafficking, prosecution, and detection of human trafficking cases.
The Government of China sustained progress in raising awareness of trafficking in persons. The Ministry of Public Security Inter-Ministerial Meeting Office Against Human Trafficking (IMOAT) met in March 2010 to coordinate the government’s anti-trafficking efforts. The quasi-governmental organization All China Women’s Federation worked with the ILO to incorporate safe migration messages into school curricula. In January 2010, the government launched a program to disseminate anti-trafficking information in train stations and through media such as cell phones, television, and the internet. Crackdowns on the commercial sex industry are reportedly aimed to reduce demand for prostitution. China undertook poverty alleviation measures and a population survey that could in the long term reduce the flow of internal migrants who are vulnerable to trafficking and increase official knowledge of migration patterns.
The Government of Fiji demonstrated significant progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the 2010 TIP Report. In the first successful prosecution relying on the criminal prohibition of trafficking in Fiji’s 2009 Crimes Decree, a Fijian court in November 2010 convicted an Indian national for the forced labor of seven Indian nationals and sentenced him to six years’ imprisonment. The Indian migrants had been recruited for work in Fiji under false pretences. The government provided them with temporary visas for the duration of the trial and plane tickets for their return to India after the trial’s conclusion. In July, the Fiji Police established a dedicated anti-trafficking police unit. The police began an investigation into a suspected sex trafficking case. The Cabinet has not yet finalized and approved a government-wide National Action Plan to combat trafficking that was drafted in July2010. The government has not yet implemented a visible anti-trafficking awareness campaign directed at clients of children in commercial sexual exploitation.
The Government of Kiribati demonstrated limited progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the 2010 TIP Report. The government has not drafted or enacted comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, nor has it made efforts to establish formal procedures for the identification of trafficking victims and the referring of these victims to protective services. In January, the Ministry of Internal and Social Affairs began public outreach through a weekly radio show on the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
The Government of Laos demonstrated some progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. A Vientiane court convicted four individuals for trafficking 56 Lao nationals to Malaysia including the in absentia conviction of a Malaysian man who reportedly bribed his way out of prison where he had been detained pending trial. The government did not report any efforts to combat trafficking-related complicity by government officials. A court in Savannakhet province convicted and sentenced four sex trafficking offenders for trafficking three victims to Thailand. The four traffickers were sentenced to substantial prison terms. The government did not report prosecuting any cases of internal trafficking. The government did not create or implement formal victim identification procedures or train police and border officials to identify trafficking victims. In November 2010, Champassak Province signed an agreement with its neighboring Thai province to enhance cooperation on human trafficking. In September 2010, the Lao Youth Union hosted a seminar on human trafficking.
The Government of Malaysia demonstrated limited progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the 2010 TIP Report. The government reported convicting nine individuals of trafficking in persons by means of threat or force and sentencing each to three to six years’ imprisonment since June. Three of these convictions were for labor trafficking. Despite these convictions, the government has yet to properly address labor trafficking or to significantly improve its care and treatment of all trafficking victims. The trial of one immigration official arrested in July 2009 for his alleged involvement in the trafficking of Burmese refugees remains ongoing. The government arrested seven immigration officials for smuggling-related activities in November 2010.
The government has not yet developed or implemented formal procedures to identify labor trafficking victims among vulnerable groups, such as migrant workers, in order to refer them to available protection services. However, training of first responders has resulted in more effective screening of potential TIP victims. Trafficking victims identified by the Malaysian government continued to be placed in shelters that are effectively detention centers. Detention in these facilities served as a disincentive for victims to cooperate in prosecutions against their traffickers. Prosecutors at the Attorney General's Chambers cited lack of cooperation as a leading cause for their poor track record on securing TIP convictions; of the 28 cases brought under the Anti-TIP Act since March 31, 2010, nine resulted in convictions and 19 resulted in acquittals. The government continued to increase its partnerships with NGOs, including through collaboration on training. However, improved coordination between the government and NGOs on labor trafficking cases is necessary. Despite numerous referrals of labor trafficking cases from NGOs in the past year, the government has not effectively addressed forced labor. The government continued training officials in several ministries on anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. The government would benefit from better training on labor trafficking and victim protection efforts. In November 2010, the government enacted new amendments to the 2007 law that placed people smuggling offenses into the Anti-Trafficking law. Some observers view the new Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act as a setback to Malaysia’s anti-trafficking efforts as co-locating these different laws into one Act could serve to conflate the issues and result in poorer treatment of TIP victims.
The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) demonstrated modest progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. The government has said that it is aware of the need for development of laws on trafficking in persons, but has not yet enacted legislation that prohibits trafficking in all four states of FSM. The government reported that in October 2010 it established a human trafficking working group chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make policy recommendations regarding trafficking, which according to the government would include monitoring the practices of overseas employment recruiters or investigate recruiters who may be involved in trafficking. The government has not yet reported on efforts to improve support mechanisms for victims of trafficking. The government has not yet developed a prevention campaign to educate the public and raise awareness about the dangers of trafficking.
The Government of the Philippines demonstrated significant progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the 2010 TIP Report. Philippine prosecutors and NGO lawyers convicted nine sex trafficking offenders, with prison sentences ranging from six years to life imprisonment. The government, however, has yet to obtain a labor trafficking conviction since the 2003 anti-trafficking law’s enactment. In June, the Department of Justice ordered prosecutors to make trafficking cases a priority, and on October 26, the Supreme Court issued a circular calling courts to expedite the disposition of trafficking cases and requiring that cases be decided within 180 days of arraignment.
In September, prosecutors filed criminal charges against an immigration official for facilitating the departure of undocumented overseas Filipino workers headed for the Middle East. The case is still pending. The government has filed administrative charges against 19 immigration personnel accused of other acts of trafficking-related complicity. Criminal charges have yet to be filed. The government in July increased staffing of the inter-agency anti-trafficking task force at Manila’s international airport and assigned social workers to the task force to improve victim identification and assistance, resulting in several successful interceptions of suspected trafficking victims and the filing of four criminal cases. The government also established anti-trafficking air and seaport task forces in five additional regions. The National Bureau of Investigation increased staffing for its Anti Human Trafficking Division and created a new anti-TIP task force in Angeles City that arrested six traffickers in three successful raids in September. The Bureau of Immigration blocked the departure from the country of over 21,000 international airline passengers who were not properly documented and believed to be at risk for illegal recruitment and trafficking; 54 cases were referred to the airport anti-trafficking task force for further investigation. The Philippine Government increased training and public awareness efforts on trafficking, including for judicial officials, diplomats, civil society groups, and overseas foreign workers. In December, the Philippine Congress appropriated over $1 million in the 2011 national budget to, for the first time, fund the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking and the Department of Social Welfare and Development's anti-trafficking programs.
The Government of Singapore demonstrated limited progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. The government reported investigating 21 potential trafficking cases between January and October 2010, though it did not report any new sex or labor trafficking prosecutions or convictions. According to the Singapore government, cases investigated for trafficking may be charged under a range of statutes, including fraud, but did not report any such cases since June.
The government amended the Employment Agencies Act to allow the Ministry of Manpower to hold unlicensed employment agencies accountable for the same malpractices that violate workers’ rights as licensed employment agencies. In August 2010, the Ministry of Manpower formally established a Directorate to better coordinate action against companies and labor-supplying syndicates that set up non-existing companies and to provide assistance, including recovery of salary and change of employment, to those workers that were victims of these enterprises.
The government facilitated anti-trafficking training opportunities for its police force. The Singapore Police Force began compiling a new handbook for law enforcement officers, drawing on best practices shared by international partners.
The government, through the Ministry of Manpower, offers legal advice to workers with labor-related claims. Free legal representation is provided by NGOs, which are not financially supported by public funds, but act in cooperation with the Ministry of Manpower. Some victims reportedly are deported before they can move their cases forward. The government continued its outreach to NGOs and foreign diplomatic missions in Singapore, though progress in addressing sex trafficking was limited. Nevertheless, collaboration on labor issues related to back wages remained strong.
Between January and October 2010, the government revoked the licenses, forfeited the security deposits, and fined three employment agencies for withholding workers’ passports. The Singaporean government has not reported an increase in the number of referrals of victims to service providers. Government-linked Singapore media reported on trafficking conferences held at universities. The government did not report other efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.
Taiwan authorities have made progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. From January through September 2010, Taiwan prosecutors charged 93 people for sex trafficking offenses and 88 for forced labor offenses. Authorities also prosecuted and convicted 95 individuals for sex trafficking and 68 for forced labor; sentences for those convicted ranged from less than six months to 15 years’ imprisonment. In October 2010, Taiwan’s judicial branch began drafting a manual to increase judges’ familiarity with human trafficking-related laws, victim witness procedures, and service resources.
Taiwan also continued to make progress in protecting victims of trafficking. Authorities conducted eight training sessions on victim identification for more than 500 law enforcement officials across the island. Additional trainings – including the training of over 200 judges, prosecutors, social workers, and NGOs in November 2010 – focused on victim care and stabilization, as well as issues of evidence collection, money laundering, and asset forfeiture. In October 2010, Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency published a multilingual pamphlet and audio announcements that outline the judicial process and services available to trafficking victims. Since the June 2010 TIP Report, Taiwan also expanded staffing, training, and resources for a multilingual 24-hour toll-free hotline operated by the Council of Labor Affairs to report foreign workers’ complaints, including allegations of trafficking.
The Government of Thailand demonstrated some progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the 2010 TIP Report. In December, a Thai court convicted three defendants in the 2006 Ranya Paew case involving forced labor of Burmese workers in a shrimp processing factory and sentenced them each to 20 years in prison. The offenders remain free pending the result of their appeal. Media outlets highlighted several arrests in sex trafficking cases. In October, a Thai court sentenced a Thai woman to four years’ imprisonment for operating a fraudulent employment agency involved in the trafficking of Thai workers abroad. Allegations of trafficking-related complicity of Thai officials remain, including reports of Thai officials directly complicit in the forced prostitution and forced labor of migrants. In December, the government opened an investigation into a reported case of trafficking-related complicity and suspended two high-ranking police officers pending results from the criminal investigation. The government has not responded to reports alleging that Thai officials have engaged in schemes with members of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) to extort Burmese deportees from Thailand, despite allegations that DKBA members have trafficked some of the deportees within Burma.
The Thai government reported ongoing discussions on developing mechanisms to allow foreign trafficking victims to travel, work, and reside outside of shelters, though these mechanisms are not yet in place; victims continue to be detained involuntarily. The government has not demonstrated progress in providing legal alternatives to the removal of trafficking victims to countries in which they would face retribution or hardship. The government reported some additional efforts to identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable populations, including undocumented migrants, such as through deeper collaboration between government social workers, civil society representatives, and immigration officials, though the effect of these efforts was unclear. The government began to work with an international organization to improve its labor inspection standards and procedures. The Thai government reported greater efforts to educate migrant workers on their rights, and their employers’ obligations to them.
The Government of Vietnam has demonstrated limited progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the 2010 TIP Report. The government reported continued efforts to prosecute sex trafficking offenders. The Vietnamese government has not developed formal procedures for the identification of labor trafficking victims. The Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced increased efforts to monitor labor conditions for Vietnamese workers in destination countries and to look for signs of trafficking, though the government as a rule did not publish data about individual cases where it identified or assisted Vietnamese migrant workers subject to forced labor. Although workers have the right in principle to sue labor export companies, in effect the cost of pursuing legal action in civil cases remains prohibitively expensive, and there has been no indication of workers receiving legal redress in Vietnamese courts.
In efforts to prevent possible labor trafficking, the Vietnamese government in 2010 reported the criminal prosecutions of 140 cases of “export labor abuses” that involved labor export companies charging excessive recruitment fees or companies failing to comply with registration laws. In the last few months, Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security signed Memoranda of Understanding to cooperate on human trafficking with its Chinese and Lao counterparts. In October, MOLISA and the Ministry of Justice forged partnerships with several NGOs and international organizations in a forum on the reintegration of sex trafficking victims, where the Vietnamese Women’s Union (VFU) was tasked with providing rehabilitation services through VFU-operated shelters to augment vocational training and limited financial assistance provided by MOLISA. In July 2010, MOLISA promulgated an optional code of conduct for labor export companies, developed with the assistance of an international organization.
EUROPE AND EURASIA
The Government of Azerbaijan demonstrated limited progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. The government did not demonstrate progress in its efforts to identify foreign victims of forced labor in Azerbaijan. Police and labor inspectors reported inspecting 142 construction sites in 2010 and reported finding no cases of forced labor. Outside of official inspections, there are few civil society organizations able to independently monitor and report on potential labor trafficking situations. However, Azerbaijani officials worked with Polish authorities to identify three Azerbaijani victims of forced labor in Poland.
During the assessment period, the government provided shelter assistance to 34 female victims of sex trafficking. The government also provided these victims with job placement and vocational training assistance and a one-time subsidy payment of $243. Domestic victims were provided with medical, financial, and psychological assistance without having to file a formal complaint with police, but the government gave no indication that access to shelter was provided without the filing a police report.
The government prosecuted 34 individuals under Azerbaijan’s criminal trafficking statute. Of these, 13 individuals received suspended sentences and six were sentenced to prison terms ranging from five to nine years’ imprisonment. The government did not show progress in investigating, convicting, and sentencing government officials complicit in either sex or labor trafficking, although there was no direct evidence of government complicity in trafficking crimes during the assessment period. The government demonstrated some efforts to raise public awareness about both sex and labor trafficking in schools throughout the country. The government also conducted awareness raising efforts targeted at high school students and local government officials, including police and health authorities.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina has made modest progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report; however, it has not fully implemented improvements needed to achieve a comprehensive, victim-centered response to trafficking in Bosnia. The government has not initiated a comprehensive campaign aimed at reducing demand for commercial sex and forced labor. The Bosnian government provided specialized reintegration services to 13 domestic trafficking victims through a direct assistance grant program since June 2010; however, this represents a dramatic decrease in identified victims compared to the previous year. During the year, the government established programs through its National Referral Mechanism and Strategy for Reintegrating Readmitted Persons to proactively assist the repatriation of its nationals who have been subjected to conditions of trafficking abroad.
While the government initiated plans to expand partnerships with NGOs to help foster more sustainable, year-round capacity to assist victims, it has yet to take any concrete steps in this area. The government continued efforts to improve cooperation and coordination through its Anti-Trafficking Strike Force, resulting in improvements in its data collection on trafficking cases. Since June 2010, the Bosnian government prosecuted nine trafficking offenders, sentencing seven convicted traffickers to incarceration, two of which resulted in respective penalties of six and four and a half years in prison. NGOs report that prosecutors initiated deportation procedures for foreign trafficking victims without arranging for their safe and responsible return after deciding that there was a lack of evidence or if the victim’s testimony was not needed. The Federation Prosecutor’s office began providing assistance to Federation lawmakers to ensure harmonization of sentencing guidelines contained in the Federation, state level, and Republika Srpska’s criminal codes; one of the changes recommended by the Federation includes increasing penalties for officials complicit in trafficking. However, the government has yet to officially indict any officials for trafficking-related complicity in Bosnia.
In September 2010, the government suspended an investigation, initiated in March 2010, of 17 individuals, including the Minister of Security and a Deputy Mayor, of charges including the sex trafficking of a child from the Roma community, from which potential victims are especially vulnerable. Citing a lack of credible evidence, the State Prosecutor determined that the individuals under investigation could not be suspected of trafficking.
The Government of Ireland has made progress in addressing human trafficking since the release of the June 2010 Report. The government expanded implementation of its 2008 human trafficking law by increasing to six the number of prosecutions of suspected trafficking offenders. The Irish government identified few new trafficking victims during this period. The government sustained funding to NGOs, assisting both sex and labor trafficking victims, and referred an estimated five potential victims of trafficking (two for labor, three for sex) to these NGOs. The Irish government also reported providing four trafficking victims with a 60-day recovery and reflection period since June 2010; the government subsequently granted all four victims a renewable six-month temporary residence permit. The government reported delivering anti-trafficking law enforcement training beginning June 2010; it is unclear if the training focused on formal victim identification and referral procedures. The government did not report on any prevention measures targeted at reducing the vulnerability of unaccompanied foreign minors to trafficking.
The Government of Malta made some progress in developing its anti-trafficking program since the release of the June 2010 Report. In August 2010, Malta appointed the country’s first national trafficking in persons coordinator. Although court cases remain slow to resolve, in July 2010, the Maltese government obtained one trafficking in persons conviction, in a case dating back to 2005; however, the court only delivered a suspended sentence and a fine for the offense. None of the other pending trafficking cases has been resolved in this reporting period. Government authorities did not identify any victims of trafficking, but have begun collaborating with international law enforcement on a cross-border case with Italy involving the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The Maltese government did not establish any partnerships with international NGOs or organizations in relevant source countries to ensure the safe and voluntary return of victims. The government collaborated with an international corporation to advance a campaign to stop child sex trafficking, but did not establish any relationships with NGOs to provide services to trafficked persons.
The Government of Moldova continued to demonstrate progress in combating human trafficking by vigorously investigating trafficking cases and assisting victims since the release of the June 2010 Report; however, allegations of government complicity in trafficking have not resulted in new investigations or prosecutions. Updates of cases involving government officials complicit in trafficking illustrated weaknesses in the judiciary, including light sentences or fines given to convicted trafficking offenders. Some anti-trafficking experts noted concerns of complicity in human trafficking cases among judicial officials.
Moldovan law enforcement demonstrated efforts to protect and assist child victims of trafficking by more consistently involving NGO service providers early in the investigative process to provide victim care and adopting victim-centered interview techniques, although in rural areas, some children were still subjected to an unnecessarily large number of interviews and extensive questionings. NGOs and international organizations reported increased cooperation and coordination with local and national law enforcement and other government officials. Experts also noted improved communication between the national anti-trafficking commission and local anti-trafficking commissions, though resources allocated to local commissions remained modest and may not be sufficient to accomplish all their anti-trafficking mandates.
The Government of Russia demonstrated modest progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. The Russian government did not develop and implement a comprehensive national strategy that addresses sex and labor trafficking. Instead, in December 2010, President Medvedev adopted a regional anti-trafficking cooperation program developed by the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Although the CIS cooperation program calls for designating funding for anti-trafficking programming, Russia has not yet designated funding for anti-trafficking programming as part of a comprehensive national strategy.
The Government of Russia did not demonstrate significant efforts to improve victim assistance since the release of the 2010 TIP Report. The government did not allocate funding to support the full operation of two trafficking shelters located in Moscow and Vladivostok, following the expiration of foreign funding; the Moscow shelter closed and the shelter in Vladivostok continued to operate at a reduced level based on in-kind contributions from the local government. Comprehensive statistics on the number of sex and labor trafficking victims identified and assisted by government officials were unavailable at the time of this report, however there were several reports of government officials identifying victims of both labor and sex trafficking. The government allocated no funding to NGOs working to assist adult sex and labor trafficking victims, though the government reportedly allocated some money to NGOs working on child sex trafficking in 2010. Authorities reported opening two new labor trafficking investigations that were ongoing at the conclusion of this assessment. The government has not yet established its own national identification and referral mechanism that could help ensure that foreign victims are not inappropriately incarcerated, fined, or otherwise penalized solely for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked. Authorities reported one new conviction of a government official complicit in the forced labor of patients at a mental institution.
The Government of Algeria has made negligible progress since the release of the June 2010 Report. Government officials did not demonstrate progress in implementing the country’s new anti-trafficking law through training law enforcement and judicial officials, investigating potential offenses and prosecuting offenders, and establishing necessary legal structures. It has not strengthened the institutional capacity to identify victims of trafficking among illegal migrants, nor has it improved services available to trafficking victims, such as shelter, medical, psychological, and legal aid. Government-operated health clinics continued to be available for trafficking victims, although many victims did not use these services due to lack of awareness or fear of deportation. Algeria did not ensure that victims are not punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, and did not undertake a campaign to increase public awareness of trafficking.
The Government of Iraq made minimal progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report, but took some steps to address the issue. The Government of Iraq was unable to enact and begin implementing its draft law criminalizing all forms of trafficking because there was virtually no legislative session since February 2010 due to Iraq’s prolonged government formation process. However, under the caretaker government and with the support of the Prime Minister, a working group of all concerned government ministries revised the draft anti-trafficking law in September to emphasize the protection of victims and enhance the tools available to law enforcement officers to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses.
Iraqi police centers continued to have specialists to assist women and children who are victims of trafficking and abuse, but it is unclear how many trafficking victims these specialists assisted since June 2010. The Baghdad Police College supported two anti-trafficking training sessions, one for female officers and one for male officers, which raised awareness of human trafficking, but did not provide methods for identifying victims of trafficking.
The government has not reported any arrests, prosecutions, convictions or sentences for traffickers. Victims of trafficking may be inappropriately incarcerated, fined or otherwise penalized for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, namely prostitution. Upon release from prison, female victims of forced prostitution have difficulty finding relief, especially in cases where the victim’s family sold her into prostitution. The Government of Iraq does not operate any public shelters for victims of trafficking.
Currently, the government does not report any efforts to reduce the abuse of migrant workers, regulate recruitment practices of foreign labor brokers to prevent the facilitation of trafficking for forced labor, or address the use of forced marriages to entrap women and girls.
The Government of Lebanon has made modest progress in combating trafficking since the release of the June 2010 Report. In July, the cabinet approved the draft anti-trafficking bill and sent it to parliament for review by the relevant committees. This law would permit victims of sex trafficking to remain in Lebanon while the courts and Surete General (SG) – the government agency responsible for the entry, residency, and departure of foreign workers – investigate and prosecute their cases. It currently fails, however, to prohibit forced labor offenses, which are believed to comprise the majority of trafficking crimes in Lebanon. Women recruited under the government’s artiste visa program continue to be summarily deported if they complain of abuse. A Labor Code amendment that would extend legal protections to foreign workers has been awaiting submission to the cabinet by the Ministry of Labor for more than two years; this amendment does not cover domestic workers, who constitute the majority of foreign migrant workers in Lebanon. To remedy this, the Minister of Labor convened several meetings of the National Steering Committee on the rights of migrant workers, during which members discussed a possible legal mechanism to protect domestic workers.
The government reported that it decided the prosecution of two cases involving trafficking offenses in the first ten months of 2010 and overturned an earlier conviction. The resulting sentences, however, were not sufficiently stringent and the courts failed to consider whether forced labor offenses were perpetrated against the victims. Pursuant to Penal Code Article 554, the Penal Judge of Jbeil convicted an employer of physically abusing a Sri Lankan domestic worker. The employer was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment, barred from entering any employment contract with a domestic worker for five years, and required to pay legal costs and damages of $6,666. Pursuant to Article 624 Section 1 of the Obligations and Contracts Law, a Filipina domestic worker brought charges of unpaid wages against her employer in January 2010. Although in March 2010 the Labor Court in Beirut ordered the employer to repay the $1,200 in back wages sought by the worker, it failed to address the physical abuse alleged by the victim. The court denied the worker’s requested compensation of $5,000 for breach of contract. Of equal concern was the court’s finding that both the victim and employer share the court fees. As reported in the June 2010 Report, an employer was sentenced pursuant to Penal Code Article 554 in December 2009 to 15 days’ imprisonment and a fine of $33, along with $7,200 in damages for regularly beating her Filipina domestic worker; this judgment was appealed in October 2010. The employer won on appeal, and was ultimately not required to serve any jail time and only to pay $666; the Penal Court of Appeal in North Lebanon’s decision failed to provide its reasoning for overturning the conviction.
In April 2010, a joint government-NGO working committee on victim protection issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) to guide the SG in the handling of irregular migrants, many of whom are out-of-status foreign domestic workers, held at its detention center in Beirut to enable more efficient and timely processing. The procedures became effective in June 2010, but lack specific guidance for indentifying victims of trafficking among administrative detainees. SG guards, however, began referring women suspected of being trafficking victims directly to an NGO for evaluation and care upon their arrival at the detention center, instead of detaining them; the determination of victim status was made by the NGO rather than the SG. In April 2010, the Labor Minister announced the establishment of an office and hotline at the Ministry of Labor to receive complaints from foreign workers. While both the office and hotline are currently operational, they have received few trafficking-related complaints. The standard or “unified” contract for foreign migrant workers – which domestic workers have been required to sign in Arabic upon arrival in Beirut since February 2009 – was translated into the 12 most common native languages spoken by migrant laborers. The government made no effort during the reporting period to enforce its law prohibiting the confiscation of passports belonging to foreign migrants arriving in Lebanon for domestic work. The SG continued implementation of its pilot program, called the Moldova Project, which distributed brochures to an unknown number of departing Moldovan artistes containing information on NGO resources available to trafficking victims in Moldova. Lebanese authorities provided no services, however, to Moldovan victims of sex trafficking in Lebanon.
The Government of Libya has made limited progress since the release of the 2010 TIP Report. The government has reportedly drafted anti-TIP legislation that has moved from the General People’s Committee for Justice to the General People’s Congress, where it is expected to be discussed for approval and passage in early 2011. However, to date, no legislation has been passed, or enacted that prohibits all forms of trafficking. The Libyan government in late 2010 reportedly arrested and began the prosecution of 490 officials for their alleged involvement in people smuggling and possibly human trafficking. The government has not implemented standard procedures on identifying trafficking victims and providing victims with protection. The government forced some employers to fund costs of repatriation of foreign migrant workers who were abused; some of the workers may have been trafficking victims. The government did not ensure that victims are not inappropriately penalized solely for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked, including for unlawful presence in Libya. The government-funded World Islamic Call Society undertook some information campaigns to raise public awareness of the problem of human trafficking.
The Government of Qatar made negligible progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. The government has yet to enact an anti-trafficking law it drafted in 2006. The government did not report any arrests, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences for trafficking offenses under related statutes since the 2010 TIP Report.
Qatar made no reported efforts to improve protection for victims of trafficking. The government did not institute a formal procedure to identify and refer victims of trafficking to available protection services. The Ministry of Interior takes statements and complaints at deportation centers from individuals who claim to be victims of trafficking; however, these individuals are still deported once their cases are processed.
Qatar made negligible progress in preventing trafficking in persons. Sources report that the government has made progress in enforcing the mandate that employees receive their residence cards within one week. While the government announced that it is reviewing the sponsorship system, there were no changes to the sponsorship law to prevent the forced labor of migrant workers. Qatar also did not make progress in either implementing its National Plan of Action or in collecting, disaggregating, analyzing, and disseminating anti-trafficking law enforcement data.
The Government of Syria has made limited progress since the release of the June 2010 Report. Following the government’s January 2010 passage of an anti-trafficking statute, the Ministry of Interior launched a specialized anti-trafficking directorate in June, which is tasked with policy review, database creation, international cooperation, and law enforcement training. The directorate opened an office in Damascus, hired over 200 staff members, and established working relationships with Interpol and IOM. Implementation of the new law proved problematic, however, due to the government’s delay in issuing the accompanying Executive Order, a necessary ancillary document that will define who can be classified as a trafficking victim and the types of cases to which the law should be applied. The Ministry of Justice continues to review the order, a process that was targeted for completion by April 2010. The government has not reported its investigation or prosecution of suspected trafficking offenses since the 2010 Report’s release.
In June, the government hosted the first-ever Interpol Global Trafficking in Human Beings Conference in Damascus, under the patronage of the Prime Minister. In fall 2010, government officials also received anti-trafficking training and other types of sensitization from various NGOs and international organizations. The government’s anti-trafficking program is in its initial stages; additional time is required before its results can be assessed. The government’s efforts thus far have not resulted in a marked increase in awareness of human trafficking among the Syrian public. Likewise, the government made no progress in instituting a systematic identification, interview, and referral process to address the protection needs of trafficking victims. Male-dominated police units continued to be insensitive to issues such as rape and forced prostitution, forms of abuse to which trafficking victims are often subjected.
The Government of Tunisia has made negligible progress since the release of the June 2010 Report. The government has not used existing criminal statutes on forced labor and forced prostitution to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses and convict and punish trafficking offenders, and has not shown progress in undertaking a baseline assessment to better understand the scope and magnitude of the human trafficking problem. Moreover, it has not taken steps to draft and enact legislation that prohibits and adequately punishes all forms of human trafficking, and has not demonstrated progress in instituting a formal victim identification mechanism to identify victims among undocumented migrants and offer them access to protection services.
The Government of Yemen made modest progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. In November, the cabinet approved Yemen’s accession to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol. Since the June 2010 TIP Report and the December 2009 decree directing judicial authorities to take action against human trafficking, the government has prosecuted five trafficking cases; at least three defendants received sentences ranging from six to 10 years’ imprisonment and fines.
Nonetheless, Yemen made negligible progress in improving protection services for victims of trafficking. The government did not expand two reception centers for child victims of forced labor to provide rehabilitation services to victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Moreover, the government did not institute a formal victim identification mechanism to identify and refer victims to available protection services.
The Yemeni government demonstrated limited progress in preventing trafficking in persons. The government reportedly expanded public awareness campaigns to include information on trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, but continues to remain reticent about addressing the issue forcefully.
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
The Government of Afghanistan has made progress since the release of the June 2010 Report. Afghanistan suffers from severe resource constraints and capacity issues. The government reportedly investigated 100 cases of trafficking of migrant laborers from Nepal to Afghanistan, and convicted five trafficking offenders – including three Afghans and one Nepalese national – in 2010. The government also investigated and convicted the head of the Ministry of Interior’s anti-trafficking in persons unit for complicity in trafficking-related crimes. Some officials continue to conflate the crimes of kidnapping, human trafficking, and smuggling. The government did not report progress in prosecuting and convicting sex trafficking crimes. The Afghan government has not yet reported progress in ensuring that victims of trafficking are not punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, such as prostitution or adultery. The government also did not report collaboration with NGOs to ensure that all children, including boys, victimized by sex and labor trafficking received protective services, though 42 shelter officials in Herat and Kabul were trained by the International Organization for Migration in methods of assisting trafficking victims. The government did not undertake new initiatives to prevent trafficking, such as public awareness campaigns to warn at-risk populations of the dangers of trafficking.
The Government of Bangladesh has made progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. The government did not report increased criminal prosecutions and punishments for all forms of labor trafficking, including those involving fraudulent labor recruitment and forced child labor, under existing statutes. However, it drafted a comprehensive TIP law that includes criminal prohibitions for labor trafficking offenses and fraudulent recruitment and submitted the proposed law into the parliamentary process in December 2010. In July, the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment created a Vigilance Task Force charged with improving the oversight of Bangladesh’s labor recruitment process. Since July, the task force revoked the licenses and seized the assets of 26 recruiting agencies which engaged in fraudulent activities. The Bangladeshi government continued to run a temporary shelter in Malaysia for abused migrants but closed similar shelters in Saudi Arabia since the release of the June Report. There are no other reported services for adult male trafficking victims. The Government of Bangladesh has increased awareness campaigns designed to educate potential migrants on the dangers of working abroad.
The Government of India has made progress since the release of the 2010 TIP Report, with improvements evident at both the national and state levels, although many challenges remain. The government strengthened law enforcement capacity to conduct intrastate and interstate law enforcement activities against sex and labor trafficking. In July 2010, the Home Affairs Ministry released $1.9 million for establishing 60 new anti-human trafficking units (AHTUs). The Home Ministry reports that roughly 100 AHTUs, which combat all forms of trafficking, are now operational. State and district officials countrywide trained over 10,000 law enforcement officials on human trafficking, in partnership with NGOs. A judge in the state of Tamil Nadu in July 2010 convicted and sentenced three bonded labor perpetrators to five years' imprisonment and a fine. While there were no other reported convictions for bonded labor traffickers, NGOs reported that there were dozens of prosecutions launched. Government officials also continued to make law enforcement progress, including increased convictions, against sex trafficking. The government reported that in Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal, over 700 bonded laborers were rescued and hundreds of rehabilitation packages were issued, valuing approximately $171,000. There were uneven results in improving distribution of rehabilitation funds to victims under the Bonded Labor System (Abolition) Act. The Labor Ministry and the International Labor Organization began implementing a five-state project, directed in part against forced child labor, and expanded its convergence-based, preventative model against bonded labor from two current states, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, to two additional states, Haryana and Orissa.
While there were very few discernible efforts to confront corrupt officials who facilitate human trafficking, the government arrested a former member of parliament for forcing a girl into prostitution in Kolkata. The Ministry of Women and Child Development spent $3.4 million on hundreds of programs for the protection of trafficking victims in 16 states under the Ujjawala and Swadhar programs, although some NGOs cited difficulty in receiving timely disbursements of funding for their shelters through these programs. Central and state governments also conducted several initiatives to raise awareness about trafficking, especially during the run-up to the October Commonwealth Games, but made little progress in increasing public awareness campaigns about adult forced labor. The central government continued to improve prevention efforts by targeting communities vulnerable to trafficking, including through the launch of an over $400 million program that has issued unique identification numbers to over 900,000 citizens to date. A more complete assessment of government efforts in India will be available in the 2011 TIP Report.
The Government of Kazakhstan made modest progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. The South Kazakhstan oblast government -- the region in Kazakhstan where the majority of cotton is grown -- issued several directives that explicitly prohibited the use of child labor (including forced child labor) during the 2010 fall cotton harvest. The Department of Education also monitored schools to ensure they were not closed by local officials during the cotton harvest. NGOs in the region reported that the use of forced child and forced adult labor decreased significantly from the previous year.
The government demonstrated modest efforts to identify and assist foreign victims of trafficking; during the assessment period, the government identified four foreign victims, including one victim of forced labor, and assisted at least nine foreign victims. Although migration police reported screening illegal migrants detained during immigration raids for indicators of trafficking, this procedure did not result in the identification of any trafficking victims. During the assessment period, the government identified eight Kazakhstani victims and one foreign victim of labor trafficking. Authorities also completed their investigation into the “Chaldai forest” forced labor case cited in the 2010 TIP Report, and found insufficient evidence of complicity by local officials in facilitating the forced clearing of a forest. There was sufficient evidence to criminally charge two additional government officials with assault and intent to force the victim to clear trees; however, the court closed that case after the parties reached a civil settlement through mediation.
The Government of the Maldives has made limited progress since the release of the June 2010 Report. Working with a foreign government, the Maldives is drafting counter-trafficking legislation. The Maldives has not developed and implemented systematic procedures for government officials to identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable groups, and consequently has not ensured that these unidentified victims of trafficking are provided necessary assistance. The government has not increased efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses and convict and sentence trafficking offenders, and has not raised public awareness of human trafficking through media campaigns. In a step towards preventing the exploitation of migrant workers, the Ministry of Human Resources, Youth and Sports in September 2010 issued a warning that employers who failed to secure work visas within 15 days of the migrant worker’s arrival or pay visa fees within three months would be blacklisted. The Labor Relations Authority reported that approximately 16 employers were blacklisted in 2010.
The Government of Sri Lanka has made limited progress since the release of the June 2010 TIP Report. In October, the Ministry of Justice launched an interagency Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, which has met monthly and developed terms of reference on how government agencies will work together to combat trafficking. The government did not investigate and prosecute suspected trafficking offenses or convict and punish trafficking offenders, particularly those responsible for recruiting victims with fraudulent offers of employment and excessive commission fees.
The two Uzbek women who were forced into prostitution and who were placed in an immigration detention facility which they could not leave for over a year provided testimony against their alleged traffickers and were given permission to leave the country. With the assistance of the IOM, they departed Sri Lanka in December 2010. In measures that could prevent transnational labor trafficking of Sri Lankans, the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment took legal action against some labor recruiting agencies for non-trafficking crimes. The government has not implemented any trafficking campaigns aimed at the public and law enforcement.
As of the end of November 2010, UNICEF reported that neither it nor the
government had been able to account for one child soldier and two adults who were recruited as children associated with the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP)/Karuna Faction. In August 2010, the National Child Protection Authority started an investigation into these three individuals and the investigation is ongoing. The Sri Lankan government has reported that all former Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) child soldiers completed rehabilitation and were released in May 2010. In North and East Sri Lanka, nearly 1,100 children formerly associated with armed groups (LTTE and TMVP) were receiving reintegration support at the end of 2010.
The Government of Tajikistan demonstrated progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. In Fall 2010, the Inter-Ministerial Commission to Combat Trafficking in Persons disseminated a directive to local officials that explained existing laws prohibiting the use of forced labor. Local officials met with school administrators, teachers, and farmers to reinforce the directive and to educate them about forced labor laws. The government accredited NGO monitors working on an IOM project to monitor the fall cotton harvest in 15 cotton-picking districts in Tajikistan from September 15 until December 15. These government efforts contributed to a significant reduction of the use of forced labor in the 2010 cotton harvest. A small number of reports continued that school-aged children in remote areas were compelled to pick cotton by school administrators during the harvest; when presented with these reports, government officials responded and reprimanded the teachers and farmers involved. During the assessment period, no government officials were criminally prosecuted or criminally punished for complicity in sex trafficking or forced labor, including limited reports of school administrators who compelled students to pick cotton during the 2010 harvest.
The government successfully used its anti-trafficking statute, Article 130.1 of the penal code, to convict two trafficking offenders in June 2010, sentencing them to eight and ten years’ imprisonment. The government increased the salaries of officials in the police anti-trafficking unit by 10 percent in an effort to attract quality officers to such assignments. The government continued its efforts to work with foreign governments in trafficking cases to identify and assist victims. Government officials consulted with NGOs and drew on best practices learned from foreign counterparts to develop a draft 2011-2013 National Action Plan on Human Trafficking. The government did not implement a formal victim identification and referral mechanism, though it did provide in-kind assistance to one child trafficking shelter.
The Government of Turkmenistan demonstrated limited progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. The government has partially fulfilled its commitments under the Law on Combating Trafficking in Persons, enacted in December 2007. The law identifies responsible ministries within the government to combat trafficking and requires authorities to develop measures to prevent trafficking, prosecute traffickers, and assist victims. Although the government continued discussions with IOM on providing shelter space, it did not fulfill its commitment to allocate financial or in-kind assistance to anti-trafficking organizations. Moreover, it did not work with IOM to carry out a human trafficking awareness program for students in all five provinces of the country, as anticipated in the 2010 Report.
The government reported investigating some trafficking cases in accordance with Article 1291 of the criminal code, which went into force in July 2010. It has yet to file formal criminal charges in these cases and has not prosecuted or convicted any trafficking offenders. The Prosecutor General’s Office provided training for regional prosecutors and police officers on the proper implementation of Article 1291. The government reported that it had no information about government officials complicit in the facilitation of trafficking. The government did not demonstrate significant efforts to identify and refer victims of trafficking for assistance, nor did it develop systematic victim identification and referral procedures. However, law enforcement officials participated in IOM training sessions on these topics in July 2010. During the assessment period, the government did not allocate financial assistance or in-kind assistance, including shelter space, to anti-trafficking organizations. All efforts to raise public awareness were made by NGOs, although a nationwide state-run newspaper, with a circulation of 45,000, ran advertisements about an NGO-run trafficking hotline. The government provided office space for the National Red Crescent Society of Turkmenistan, which conducted outreach projects by distributing brochures and holding discussions on trafficking in persons for school children, law enforcement officials, and others.
The Government of Uzbekistan demonstrated negligible progress in combating domestic forced labor in the cotton sector and government complicity related to this forced labor, the reason for Uzbekistan’s placement on Tier 2 Watch List in the 2010 TIP Report, though it reported continued efforts to combat sex and international labor trafficking since the release of the June 2010 Report. The use of forced child and forced adult labor remained widespread and systematic during the 2010 fall cotton harvest. The government took no steps to end the use of forced labor during the harvest, and indeed, continued to facilitate it. Beginning in early September, local government officials ordered rural schools to be closed and forced children to go to the fields to pick cotton. There were some reports that government officials retaliated against students for failing to pick enough cotton to meet designated quotas.
The government did not report efforts to prosecute and convict government officials complicit in forcing children and adults to pick cotton during the 2010 harvest. UNICEF was, however, permitted to conduct an independent assessment of working conditions in all 12 regions of the country.
Although it did not provide financial or in-kind assistance to anti-trafficking NGOs and made no plans to establish shelters for trafficking victims outside of Tashkent, it continued to support and fund the trafficking shelter administered by the Ministry of Labor, which expanded the availability of psychological services, legal assistance, and vocational training opportunities. Though Uzbekistan passed legislation prohibiting victims of trafficking from being punished for acts committed as a result of being trafficked, these laws were not uniformly enforced during the period and several victims were reportedly prosecuted for immigration violations. It took action to address this problem, however, by conducting an awareness campaign that provided training to rural judges and law enforcement officials on preventing the filing of legal charges against trafficking victims. The government continued its partnership with UNODC to maintain a centralized database of anti-trafficking law enforcement activities and reported increased success working with law enforcement in the UAE, though bureaucratic hurdles frequently prevented the data from being easily shared with other countries in a timely manner.
The Government of Barbados has made limited progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. The executive branch took initial steps toward responding to human trafficking but has not reported any results of trafficking offenders held accountable or protection of trafficking victims.
The government publically announced it had drafted legislation prohibiting all forms of human trafficking and participated in an OAS anti-trafficking training event. The government did not, however, report any anti-human trafficking investigations, prosecutions or convictions, enactment of formal trafficking victim protection procedures, or any trafficking victims assisted.
The Government of Belize has made progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. Despite considerable resource constraints, the government identified more victims, contributed to funds toward victim assistance, and initiated some anti-trafficking law enforcement operations; however, punishment for trafficking offenders remained elusive.
The government bolstered its victim protection capacity through training and increased resource allocation, including the hiring of a trafficking case specialist in the Ministry of Human Development. The government’s increased focus on victim protection has yielded positive results, including the identification of a greater number of victims and the provision of some level of services to them. This progress was threatened, however, by a continued lack of punishment for trafficking offenders. The government has not reported any convictions of trafficking offenders since 2005, though the government reportedly made new arrests in recent months.
The Government of Guatemala has made progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the 2010 Report. Guatemalan authorities continued efforts to investigate trafficking offenses and prosecuted several human trafficking cases involving forced prostitution and forced child labor. There were no reported investigations or prosecutions of government officials for suspected cases of complicity with trafficking activity.
The Government of Guatemala held numerous anti-trafficking workshops and conferences aimed at educating and building capacity among judges, police, public prosecutors, immigration officers, and other government officials, as well as educating foreign diplomats accredited in Guatemala about the government’s new repatriation protocol for trafficking victims. Since the adoption of the repatriation protocol in early 2010, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has facilitated the repatriation of 40 trafficking victims returning to Guatemala and nine foreign victims wishing to return to countries of origin.
The Government of Guatemala, however, has yet to fund or subsidize a shelter for trafficking victims, instead continuing to provide limited services to such victims. An NGO began providing victim services to adult victims of human trafficking in November 2010 and the government has started referring adult victims to this program, although it is unclear how many victims have been assisted. The Government of Guatemala has signed an agreement with an NGO to take over funding of this shelter in 2012. Authorities reported plans to fund and staff a shelter for adult victims in the near future, but in the interim the government continued to rely on migration detention centers to house foreign victims. Officials operating the migrant detention center have improved conditions for foreign victims of trafficking held in that facility prior to their repatriation.
Funding for the Secretariat against Sexual Violence, Exploitation and Trafficking in Persons increased to 60 percent of the congressionally-designated amount for this office. The country’s dedicated anti-trafficking prosecutorial unit hired two new prosecutors, bringing the total number of prosecutors to five.
The Government of Guyana made limited progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the 2010 Report. The government achieved an important law enforcement milestone in the area of trafficker punishment and reported some results in the area of victim protection.
While few alleged trafficking cases progressed to the prosecution phase, the government reported its first conviction under its human trafficking law. A government report indicated that the small quantity of victims is an internal measure of success in combating trafficking, but this indicator tends to create a disincentive for officials to proactively identify victims. Despite this, the government proactively identified at least two trafficking victims, and in December filed charges against the alleged trafficker. The government reported limited details on protection and assistance provided to potential trafficking victims.
The Government of Nicaragua has made progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. Authorities convicted two individuals of human trafficking and other offenses in September 2010, sentencing them to 37 years and 16 years. The public prosecutor’s office investigated 12 cases of potential human trafficking during the year, up from nine investigations during the previous year. The Government of Nicaragua did not investigate any government officials for complicity in trafficking crimes.
The National Assembly passed a new anti-organized crime law in September 2010, which entered into force in November. The law typifies human trafficking as an activity that occurs under organized crime: therefore, convicted human trafficking offenders can be subject to forfeiture of their property and funds used or earned in illicit activities, and officials can employ more robust investigative techniques for trafficking investigations.
There were no significant increases in law enforcement efforts against forced labor offenses, though both NGOs and government officials working on trafficking issues indicate that the majority of trafficking cases identified in the country are related to forced prostitution.
The Government of Nicaragua has not yet instituted formal and proactive procedures for identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations such as women and children in prostitution, nor has it dedicated additional resources for assistance to trafficking victims. The Government of Nicaragua did not report improved care for adult trafficking victims. In order to raise public awareness about human trafficking, in September 2010 the Government of Nicaragua began a campaign at Nicaragua’s land borders. In partnership with a NGO, authorities printed anti-trafficking messages on the back side of all entry and exit forms required for entry into the country at land borders with Costa Rica in the south and Honduras in the north. The National Coalition against Trafficking in Persons, a coalition of government and NGO actors, trained approximately 500 public officials on human trafficking in 2010, often in partnership with NGOs.
The Government of Panama has made modest progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. In September 2010, the government issued an Executive Decree creating a national commission on trafficking in persons composed of representatives of 13 government institutions in order to draft a new anti-trafficking law conforming to international standards. The commission met weekly and the draft law is supposed to be presented within 90 days of the decree.
There were no reported indications of progress in law enforcement efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses and convict and sentence trafficking offenders, including public officials complicit in trafficking activity.
In September, the Ministry of Public Security announced a four-part plan to strengthen Panama’s anti-trafficking efforts; one priority is to create a national coalition composed of government agencies and NGOs in order to work together on trafficking cases.
The Panamanian government has not yet provided trafficking training to its law enforcement and judicial personnel, though some government officials attended training provided by an international organization in August 2010. The government did not report dedicating more resources for victim services, nor has it demonstrated progress in developing a formal system for identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, particularly women in prostitution.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has made negligible progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. Although the government has expressed increased commitment to addressing human trafficking through legislation and victim protection policies, this has not been accompanied by tangible steps or the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenses under existing criminal statutes. The government has not shown progress in conducting public awareness campaigns on trafficking.
Trinidad and Tobago
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has made progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. Under the leadership of a national anti-trafficking task force and senior officials, the government has made tangible improvements in the area of victim protection, and has taken additional steps toward enacting needed comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation.
The national task force has developed a policy to guide officials in the proactive identification of trafficking victims and referral of victims to service providers. As a direct, positive result, the government identified and assisted a greater number of trafficking victims in recent months. Although the absence of legislation prohibiting all forms of human trafficking and formalizing victim protection measures continued to hinder the prosecution and punishment of trafficking offenders, the national task force, with the public support of high level officials, included draft anti-trafficking legislation among policy recommendations approved by the executive branch Cabinet, which referred it to the Attorney General’s office for final drafting. The Ministry of National Security also recently announced the establishment of a special unit to investigate human trafficking offenses. In another positive development, government officials have raised awareness of the country’s human trafficking problem by speaking publicly on the issue over the past several months.
The Government of Venezuela made some progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2010 Report. In early November 2010, a draft Law for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Trafficking in Persons and Integrated Assistance to Victims was submitted to the National Assembly. The draft law would increase the penalties for trafficking to 15-25 years’ imprisonment, impose a penalty of 10-12 years’ imprisonment on “collaborators,” extend the prohibition against trafficking in women, adolescents, and children to males, and address both internal and external trafficking.
The Government of Venezuela reported efforts to investigate trafficking offenses and arrest suspected human traffickers, although there was limited information available regarding trafficking prosecutions or convictions. There were no reports that the Government of Venezuela provided greater assistance and services to trafficking victims since the release of the 2010 Report. The draft law, if passed, contains provisions requiring free legal assistance and social integration programs for human trafficking victims, in addition to medical and psychological care and shelter for child victims of trafficking. It also proposes the establishment of a fund to support prevention programs and to provide assistance to trafficking victims. In May 2010 the Government of Venezuela established Women Help Units to provide legal, psychological and medical assistance to female victims of gender based violence: it is unclear whether these units have assisted any trafficking victims.
There were no reported efforts to implement formal and proactive procedures for identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations. The Government of Venezuela did not designate a coordinator to lead its anti-trafficking efforts: however, the draft law would give responsibility for the national anti-trafficking fund to the Director General for Crime Prevention. The draft law contains provisions which would establish an inter-institutional commission to prevent and fight the crime of trafficking in persons. In November, the Director General for Crime Prevention proposed the establishment of a national registry that would provide a database on trafficking cases: however, there were no known improvements to data collection on human trafficking crimes within the reporting period.