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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

V. Country Narratives -- Countries H through P


Trafficking in Persons Report
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
June 3, 2005
Report
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HAITI (TIER 2 - WATCH LIST)

Haiti is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. The majority of trafficking in Haiti involves the internal movement of children for forced domestic labor, referred to as "restaveks." The "restavek" tradition is widespread in Haiti, and fraught with abuse. It involves situations in which poor mothers give custody of their children to more affluent families, in the hope that they will receive an education and economic opportunities. However, the reality is more often a situation of severe mistreatment, abuse, and long hours of uncompensated hard labor. The Government of Haiti estimates there are 90,000-120,000 children in coercive labor conditions as restaveks, but UNICEF estimates the number is much higher — between 250,000 and 300,000. There is also significant cross-border trafficking between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Notably, women and girls are trafficked into Haiti for prostitution; Haitians are trafficked to the Dominican Republic for forced labor. Observers estimate 2,500-3,000 Haitian children are trafficked annually into the Dominican Republic. On a smaller scale, Haiti is also a source and transit country for illegal migration, much of it bound for the U.S. and Canada, and some of these illegal migrants may be forced into labor to repay smuggling debts.

The Interim Government of Haiti does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Haiti is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons over the past year. Since the political crisis in Haiti, the interim government has attempted to address trafficking in the country. However, there is much more that needs to be done and the new government (elections will be held this year) should be committed to addressing these issues, including the large-scale exploitation of restavek children. In the short-term, the interim government should explore ways to enact comprehensive legislative reforms to protect children in the country from trafficking and other abuses, seek out opportunities to cooperate with the Government of the Dominican Republic on cross-border trafficking, and find ways to direct resources to the Brigade for the Protection of Minors (BPM) and the Social Welfare Ministry (IBESR) so they may rescue and protect victims.

Prosecution

The political crisis in Haiti left the country without a truly functioning judicial system, and efforts to prosecute and convict traffickers remained weak during the reporting period. Nonetheless, the Ministry of Justice sent an advisory to judges and prosecutors reminding them of their obligations to enforce existing laws governing minors. Additionally, the BPM has made efforts to investigate trafficking-related matters, but investigations have not resulted in prosecutions or convictions. Legislative reforms and passage of the anti-trafficking law will increase the government's ability to arrest and convict traffickers, but law enforcement efforts will likely remain hampered by a lack of resources, personnel, and equipment. Haiti lacks the capacity to sufficiently monitor its borders and official corruption is endemic and continues to impede anti-trafficking efforts.

Protection

The Government of Haiti did not have the resources to adequately protect victims during the last year, and it struggled to protect Haitians who are dropped off at the Haitian border by Dominican officials. IBESR is able to provide some limited care to victims, and it did manage to reopen one shelter in Carrefour during the reporting period. Most other assistance is provided by NGOs and international organizations.

Prevention

The government lacked the resources and capacity to carry out prevention campaigns. However, the Interim President of Haiti, Boniface Alexandre, has publicly denounced the restavek practice and called on the interim government to do more. The interim government designated the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts and there was an increase in the budget in 2005 for trafficking and others matters related to the protection of children. In general, prevention campaigns are carried out by NGOs and international organizations.

 

HONDURAS (TIER 2)

Honduras is a source and transit country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Many victims are Honduran children trafficked from rural areas to urban and tourist centers such as San Pedro Sula, the North Caribbean coast, and the Bay Islands. NGOs and observers estimate that large numbers of minors are being commercially exploited in Honduras and in many other countries throughout the region. Observers have documented more than 1,000 minors (mostly Hondurans) that were victims of trafficking for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation in 2003. Honduran women and children are trafficked to the United States, Canada, Guatemala, and most other countries in Central America. Foreign victims trafficked into Honduras for commercial sexual exploitation come from Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and El Salvador. Honduras is also a transit country for illegal migration originating outside the region, including China, and there are unconfirmed reports that some are forced into debt bondage to pay off their smuggling fees.

The Government of Honduras does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government undertook more serious and sustained efforts to prosecute traffickers and rescue minors from commercial exploitation over the last year. Draft amendments to the criminal code that would increase penalties for convicted traffickers are currently pending in the Honduran Congress. Honduras needs to work more vigorously to prevent Honduran women and girls, many of whom are trafficking victims, from ending up in brothels abroad, including working with the Governments of Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize.

Prosecution

Honduras continued to lack an anti-trafficking law enforcement strategy and a comprehensive anti-trafficking law during the reporting period, though this did not keep authorities from conducting some raids of establishments where traffickers are known to operate. Honduran courts handed down several trafficking-related convictions over the last year. Additionally, the government reported several trafficking-related arrests and also the closure of seven establishments where trafficking was taking place. However, more serious and sustained efforts need to be made to arrest traffickers who operate underage brothels with impunity. Additionally, the Government of Honduras should take more extensive steps to interview and assist adult and foreign victims so they may work with law enforcement officials to prosecute traffickers.

Protection

The Honduran Government continued to lack a plan to assist trafficking victims, although it referred victims of trafficking to NGOs that offer support services for victims. Additionally, the government has assisted in the repatriation of Honduran victims from Mexico and the United States. Honduran officials have participated in some trafficking-related training to help them better identify victims and prosecute trafficking cases. However, government policy generally remains ad hoc. Greater resources should be directed to shelter and victim services in the country. More efforts should also be made to aid foreign trafficking victims who are currently subject to summary deportation without assistance.

Prevention

Honduras continued to lack a comprehensive prevention plan during the reporting period. Additionally, a working group of government agencies, international organizations, and NGOs developed a national plan against the commercial sexual exploitation of children and women, and also drafted legislation to strengthen the law against such crime, which is awaiting review by the Supreme Court of Honduras. The government hosted two seminars on the prevention of the commercial exploitation of minors in August 2004 and has plans to hold additional seminars. Honduras needs to increase its border monitoring efforts to interdict traffickers and rescue their victims. Honduras also needs to increase its efforts to prevent women and children from going abroad into situations where they may be trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

 

HONG KONG (TIER 1)

Hong Kong is a transit and destination territory for men and women trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Hong Kong is primarily a transit point for illegal migrants, some of whom are subjected to conditions of debt bondage, sexual exploitation, and/or forced labor upon arrival in the destination country. To a lesser extent, Hong Kong is a destination for women from the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) and Southeast Asia trafficked for prostitution.

The Government of Hong Kong complies fully with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government continued to implement strong anti-trafficking measures. Through heightened awareness and improved documentation, Hong Kong authorities have improved their ability to identify possible trafficking victims among the large numbers of illegal immigrants. The government maintains effective border and immigration controls, carries out information campaigns to increase awareness of possible trafficking activities, has comprehensive criminal ordinances designed to punish traffickers, and provides access to protective services for trafficking victims.

Prosecution

Hong Kong has no specific anti-trafficking law, but a range of criminal ordinances are used to prosecute traffickers. Hong Kong authorities reported three trafficking-related cases in 2004, resulting in one conviction. The government has devoted greater resources to monitoring potential trafficking and is taking steps to improve its data-collection capabilities. The government has started to maintain case documentation on the number of illegal migrants who may be trafficking victims. In particular, the Hong Kong Security Bureau has instructed field offices to identify and carefully document cases in which trafficking is suspected. Law enforcement officers are deployed to monitor borders, airports, flights, and shipping.

Protection

Hong Kong provides a range of services to trafficking victims through the Social Welfare Department and local NGOs. Regardless of legal status or offenses charged, victims have access to temporary lodging in women's refugee centers, basic necessities, legal and medical services, and a victim support center. Trafficking victims who testify against their traffickers are granted immunity and are repatriated without being charged with an offense. Hong Kong provides foreign domestic workers with access to support services in labor suits. Law enforcement officers and social workers are provided training in the handling of witnesses and victims.

Prevention

Hong Kong continued its robust prevention programs during the reporting period. The government carried out information campaigns to increase awareness of possible trafficking activities. The government also distributed multi-lingual pamphlets to inform foreign domestic workers of their rights and provided a hotline for foreign domestic workers to call for information about available services and assistance. Authorities regularly shared information on local trafficking and smuggling patterns with the P.R.C. and foreign law enforcement entities.

 

HUNGARY (TIER 2)

 

Hungary is a transit, source, and destination country, primarily for women and girls trafficked from Russia, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, and the Balkans to Europe and North America for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Hungarian victims trafficked to New Zealand and Canada reportedly increased in 2004. Traffickers often target adult female orphans recently released from State institutions, rural young women, and, to a lesser extent, ethnic Roma women. Internal trafficking occurs from areas of high unemployment in eastern Hungary to western Hungary. According to NGOs and media, Hungary may have thousands of women coerced by traffickers into sexual exploitation as a part of a large illegal commercial sex industry.

The Government of Hungary does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The Hungarian Government continued to improve its anti-trafficking policies and law enforcement in 2004, establishing an effective inter-ministerial, anti-trafficking working group as well as an International Trafficking Unit under the National Police. In early 2005, Hungary opened a shelter for trafficking victims. However, the government provided few funds for victim protection and trafficking prevention campaigns, and authorities continued to detain, jail, or deport trafficking victims who were often prosecuted as prostitutes.

Prosecution

The government showed progress in its law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Trafficking is criminalized in Hungary with sufficiently severe penalties. In 2004, Hungarian courts initiated 21 trafficking prosecutions and convicted 38 traffickers pursuant to prosecutions initiated in previous years. The government did not report on sentences imposed in 2004. Hungarian law enforcement specialists developed specialized training for police on trafficking investigations and victims' needs. In 2004, authorities identified and arrested a Hungarian police officer involved in an international trafficking ring. The Hungarian International Trafficking Unit, established in July 2004, assisted several international trafficking investigations with law enforcement agencies from Denmark, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Germany, and Austria. Hungarian authorities arrested and extradited four Romanian nationals involved in trafficking in 2004.

Protection

The Government of Hungary did not provide adequate resources to assist trafficking victims over the last year; however, in early 2005, it donated the use of a facility to establish a trafficking shelter and prostitute rehabilitation center. Police have already referred three potential victims to the shelter. Victims who cooperate with police and prosecutors are entitled to assistance such as temporary residency status and shelter, although in 2004 the government did not track how many trafficking victims received this status. Hungarian authorities frequently continued to detain, jail, or deport trafficking victims in 2004; victims were often prosecuted as prostitutes. The Victim Protection Office of the Ministry of Interior, which had 51 offices throughout Hungary to assist victims of crimes, assisted 18 trafficking victims during the last two years with limited financial support and one or two days of housing. In February 2005, the Ministry of Interior organized a seminar on crime victim protection for government officials; the seminar covered protection for trafficking victims. Hungarian consular officials continued to receive training on how to identify and assist trafficking victims.

Prevention

In 2004, the government established an anti-trafficking working group. Its work raised the level of trafficking awareness throughout the government and improved coordination of Hungary's anti-trafficking efforts. While the government conducted no independent anti-trafficking information campaigns, it continued to sponsor trafficking awareness programs for secondary school students. Universities offered anti-trafficking programs; in 2004, these programs reached approximately 200 students studying teaching and social work. At the Hungarian Ministry of Interior's Crime Prevention Academy, the government trained officials from trafficking source countries in counter-trafficking techniques.

 

INDIA (TIER 2 - WATCH LIST)

India is a source, transit, and destination country for women, men, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. Indian men and women are trafficked into situations of involuntary servitude in countries in the Middle East and children may be forced to work as beggars or camel jockeys. Bangladeshi women and children are trafficked to India or trafficked through India en route to Pakistan and the Middle East for purposes of sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and forced labor. Nepalese women and girls are trafficked to India for sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and forced labor. India is also a growing destination for sex tourists from Europe, the United States, and other Western countries. Internal trafficking of women, men, and children for the purposes of sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, bonded labor, and indentured servitude is widespread. Numerous studies show that the vast majority of females in the Indian commercial sex industry are currently victims of sexual servitude or were originally trafficked into the sex trade. India is also home to millions of victims of forced or bonded labor.

The Government of India does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The quality and magnitude of the government's anti-trafficking response, particularly in the law enforcement area, are seriously insufficient relative to India's huge trafficking in persons problem. Some important improvements were observed in the efforts of the new government that came into power in June 2004. The Congress-led government has made efforts to consolidate and coordinate central government anti-trafficking efforts through the empowerment of the Secretary for Women and Child Development, who serves as the government's "nodal officer" for anti-trafficking programs and policies. Modest but uneven improvements in anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts were seen in some localities, most notably the cities of Mumbai and Chennai and the states of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The use of fast-track courts was the key to greater prosecutions and convictions in Tamil Nadu while sustaining a high number of trafficking convictions in New Delhi. The March 2005 order by the Home Minister of Maharashtra state to close down "dance bars" — many of which served as prostitution and trafficking outlets — may check a new trend of traffickers favoring this more sophisticated and concealed format for selling victims trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation over more blatant brothel-based trafficking.

India is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for a second consecutive year for its inability to show evidence of increased efforts to address trafficking in persons, particularly its lack of progress in forming a national law enforcement response to inter-state and transnational trafficking crimes. The government also lacked a meaningful response to the significant problem of trafficking-related complicity of law enforcement officials. The central government needs to designate and empower a national law enforcement entity to carry out investigations and law enforcement operations against trafficking crimes with nation-wide jurisdiction. This major deficiency was highlighted by state-level law enforcement officials who, at a 2004 conference, pointed to the difficulty in investigating trafficking crimes across state lines and coordinating with other states' police forces in accounting for the low level of trafficking-related prosecutions and convictions in India.

Prosecution

Overall, Indian anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts remained weak, though notable progress was seen in particular localities. Comprehensive statistics on trafficking-related investigations, prosecutions, convictions, and sentences were not available, though statistics obtained from several key cities and states showed 195 prosecutions and 82 convictions obtained for offenses related to trafficking for sexual exploitation in 2004. An estimated 2,058 prosecutions and 1,051 convictions for child labor offenses were obtained in 2004 throughout India.

India has adequate laws to address trafficking for sexual exploitation of adults and children. The Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA) criminalizes the offenses of selling, procuring, and exploiting any person for commercial sex as well as profiting from prostitution. However, Section 8 of the ITPA also criminalizes the act of solicitation for prostitution, which has been used in the past to arrest and punish women and girls who are victims of trafficking. The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Trafficking in Persons has drafted revisions to the ITPA, in consultation with civil society groups, and has submitted these revisions to Parliament for consideration. The revisions would eliminate Section 8, thereby affording victims of trafficking greater protections.

The Juvenile Justice Act of 1986, amended in 2001, provides modest criminal penalties for sexual offenses committed against minors, including the prostitution of children, but provides strong protections for child victims of trafficking through the oversight of Child Welfare Committees in each state and mandatory care provided in state-approved protection homes.

Indian laws against trafficking for labor purposes, however, are inadequate as they do not offer sufficient criminal penalties for those who are responsible for forced or bonded labor, child labor, and domestic servitude. The Child Labor Act of 1986 has adequate provisions for the freeing and rehabilitation of children found in forced labor conditions, but carries provisions for criminal sentences of a maximum of only three years. Moreover, the enforcement mechanism for this Act appears insufficient - giving the mandate to local Magistrates who are overburdened and ill-trained to carry out the law's requirements. Similarly, the Abolition of Bonded Labor Act of 1976 provides adequate protections for victims of bonded labor but carries only a maximum sentence of three years' imprisonment. Few prison sentences have been handed down under this Act. Moreover, the enforcement of this Act is left in the hands of local magistrates who are over-worked and ill-trained to enforce the Act fully and who are charged with the competing mandate of collecting state taxes from the businesses that employ bonded laborers.

Endemic corruption among law enforcement officials impedes Indian efforts to effectively combat trafficking in persons crimes. Many low-level border guards accept bribes or turn a blind eye to cross-border trafficking. Some police officers have been implicated in tipping off brothels to impending raids and profiting from the proceeds of brothels that enslave trafficking victims. As noted, efforts to curb this trafficking-related corruption have been minimal, usually amounting to officers' transfers or, at best, forced retirement. During the reporting period only two cases of ongoing prosecutions of law enforcement officers for complicity in trafficking were noted. There are also, however, committed police in Chennai, Mumbai, and New Delhi who have worked actively with NGOs to target traffickers and to safeguard victims after their rescue.

In 2004, courts in Mumbai prosecuted 53 persons for trafficking-related offenses, handing down 11 convictions. While this is an increase over 2003, the level of prosecution remains inadequate relative to Mumbai's role as the largest center for sex trafficking in India. Mumbai lacks special "fast-track" courts for trafficking crimes; consequently, trafficking prosecutions can take as long as eight years, often resulting in acquittals due to lost evidence and unavailable witnesses.

Protection

The central government continues to show inadequate and uneven efforts to protect victims of trafficking, challenged by the decentralized nature of Indian Government social support programs and limited resources. The Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) - the central government's nodal anti-trafficking office - improved coordination of support services delivery through greater coordination with states' departments of women and child development and civil society organizations. Government-run shelters in some localities, like Mumbai, improved significantly over the last year. Other areas lack government-provided shelters dedicated for trafficking victims. During the reporting period, efforts by state governments to develop formal referral systems — through which police regularly refer victims of trafficking to qualified NGO service providers — improved in some areas, but remained woefully inadequate in other localities. In New Delhi, an innovative program was launched, requiring police to provide trafficking victims with counseling from a qualified NGO within 24 hours. This assured level of protection has led to greater victim cooperation with police in investigating and prosecuting traffickers.

In Mumbai, the state-run "Deonar" home for underage trafficking victims has improved its collaboration with U.S. Government-funded NGOs and, as a result, improved the level of care provided to victims it shelters. Police in Mumbai have adopted policies that show greater care for trafficking victims; the police commissioner has instructed police not to arrest women involved in prostitution for solicitation under India's anti-trafficking and anti-prostitution law — a punishment that often re-victimized trafficking victims in the past.

Prevention

In 2004, the new central government made significant progress in improving a coordinated approach to preventing trafficking in persons. A newly installed Secretary for Women and Child Development was designated the nodal officer to coordinate and oversee all anti-trafficking programs and policies. Since her appointment in mid-2004, the Secretary has reinvigorated the National Central Advisory Committee on Trafficking Persons, including civil society organizations and state-level agencies in frank and productive consultations. Under the Secretary's leadership, the Committee has introduced much-needed revisions to the ITPA and has begun drafting changes to the 1998 national plan of action on trafficking. Through the Committee, the government coordinated more closely with NGOs, on which it relies for the bulk of anti-trafficking prevention activity in India. The Secretary and her staff have traveled widely, training hundreds of state and police officials in over 20 training sessions.

In late 2004, India's National Human Rights Commission released a lengthy two-year assessment of the trafficking situation in India, including recommended actions for the government to take in preventing future trafficking. The Human Rights Commission also undertook a study of the sex tourism phenomenon in Goa, a popular international tourist destination. The National Commission for Women joined with the Maharashtra State Commission for Women in holding a workshop on sex tourism in that state.

 

INDONESIA (TIER 2)

Indonesia is a source and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked internationally for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor, while the country also faces a significant internal trafficking problem. Indonesian victims are trafficked to Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Australia. To a much lesser extent, Indonesia is a destination for women from the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.), Thailand, Taiwan, Uzbekistan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Venezuela, Spain, and Ukraine who are trafficked for sexual exploitation. Within Indonesia, there is extensive internal trafficking primarily from rural to urban areas for commercial sexual exploitation and for other forced labor such as involuntary domestic servitude.

The Government of Indonesia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In 2004, the Indonesian Government showed clear progress in applying greater law enforcement efforts to fighting trafficking and assisting Indonesian victims abroad, including migrant workers who had been trafficked. The government significantly increased its convictions of traffickers and adopted standard operating procedures for the protection of victims. In some Indonesian provinces, local governments drafted and enacted new laws and budgeted resources for anti-trafficking programs. Following the tsunami that devastated Aceh province, the Indonesian Government rapidly responded with appropriate measures to reduce the potential for trafficking of children from the region. While local governments gave greater priority to trafficking, translating national commitment to local action remained a problem. The Indonesian Government can take significant action by passing a strong and comprehensive anti-trafficking law; addressing internal trafficking; recognizing and taking steps to eliminate debt bondage for migrant workers; and arresting and prosecuting officials involved in trafficking.


Prosecution

The Indonesian Government increased its law enforcement efforts against trafficking during the reporting period. Indonesia does not have a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, but a draft bill is currently pending before Parliament. Although Indonesian law criminalizes trafficking, it lacks a comprehensive definition of the crime. In 2004, the government reported 141 trafficking-related investigations, 51 prosecutions, and 45 convictions. The number of convictions reflected an 80 percent increase over the previous year's performance. Although law enforcement efforts increased, convictions for trafficking-related offenses often carried light sentences, with an average sentence of just over three years' imprisonment. The Indonesian Government cooperated with the Malaysian Government in arresting and prosecuting a major network that trafficked Indonesians into Malaysia for commercial sexual exploitation. Corruption and a weak judiciary remain serious impediments to the effective prosecution of traffickers. The government has recognized that action must be taken against officials involved in trafficking, but has provided little information concerning actions it has taken against corrupt officials who may be complicit in trafficking.

Protection

In 2004, the Indonesian Government improved its efforts to provide protection to trafficking victims despite limited resources. National and local victim assistance efforts increased, but remained small in comparison to the scope of the problem. Assistance for internal trafficking victims was minimal. The Indonesian Government continued to operate shelters for Indonesian victims of involuntary servitude and commercial sexual exploitation at its embassies and consulates in Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. The government also operates crisis centers inside the country and cooperates with domestic NGOs and civil society organizations that provide services for victims. The Indonesian Government continued to provide training to officials and law enforcement officers in the handling of witnesses and victims. The Women's Ministry also finalized standard operating procedures used to assist trafficking victims in 2004. Although Indonesia's national action plan calls for proper treatment of trafficking victims, implementation varies widely at the local level.

Prevention

The Indonesian Government made commendable efforts to promote public awareness of trafficking in 2004. The government increasingly used its National Anti-Trafficking Ambassador, a well-known television personality, to raise awareness of trafficking and of the need for more anti-trafficking efforts. Although the government has a limited ability to fund prevention programs, it welcomed international assistance and continued to work with NGOs on anti-trafficking and education initiatives. Most education campaigns focused on warning potential victims about trafficking. Some public education material in the campaign to stop child sex tourism in Batam and Bali contained messages for potential clients of prostitutes. Government-sponsored public awareness campaigns often featured senior officials and included television, radio, and print media.

 

IRAN (TIER 2)

 

Iran is a source, transit, and destination country for women and girls trafficked for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. Women and girls are trafficked to Pakistan, Turkey, and Europe for sexual exploitation. Boys from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are trafficked through Iran to Gulf states, where they are ultimately forced to work as camel jockeys, beggars, or laborers. Afghan women and girls are trafficked to Iran for sexual exploitation, and for sexual and labor exploitation in the context of forced marriage. Internal trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation and children for forced labor also takes place. The internal trafficking of women and children is fueled by an increasing number of vulnerable groups, such as runaway women, street children, and drug addicts.

The U.S. Department of State's lack of access to Iran prohibits the collection of full and accurate data on the country's trafficking problem and its government's anti-trafficking efforts.

As best as can be determined from the limited information available, the Government of Iran does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In 2004, Iran conducted a study on trafficking of women from border provinces to the Persian Gulf, passed a law against human trafficking, and signed separate Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with Afghanistan, Turkey, IOM, and ILO. The government should develop and implement a comprehensive anti-trafficking national plan of action and appoint a national coordinator to oversee its overall anti-trafficking efforts. Iran should also take steps to enhance protection measures for trafficking victims, including ensuring that those who are punished for trafficking are not victims.

Prosecution

Iran made progress in its prosecution efforts during the reporting period. It passed a law against human trafficking. This new law, in conjunction with the prohibition against the trafficking of children, is expected to enhance Iran's overall abilities to combat most forms of human trafficking. In addition, Iran arrested and convicted a woman and her accomplice husband for trafficking young girls and women to work in a brothel in the northern city of Qazvin. It also arrested and convicted 20 members of a human trafficking ring in the city of Bileh Savar. The Iranian Border Force (IBF) arrested over 253 Pakistanis smuggled into Iran, some of them likely trafficking victims. This action showed a lack of adequate screening of illegal immigrants to identify trafficking victims.

Protection

Iran's protection measures for trafficking victims are weak. It is unclear whether the government distinguishes trafficking victims to provide them protection. The State Welfare Organization for Social Affairs reportedly assists victims and those at risk of trafficking through mobile and fixed social emergency centers. These centers provide counseling, legal services, and health care. The State Welfare Organization also manages temporary shelters for "troubled women" and facilities for young runaway girls. These facilities are available to trafficking victims as well.

Prevention

During the reporting period, Iran increased its anti-trafficking prevention efforts. It improved its monitoring of the border with Afghanistan and Pakistan and held a conference on human trafficking. Iran also signed separate MOUs with IOM and ILO to enhance the capacity of its institutions and, among other things, to combat trafficking. Furthermore, Iran is reportedly planning to launch, in collaboration with IOM, public awareness campaigns against the trafficking of women and girls. The State Welfare Organization allocates modest funds to support 41 countrywide centers for street children that deliver care to thousands of children at risk for exploitation.

 

ISRAEL (TIER 2)

Israel is a destination country for women trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation and men and women trafficked for the purpose of labor exploitation. Women from European and former Soviet countries are trafficked to Israel, often through Egypt, and sold to brothel operators, after which they are forced to work off debts through involuntary sexual servitude. Most trafficking victims for sexual exploitation originate from Uzbekistan, Moldova, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine — with Uzbekistan increasingly becoming the principal source country. In a new trend, traffickers in Ukraine reportedly have begun exploiting an Israeli law that allows all Jews to immigrate to Israel by providing victims with false Jewish identity documents. Most victims of trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation come from China. Foreign workers from Romania, the Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Jordan, and former Soviet countries also come to Israel. No reliable evidence exists to indicate how many workers are trafficked. Some trafficked foreign workers suffer from non-payment of wages, threat, coercion, physical and sexual abuse, debt bondage, and restrictions on freedom of movement, including the withholding of their passports.

The Government of Israel does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Trafficked workers are often categorized as illegal foreigners, unless — in rare cases — they seek legal action against their traffickers. Israel still lacks a national task force and an official coordinator for the government's anti-trafficking efforts, as the government failed to fund such a position. A de-facto coordinator has continued to work on trafficking in persons by coordinating information and anti-trafficking initiatives between various government agencies and NGOs. The government lacks a law against trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation, although such a law was drafted in 2003 and awaits approval. The government has not established either a procedure for the systematic identification and referral of trafficking victims to places where they can seek care, or a coordinated and transparent system for the humane repatriation of victims. In 2004, Israel changed the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee on Trafficking in Persons into a Permanent Committee on Trafficking in Persons. This Committee drafted laws to enable closure of brothels, provide national health insurance to trafficking victims, grant witness protection for non-Israeli citizens and residents, and postpone the deportation of trafficking victims.

Prosecution

Israel showed improvement in its law enforcement response to trafficking during the reporting period. In 2004, the government investigated 602 cases relating to trafficking for sexual exploitation, an increase from the 460 investigations it conducted in 2003; arrested 103 suspects; and handed down 28 convictions, as compared to 13 convictions in 2003. In its response to labor trafficking, the government prosecuted at least two employers for offenses such as withholding of passports and forgery. Israel has no laws against labor trafficking, but can and does use other laws in its criminal code to prosecute labor traffickers for related offenses. The Knesset is considering an anti-labor trafficking law. In 2004, courts rendered on average stiffer penalties against traffickers, but the judicial process is overburdened with cases, and delays are common. Israel charged a former labor inspector with accepting a bribe, among other charges. The government also indicted a police officer who solicited sexual favors from a trafficking victim and threatened her with arrest and deportation. It also investigated another officer who allegedly extorted payment from a trafficking victim. Reports also indicate that two police officers were criminally charged following complaints against them by foreign workers. Israeli police expanded their anti-trafficking collaborative efforts with the Governments of Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Russia. In addition, the police conducted an unprecedented joint anti-trafficking operation with the Government of Belarus. These efforts resulted in the arrest and indictment in Russia of a trafficking ringleader and his collaborators. An Israeli request for extradition of those indicted is still pending in the Russian Supreme Court. The government should investigate allegations that some manpower agencies facilitate trafficking into Israel.

Protection

Israel's efforts to care for victims of trafficking remained inadequate during the last year, particularly concerning victims of trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation. In 2004, Israel expanded the capacity of its only shelter to 50 beds; the shelter assisted 108 trafficking victims of sexual exploitation. With some exceptions, only trafficking victims for sexual exploitation who agree to testify against their traffickers are accorded protection in the shelter. Such victims are now granted visa extensions; work permits; and legal, medical, and psychological services during their stay in Israel. Most trafficking victims in prostitution who are arrested are subsequently deported, as the police do not use a systematic screening procedure to differentiate trafficking victims from violators of immigration laws. In 2004, Israel detained 904 foreign women on charges of engaging in prostitution and deported 796 of them. Those who are victims of trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation do not receive the same level of protection as do victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. Most labor trafficking victims who are detained are deported as illegal foreign workers.

The Ramon Unit of the Border Police in 2004 interdicted and rescued 43 women who were attempting to cross the border from Egypt, 36 of whom were being trafficked into Israel for sexual exploitation. Israel also waived court fees for civil suits filed by trafficking victims, published brochures on the rights of foreign workers in English and Hebrew, issued a revised version of a brochure on detainee's rights in 14 languages, conducted two trafficking-related workshops for inspectors, and negotiated with IOM to monitor the employment of foreign workers in Israel. Given the large number of trafficking victims for commercial sexual exploitation, Israel needs to greatly expand the capacity of its only shelter. It also needs to accord to labor trafficking victims protection services similar to those accorded to victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Prevention

The Israeli Government undertook new steps in the area of prevention. The government provided three training sessions for a total of 90 police officers on how to recognize, investigate, and prepare trafficking cases for prosecution. It also conducted anti-trafficking information campaigns in source countries of victims trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation by distributing brochures in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Moldova. In a marked improvement of its efforts to deter and prevent trafficking for labor exploitation, the Israeli Government appointed an attorney to investigate labor law infractions, hired an ombudsman for foreign workers rights, and raised the fines for collecting illegal recruitment fees.

 

ITALY (TIER 1)

Italy is a destination and a transit country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. Estimates provided by PARSEC a social research institute in Italy indicated 2,000 to 3,000 new trafficking victims in 2004. Victims originated largely from Nigeria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, and Albania. Other areas of origin included Russia, Bulgaria, Africa, China, and South America. Although children were primarily trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, there have been reports in the past of children trafficked for sweatshop labor in Italy's Chinese immigrant community.

The Government of Italy fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Although the government did not provide full data on investigations, prosecutions, convictions and sentences, the Secretary of State has determined that it has made a good faith effort to do so. In 2004, the government led Europe in the number of trafficking victims protected through special visas and state assistance programs; many of the victims helped were successfully integrated into Italian society. The government's significant role in prevention is commendable; however, it should implement focused demand reduction campaigns to more effectively tackle the demand for trafficking victims within Italy. The government should be more vigilant in screening illegal migrants to determine whether or not they are trafficking victims. The government must provide comprehensive, national level enforcement statistics to demonstrate appreciable progress.

Prosecution

The government failed to provide updated, centralized law enforcement statistics for 2004; thus, whether or not there was improvement in its anti-trafficking efforts is unknown. Available statistics from 2003 show 328 arrests, an increase from 209 in 2002. Between 2002 and 2003, the government reported 41 lower court convictions. In 2004, Italian authorities successfully cooperated with law enforcement counterparts in Brazil and Cambodia to shut down child sex tourism involving Italian citizens. There continued to be some isolated reports of local and border officials accepting bribes and facilitating trafficking; however the government took measures to mitigate this by rotating officers off patrols for controlling prostitution.

Protection

In 2004, the Italian Government continued and expanded its strong efforts to provide comprehensive protection and reintegration aid to trafficking victims. The Ministry of Equal Opportunity spent over four million Euros on 69 projects to assist 8,600 women victims in 2004, an increase from the 6,086 assisted in 2003. Under Article 18 of Italy's anti-trafficking law, 1,940 victims, including 118 minors, entered social protection programs in 2004, a nine percent increase from 2003. NGOs, with government funding, provided literacy courses for 440 victims and vocational training for 431; they helped 389 victims find temporary employment and another 944 find permanent jobs. IOM and others considered the government's Article 18 to be a model for other EU countries. The government continued to implement tough immigration laws in response to a significant influx of illegal immigrants. As a result, there were continued reports of authorities inadvertently deporting potential victims before they could be adequately screened and identified as having been trafficked. In 2004, the government funded voluntary repatriation and six month reintegration assistance for 66 victims.

Prevention

In 2004, the government funded a number of public awareness initiatives that included brochures, posters, bumper stickers, and popular media ads. One television ad highlighted demand by targeting domestic customers in order to emphasize the link between trafficking and prostitution. Italian authorities successfully conducted joint border patrols and training with Slovenia and Albania, reportedly decreasing trafficking flows across the Adriatic Sea. Italy continued to provide bilateral and multilateral assistance for programs in source countries; in 2004, the government funded outreach campaigns in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Hungary.

 

JAMAICA (TIER 3)

Jamaica is a source country for children trafficked internally for the purpose of sexual exploitation. A 2001 ILO report cited that more than 100 minors, both boys and girls, are involved in Jamaica's sex trade. Precise numbers of trafficking victims are difficult to establish due to the underground and under-acknowledged nature of trafficking in the country. Victims often travel from rural areas to urban and tourist centers where they are trafficked into prostitution sometimes with the encouragement or complicity of their families. Jamaica is a transit country for illegal migrants moving to the U.S. and Canada; some may be trafficking victims. Jamaicans are also trafficked into forced labor in the United States.

The Government of Jamaica does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Jamaican officials failed to undertake any significant efforts to arrest and prosecute traffickers who target children. The government in March 2004 passed the Child Care and Protection Act and has conducted an associated nationwide campaign related to some aspects of the law. However, some of the Act's provisions have not yet been implemented. Additionally, there was no discernable action taken against traffickers who sexually exploit children. Jamaica needs to increase its efforts to create mechanisms to report crimes, ensure the safety of victims, and effectively prosecute and convict traffickers. Additionally, actions should be taken against corrupt officials who are facilitating the unauthorized international movement of persons.

Prosecution

Jamaica's law enforcement efforts during the reporting period were weak and did not target traffickers. The government's law enforcement strategy against child sex trafficking was based upon the 2004 Child Care and Protection Act, which does not address the problem in sufficient depth. There have been no substantial law enforcement steps taken to identify and investigate trafficking cases under the Act, although the Act has been invoked numerous times to prosecute and convict cases of child abuse and other violations of children's rights. However, there were no reported trafficking-specific investigations, arrests, prosecutions, or convictions over the past year. There has been some limited training for police on the rights of the child as provided for under the Child Care and Protection Act and the IOM provided anti-trafficking training to Jamaican officials. The government also worked with the IOM to enhance its ability to detect transnational trafficking and implemented an island-wide passenger entry and exit system.

Protection

The government's efforts to protect victims of trafficking during the last year remained ad hoc, and there is no formal policy for protecting child trafficking victims. Social services provide care to the needy and vulnerable, including children removed from trafficking situations. The government's Child Development Agency, which oversees facilities for at-risk children, and the Bureau of Women's Affairs each maintain a network of shelters that may be used for trafficking victims. The government also helps to negotiate funding for NGOs that support children who are vulnerable to trafficking. The new Child Care Protection Act has a mechanism for the reporting of abuses against children; however, this Children's Registry has not yet been implemented. Efforts should be increased to ensure that the legislation is used forcefully to protect children who are being sexually exploited in the country.

Prevention

The Child Development Agency, created in 2004 as an executive agency, and the Bureau of Women's Affairs are actively involved to promote the rights of women and children in the country, though neither has specific anti-trafficking prevention programs. In general, government officials recognize that children in poverty are vulnerable to trafficking and have expressed a commitment to do more, but government commitment is hampered by resource constraints and a lack of political will. A campaign was carried out to inform the public on the new Child Care and Protection Act, which included provisions to protect trafficking victims and prosecute offenders.

 

JAPAN (TIER 2)

Japan is a destination country for a large number of Asian, Latin American, and Eastern European women and children who are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. There have also been cases of Asian and Latin American men trafficked to Japan for criminal, labor and/or commercial sexual purposes. Japanese organized crime groups (yakuza) that operate internationally are involved in trafficking.

The Government of Japan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government has made an impressive start in providing assistance to trafficking victims, including implementation of a national action plan with modest, additional resources for government-run shelters and private shelters. The government made substantial efforts to improve the legal framework by drafting penal code revisions which specifically criminalize trafficking and increase penalties for trafficking-related offenses. During the reporting period, the government undertook major reforms to significantly tighten the issuance of entertainer visas to women from the Philippines, a process used by traffickers to enslave thousands of Philippine women in Japan each year. Japan continued to provide support for international anti-trafficking programs and conferences. The foundations that the Government of Japan has laid in the past few months offer promises of results that would place Japan in a leadership role in fighting trafficking.

Prosecution

Japan increased its law enforcement efforts against trafficking during the reporting period. The government uses the penal code and a variety of labor, immigration, and child welfare/protection statutes to prosecute trafficking-related offenses. While Japan's current laws provide for up to ten-year prison terms and steep fines, actual penalties thus far have been much less severe. The government has drafted revisions to the penal code that specifically criminalize trafficking and increase penalties for trafficking-related offenses. Japan's National Police Agency (NPA) reported 58 arrests and 48 prosecutions in 2004, reflecting a significant increase over the previous year's performance. The NPA improved its handling of trafficking cases and provided guidelines on victim identification and treatment to local police forces. The NPA also took concrete steps to increase cooperation with foreign law enforcement agencies on trafficking cases.

Protection

In 2004, the government improved its efforts to protect victims of trafficking. Twenty-two trafficking victims were provided government protection from January through October 2004, a dramatic increase over the previous year. The government implemented a national action plan that provides additional resources for victim protection in government-run shelters and private shelters. Trafficking victims are no longer treated as criminals, and a short grace period allows the government time to develop its cases against traffickers. Japanese authorities referred trafficking victims to government-run prefectural domestic violence shelters and NGO facilities. While the government's prefectural shelters are now open to foreign trafficking victims, few victims use the shelters for fear that they would be sent to an immigration detention center and then deported. The prefectural governments of Tokyo and Kanagawa continued to provide modest funding to NGOs operating shelters for trafficking victims in those prefectures.

Prevention

The government continued its efforts to raise public awareness of violence against women and trafficking. The NPA produced a training video on trafficking and distributed it to all police offices to improve their awareness of trafficking. The government also took major steps to significantly tighten the issuance of entertainer visas to women from the Philippines, a major source of trafficking victims. The government continued to provide support for international anti-trafficking programs to alleviate poverty, raise awareness of the dangers of trafficking, and promote alternative economic opportunities for women. The government, however, has yet to make a significant effort to lessen the domestic demand for trafficking victims.

 

KAZAKHSTAN (TIER 2)

Kazakhstan is a source, transit, and destination country for people trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Kazakhstani men, women, and children are trafficked to the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Turkey, Israel, South Korea, Greece, Cyprus, Russia, Syria, and Western Europe. Persons from other countries in Central Asia, particularly Uzbekistan, are trafficked through or to Kazakhstan primarily for forced labor in construction and agriculture. Internal trafficking occurs from rural to urban areas for the purposes of both sexual and labor exploitation. Small trafficking rings, employment and travel agencies, and marriage brokers are often involved in trafficking individuals out of Kazakhstan.

The Government of Kazakhstan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Kazakhstan's interagency National Working Group on Trafficking in Persons met regularly and made progress in implementing the National Action Plan adopted in February 2004. The government incorporated anti-trafficking curricula at high schools and universities, and local governments and NGOs throughout Kazakhstan concluded formal agreements of cooperation. The government should adopt amendments it has drafted to strengthen its anti-trafficking legislation, support legislative and prosecutorial initiatives to increase convictions and penalties, and considerably increase funds for trafficking victim assistance and prevention programs.

Prosecution

The Government of Kazakhstan increased its convictions of traffickers during the reporting period, although prosecution numbers remain low relative to the size of the problem. The Kazakhstani Criminal Code covers trafficking for the purposes of sexual or other exploitation both internally and abroad. The government has drafted a set of amendments to strengthen anti-trafficking legislation by more clearly defining trafficking, increasing penalties, and improving protection of victims. Law enforcement conducted 27 trafficking-related investigations during the last year. The courts prosecuted 14 cases and convicted 12 traffickers. However, only five of these traffickers are currently serving prison time; the rest received suspended sentences. Among other training events, the Ministry of Internal Affairs held a conference on trafficking in December 2004 for law enforcement from all parts of the country. In 2004, Kazakhstan cooperated on trafficking investigations with Uzbekistan, Russia, and the U.A.E. Evidence exists of some government officials' complicity in trafficking. During the reporting period, the government investigated two higher-level officials suspected of aiding trafficking rings.

Protection

Kazakhstan increased its efforts to protect trafficking victims in 2004; however, protection and assistance to victims remained inadequate mainly due to lack of government resources. The government grants temporary residency to identified trafficking victims to ensure safe repatriation or participation in criminal proceeding against their traffickers, though this residency is not specifically guaranteed by law. Local law enforcement officials have a mechanism to refer victims to crisis centers and shelters based on formal agreements with NGOs. The government provided a small amount of funding to the Union of Crisis Centers in 2004, whose member NGOs run nationwide trafficking hotlines and shelters to assist all types of victims, including trafficking victims. In the city of Ust-Kamenogorsk, the local government provided room, board, and protection for trafficking victims, in conjunction with a local NGO. Shelters reported effective coordination with local law enforcement to increase patrols and respond quickly to calls. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs assisted in the repatriation of 36 Kazakhstani citizens from abroad, up from 24 in 2003.

Prevention

Public information about trafficking and education campaigns sponsored by the government has led to greater awareness of the risks of traveling abroad for employment. The government incorporated an anti-trafficking component into curricula at high schools, vocational schools, and universities, and required private and state television and radio stations to broadcast anti-trafficking public service announcements. The government covered the costs of disseminating information packets to media outlets with information on assistance hotlines and government efforts to combat trafficking. Law enforcement agencies continued to undertake unannounced inspections and investigations of travel and employment agencies. Kazakhstan's National Action Plan is publicly available and lays out a multi-year strategy to combat trafficking.

 

KENYA (TIER 2)

Kenya is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Kenyan children are internally trafficked for forced domestic servitude, street vending, agricultural labor, and sexual exploitation. Children are also trafficked to Kenya's coastal area, where they are sexually exploited in a nascent coastal sex tourism industry catering to foreigners. Kenyan women are trafficked to the Middle East, other African nations, and Western Europe for forced domestic labor and sexual exploitation. Burundian and Rwandan children are trafficked to Kenya for sexual exploitation and unpaid domestic labor. Asian nationals, mainly Chinese women, are reportedly trafficked through Nairobi to Europe. Southeast Asian nationals are coerced into accepting circumstances of bonded and unpaid labor in Kenya's construction and garment industries.

The Government of Kenya does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. To advance its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should prosecute suspected traffickers and increase protective services for children found in situations of prostitution.

Prosecution

 

The government noticeably expanded its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the reporting period. The constitution prohibits slavery and the penal code outlaws forced detention of women for prostitution, abduction, and labor as well as sexual exploitation of children. Investigations into over 20 cases of trafficking are ongoing, including one involving suspected trafficking of Kenyan children to Tanzania. In mid-2004, the Kenyan Police Service (KPS) launched a ten-person Human Trafficking Unit (HTU) to undertake investigations. The HTU began investigating an alleged child trafficking ring operating between Kenya and the U.K., and it sent investigators to the U.K. to interview suspects. In May 2004, the Department of Immigration detained, interrogated, and deported a South Korean national on the basis of enhanced border controls adopted in part to combat human trafficking. The HTU conducted surveys of individuals and establishments suspected of involvement in trafficking, including brothels, massage parlors, and foreign employment agencies. The government sent seven officials to a regional training session on human trafficking and held a one-day workshop on trafficking surveillance at the borders.

Protection

The government's assistance to trafficking victims increased during the reporting period. In 2004, the government implemented a registration program requiring owners of tourist guesthouses to identify and account for all workers. Subsequent investigations resulted in the closure of eight guesthouses and assistance to seven foreign children. A local NGO, with some assistance from the government, repatriated ten Kenyan trafficking victims from Germany. The Ministry of Labor's office in Saudi Arabia continued to pursue cases of Kenyan nationals exploited by their employers. With significant NGO assistance, Kenyan diplomats also sought to assist a Kenyan trafficking victim in Bahrain. The government provided street children involved in commercial sexual exploitation with shelter and medical care. Additionally, under an ILO program to prevent worst forms of child labor, the government continued implementing reforms in this sector, including the rescue of at-risk children from the streets and subsequent provision of vocational and educational training.

Prevention

During the year, the government initiated broad measures focused on the prevention of trafficking. The KPS, in conjunction with the Ministry of Information, conducted background and on-the-record interviews with Kenyan daily newspapers to increase awareness of regional human trafficking trends and seek public assistance with ongoing investigations. The government widely distributed a human trafficking brochure that increased awareness of the issue among ministry officials. A Ministry of Tourism official presented a report on the sexual exploitation of children in the tourism industry and officials met with coastal tourism boards in order to explore the implementation of a future code of conduct guarding against sex tourism. The Ministry of Labor continued its inspection of employment agencies that facilitate overseas employment for Kenyans and provided mandatory pre-departure counseling to citizens departing for work abroad. Government officials spoke on human trafficking at civil society-hosted seminars. In December 2004, the government held its first inter-ministerial meeting on trafficking in persons.

 

REPUBLIC OF KOREA (TIER 1)

South Korea is a source, transit, and destination country for women who are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Women from Russia, the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.), the Philippines, Thailand, and other Southeast Asian countries are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation to South Korea. Korean women are trafficked to Japan and to the United States, sometimes via Canada, for exploitation in prostitution. In recent years, the Government of the Republic of Korea has taken significant steps to address the problem, including through tightening of enforcement and an ambitious legislative campaign aimed at curbing trafficking and exploitation of women.

The Government of the Republic of Korea fully complies with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and has recently taken measures to demonstrate its commitment to resolving the problem. The government has shown a steady commitment to support victims, prosecute traffickers, and strengthen national laws. In 2004, the South Korean Government showed leadership by passing and implementing sweeping anti-trafficking and anti-prostitution laws, which provided stiff sanctions for trafficking and prostitution and established an infrastructure of social, legal, and medical support for victims. The government has also coordinated closely with United States Forces Korea (USFK) in developing and implementing policy that addresses the problem of sexual exploitation of women in the Republic of Korea in areas surrounding USFK bases. Due to their leadership in tackling demand, the government recognizes that it must also make efforts to provide more education and vocational training for thousands of women who have been trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation.

Prosecution

The Government of the Republic of Korea (R.O.K.) made greater efforts to prosecute trafficking-related cases over the last year. R.O.K. authorities used several statutes including the Criminal Code, the Law on Juvenile Protection, and the Act on Additional Punishment for Specific Crimes to prosecute traffickers. During the reporting period, the Ministry of Justice conducted 536 trafficking-related investigations, resulting in 71 prosecutions and 144 people currently serving sentences. The government implemented a new anti-trafficking law, the Act on the Punishment of Intermediating in the Sex Trade and Associated Acts, which provided for punishment of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation and authorized the seizure of assets acquired through trafficking. The new law punishes those who use threats, violence, or debt bondage to force people into prostitution and declares that victims' debts to their employers are invalid. Punishments under the new law include up to ten years' imprisonment and fines of up to $86,000. In 2004, the Korean military and the Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) continued their cooperation with the USFK in identifying brothels suspected of exploiting trafficking victims and barring U.S. soldiers access to them.

Protection

During the reporting period, South Korea continued to provide strong protective measures for trafficking victims. The government demonstrated the political will to combat trafficking and applied more resources to protect trafficking victims. The 2004 Act on the Prevention of the Sex Trade and Protection of its Victims authorized the establishment of assistance facilities and counseling centers to help victims reintegrate into society. Over the past two years, the South Korean Government has established 38 shelters for Korean victims of trafficking and two shelters for foreign victims. During 2004, a total of 505 women were sheltered in these facilities, which provide psychological counseling, board and lodging, vocational training, and legal aid. The government also provided significant funding for NGOs providing assistance to trafficking victims. In 2004, the Ministry of Gender Equality (MOGE) provided $4.67 million to these NGOs. For foreign trafficking victims, the Ministry of Justice granted G-1 visas or suspensions of departure, which prevented victims from being deported from South Korea and encouraged them to cooperate with efforts to prosecute their traffickers. The government also took measures to protect trafficking victims who cooperated in prosecutions by prohibiting the disclosure of the victim's identity and allowing a closed-door hearing.

Prevention

The R.O.K. continued to expand its prevention efforts in 2004. The MOGE and the KNPA carried out regular briefings, policy seminars, and media interviews on trafficking. The MOGE worked with NGOs on a public education campaign to raise awareness among victims of their rights under the new anti-traf-ficking and anti-prostitution laws and established a hotline for trafficking victims that included English, Russian, and Chinese interpretation services. The KNPA distributed educational materials to foreign women working in entertainment venues informing them of their rights and how to report any abuses.

 

KUWAIT (TIER 3)

Kuwait is a destination country for men, women, and children trafficked primarily from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka for the purpose of labor exploitation. Some foreign women who migrate legally to Kuwait as domestic workers are subsequently abused by their employers or coerced into situations of debt bondage or involuntary servitude. Some domestic workers are trafficked within the country for sexual and labor exploitation. Some underage boys from South Asia, the Sudan, Yemen, and Eritrea are trafficked from neighboring Gulf States to work as camel jockeys. Victims suffer debt bondage, involuntary sexual servitude, coerced labor, verbal and physical abuse, and the withholding of their passports or other required travel documents.

The Government of Kuwait does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Over the last year, the government failed to take significant steps to address trafficking, particularly efforts to prosecute trafficking crimes and protect victims. It did, however, in 2004 establish a law banning the employment of children as camel jockeys, and welcomed opportunities to cooperate with the U.S. on anti-trafficking activities. The Government of Kuwait issued public declarations against trafficking, but there is no evidence of judicial action against traffickers, despite ongoing reporting of physical and sexual abuse of domestic workers, physical abuse of laborers, and physical abuse and exploitation of trafficked child camel jockeys. Kuwait should take immediate and significant steps to stop these abuses by investigating, arresting, and prosecuting those that are criminally implicated. The government should take immediate and verifiable actions to rescue, repatriate, and reintegrate children trafficked as camel jockeys. Camel racing is not a major sport in Kuwait; therefore, the number of camel jockeys in the country is not large. Kuwait should also take steps to protect the rights of its huge domestic workforce by extending them protection under Kuwait's labor laws or through other appropriate mechanisms. Additionally, the government needs to develop and implement tools such as an anti-trafficking national plan of action, comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, and prevention and protection measures that include broad anti-trafficking public campaigns.

Prosecution

During the reporting period, Kuwait took limited actions to investigate and prosecute traffickers. Kuwait does not have a law specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons; however, it has used existing statutes to prosecute some trafficking and related crimes. Penalties range from three to ten years imprisonment for kidnapping or inducing prostitution to capital punishment for rape. In 2004, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, referred more than 2,000 labor disputes — 20 percent of the total complaints received — to the Prosecutor General for review, but the final disposition of these cases is unknown. Despite a law banning the employment and exploitation of foreign children as camel jockeys, the practice unofficially continues and there is no evidence of prosecution of these offenses. In 2004, Kuwait enacted statutes that require tracking payment of wages by employers. It also prohibited the practice of deducting three month's salary from newly arrived employees to cover recruitment expenses. However, the governmental body charged with enforcing this provision is not adequately staffed.

Protection

Kuwait made minimal efforts to protect trafficking victims over the last year. Domestic workers are not covered by Kuwait's Labor Law and, as a result, lack adequate legal protections. The government continues to detain, jail, and deport trafficking victims caught violating other laws material to their trafficking (e.g. violating immigration laws). The police continued returning some victims to their abusive employers. Occasionally, the government provided limited financial aid to victims, including airfare or chartering aircraft for repatriation, but it did not provide shelter or temporary residence permits to allow victims to pursue criminal or civil complaints against abusive employers. There is no evidence that during the reporting period the government rescued and repatriated any child camel jockey trafficking victim.

Prevention

In 2004, Kuwait initiated efforts to prevent trafficking. In March 2004, the Government of Kuwait established an inter-ministerial taskforce to address problems related to expatriate manpower agencies and domestic laborers. The Ministry of Interior oversees the Immigration Intelligence Department and the Domestic Labor Administration, which license, monitor and inspect recruitment agencies that bring in foreign workers. The Kuwait Union of Domestic Labor Offices (KUDLO), an association of labor recruitment agencies, worked with the government to ensure the passage of statutes designed to prevent exploitation of incoming domestic workers. Additionally, in an effort to minimize labor disputes, the Union produced and distributed brochures highlighting the rights and obligations of domestic workers and employers, provided basic training and orientation to prospective employees in household work, and facilitated change of employers for some domestic workers.

 

KYRGYZ REPUBLIC (TIER 2)

The Kyrgyz Republic is a source and transit country and, to a lesser degree, a destination country for persons trafficked for the purpose of labor exploitation - to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan for agricultural labor; to Russia for labor in agriculture, industry, commerce, and construction; and to China for bonded labor. Kyrgyz women and girls are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation to the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), China, South Korea, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Thailand, and Syria. Researchers in 2004 concluded that 80 percent of Kyrgyz women trafficked abroad for sexual exploitation ended up in the U.A.E. Smaller numbers of trafficking victims transited the Kyrgyz Republic from Uzbekistan and South Asia to Russia, Turkey, and Europe. In 2004, the Kyrgyz Republic was a destination country for Uzbek women trafficked for sexual exploitation. Internal trafficking occurred from poor, rural areas to larger cities. An estimated 295,000 Kyrgyz migrant laborers work illegally in Russia, making them vulnerable to being trafficked.

The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government adopted a new comprehensive anti-trafficking law in January 2005 and focused its prevention efforts on protecting migrant laborers abroad. While the government's victim protection efforts remained lacking, it donated space for a trafficking shelter. The government should amend the Kyrgyz Criminal Code to bring its new anti-trafficking law into force and update its 2002 to 2005 Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

Prosecution

The Kyrgyz Government improved its law enforcement efforts with the May 2004 creation of a dedicated anti-trafficking enforcement unit, formed from a unit previously established in June 2003. Authorities produced 31 indictments and 17 convictions for trafficking-related offenses, including recruitment for sexual or labor exploitation and marriage to underage persons. Three of these convictions fell under the Kyrgyz Republic's 2003 amended criminal code criminalizing trafficking in persons; information on sentences in these cases was not available at the time of this report. The Kyrgyz anti-trafficking law prohibits all types of trafficking with sufficiently severe penalties. Over the last year, authorities shut down seven recruitment agencies and investigated eight more for illegally recruiting people to work abroad. Allegations continued of corruption and perceived tolerance of trafficking by some low-level officials, though the government reported no officials prosecuted for complicity in trafficking crimes. Kyrgyz law enforcement officials established contacts in 2004 with counterparts in South Korea and the U.A.E., and pursued joint trafficking investigations with Azerbaijan and Ukraine.

Protection

The Kyrgyz Government's efforts to assist and protect trafficking victims remained inadequate during the reporting period, though NGOs reported an increase in victim referrals by law enforcement officials. In October 2004, the government donated space for a trafficking shelter in Bishkek. In January 2005, the parliament adopted a new comprehensive anti-trafficking law giving immunity from prosecution to trafficking victims who cooperate with investigators. However, this provision and other new legal guarantees for victims require corresponding changes to the criminal code, which are pending in parliament, before they can take effect. Existing legislation provides for witness protection, but the government did not often use these measures due to resource constraints. During the reporting period, Kyrgyz diplomatic missions abroad assisted in the return of 71 Kyrgyz trafficking victims - 67 from the U.A.E. and four from Turkey.

Prevention

In August 2004, the government joined IOM and an NGO to distribute anti-trafficking information to labor migrants. During the reporting period, the government opened new consulates in Russia and China to better protect Kyrgyz citizens' rights in each country. Kyrgyz officials met regularly with Kazakh local authorities and monitored Kyrgyz labor migrants' working and living conditions in Kazakhstan. The number of Kyrgyz citizens trafficked to Russia, Kazakhstan, and South Korea continued to decrease during the reporting period because of bilateral labor migration agreements signed with those countries in 2003 and 2004. The National Council to Combat Trafficking met regularly, and in April 2004 the government provided office space for and started paying the salaries of the Council's two-staff-member Secretariat.

 

LAOS (TIER 2)

Laos is a source and, to a lesser extent, transit, and destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Many Lao victims are economic migrants who become victims of involuntary servitude or commercial sexual exploitation in Thailand. A small number of victims from the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) and Vietnam are trafficked to Laos to work as street vendors and for sexual exploitation in prostitution.

The Government of Laos does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The Lao Government has recognized that trafficking is a problem, and has strongly supported NGO and international organization efforts to assist victims and promote awareness of trafficking. In September 2004, the government passed a Law on Women that covers trafficking in persons. The new law criminalizes trafficking; provides for the protection of victims, both internally and through international cooperation; and prohibits the punishing of trafficking victims upon their return to Laos. Until the new law is implemented effectively at the local level, however, the government should establish an official mechanism to identify trafficking victims among returnees to the country and take necessary measures to ensure that they are not subjected to fines or other punishment by local authorities.

Prosecution

The Government of Laos reportedly increased its prosecution efforts during the reporting period. Lao law enforcement is decentralized, and the central government does not keep data on efforts of local officials to prosecute traffickers. However, the anti-trafficking office, operated jointly by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (MLSW) and the Ministry of Public Security reported five convictions for trafficking-related crimes in 2004. The new Law on Women stipulates specific penalties for trafficking, including the death penalty for the most egregious forms of trafficking, and those that lead to the loss of life or permanent disability. It also contains provisions defining trafficking and recognizing and guaranteeing the rights of trafficking victims. Overall, judicial and law enforcement institutions are extremely weak. Corruption is widespread; some local government officials reportedly profited from trafficking, though there were no reported prosecutions of officials for complicity in trafficking. The Lao Government does not effectively control its long and porous borders.

Protection

While the Lao Government provided minimal assistance to victims, it continued to refer victims to NGOs and international organizations that run protection programs for victims of trafficking. The government continued to expand its engagement with NGOs and requested their assistance in providing vocational training and establishing another shelter for returnees. While the Lao Government recognized the status of trafficking victims and made efforts to educate provincial and district-level officials on the need to protect them, it made minimal efforts to distinguish trafficking victims from returning migrants who had left the country illegally.

Prevention

The government, in cooperation with NGOs, continued to raise awareness in the media of the dangers of trafficking. The MLSW, with NGO funding, has sponsored media messages on the dangers of trafficking and conducted data collection and public education campaigns. In conjunction with UNESCO, the MLSW conducted a radio project designed to raise awareness of trafficking and HIV/AIDS among ethnic minorities. The Ministry of Education also integrated some anti-trafficking information into school curricula.

 

LATVIA (TIER 2)

Latvia is a source and transit country for primarily women and minors trafficked to Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, Cyprus, Switzerland, and the Nordic countries for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Victims are also trafficked internally, from rural areas to urban centers, for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

The Government of Latvia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government appears politically committed to its March 2004 National Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons, but is struggling to adequately fund and implement it. While the Latvian Government significantly enlarged its anti-trafficking police squad, its victim support services remained lacking and the Latvian court system imposed weak sentences on traffickers.

Prosecution

Latvia specifically criminalizes trafficking in persons for sexual and non-sexual exploitation purposes. In December 2004, Latvia amended its criminal law to cover internal trafficking as well as trafficking across international borders. Although Latvian legislation allows for sufficiently severe penalties under the section of the law against trafficking in persons, the courts in all cases in 2004 only applied those sections of the law that criminalize pimping and alien smuggling for sexual exploitation. While the law was amended in 2004 to provide greater penalties for alien smuggling for sexual exploitation, making it a felony, penalties under this section remain significantly less than those under the trafficking statute. The number of trafficking-related investigations increased, from 12 in 2003 up to 30 in 2004 (with four of those cases initiated under the trafficking section of the criminal law), but Latvian court delays made for fewer convictions in 2004. Of the 21 trafficking-related convictions, down from 40 in 2003, only one trafficker was sentenced to two years' imprisonment, while the rest received conditional sentences. In nine of those cases, the courts confiscated traffickers' property. The staff of the anti-trafficking police squad was increased in 2004 from eight full-time officers to 13. In 2004, the Latvian anti-trafficking unit continued close cooperation with German, Danish, Estonian, and Finnish law enforcement agencies. Latvia has established an anti-corruption bureau and continues to fight official corruption.

Protection

Latvia's efforts to assist and protect trafficking victims remained deficient. The government continued to provide no direct funding for foreign or domestic NGOs for services to victims. Some local municipalities provide ad hoc funds to victim assistance projects. The Riga city municipality granted limited funding to the Skalbes Crisis Center and to the Dardedze Center for abused children, NGOs that identified and assisted trafficking victims in 2004. Trafficking victims continue to be housed in a facility shared by a small number of asylum seekers, although the two groups are separated from one another within the facility. Law enforcement officials do not criminally punish victims, but rather refer them to NGOs for assistance. The process for applying for witness protection is complicated, perhaps explaining police reports that no trafficking victims requested protection in 2004. Latvian embassies abroad identified and assisted three victims during the reporting period, and helped repatriate the remains of two probable Latvian trafficking victims. In 2004, the Ministry of Education trained municipal social workers on trafficking issues, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in April sponsored an annual training for consular officers on trafficking-related issues, and the state police organized three training sessions in all regions of Latvia on how to identify and develop trafficking cases.

Prevention

The Government of Latvia does not conduct independent anti-trafficking campaigns, but supports the efforts of NGOs. The Ministries of Education and Welfare continued to use the Swedish anti-trafficking film, "Lilya 4-Ever," to raise awareness among students through videos and associated materials in secondary schools. Also, the Ministry of Education, in cooperation with a local NGO, has developed a guide on crime prevention, including trafficking in persons, for distribution in high schools. The Ministry of Interior leads an inter-ministerial working group that meets on a regular basis to implement Latvia's National Anti-Trafficking Action Plan adopted in March 2004. The Ministry of Interior in early 2005 released Latvia's first annual trafficking in persons report, which noted significant progress in modifying Latvian legislation to conform to international standards and problems with adequately funding the government's anti-trafficking efforts.

 

LEBANON (TIER 2)

Lebanon is a destination country for African and Asian women trafficked into involuntary servitude as domestic servants. Many of these women are contracted as household workers; some Eastern European women are contracted as dancers in adult clubs. All of these are required by law to have bona fide work contracts and sponsors. Individuals from these groups become victims of trafficking when their rights under the contracts are denied or violated or when they find themselves victims of abuse. Some of the abuses that these workers might experience are late or nonpayment of wages, physical and sexual abuse, lack of freedom of movement, and confiscation of their passports. Workers who run away from an abusive work environment automatically become illegal and subject to detention and deportation, because their visa is valid only as long as they are working for their sponsors. When the sponsor is the abuser and the victim has nowhere to go, the latter often ends up in a government detention facility.

The Government of Lebanon does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During 2004, Lebanon signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with two international NGOs to operate a safe house for migrant workers who are victims of abuse — including involuntary servitude — and began referring trafficking victims to the safe house. It granted IOM permission to open an office in early 2005, and it allows government-salaried social workers to accompany victims during interviews by immigration authorities. Lebanon also granted out-of-visa-status workers who were victims of abuse permission to stay up to two months to assist in the investigation of their cases and the prosecution of their abusers and implemented screening and referral procedures for trafficking cases. Lebanon needs to develop and implement a national plan of action against trafficking, appoint a national coordinator to oversee its anti-trafficking activities, prosecute and punish abusive employers using existing criminal statutes, and cease detaining and penalizing trafficking victims for running away from conditions of involuntary servitude.

Prosecution

During the reporting period, the Government of Lebanon took minimal steps to prosecute trafficking and related cases. Lebanon does not have specific legislation criminalizing trafficking, though it has other laws that can be used effectively to address trafficking crimes. The Ministry of Justice and the Office of the State Prosecutor lag behind in acknowledging and actively combating trafficking. In December 2004, the Surete Generale granted amnesty and waived penalties for up to 1,700 South Asians who did not hold valid visas, thereby facilitating their return home. The Ministry of Labor closed 11 employment agencies for fraudulent practices or mistreatment of workers and took administrative actions against another 18. In addition, it adjudicated 35 contract disputes, 23 in favor of the workers. However, there is evidence that a far greater number of cases go unresolved, and workers are sometimes repatriated without receiving outstanding wages. Similarly, the government has not investigated reports of suspicious deaths of Philippine and Ethiopian domestic workers. The government has not prosecuted or punished any abusive employers, despite evidence of physical and sexual abuse of domestic workers. Lebanon should revamp its prosecution efforts to more effectively combat trafficking.

Protection

The Government of Lebanon markedly improved its efforts to protect victims of trafficking over the reporting period. As noted above, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with international NGOs "CARITAS" and "International Catholic Migration Commission" for the opening of a safe house for trafficking victims. The government also began allowing government-salaried social workers to assist foreign workers during interrogations by immigration officials, and it granted source country embassies improved access to victim detention facilities. In 2004, the government repatriated 147 foreign workers in cooperation with NGOs and source countries.

Prevention

 

In 2004, the Government of Lebanon notably increased its anti-trafficking prevention activities. It produced and distributed booklets and brochures spelling out regulations governing migrant workers, including descriptions of their rights and responsibilities; produced and distributed pamphlets on trafficking to inform victims about various sources of assistance; and markedly improved its cooperation with NGOs and source country embassies in protection and repatriation efforts. Source country representatives, NGOs, academics, and volunteers formed a working group to work with the government to standardize employment contracts and to provide an arrival seminar and a pre-departure debriefing to migrant workers.

 

LIBYA (TIER 2)

Libya is a transit and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation from Africa and Asia. Traffickers often falsely promise victims jobs in Libya to earn the $800 to $1,000 needed to pay for their onward journey to Europe. Once in Libya, some may be forced to work as prostitutes, laborers, and beggars to pay their trafficking "debt." There are an estimated 1.5 million illegal immigrants in Libya, some of whom are believed to be trafficking victims.

The Government of Libya does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government recently acknowledged that it faces a trafficking problem, which it has taken initial steps to combat. In a speech to the nation on March 2, 2005, Libyan leader Mu'ammar Qadhafi warned that Libya is threatened by international challenges that include "trafficking in humans - particularly women and children."

Libya needs to build on this initiative and develop appropriate policy to more effectively tackle the trafficking problem. This effort should include the appointment of a national anti-trafficking coordinator and the drafting and implementation of a comprehensive anti-trafficking law that punishes traffickers, provides for the protection of victims, and facilitates prevention programs.

Prosecution

During the reporting period, the government did not provide precise data on its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts and little evidence exists that Libya has undertaken any efforts to prosecute traffickers. African, Libyan, and European smugglers reportedly operate much like an organized crime syndicate, using deception to entice would-be victims. The government should improve its efforts to monitor and devise strategies to dismantle these rings and use existing criminal legislation to prosecute these criminals.

Protection

The government's efforts to protect victims remain inadequate. It should put in place a procedure to identify trafficking victims among the estimated 1.5 million illegal immigrants in the country and provide them with appropriate protection measures, including shelter, medical and psychological services, and repatriation and reintegration assistance.

Prevention

Libya's efforts to prevent trafficking improved over the last year. Until 2004, the Libyan Government denied the problem and did very little to prevent it. Now, however, the government has started engaging other countries, particularly in Europe, to combat human trafficking. Libya needs to replicate these efforts by cooperating with source countries, particularly in the African continent. In June 2004, the Libyan Government organized a regional conference where affected countries discussed, among other concerns, trafficking issues. In October, it invited the IOM to discuss migration issues.

 

LITHUANIA (TIER 1)

Lithuania is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children primarily trafficked to large cities in Europe for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Victims are trafficked to and through Lithuania from countries such as Ukraine, Russia (Kaliningrad), and Belarus. Traffickers continued to target Lithuanian boarding schools, which also serve as orphanages, to recruit victims.

The Government of Lithuania fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. During the reporting period, the government increased trafficking-related convictions, augmented funds for anti-trafficking programs, and assisted more victims. Still, overall trafficking convictions and sentences remained low, and some NGOs called for greater government funding of victim protection programs. To further strengthen anti-trafficking efforts, the government should consider establishing a specialized anti-trafficking law enforcement unit, formalize screening and referral mechanisms, and increase sensitivity training for police. The Lithuanian Government should consider expanding its prevention program to include domestic demand-reduction programs.

Prosecution

In 2004, the Government of Lithuania in 2004 opened 22 new investigations, involving 25 traffickers, up from 15 investigations in 2003. During that period, the courts prosecuted 16 trafficking cases and convicted 14 individuals with sentences ranging from fines to three years' imprisonment. Lithuania's Criminal Code penalized trafficking with prison sentences of up to ten years in cases of trafficking in children. In March 2005, a Vilnius court finalized the extradition of a Costa Rican wanted by Costa Rican authorities for trafficking children in that country. In 2004, Lithuanian law enforcement officials participated in trafficking-related training in Norway, Belarus, the Netherlands, Ukraine, and Sweden. Lithuania's law enforcement training center provided four hours of anti-trafficking training biannually to all new officers. While there was no official evidence of government involvement in or tolerance of trafficking in persons, some individual police officers may condone it. Lithuanian law enforcement officials continued to cooperate with other governments on trafficking investigations and participated in 23 joint trafficking investigations in 2004.

Protection

The Lithuanian Government provided grants to 13 of the approximately 20 NGOs that offer trafficking victims assistance or temporary shelter — up from 11 in 2003. Experts estimated over 300 trafficking victims received support in 2004. No formal screening and referral procedures existed, but police cooperation with assistance providers was adequate. The police signed an agreement of cooperation in December 2004 with one NGO that provided shelter and social assistance to 17 trafficking victims. The government provided 30 trafficking victims with counseling and occupational training under its rehabilitation and orientation program established in July 2003. In 2004, trafficking victims and witnesses composed 13 to 14 percent of all protected people in the police department's protection program. Police did not charge trafficking victims as criminal violators in 2004, and the government submitted to the parliament in February 2005 new draft legislation to guarantee formal protections for victims. The government continued to provide guidance to its overseas posts on the handling of trafficking cases; the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs assisted in the repatriation of 42 trafficking victims during the reporting period, up from 20 in 2003.

Prevention

The government and local NGOs organized a series of educational events for more than 200 boarding school students who are particularly at risk for trafficking. An NGO that received approximately half of its annual budget from government funding distributed over 82,000 anti-trafficking brochures and posters throughout Lithuania, and implemented over ten trafficking prevention programs in 2004. Schools continued to use the anti-trafficking curricula on a voluntary basis. Lithuania's first National Strategy to combat trafficking ended in 2004; an interagency group drafted a National Strategy for 2005 to 2008 that is expected to receive official approval in spring 2005.

 

LUXEMBOURG (TIER 1)

Luxembourg is primarily a country of destination for women trafficked from Eastern Europe for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

The Government of Luxembourg fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Luxembourg appears for the first time in this Report due to newly available information that indicates a significant trafficking problem in the country. The Government of Luxembourg acted assertively to prosecute trafficking in 2004. The government should develop a formalized screening mechanism and expand law enforcement training to increase victim identification.

Prosecution

The Government of Luxembourg demonstrated adequate and proactive anti-trafficking enforcement in 2004. In April, two women reported they were forced or coerced into prostitution while under legal "artiste" visas. The government reacted swiftly by arresting five suspects, including two cabaret owners. At the end of the reporting period, the government was actively prosecuting these cases. Commendably, upon the request of Luxembourg's Commissioner for Human Rights, the government ended the artiste visa program one month after the arrests. Additionally, the police reported in May 2004 that two cabarets had been shut down. By the end of the reporting period, the government had closed down a total of five cabarets. Since that time, nine other cabarets have closed. The Government of Luxembourg prohibits trafficking in persons. According to the penal code, trafficking for sexual exploitation carries penalties of from six months to three years and monetary fines. If there are aggravating circumstances, prison sentences can range from one to ten years. There was no evidence of trafficking-related corruption among Luxembourg public officials.

Protection

Because the trafficking problem is new to Luxembourg, the government did not have a formal screening or referral process in place for victims of trafficking who came forward during the reporting period. In the case of the artiste visa victims, however, the Ministry for Equal Opportunity provided funding for their housing and coordinated with the police to ensure their protection. Subsequent arrangements were made to place them in a witness protection program. Notably, since the incident, the Luxembourg vice squad was granted a substantial budget to care for trafficking victims, should the need arise.

Prevention

In 2004, the government closely monitored and took active preventative measures to decrease trafficking and the opportunities for exploitation. As a result of the government's termination of the artiste visa program, approximately 500 to 700 women were required to return to their home countries in an effort to prevent their exploitation. In December 2004, the Minister of Foreign Affairs refused to issue new visas in response to recruitment agencies' attempts to replace the discontinued artiste visas, which had been used in the two trafficking cases being prosecuted by the government. In 2004, the Ministry of Family, Social Solidarity and Youth sponsored a campaign against sex tourism in cooperation with ECPAT-Luxembourg. Plans were underway to launch a demand-oriented anti-trafficking campaign next year.

 

MACEDONIA (TIER 2)

Macedonia is a country of transit and, to a lesser extent, destination for women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation from the former Soviet Union and Eastern and Southeastern Europe. A number of victims transit through Macedonia and on to Western Europe for sexual exploitation. Macedonian women continued to be trafficked regionally throughout the former Yugoslavia. NGOs and the international community reported a growing problem of internal trafficking.

The Government of Macedonia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Macedonia dropped from Tier 1 to Tier 2 in 2004 because of a lack of progress in strengthening its anti-trafficking efforts. The government passed new anti-trafficking legislation in 2004, but failed to demonstrate overall appreciable improvement in enforcement and prevention. Persistent institutional deficiencies in the judiciary continued to hamper the government's ability to effectively combat trafficking. Its judicial system failed to appropriately and effectively prosecute, sentence, and detain traffickers or provide adequate safeguards for victims and witnesses in courtroom settings. The government should actively develop and implement its National Plan, vigilantly address trafficking-related corruption, and expand prevention programs for vulnerable groups.

Prosecution

During 2004, the Government of Macedonia amended its trafficking law to establish mandatory minimum sentences of eight years' imprisonment for traffickers in cases where there are aggravating circumstances. The government reportedly investigated 39 suspected human trafficking cases, charged 38 persons, and submitted 19 cases for prosecution. An appellate court upheld a lower court verdict sentencing four defendants to 12 years in prison. The Human Trafficking Unit engaged in two regional operations coordinated by the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative Center. However, instances of official impropriety and poor courtroom procedures continued to hamper judicial effectiveness. Trafficker Dilaver Bojku-Leku was sentenced to 3 years and 8 months in prison for "mediation in prostitution," but is in an "open regime," which allows him to regularly leave the prison on his own recognizance. At his March 2005 retrial for additional charges, the court failed to adequately safeguard the victim-witness's identity or prevent the defendant's apparent intimidation of the victim and of court officials. Trafficking-related corruption remained a serious problem, which the government failed to vigorously investigate and prosecute.

Protection

The government continued to operate the Transit Shelter Center for trafficked persons. Police deported some trafficking victims after improper screening. The government assisted 38 victims at the Center, a significant decrease from the 143 victims assisted the previous year. Victims may be granted refugee status or asylum under Macedonian law. Macedonia has no witness protection law, but recent amendments to the criminal code contained some witness protection provisions. By law, the government seeks to ensure protection for all victims, and the police have provided 24-hour protection for victims testifying in court. However, in 2004, one victim was jailed for four days during criminal proceedings.

Prevention

The National Commission for Combating Trafficking monitored the government's anti-trafficking efforts but has yet to evolve into an effective action-oriented entity. The Commission, created in 2001, has neither finalized a national action plan nor developed an adequate strategy and timeline for its implementation. NGOs reported that a recently created Subgroup on Trafficking in Children was the most active component of the Commission. During 2004, the government continued to rely on NGOs to conduct information campaigns. Several government officials participated in prevention-oriented working groups and publicly spoke out against trafficking. The police academy included a mandatory introduction course on trafficking for all its cadets. However, the program did not provide adequate tools for identification of victims. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs required all consular officers to receive training on victim identification. Consular officers may not independently issue visas for women in the so-called entertainment industry and must send all requests through an Internal Affairs review board.

 

MADAGASCAR (TIER 2)

Madagascar is a source country for children trafficked internally for the purposes of sexual exploitation and possibly forced labor. The exploitation of children in prostitution is a substantial problem in the coastal cities of Tamatave and Nosy Be. Children in the capital are recruited under false pretenses for legitimate employment in coastal cities as waitresses and domestic servants; upon arrival, they are often placed into commercial sexual exploitation. A network reportedly traffics young girls aged 12 to 14 from the provinces to Antananarivo to engage in prostitution. Anecdotal information also indicates that there may be a network of traffickers recruiting children in rural areas for employment opportunities in urban centers, particularly as domestic servants.

The Government of Madagascar does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Madagascar is an emerging leader in the fight against human trafficking on the African sub-continent. During the year, the government made strong progress in addressing the country's trafficking in persons problem by marshalling the political will to combat it and taking substantial steps to implement a national strategy aimed at its elimination. To further its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should improve the record keeping of legal proceedings to enable the compilation of reliable statistics and work toward passage of a comprehensive anti-trafficking law.

Prosecution

Madagascar has no law specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons. However, existing penal code statutes outlaw slavery and forced labor, prohibit the procurement of minors for prostitution, and bar those under the age of 18 from nightclubs and discotheques. Domestic statutes on child prostitution are inconsistent, particularly with respect to the age of consent. This weakness is being addressed by the current overhaul of trafficking-related legislation. In late 2004, the Ministry of Justice compiled all relevant pieces of legislation on children's rights, and analyzed their conformity with international conventions. Comprehensive anti-trafficking law enforcement statistics were unavailable. As Madagascar lacks a centralized database of legal cases, officials at the Ministry of Justice must call individual jurisdictions to obtain statistics on trafficking cases. At the time this report was drafted, the Malagasy Magistrates Union had been on strike for two months; many courts were closed and reliable statistics could not be obtained. The government significantly enhanced its efforts to curb child commercial sexual exploitation by dramatically increasing the enforcement of existing laws barring minors from nightclubs. The Minors' Brigade of Antananarivo, a police unit, conducted three separate raids of nightclubs, identifying 53 minors illegally present. The minors were counseled about the illegality of their activity and released into their parents' custody. In addition, three new Minors' Brigades were created in the provinces. In July 2004, police arrested a foreign women for purchasing a young Malagasy girl and forcing her to appear in pornographic films. A German national's pending sentencing on charges of pedophilia and hosting an Internet site promoting sex tourism in Madagascar was postponed due to the magistrate's strike. In June 2004, the government reported that 32 foreigners were investigated for pedophilia in the first half of the year. The government partnered with UNICEF to train 180 police officers in six provincial cities in how to recognize, investigate, and prosecute instances of trafficking.

Protection

The government bolstered its ability to assist victimized child laborers through the establishment of three Welcome Centers during the reporting period; one of the centers has opened while two others are under construction. Since July 2004, the Antananarivo center provided shelter for over 200 children occupied in the worst forms of child labor, including commercial sexual exploitation, and reintroduced many into either the educational or vocational training systems. Forty "Youth Houses," community centers that host sporting events, concerts, and other group activities to prevent youth delinquency, served as additional platforms to protect children from child sexual exploitation and labor by disseminating information about the dangers of trafficking and prostitution. In November and December 2004, the Ministry of Population trained 40 community leaders in Ivato and Majunga on the protection of children.

Prevention

The government's efforts were strongest in the area of prevention. In September 2004, the President's Chief of Staff established a special inter-ministerial anti-trafficking committee that met weekly and adopted a national plan to combat trafficking and slavery. The government immediately implemented portions of the plan dealing with the prevention of children in prostitution by strengthening enforcement of laws barring minors from bars and creating shelters for at-risk children. In January 2005, combating trafficking in persons was highlighted in the government's listing of strategic goals that was published in the nation's major newspapers. Children in prostitution received top priority in the government's June 2004 National Strategy to Combat the Worst Forms of Child Labor. In July, the Ministry of Tourism co-sponsored a workshop on sex tourism that was attended by 100 government officials, NGO representatives, and journalists. All key parties in the tourist sector signed an agreement to actively support the government's efforts to combat sex tourism.

Awareness of trafficking in persons has increased through an aggressive information campaign. During the year, the government presented four local dialect sketches on prostitution, broadcast 20 educational programs on national radio stations, and initiated a national drawing, poetry, and essay contest on the theme of combating child labor. Production began on several anti-trafficking films. The Ministry of Population hosted two large screenings of the government-produced and UNICEF-funded film "Vero sy Haingo," which tells the story of two sisters, one of whom remains in school while the other is lured into prostitution. One session was followed by a televised debate featuring representatives from various ministries. In addition, approximately 15,000 high school students viewed the film in 2004.

 

MALAWI (TIER 2)

Malawi is a country of origin and transit for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Trafficking victims, both children and adults, are lured into exploitative situations by offers of lucrative jobs either in other regions of Malawi or in South Africa. Children are internally trafficked for forced agricultural labor. Women in prostitution reportedly draw underage children into prostitution. Anecdotal reports indicate that child sex tourism may be occurring in Malawi, primarily along the lakeshore.

The Government of Malawi does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Trafficking in persons was a new concept to Malawian officials in 2004, when, in the midst of near-total political transition, they made admirable efforts to organize anti-trafficking activities and information. To further enhance its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should arrange for additional training for law enforcement officers on the recognition of complex forms of trafficking in persons and continue toward the passage of comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation.


Prosecution

The government made progress in furthering its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Malawi's constitution prohibits slavery, servitude, and any form of forced or bonded labor. Its penal code criminalizes abduction; procuring of a person for prostitution or to work in a brothel; procurement and defilement involving threats, fraud or drugs; involuntary detention for sexual purposes; and living off the proceeds of prostitution or operating a brothel. During the year, the government reintroduced an amendment to strengthen and support these articles. In addition, the Malawi Law Commission began drafting a specific law to criminalize all types of human trafficking. In November 2004, the Ministry of Labor shifted its focus from labor inspection to labor enforcement, and regional inspectors gained the authority to conduct investigations and press charges. Since that time, two cases of child trafficking for agricultural labor exploitation were successfully prosecuted to conviction in the central region. In addition, the Ministry of Labor removed 13 children from situations of forced labor in tea and tobacco estates and reunified them with their families after requiring employers to compensate them. The government provided basic counter-trafficking training to all immigration officers and police.

Protection

The government made appreciable progress during the reporting period in caring for victims of trafficking and provided assistance commensurate with its limited resources and capacity. In May 2004, it conducted a rapid assessment of the situation of the country's orphans and determined that they are at risk of exploitation, including sexual exploitation. The Ministry of Gender, Child Welfare, and Community Services responded by developing and launching a national action plan for orphans and vulnerable children that included elements of victim protection and trafficking awareness and prevention. As part of the plan, nearly 200 new child protection officers received training on the recognition of trafficking victims and were placed in districts across the country. In addition, 37 Victim's Support Units were established, with the mandate to provide protective and support services to exploited children, including trafficking victims. The government's long-term victim protection strategy targets those in prostitution and those at risk of prostitution, particularly children. By offering options such as education and vocational training to children in prostitution, the government contributed to their social reintegration and rehabilitation.

Prevention

In 2004, the government formed an inter-ministerial anti-trafficking committee that meets regularly and which has begun developing a national anti-trafficking action plan. Drafting this plan was complicated by the lack of data on human trafficking. As a result, the Ministry of Gender, in cooperation with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Malawi Human Rights Commission, designed a comprehensive study of the nature of human trafficking in Malawi, for which they are seeking donor funding. During the year, the government conducted a variety of regionally focused public awareness campaigns — workshops for teachers and traditional authorities, meetings for rural families with young children, marches and radio jingles — to increase understanding of the root causes of trafficking in persons. In September 2004, the government hosted a three-day IOM regional workshop on human trafficking in Southern Africa that was attended by several senior government officials. In addition, it approved the opening of an IOM office in Malawi.

 

MALAYSIA (TIER 2)

Malaysia is a destination and, to a lesser extent, a source and transit country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. As many as several thousand women from Thailand, Indonesia, the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.), Cambodia, and Burma are trafficked to Malaysia for commercial sexual exploitation. Additionally, some economic migrants from Indonesia who work as domestic servants and as laborers in the construction and agricultural sectors face exploitative conditions in Malaysia that meet the definition of involuntary servitude. Malaysian women (primarily of Chinese origin) are trafficked to Western Europe, North America, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan.

The Government of Malaysia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. While the government took some steps to combat trafficking, Malaysia lacks comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation to enable officials to provide adequate victim protection and work effectively at the interagency level to combat trafficking in persons. The Ministry for Women, Family, and Community Development announced in December 2004 the establishment of a dedicated shelter for foreign trafficking victims. The National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) drafted a national action plan on trafficking, though it has not yet been approved by the government. The Malaysian Government should screen illegal migrants detained for immigration violations to identify and provide care for trafficking victims that may be in their midst. The Malaysian Government should draft and enact a comprehensive trafficking law that recognizes trafficked men and women as victims and provides them with shelter, counseling, and assistance in repatriation.

Prosecution

During the reporting period, the Malaysian Government continued efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking-related cases. Malaysia does not have a law that specifically addresses trafficking in persons but uses existing laws to prosecute traffickers. Twenty individuals were convicted under trafficking statutes in the penal code during the first six months of 2004. The penal code criminalizes most of the acts involved in severe forms of trafficking and those laws carry penalties of up to 15 years' imprisonment. In 2004, the government began to use new amendments to the 2001 Anti-Money Laundering Act to seize the assets of businesses involved in illicit activities, including trafficking. The Malaysian Government reported four such seizures in early 2004. Malaysia does not have a witness protection program that would encourage victims to testify against the criminal syndicates that are responsible for much of the trafficking. There were no reported prosecutions of officials complicit in trafficking.

Protection

In 2004, Malaysia provided an inadequate level of protection for most victims of trafficking. While police procedure is to send victims who can prove their nationality to embassy shelters rather than immigration detention, many victims, including some who agreed to cooperate in prosecutions, were placed in harsh conditions in immigration detention centers to await deportation. Because the police continued to lack the training and language skills to identify trafficking victims among illegal migrants, foreign trafficking victims often went unrecognized and were treated as immigration offenders. The Malaysian Government has not yet implemented a formal screening process to identify trafficking victims but Suhakam has developed a questionnaire for foreign women arrested for prostitution to identify trafficking victims. In December 2004, the Women's Ministry announced the establishment of a dedicated shelter for foreign trafficking victims, though the shelter has yet to open and care for victims. The Malaysian Government provided training for some of its higher-ranking officials but there was no systematic training program to sensitize front line police and immigration officers on trafficking.


Prevention

The Malaysian Government continued efforts to prevent trafficking through public awareness or education campaigns. The Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), within the government's ruling political coalition, continued to publish warnings about trafficking in its Chinese-language publications, make public statements to caution potential victims about overly lucrative job offers abroad, and hold periodic press conferences highlighting the plight of returned Malaysian trafficking victims. In 2004, Malaysian state-run television ran a documentary on trafficking victims who had been assisted by MCA. The Women's Ministry is planning a nationwide campaign to increase public awareness on trafficking through seminars, workshops, and dissemination of brochures.

 

MALI (TIER 2)

Mali is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced domestic, agricultural, and commercial labor. Children are trafficked to the rice fields of central Mali; boys are trafficked to mines in the southeast; and girls are trafficked for involuntary domestic servitude to large cities. Children are also trafficked between Mali and neighboring countries such as Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Guinea. Traffickers are generally Malian, but also include nationals of other West African states.

The Government of Mali does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Changes in Mali's law that would prohibit trafficking of all persons, not just minors (as is currently the case), would enhance anti-trafficking efforts, as would increased training and resources for law enforcement and judicial officials responsible for trafficking cases.

Prosecution

Law enforcement, hampered by the country's extensive borders and scarce government resources, showed limited success in combating trafficking in 2004; most anti-trafficking investigations started prior to 2004 remained open during the reporting period. Malian law provides punishments of five to 20 years in prison for trafficking in children and the Malian constitution prohibits all forced or bonded labor. The courts convicted no traffickers in 2004. A judge dropped a case initiated in early 2004 against four Nigerian women after determining that their suspected victims were adult prostitutes not protected by the child trafficking law — highlighting the weakness of Mali's existing criminal law. In July 2004, Malian authorities intercepted two traffickers moving 50 Burkinabe children; the traffickers escaped with 30 children and the government repatriated the remaining 20 child victims. Two suspected traffickers who attempted to move six children to Europe through Bamako airport in October 2004 await trial.

Protection

The government worked closely with neighboring countries, international organizations, and NGOs to coordinate the repatriation and reintegration of trafficking victims. In 2004, transit centers in four cities received over 150 rescued children awaiting return to their families. The Government of Mali signed new bilateral agreements with Burkina Faso and Senegal to increase cross-border coordination and facilitate repatriation of victims; Senegal repatriated 54 Malian children and Mali returned 20 children to Burkina Faso in 2004. The government lacked financial resources, but made a good faith effort to work with NGOs and donors to fund and implement victim assistance projects in conformance with the National Plan established in 2002.

Prevention

The government made significant progress in increasing public awareness and community involvement in the fight against trafficking throughout the reporting period. It supported civic education programs that included awareness campaigns to inform local populations about trafficking. The Ministry of Women, Children, and the Family (MPFEF) established 120 of the 286 community surveillance committees created throughout the country in the past two years; most of these committees focus on combating child trafficking. The government presented an anti-trafficking message throughout the country at the beginning of the 2004 school year and trained tribal leaders, chiefs, and journalists on the Child Protection Code and the worst forms of child labor. The government launched a survey on sexual exploitation of minors in late 2004 and the MPFEF translated the Child Protection Code into six local languages.

 

MAURITANIA (TIER 2)

Mauritania is a source and destination country for children trafficked for the purpose of forced labor. Some rural Mauritanian families, from Pulaar, Wolof, and related tribes, send their sons to work, study, and live with a marabout (religious master). They do so with full knowledge that their sons will spend an appreciable amount of time begging to meet the expenses of their education. Talibes, as these boys are locally known, sometimes beg in the streets for up to 12 or more hours a day. Marabouts can vary greatly; most marabouts provide comprehensive Koranic instruction to their charges, but others do little more than run networks of child beggars.

Girls are reportedly trafficked from the rural areas or neighboring Mali for forced domestic servitude in wealthy urban homes. Slavery-related practices, typically flowing from ancestral master-slave relationships, continue in isolated parts of the country where a barter economy exists. These practices are becoming more infrequent.

The Government of Mauritania does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government has made appreciable progress in combating trafficking, particularly in victim protection and in raising public awareness of new trafficking-related laws. To further its efforts to combat trafficking, the government should increase levels of protective services provided to talibes while demonstrating more aggressive enforcement of laws prohibiting forced labor.

Prosecution

The government made noticeable progress in furthering its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the reporting period. Mauritania's Law Against Human Trafficking prohibits internal and external human trafficking practices for both sexual and labor exploitation. National laws and the constitution outlaw slavery. In July 2004, an updated labor code that includes a number of new provisions against forced labor passed into law. The government hosted two workshops for government officials and civil society representatives to publicize both the anti-trafficking law and new labor code. In late 2004, the government distributed in semi-urban and rural areas 4,000 audiocassettes that discuss these pieces of legislation. No trafficking-related cases were investigated or prosecuted during the year. The Ministry of Justice launched a website on which it began making records of all court cases publicly available.

Protection

The government greatly increased its efforts to provide victim protection services over the last year. In mid-2004, it opened six centers in Nouakchott that provided shelter, food, and limited medical care to 645 indigent people, the majority of whom were talibes. Additionally, in early 2005, the government began a multi-faceted program aimed at reducing the number of talibe beggars. Though still in the early stages, the government began providing talibes with basic medical care and a government-sponsored NGO began offering marabouts the resources and financial means to be able to focus on educating their charges. Once fully operational, the program will target 575 talibes. The government also demonstrated progress in developing economic and social programs to integrate former slaves into society. The Commission on Human Rights, the Fight Against Poverty, and Insertion (CDHLCPI) initiated three projects addressing this issue, with a specific focus on the regions where the majority of Black Moors (former slaves and the descendants of slaves) are concentrated. These projects include providing micro-credit financing and income-generating activities to 160,000 people; developing agricultural infrastructure and capabilities for rural populations; and alleviating poverty through locally designed and implemented projects to meet local needs. In 2004, IOM assisted the government in repatriating 139 South Asians found stranded in the desert of northeastern Mauritania, some without their passports. It remains unclear whether these individuals were victims of trafficking.

Prevention

The government made limited efforts to prevent trafficking from occurring during the last year. The CDHLCPI hosted a roundtable on human rights topics, including the new labor code, the anti-trafficking law, women's and children's rights, and the rights of young girls working in large urban households. The country's single radio station broadcast the roundtable nationwide. In mid-2004, the government established an inter-ministerial working group on trafficking that includes director-level officials from the CDHLCPI and Ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs, Interior, Labor, and Communications. This group convened biweekly meetings to discuss anti-trafficking efforts and progress.

 

MAURITIUS (TIER 2 - WATCH LIST)

Mauritius is a source and destination country for children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. According to a 2002 report commissioned by the Ministry of Women's Rights, Child Development, and Family Welfare and carried out by the University of Mauritius with UNICEF support, children exploited in prostitution are found in the capital of Port Louis, the town of Grand Bay, and other beach resort areas. Children most likely to be exploited in prostitution — a form of trafficking — are young girls from impoverished families whose parents are engaged in prostitution and/or drug use.

The Government of Mauritius does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Mauritius has been placed on Tier 2 Watch List because of a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons over the last year. Increased anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts and a broader provision of victim services would improve Mauritius's anti-trafficking efforts.

Prosecution

The government's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts were modest in 2004. Mauritius does not have a comprehensive law specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons. Existing laws prohibit brothel keeping and allowing a child into a brothel; prostituting a child in Mauritius or abroad; procuring or exploiting prostitutes; forced labor; abduction; and slavery. The government did not report any trafficking cases prosecuted or convicted during the year. In May 2004, the police force established a ten-officer child protection brigade to monitor all forms of exploitation and abuse against children. The brigade, through its field intelligence officers, reportedly investigated several cases of children in prostitution, but claimed there was insufficient evidence to take any further action beyond notifying the relevant parents. The brigade received training on child commercial sexual exploitation from the Ministry of Women's Rights. The Tourism Police patrolled tourist areas, including hotels, beaches, and shopping areas; it is unknown whether this force conducted any trafficking-related interventions.

Protection

The government provided limited assistance to trafficking victims during the period. A Child Development Unit (CDU), within the Ministry of Women's Rights, worked with the police to give assistance to children at risk of abuse. The CDU operated a telephone hotline to offer 24-hour assistance to children in distress, but no calls were reported from children in prostitution. The Ministry also funded an adjacent NGO-operated "Drop-In Center" where it referred child victims of sexual exploitation to receive psychological and medical treatment, undergo rehabilitation, and reconnect with the educational system; parents received counseling as well. Civil servants — two welfare officers and two social workers — were on the Center's staff. In 2004, six of the center's 76 cases were known to be children engaged in prostitution. In addition, the Ombudsman for Children received one case of a child engaged in prostitution. The Ministry of Women's Rights' child welfare officers participated in the monthly meetings of the country's six community Child Watch Networks, an avenue for volunteers to report cases of child sexual exploitation, including children in prostitution, to the Ministry.

Prevention

Mauritian anti-trafficking efforts were strongest in the area of prevention. The country lacks a comprehensive public awareness campaign to fight trafficking in persons, though it has a two-year-old national plan of action to address commercial sexual exploitation of children through various approaches, including prevention. As part of that plan's implementation, government officials occasionally spoke out publicly on the issue. The Ministry also held a workshop in 2004 to facilitate information sharing among and conduct a needs assessment of children at high risk for sexual exploitation. A meeting of senior-level officials was held in November 2004 to specifically discuss coordinated efforts against commercial sexual exploitation of children. In partnership with UNICEF, the University of Mauritius began building a regional center to facilitate the prevention of child sexual exploitation in island nations. The university is supporting the project through funding, technical expertise, and the use of its facilities.

 

MEXICO (TIER 2 - WATCH LIST)

Mexico is a source, transit, and destination country for persons trafficked for sexual exploitation and labor. The trafficking phenomenon in Mexico is complex and has strong links to organized transnational criminal networks and gangs. Many illegal immigrants fall prey to traffickers and are exploited along the Guatemala and United States' borders. In addition to cross-border trafficking, Mexico also faces a considerable internal trafficking problem in which thousands of children - largely Mexicans and Central Americans - are victims of commercial sexual exploitation. The government states that the number of these child victims may be as high as 20,000.

Trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation of minors contributes to child sex tourism in Mexico, mainly in the border and tourist areas. In addition, women are trafficked into Mexico's sex trade as well as trafficked via Mexico into the United States' illegal sex trade under false pretenses by organized criminal networks. Mexican and Central American men, women, and children are trafficked into the United States for forced labor and sexual exploitation. Although most trafficking victims in Mexico are from Central America, victims also originate from the Caribbean, South America, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Exact numbers of trafficking victims are not readily available, as they are often difficult to identify, due to the clandestine and complex nature of cross-border trafficking.

The Government of Mexico does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however it is making significant efforts to do so. Mexico remains on the Tier 2 Watch List for a second consecutive year for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking, particularly in the area of law enforcement. Deficiencies in Mexico's efforts to combat trafficking remained throughout the year, though the Mexican Government has recently committed to do more. Legal reforms are pending in the Mexican Congress which, if passed, may aid with trafficking-related prosecutions and convictions. Currently, trafficking victims in Mexico are at risk of being further victimized because of inadequacies in the current legal system, notably the lack of protection for victims. The Center for Investigation and National Security (CISEN) of the Secretariat of Government was recently designated as the coordinating agency for anti-trafficking efforts. CISEN faces structural inefficiencies in collecting data and fostering investigations, prosecutions, and convictions of trafficking cases.

Prosecution

The Government of Mexico did not keep law enforcement statistics on trafficking investigations, arrests, prosecutions, or convictions over the reporting period. There were no known prosecutions or convictions in Mexico over the time-frame covered by this report. However, Mexican authorities did report a large number of smuggling investigations, and perhaps some of these cases have a trafficking element - it reported identifying 51 criminal organizations and 35 ringleaders involved in alien smuggling. General inefficiency in the judicial system contributes to the lack of prosecutions and convictions in Mexico, and little progress has been made to address these problems within the existing criminal justice system, although the government has introduced to Congress significant judicial reform legislation. Nonetheless, recent statements by high-level Mexican officials indicate a willingness to devote resources to investigate and prosecute trafficking networks. Mexico has actively cooperated with the United States on a few specific trafficking cases and also worked with the United States through bilateral law enforcement channels. However, Mexico should move quickly to implement a March 2004 agreement with Guatemala to address cross-border trafficking in its southern border region. Anti-trafficking legislation introduced last year is pending in the Mexican Congress. In 2004, the government conducted a major operation targeting corrupt immigration officials. Twenty-five of those officials are now on trial for various corruption charges. However, there have been no reports of officials convicted of trafficking-related corruption. Corruption remains endemic among Mexican security personnel and presents a major obstacle to improved anti-trafficking efforts.

Protection

Mexico continued to provide an inadequate level of support to victims during the reporting period. Many victims are not adequately protected and thus prosecutions and convictions are difficult to obtain without key statements from victims of trafficking. There are NGOs in the country that will shelter trafficking victims, and the government's social welfare agency (DIF) has also taken steps to protect and assist trafficking victims. However, DIF has few resources and large caseloads, which inhibits its ability to cope with the growing numbers of trafficking victims present in the country, especially along the Mexico-Guatemala border. Although the current Administration has stepped up efforts to engage and work with civil society, the NGO presence in the country remains weak. Mexico is overwhelmed with the large number of migrants that transit Mexico, and reported 215,695 detentions of illegal migrants in 2004, an increase of 15 percent since 2003. The need to care for large numbers of illegal immigrants constrains Mexico's ability to provide support to trafficking victims. Mexico provides temporary shelter and medical services to unaccompanied minors who are smuggled, but there are no statistics on the number of trafficking victims assisted. The government is also constructing a new $10 million facility in southern Mexico to house and process intercepted migrants, and this center may also aid trafficking victims. The Mexican Commission on Human Rights opened offices on both borders to assist smuggling and trafficking victims. Despite these efforts all foreigners, including trafficking victims, face detention and deportation. Mexico immigration (INM) recently indicated that it would permit trafficking victims to stay in the country as long as they agree to cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers. However, no victims have been identified and measures to ensure the safety of the victims under this program are not clearly delineated.

Prevention

Mexico had some success in calling attention to trafficking in the country. The First Lady of Mexico has spoken out about the dangers of trafficking, and other high-level government officials, including the Secretary of Government and the Foreign Secretary, have stressed the need to fight the problem. The government's social welfare agency (DIF) runs public awareness campaigns throughout the country and is implementing a national plan to prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of minors. DIF is also working to prevent the growing sex tourism problem in Mexico. Finally, the government signed an agreement with the Organization of American States (OAS) and is also working with the IOM to address some aspects of trafficking in Mexico.

 

MOLDOVA (TIER 2)

Moldova is primarily a source country for persons, particularly women and girls, trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation to the Middle East and European countries west and south of Moldova. It is also to a lesser extent a transit country to European destinations for victims trafficked from former Soviet states. Moldovan victims continued to be increasingly trafficked to Turkey, the Middle East (including the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and Israel), and Russia (particularly minors). New information indicates that Moldovan men are trafficked to Baltic and other former Soviet states for the purpose of agricultural and construction labor exploitation. IOM reported an increased number of families trafficked to Poland for forced begging. The small breakaway region of Transnistria in eastern Moldova is outside the central government's control and remained a significant source and transit area for trafficking in persons.

The Government of Moldova does not fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In 2004, the government more than doubled the number of trafficking convictions handed down with prison sentences. While Moldova's National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons continued to meet regularly and frequently, the government spent very little of its own funds to combat trafficking. The trafficking problem severely affects the Moldovan population. The government should lead Moldova's fight against trafficking rather than continuing to rely heavily on initiatives from NGOs and international organizations.

Prosecution

While Moldova made progress in its law enforcement efforts during the reporting period, it is widely suspected that the Anti-Trafficking Unit limited the number of cases it investigated due in some instances to pressure from complicit officials at higher levels in the government. Moldovan legislation prohibits all types of trafficking and provides for severe penalties ranging from seven years to life imprisonment. The Ministry of Interior's Anti-Trafficking Unit opened 274 trafficking investigations, up from 189 investigations in 2003. The courts convicted 16 individuals for trafficking in persons and seven for trafficking in children, of which 13 received prison sentences (compared to six in 2003) ranging from two to 16 years. Police and prosecutors received anti-trafficking investigations training in September 2004. Moldovan law enforcement officials participated in the regional operation "Mirage 2004" that led authorities to open nine trafficking cases in Moldova. Despite continued allegations of trafficking-related corruption among some law enforcement officials, the government took no action against these officials. Authorities investigated a former Moldovan policeman for trafficking women to the U.A.E.; he is currently free on bail pending his trial. Corrupt judges often downgraded trafficking charges to pimping for lesser penalties.

Protection

The Moldovan Government's efforts to assist and protect trafficking victims remained inadequate. The government provided practically no funding to NGOs for victim assistance, though it continued to provide space in state buildings for a rehabilitation center run by IOM and another anti-trafficking organization's branch offices. Moldova has not implemented its witness protection law adopted in 1998, though in certain cases police posted guards outside witnesses' homes during the reporting period. Still, a majority of victims did not feel secure enough to take action against their traffickers. The government did not prosecute trafficking victims in 2004 for crimes committed in the course of being trafficked. No official victim referral system existed; however, the Anti-Trafficking Unit signed cooperative agreements with two lead anti-trafficking organizations under which it referred several hundred victims for assistance during the reporting period.

Prevention

The government continued its work to prevent trafficking, though NGOs and international organizations conducted most of the anti-trafficking campaigns. While the National Committee on Trafficking in Persons met twice a month on a regular basis, it produced limited results due to the lack of a full-time secretariat and a clear mandate. In December 2004, the National Committee asked NGOs and international organizations to evaluate its work and suggest ways to improve government efforts to combat trafficking. It then released an assessment of anti-trafficking work by all entities for the 2003 to 2004 period. In January 2005, the government established a working group with NGO participation to draft a new National Action Plan that will replace the outdated 2001 Action Plan. Additionally, the government drafted and sent to parliament in February 2005 new legislation to comprehensively address all aspects for trafficking. All local committees, underneath the National Committee, conducted trafficking awareness-raising meetings in schools with students and teachers. The Ministry of Internal Affairs withdrew the licenses of several tourism and employment agencies in 2004 for their suspected involvement in trafficking.

 

MONGOLIA (TIER 2)

Mongolia is a source and transit country for women and men trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor; it also faces a problem of children trafficked internally for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. In 2004, the government documented over 200 Mongolian children exploited as prostitutes. Mongolian women are trafficked to China, Macau, and South Korea for commercial sexual exploitation. There are also reports that Mongolian women have been trafficked to Hungary, Poland, and other East European countries, as well as France and Germany. Some Mongolian men working overseas face exploitative conditions that meet the definition of involuntary servitude — a severe form of trafficking.

The Government of Mongolia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The Mongolian Government has acknowledged that trafficking is a problem and has tried to improve its ability to address it. While the government engages NGOs and regional and international organizations on anti-trafficking measures, it lacks the resources to combat trafficking effectively on its own. The Mongolian Government does not systematically monitor its anti-trafficking efforts and some officials lack an understanding of what constitutes trafficking. Government action should concentrate on adopting a strong and comprehensive anti-trafficking law, arresting and prosecuting traffickers, and providing victim protection measures.

Prosecution

The Mongolian Government's law enforcement efforts against trafficking were modest during the reporting period. The government investigated four trafficking-related cases in 2004, but there were no successful prosecutions. Authorities have not developed the capacity to compile full information on trafficking-related arrests, prosecutions, and convictions. Mongolia's criminal code and criminal procedure code contain provisions against trafficking in women and children and prostitution, with penalties of ten to 15 years' imprisonment for trafficking and a maximum of five years' imprisonment for prostitution. The Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs, in coordination with the National Human Rights Commission, is currently reviewing the anti-trafficking provisions of the criminal code in an effort to strengthen the law and make it easier to prosecute traffickers.

Protection

The Mongolian Government did not provide protection and direct assistance to trafficking victims during the reporting period, largely due to resource constraints. The government did not fund foreign and domestic NGOs that provided support for victims.

Prevention

While there were no anti-trafficking campaigns conducted in Mongolia over the last year, the government worked with travel industry representatives and UNICEF to establish a voluntary code of conduct to prevent the sexual exploitation of children in the travel and tourism industry. The Mongolian Government recognized that trafficking is a problem, but it did not place a priority on trafficking prevention programs. During the last year, the government began developing a national action plan to combat trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children.


MOROCCO (TIER 1)

Morocco is a country of origin, transit, and destination for women, men, and children trafficked from sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, and Asia. Young Moroccan victims are lured into Europe by Italian, Spanish, Moroccan, and Algerian traffickers and then forced into drug trafficking, coerced labor, and sexual exploitation. According to government figures, an increasing number of Asian victims, particularly Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis, were brought into Morocco in 2004. Moroccan women are trafficked to Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Children are trafficked internally for exploitation as child domestics and beggars. Sex tourism involving young Moroccans in and around popular tourist destinations has also been reported.

The Government of Morocco fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Although the government did not provide full data on investigations, prosecutions, convictions, and sentences, the Secretary of State has determined that it made a good faith effort to do so. Over the reporting period, Morocco continued to make progress in its overall anti-trafficking efforts: it signed an agreement with IOM to allow the latter to open an office for anti-trafficking work, created the National Observatory of Migration to coordinate and oversee Morocco's national anti-trafficking efforts, and formed a bi-national commission with Spain on trafficking. Morocco should consider creating a mechanism for identifying and developing trafficking cases for prosecution, and a procedure for referring victims to shelters and NGOs. It should also consider developing a centralized data collection system to document trafficking-related arrests, prosecutions, and convictions.

Prosecution

The government made progress in its prosecution efforts in 2004. Morocco passed a new family code prohibiting the selling of child brides, raised the age of marital consent to 18, took steps to restrict hazardous forms of child labor, and criminalized sexual abuse of children. In 2004, it dismantled 423 trafficking rings and arrested 262 traffickers. Also, the Moroccan police arrested 70 Nigerian traffickers and rescued 1,460 Nigerian victims hidden by traffickers near Mt. Gourougou. In addition, Morocco dismissed the commander and deputy of its 745-man peacekeeping contingent in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, after a UN report implicated the peacekeepers for sexually assaulting women and children under their care. Morocco also arrested six of the soldiers directly implicated in these crimes and announced that they will be court-martialed. In Marrakech, the police arrested three French tourists for having solicited sex from minors, a measure that serves to deter the demand for trafficking victims.

Protection

In 2004, Morocco continued making progress in protecting trafficking victims. It cooperated with Italy and Spain to repatriate an estimated 6,000 Moroccan minors living illegally in both European countries, some of them likely trafficking victims. In cooperation with Spain and Belgium, it established shelters and provided a wide range of assistance for returnees. The government also repatriated 1,460 Nigerian victims. The Government of Morocco relies heavily on NGOs to assist domestic trafficking victims. The government allows these NGOs to solicit tax-free donations from citizens, residents, and companies — indirectly assisting in the provision of services to victims.

Prevention

The Government of Morocco increased its anti-trafficking prevention activities. Morocco began conducting joint naval surveillance operations with Spain in the Atlantic waters separating the Western Sahara from the Canary Islands, a known trafficking route. It also increased its border police presence along the Algerian border — another known trafficking route. A draft law requiring the police to investigate an employer when a runaway child maid is picked up is expected to be enacted in 2005 and will likely deter the abuse of child maids. In 2004, Morocco introduced severe punishment for promoting prostitution, pornography, sex tourism, child pornography, and child sexual abuse. In 2004, Morocco began training its diplomats in destination and transit countries to assist Moroccan victims. It also increased funding for efforts to stop the "renting" of children as props in begging.

 

MOZAMBIQUE (TIER 2)

Mozambique is a source country for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Trafficked women are recruited, generally from the Maputo area, with promises of lucrative jobs in South Africa and then sold to brothels, or as concubines to mine workers. Traffickers are principally Mozambican or South African citizens, but involvement of Chinese and Nigerian syndicates has also been reported.

The Government of Mozambique does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. To further its efforts to fight trafficking, the government should strengthen its law enforcement efforts by actively investigating and prosecuting cases of trafficking, and should also undertake strong preventative measures, including a comprehensive public awareness campaign.

Prosecution

The government's performance in combating trafficking through law enforcement improved in 2004. Mozambique has no law specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons. As a necessary precursor to drafting comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, the government conducted a donor-funded survey of children's rights in 2004. Traffickers could be prosecuted using existing laws on sexual assault, rape, abduction, and child abuse, but no such cases have been brought before a court. The criminal investigative police and the anti-corruption unit of the Attorney General's office have very limited knowledge of trafficking in persons. However, in March 2005, police in Quelimane arrested two men attempting to sell an 11-year-old boy. In separate 2004 incidents, border police arrested two Mozambican men for abducting and illegally transporting young boys across the South African border. Border controls remain highly inadequate, and many policemen and border control agents are suspected of accepting bribes from traffickers. In 2004, the Ministry of Interior's Department for Women and Children established a new database to track a variety of crimes against women and children; no official cases of trafficking were recorded, but many cases of abductions and disappearances were registered and investigated. The Department of Migration signed an agreement with its counterpart in South Africa to share information and facilities; information on trafficking in persons was specified within the agreement. The Ministry of Interior provided training in women's and children's protection, including trafficking in persons, to police officers serving in Maputo, Beira, and Nampula.

Protection

The government made modest attempts to provide basic protection for victims of trafficking over the last year. The Ministry of Women and Social Action has provided six major hospitals with counselors to help women and children who are victims of violence, including trafficking. These counselors have received basic training in trafficking and reintegration; counselors in the Maputo Central Hospital reported that they used their training to help trafficking victims during the year. In late 2004, the Ministry of Interior established women's shelters, intended in part to protect trafficking victims, at police stations in Maputo, Beira, Nampula and several large towns in Gaza province. Police officials staffing these shelters received training on trafficking in persons during the period.

Prevention

Prevention efforts on the part of the government remained weak. President Chissano mentioned trafficking in persons during his "State of the Union" address. President Guebuza discussed the problem in his 2004 election campaign. The government established an anti-trafficking inter-agency working group comprised of the Ministries of Interior, Women and Social Action, Justice, and Health, and held an initial meeting in 2004. The government has not organized any public education campaigns on trafficking prevention, but the Ministries of Interior and Women and Social Action actively participated in NGO and international organization-run education campaigns for women in vulnerable communities by presenting information about trafficking-related laws and police services. In January 2005, the government formally approved IOM's application to re-establish an office in Mozambique. The Mozambican Government does not yet have a national plan of action to address trafficking in persons.

 

NEPAL (TIER 1)1

Nepal is a source country for girls and women trafficked to India for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, forced labor, and work in circuses. Many victims trafficked to India are lured with promises of good jobs or marriage. Others, including boys, are sold by family members or kidnapped by traffickers. Women are trafficked to Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, and other Gulf states for domestic servitude. Internal trafficking for forced labor and sexual exploitation also takes place. Maoist insurgents continue to abduct and forcibly conscript children. Reports indicate that internal trafficking is on the rise due to the insurgency, as rural women and children leave their homes and seek both employment and security in urban centers.

The Government of Nepal fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination trafficking. Despite political and security challenges, the government has sustained its efforts to combat trafficking in persons. Nepal has a National Plan of Action to combat trafficking, a draft Human Trafficking Control Bill to strengthen its 1986 anti-trafficking law, and a National Rapporteur on trafficking. However, these commendable anti-trafficking efforts are hindered by political instability and security problems associated with the Maoist insurgency affecting a large part of the country.

Prosecution

Nepal's law enforcement efforts are commendable given the security and resource challenges that it faces. According to the Attorney General, in 2004, 133 trafficking cases were filed, 32 convictions handed down, and 83 are pending prosecution. In October 2004, a court in Makwanpur convicted a man for attempting to traffic two 16 and 17 year-old girls and sentenced him to ten-years' imprisonment. In March 2005, a court in Jhapa sentenced a man to a 15-year term and hefty fine after convicting him of selling a girl to a brothel in India. Nepal, although not a destination for child sex tourists, prosecuted one case involving sexual abuse of children by tourists in 2004. In January 2005, Nepal negotiated and initialed an extradition treaty and an Agreement on Mutual Assistance on Criminal Matters with India. Nepal has also established a Documentation and Information Center (DIC), which tracks trafficking cases at the district level. Nepal should take measures against some immigration officials, police, and judges suspected of trafficking-related graft and corruption.

Protection

The Government of Nepal works well with NGOs to provide protection assistance to victims of trafficking. In 2004, Nepal drafted a bill and accompanying policies and regulations to protect the rights of labor migrants, and rescued and repatriated (in collaboration with India and NGOs) more Nepali girls this year. The Nepali police in 2004 established Women and Children Service Centers in 15 districts to enhance anti-trafficking law enforcement, public awareness, and counseling activities at the district level. These centers provided training on victim support methods to local police and NGOs and the government has plans to create similar centers in four more districts.

Prevention

During the reporting period, Nepal made progress in its efforts to prevent trafficking. The government has identified 26 high-priority districts as source areas of trafficking and established anti-trafficking "Vigilance Committees." It also requires all workers traveling abroad to attend orientation sessions on safe migration that help prevent trafficking and conducts national and regional information campaigns on trafficking. Planete Enfants, an EU-funded NGO, collaborates with the government in conducting campaigns to educate girls about trafficking in 19 districts. UNIFEM, in coordination with the government, conducts campaigns to target potential victims and deter traffickers by advertising potential 20-year punishment for trafficking. These efforts resulted in the interception and rescue of potential victims and in eroding the stigma associated with being a trafficking victim.

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1
Despite setbacks in other areas, Nepal has over the years made steady progress in its efforts to combat trafficking, as the problem affects thousands of its young population. Other serious human rights problems in Nepal are reported and analyzed in the annual Human Rights Report, available at:  http://www.state.gov/j/drl/hr/index.htm.

 

THE NETHERLANDS (TIER 1)

The Netherlands is primarily a destination and transit country for trafficking of women and girls for the purpose of sexual exploitation; trafficking for labor exploitation exists to a lesser extent. Most victims are trafficked from Central and Eastern Europe, with some victims from Nigeria and Brazil. Reportedly, a significant percentage of the 25,000 individuals engaged in prostitution reportedly are trafficking victims. Internal trafficking of young, mostly foreign girls by Moroccan and Turkish pimps into sexual exploitation also occurs. The Netherlands Antilles, where the Netherlands exercises responsibility over visa issuance according to guidelines issued by the Netherlands Antilles, became more of a concern as a transit and destination for illegal migrants, some of whom may have been trafficked.


The Government of the Netherlands fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Although the government did not provide final 2004 data on investigations, prosecutions, convictions and sentences, the Secretary of State has determined that it has made a good faith effort to do so. In 2004, the government adopted an anti-trafficking national action plan, expanded its outreach to potential trafficking victims and increased overall funding for protection and prevention. In January 2005, the government supplemented its existing trafficking law and incorporated forced labor into its definition of exploitation, bringing penalties in line with international standards. International scrutiny continued to focus on the legalized commercial sex industry in the Netherlands. Police reported a decrease in trafficking in the legalized sector, though comprehensive data on the number of trafficking victims is unavailable because the government did not carry out a recommended systematic screening of foreign prostitutes in the redlight district. While the government initiated several information and awareness raising campaigns, additional targeted and highly visible campaigns aimed directly at customers and women in the redlight zones should be made to increase effectiveness in combating the overall problem.

Prosecution

The Netherlands, in 2004, expanded the legal definition of trafficking to include forced labor and increased the maximum penalty for traffickers from six to eight years. Sentences of up to 12 years can apply in cases of serious physical injury. Average sentences increased by almost 3 months in 2003. Preliminary enforcement statistics reflected an increase in cases investigated for the first nine months of 2004. During this period, Dutch police initiated 604 investigations and referred 87 cases for prosecution. In 2003, the courts successfully prosecuted 127 trafficking-related crimes. The police incorporated anti-trafficking curriculum into regular police training; and a similar model was developed for public prosecutors and judges. Information on the modus operandi of traffickers was distributed to all regional police forces. There were no reports of official corruption or trafficking-related complicity.

The government reported that strict controls and licensing requirements for brothels were employed as a means of combating trafficking. Under the Public Information Integrity Act, the local government of The Hague denied licenses to five sex firms and withdrew two existing licenses due to indications of involvement in illegal activities, including trafficking. Police conducted unannounced bi-monthly visits to brothels in Amsterdam to check for illegal conduct.

Protection

In 2004, the Dutch government increased its funding for shelters assisting trafficking victims by 1.2 million Euros. Additionally, regional governments funded shelters, victim protection programs and local education programs. The Dutch Foundation Against Trafficking in Persons (STV), the national reporting center for registration and assistance for trafficking victims, registered 405 trafficking victims in 2004, an increase from 267 the previous year. Moreover, 185 trafficking victims received B-9 residency permits, an increase from 84 in 2003. In April 2005, the government enacted regulations to allow B-9 permit holders the right to work and eligibility for benefits and education assistance. Victims not wishing to apply for the B-9 were informed of other asylum options, including the option of accepting the B-9's three-month reflection period. In 2004, the government donated 28.5 million Euros to UNICEF to protect child victims of trafficking.

Prevention

In 2004, the Dutch government initiated targeted information campaigns to prevent trafficking and raise awareness among government officials and the public. These included: an information campaign on the anonymous crime reporting hotline; a B-9 residency permit awareness campaign; and new public awareness campaigns on youth prostitution targeting at-risk youth in schools and among asylum seekers. During the reporting period, the Health Ministry subsidized a "stepping out" program aimed at re-socialization and psychosocial support. Information brochures in five languages on development of such assistance packages were distributed to local governments and distributed to 2,000 vulnerable women in prostitution across the Netherlands. Under this program, the government also funded Dutch language lessons for women formerly in prostitution and conducted outreach to 800 foreign national prostitutes to escape dependency on pimps and traffickers. In addition, the government funded outreach through an NGO in 2004 to 22,000 women in prostitution, potential trafficking victims and clients in the Amsterdam redlight district. The government, in January 2005, established a center aimed at preventing involvement of youth in prostitution to consolidate all prevention, information and support activities. The government continued to focus efforts on international prevention and outreach to source countries, and provided significant funding for a number of programs in those counties. The government has provided funding since 2003 to prevent the international sexual exploitation of children and international child forced labor.

THE DUTCH CARIBBEAN AUTONOMOUS REGIONS

Anecdotal reporting suggests that the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, autonomous regions within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, are transit and destination regions for trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation. Curacao and Saint Maarten, in particular, reportedly are destination islands for women trafficked for the sex trade from Columbia, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. In Curacao (and neighboring Aruba) observers estimate that 500 foreign women are in prostitution, some of whom may have been trafficked. There are also reports of children being trafficked for sexual exploitation as underage prostitutes, particularly from the Dominican Republic. In September 2004, Curacao prosecuted and sentenced two traffickers who trafficked children from Suriname to Curacao using fraudulent documents. Visas for Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles are issued by Dutch Embassies following review by Aruban or Netherlands Antilles' authorities. Visa controls were reportedly tightened in 2004. Also in 2004, the Dutch government provided 100,000 Euros to an IOM program focused on awareness raising, information dissemination and regional cooperation targeting officials from the Dutch Caribbean.

 

NEW ZEALAND (TIER 1)

 

New Zealand is a destination country for women trafficked from Thailand and other countries in Asia for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Some women smuggled into the country are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation to repay substantial debts to traffickers. New Zealand has a sizable number of children in prostitution, many of whom may be trafficking victims.

The Government of New Zealand fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government should make a greater effort to prosecute trafficking offenses and raise public awareness of New Zealand's trafficking problem.

Prosecution

 

New Zealand's laws criminalize trafficking, slavery and child sexual exploitation. There were no convictions in the last year relating to transnational trafficking, but there were two convictions of brothel keepers for employing underage prostitutes under the Prostitution Reform Bill of 2003, which legalized prostitution in New Zealand and clamped down on trafficking of children for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. There were seven convictions for offenses involving underage prostitutes. Penalties for trafficking crimes carry a maximum of 20 years' imprisonment and substantial fines. The law extends prosecution to any person receiving financial gain from an act involving children exploited as prostitutes, and it prohibits sex tourism. The New Zealand Government cooperated in the foreign prosecution of its citizens who committed child sex offenses in other countries.

Protection

During the reporting period, the New Zealand Government's protection efforts continued to meet minimum standards. The government supported NGOs including one that provided services to women in the commercial sex industry and some trafficking victims. The government provides physical protection, medical services, travel documents, and repatriation for victims. There were no reports of trafficking victims who had been jailed, fined or deported.

Prevention

The government has programs geared to protecting children. To prevent exploitation of new immigrants and refugees, the New Zealand Government also has a number of campaigns to make them aware of their employment rights and human rights. The government in early 2005 approved a National Plan of Action on Trafficking in Persons. Although too new to verify its implementation, the plan establishes procedures for victim identification; provides victims access to specialized shelters; and provides awareness raising and training on trafficking.

 

NICARAGUA (TIER 2 - WATCH LIST)

 

Nicaragua is a source and transit country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Estimates of the total number of victims are difficult to assess; however, the Government of Nicaragua acknowledges that trafficking is a significant problem. Nicaraguans are trafficked from rural to urban areas within the country, and to other parts of Central America and Mexico for sexual exploitation. The majority of victims are children prostituted by their traffickers.

The Government of Nicaragua does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Nicaragua is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to eliminate trafficking. The government has a weak commitment to addressing trafficking. While there is some evidence of a commitment to fight trafficking, including the opening of an office in the Ministry of Government to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts, and limited work on cross-border cooperation and repatriations, anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts remain weak, particularly efforts to address trafficking-related corruption. To improve its trafficking efforts, the government should implement a more aggressive law enforcement strategy against commercial establishments that profit from the sexual exploitations of minors; revise and update laws to comply with international standards on trafficking in persons; and expand bilateral and regional anti-trafficking efforts.

Prosecution

The Government of Nicaragua, through its national anti-trafficking coalition, has a plan to fight trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children under the age of 14, which includes improved law enforcement as a priority. However, during the reporting period there was only one reported trafficking-related conviction. The government had a number of investigations and arrests, but failure to provide sufficient protection of victims has lead to prosecution failures. Several cases remain in the court and may lead to convictions in the future. Police closed some establishments known to be exploiting children, but greater efforts are needed to address the many clubs, bars, and other establishments offering children for sexual exploitation. In general, law enforcement is hampered by a lack of resources, personnel, and trafficking awareness. The legal framework is also an obstacle and needs to be modernized to criminalize underage prostitution. Nicaragua law currently does not criminalize the prostitution of minors, a severe form of trafficking in persons.

Protection

Nicaragua continued to provide inadequate services and protections for victims of trafficking over the last year. Foreign trafficking victims discovered illegally in the country are detained and face summary deportation without any consideration of the protection they may require as victims of trafficking in persons. The government does not fund shelters to assist trafficking victims, which is partially a reflection of the government's severe resource constraints. The government recognizes the dearth of victim protection and claims to be designing mechanisms to better assist and protect victims. Currently, the government cooperates and coordinates closely with NGOs in fighting sexual exploitation of minors. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has successfully worked to repatriate victims of trafficking. Efforts to increase regional cooperation are underway and should be continued.

Prevention

Widespread poverty and unemployment leave many in the country, especially women and children, vulnerable to traffickers. Inadequate resources limit the government's ability to carry out long-term sustainable campaigns. Nonetheless, the government was able to undertake many meaningful prevention measures. The government conducted a successful trafficking awareness campaign run by the Women's Division of the National Police and the Ministry of Education. The two offices have implemented a program in high schools throughout Nicaragua to warn at-risk teenagers about trafficking. The police, working with school counselors, made presentations to students on the dangers of trafficking and hand out booklets containing a strong anti-trafficking message. The government's national anti-trafficking coalition initiated a separate large-scale public awareness campaign during 2004. The campaign included print materials and television and radio programs targeted at school-aged potential trafficking victims in locations where traffickers are known to recruit victims.

 

NIGER (TIER 2 - WATCH LIST)

 

Niger is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced domestic and commercial labor. Nigerien boys are trafficked internally, often by local religious teachers, to work as beggars and manual laborers; Nigerien girls are trafficked for domestic servitude and to engage in prostitution. Foreign children are trafficked into Niger for similar purposes. Nigerien women are trafficked to North Africa and Europe for sexual exploitation, and to North Africa and the Middle East for forced domestic labor. Traffickers lure victims to foreign countries with false marriages or promises of lucrative employment. Nigerien children have also been trafficked to Gabon and Nigeria. Victims are also trafficked to or transit through Niger to other West African countries from Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo. Many families misguidedly surrender their children to distant relatives or religious teachers who then exploit the children. According to a sample survey conducted by an NGO, over one fourth of approximately 1,500 households knew of trafficking in their neighborhood or village, and more than five percent reported that at least one family member had been trafficked. Slavery-related practices, typically flowing from ancestral master-slave relationships, also continue in isolated areas where a barter economy exists.

The Government of Niger does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Enactment in April 2004 of an antislavery law with criminal sanctions for a broad range of slavery-like practices, while a move in the right direction, has not resulted in a noticeable reduction in trafficking or appreciable increase in enforcement actions against traffickers. Niger is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its weak efforts to enforce anti-trafficking laws and rescue victims. The government should make good faith efforts to educate officials, communities, and local leaders to prevent trafficking and rescue victims. The government should also prosecute traffickers under existing laws, and consider passing and implementing laws that specifically ban trafficking in persons.

Prosecution

The government's law enforcement efforts remained weak in 2004. Niger's 2003 Anti-Slavery Law entered into force in April 2004, and the government's Human Rights Commission investigated four cases of alleged slavery and human trafficking; no prosecutions or rescues of forced labor victims resulted from these actions. In the absence of a law that specifically prohibits trafficking, a Nigerien court sentenced one individual to three years in prison under kidnapping charges. The government trained 150 law enforcement officers regarding approved travel documents for children crossing borders without their parents. Nigerien officials conducted joint cross-border patrols with Nigeria, Chad, Mali, and Burkina Faso and identified 13 foreign trafficking victims but did not apprehend any traffickers. Corruption of low-level officials was common, but there were no known instances of government officials who participated in or condoned trafficking.

Protection

The government ran no shelters to care for trafficking victims and lacked the financial resources to fund or otherwise support foreign or domestic nongovernmental victim assistance. However, government social welfare and police officials referred many of the victims who turned to NGOs for assistance. Authorities worked with the Nigerian government to repatriate 15 Nigerian victims.

Prevention

 

The government made limited progress in educating the public about the trafficking situation in Niger. Though lacking a national campaign to combat trafficking, it cooperated in a trafficking survey, continued to conduct seminars for some journalists and community leaders on child abuse and trafficking, and included anti-trafficking elements in campaigns condemning child abuse. The Prime Minister drew attention to the problem of human trafficking in an October 2004 speech to journalists, and government newspapers ran some stories about child beggars. In March 2005, the government began to educate communities about the 2003 Anti-Slavery Law, which took effect in April 2004, and on the rights of victims under the new law.

 

NIGERIA (TIER 2)

Nigeria is a source, transit and destination country for trafficked women and children. Nigerians are trafficked to Europe, the Middle East and other countries in Africa for the purpose of sexual

 

exploitation, forced labor, and involuntary domestic servitude. Nigerian girls and women are trafficked for sexual exploitation to Europe — particularly Italy, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands — and other African countries. Children from Nigeria's southern and eastern states are trafficked to Nigerian cities and other West African countries for exploitation as domestic servants, street hawkers, and forced laborers. Children from Togo and Benin are trafficked to Nigeria for forced labor.

The Government of Nigeria does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government showed clear progress in implementing its 2003 anti-trafficking law and improving the capacity of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP). The government should undertake greater efforts to ensure that child victims of labor trafficking are identified and provided protection. It should also consider better coordination among and consolidation of the country's disparate anti-trafficking investigative and prosecutorial resources.

Prosecution

The government made strong strides in improving its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the reporting period. Comprehensive anti-trafficking law enforcement statistics were not available. NAPTIP investigated more than 40 cases of suspected trafficking, leading to eight new prosecutions. In November 2004 a court handed down the first conviction under the 2003 anti-trafficking law, sentencing a female trafficker to three years' imprisonment for attempting to traffic six girls to Spain. The police anti-trafficking unit expanded its coverage to 11 state offices, rescued 35 victims of trafficking, opened 27 investigations, and arrested 40 suspected traffickers. The government provided over $1 million in funding for NAPTIP in 2004, allowing it to hire needed staff; expand cooperation with other countries, including Benin, Niger, Saudi Arabia, Italy, and the United Kingdom; and train its own dedicated prosecutors. Trafficking-related corruption is a serious obstacle to Nigerian anti-trafficking efforts. Although NAPTIP began investigating a number of law enforcement officials suspected of trafficking complicity over the last year, no prosecutions were initiated.

Protection

The government's efforts to provide protection for victims of trafficking remained weak in 2004, though some progress was made through the opening of a transit shelter in Lagos and a small shelter in Benin City, Edo State. In other locations, NAPTIP provided emergency overnight shelter for victims, but usually referred victims requiring longer-term care to NGOs and international organizations. Police and NAPTIP encouraged victims to assist in prosecutions; the government published a brochure outlining the steps a victim can take to help in prosecutions that was distributed to Nigerian victims deported from Europe. A system of screening and referral of victims was established among the various Nigerian law enforcement agencies, and victims are now referred to NAPTIP, NGOs or international organizations for care. The government provided modest funding for NGOs involved in protecting victims.

Prevention

The government's anti-trafficking prevention efforts continued over the year. NAPTIP conducted "sensitization tours" around the country, reaching out to state governments, local law enforcement, market organizations, and youth groups to raise awareness of the dangers of trafficking. NAPTIP created a website to provide information to Nigeria's considerable Internet-savvy public and opened a hotline for victims of trafficking and those seeking information on trafficking. State governments' departments of youth and women's affairs conducted programs to raise awareness and prevent those at risk from falling prey to traffickers. For example, the Department of Youth in Cross River State organized youth camps around major holidays, which are prime times when traffickers target victims. NAPTIP and the Special Assistant to the President on Human Trafficking and Child Labor presided over the National Stakeholders Forum, which brought together government agencies and NGOs to share information and coordinate anti-trafficking efforts.

 

NORTH KOREA (TIER 3)

 

The Democratic People's Republic of North Korea is a source country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Thousands of North Korean men, women, and children are forced to work and often perish under conditions of slavery inside the country. Thousands of North Koreans, pushed by deteriorating conditions in the country, become economic migrants who are subjected to conditions of debt bondage, commercial sexual exploitation, and/or forced labor upon arrival in a destination country, most often the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.). The illegal status of North Koreans in other nations increases their vulnerability to trafficking schemes and sexual and physical abuse. North Korean women are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and forced marriages with Chinese men while North Korean men are trafficked for forced labor. North Koreans forcibly returned from China are sent to labor prison camps operated by the government.

The Government of North Korea does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making efforts to do so. The government does not recognize trafficking as a problem and imposes slave-like labor conditions on prisoners and repatriated North Koreans.

Prosecution

During the reporting period, North Korea publicly executed three men for trafficking North Korean women into China. There were no reports that authorities investigated the trafficking of North Korean women for sale into brothels and marriages with Chinese men. The North Korean Government continued to carry out trafficking abuses, particularly forced labor. There were no reports of prosecutions of corrupt officials related to trafficking.

Protection

The Government of North Korea made no effort to protect trafficking victims during the reporting period; reporting instead indicated that the government punished victims. Press reports indicated that nine women who were trafficked and returned from China were sentenced to prison terms of two years to 18 years. The government sent all North Koreans who were forcibly returned from China, including trafficking victims, to forced-labor prison camps where torture and public executions are commonplace. There are also reports that North Koreans who were forcibly returned from China are detained in re-education camps.

Prevention

The North Korean Government does not recognize trafficking as a problem, and there were no reports of any government anti-trafficking efforts. Due to the lack of prevention efforts, there have been reports of an increase in the trafficking of North Korean women along the Chinese-North Korean border. The government has not taken steps to warn its citizens about the kidnapping of North Korean women by Chinese or North Korean men along the border who prey on unaccompanied women.

 

NORWAY (TIER 1)

 

Norway is a destination country for women trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, mostly from Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Baltic countries. A significant increase in the number of African women in prostitution was noted in Norway in 2004. Their total number remains small, but the sudden increase may suggest the growth of organized trafficking rings.

The Government of Norway fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons. Norway is a leader in anti-trafficking efforts. The government achieved progress in the areas of prosecution and protection during the reporting period, mainly as a result of Norwegian political attention to the issue and sustained funding for anti-trafficking efforts. The Norwegian Government should consider expanding its prevention program to include domestic demand-reduction programs.

Prosecution

The Norwegian Government demonstrated progress in prosecuting and convicting traffickers during the reporting period. The Norwegian Penal Code criminalizes all types of trafficking in persons and provides sufficiently severe penalties. Traffickers can also be prosecuted for violation of laws against pimping and slavery. In February 2005, the government successfully prosecuted Norway's largest trafficking case to date and convicted eight persons - three Georgians, two Lithuanians, two Norwegians, and one Turk. The leader of the group was convicted under Norway's trafficking statute - as well as under laws against assault, rape, confinement, and threats - and sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment. The remaining seven individuals received sentences of four months to four and a half years' imprisonment. The court also ordered the perpetrators to pay the two victims approximately $170,000 in compensation. In another case, the police charged three alleged traffickers under pimping, organized crime, and human trafficking laws, and have requested the extradition of two alleged traffickers from Germany. The Norwegian police have a two-day training seminar for officers working on trafficking issues. The Directorate of Immigration also provides counter-trafficking training to its personnel. There was no evidence of trafficking-related official corruption in Norway during the reporting period. The Norwegian Government cooperates with other governments in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases through Interpol and Europol, and bilaterally.

Protection

The Government of Norway significantly increased its efforts to protect victims of trafficking. In January 2005, the Norwegian Government launched a formal trafficking victim assistance program featuring a government-funded NGO operating a network of trafficking victim assistance centers and a 24-hour hotline. The government-funded NGO is also opening two centers dedicated to delivering follow-up assistance to victims as they recover. The Government of Norway can suspend decisions to remove trafficking victims for a 45-day grace period, regardless of whether they cooperate with police or prosecutors, in order to provide assistance and counseling. In Norway's largest trafficking case, a victim involved immediately received a temporary residency permit and skipped the reflection period. The police have offered the reflection period to over 60 women nationwide and none has chosen to use it; the government is reviewing possible adjustments to include having assistance providers offer it rather than the police. Police continued to develop witness protection guidelines for trafficking cases.

Prevention

The Norwegian Government continued to move forward in implementing its National Plan of Action to combat trafficking in 2004. The Norwegian inter-ministerial task force on trafficking is required to submit a written report every six months to a higher steering committee, comprised of the deputy ministers of all nine ministries represented on Norway's inter-ministerial task force. During the reporting period, the government funded NGOs that conducted public awareness and outreach, as well as regional and international projects in source countries on the risks of trafficking. Norway continued to play a prominent role in the international campaign against trafficking, in NATO and in other multilateral organizations. Norway educated its embassy and consulate staff on trafficking issues and encouraged them to work with local NGOs to counter trafficking in host countries.

 

OMAN (TIER 2)

 

Oman is a destination country for women and men who migrate legally and willingly from South Asia — primarily from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines — for work as domestic workers and laborers but are subsequently trafficked into conditions of involuntary servitude. Some of these workers suffer from physical and sexual abuse or withholding of wages or travel documents. Every year, thousands of Pakistanis infiltrate Oman's maritime border with Iran in search of jobs or to reach other destinations in the Gulf. According to a noted human rights activist, several dozen foreign children trafficked for the purpose of exploitation as camel jockeys were reportedly seen near the border with the United Arab Emirates.

The Government of Oman does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Over the next year, the government should conduct an assessment of the smuggling and trafficking situation and develop an appropriate national plan of action to combat it. It should also consider appointing a national coordinator to articulate, direct, and oversee the government's overall anti-trafficking efforts, including the drafting and enactment of a comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, the training of law enforcement personnel to identify trafficking crimes, and the development of appropriate anti-trafficking protection and prevention programs.

Prosecution

The Government of Oman continues to actively interdict, apprehend, screen, and detain suspected illegal immigrants and human smugglers. Oman does not have an anti-trafficking law, but it has other criminal laws that can be used to prosecute trafficking crimes. During the reporting year, there were reports of physical abuse of domestic servants, some of whom may have been victims of involuntary servitude. According to Ministerial Decree 189 (Law on Domestic Labor, issued June 16, 2004), Article 8, an employee has the right to end his/her contract if he/she is abused by an employer. Pursuant to Article 10, salary disputes are settled by the Ministry of Manpower. The Ministry's Labor Welfare Board adjudicates cases filed by national and expatriate workers against employers. Employers guilty of contested wages are ordered to reimburse the worker's back wages.

Protection

The Government of Oman provides some protection to both illegal and legal expatriate workers who fall victim to involuntary servitude. It operates a 24-hour complaint hotline and mediates contract disputes, works with source country representatives to provide assistance to victims, and grants access to officials from source countries to visit deportation centers. However, the government does not have a systematic screening procedure for differentiating potential trafficking victims from the thousands of illegal immigrants it detains and deports every year. It should develop and deploy a more comprehensive screening procedure to ensure that any such victims are identified and provided with appropriate protection services, such as shelter, medical and psychological assistance, humane repatriation, and other essential services.

The Government of Oman has extended protections under its labor laws to its large domestic work force per Ministerial Decree 189. All foreign workers are protected under the labor law, though some may be reluctant to file complaints for fear of retribution from their employers. Workers are informed of their labor rights in pre-departure orientation briefings in their countries of origin. The government does not have a separate shelter for potential victims of trafficking. However, in addition to the food, shelter, and medical care provided at its deportation centers, the government works with source country embassies and charitable groups to tend to foreign nationals requiring repatriation and other forms of assistance. Oman should consider establishing a shelter for potential victims of trafficking.

Prevention

The Government of Oman took some positive steps to prevent trafficking. It monitored its borders and immigration patterns, introduced special visa regimes applicable to certain countries to thwart possible trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and engaged other countries in the region and beyond on issues relating to trafficking and illegal immigration. Oman actively pursues avenues of international cooperation and has stepped up assistance and information sharing with source countries, including sending a team of Royal Oman Police to work with the anti-trafficking unit of Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency. Oman should develop and launch broad public awareness campaigns highlighting the rights of domestic workers and other groups vulnerable to being trafficked.

 

PAKISTAN (TIER 2)

 

Pakistan is a source, transit, and destination country for victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons. Women and girls from Bangladesh, India, Burma, Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan are trafficked to Pakistan for commercial sexual exploitation and bonded labor. Girls and women from rural areas are trafficked within the country to urban centers for commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary domestic servitude. Women trafficked from East Asian countries and Bangladesh to the Middle East often transit through Pakistan. Men, women, and children are trafficked to the Middle East for bonded labor and domestic servitude. Boys are trafficked to Persian Gulf states for use as camel jockeys. Children are trafficked internally for forced begging and bonded labor.

The Government of Pakistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Pakistan has improved its anti-trafficking performance over the reporting period. Most notably, it has increased trafficking-related prosecutions and convictions, strengthened implementation of its 2002 Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance, established an Anti-Trafficking Unit (ATU) within the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), and co-sponsored several public awareness campaigns. Pakistan should continue expanding on these efforts in order to further its fight against trafficking.

Prosecution

Pakistan's law enforcement efforts greatly increased during the reporting period. In 2004, 479 trafficking-related cases were registered, 289 individuals arrested, 248 court cases filed, and 72 convictions obtained — a significant improvement over the six convictions obtained in 2003. The government also prosecuted and convicted 17 officials for trafficking-related corruption. There were cases during the reporting period in which law enforcement officials mistakenly identified trafficking victims as voluntary participants in human smuggling and initiated criminal procedures against them. In such cases, supervisory personnel acted promptly to ensure charges were dropped and victims protected. The government should continue efforts to train a broad cross section of working-level law enforcement personnel to prevent such mistakes in future.

Protection

In 2004, Pakistan made progress in its efforts to protect trafficking victims. Currently, NGOs continue to provide the majority of assistance and protection services for victims. However, new regulations for the implementation of Pakistan's 2002 anti-trafficking law obligate the Government of Pakistan to provide assistance to trafficking victims and allocate funding for their repatriation. Pakistan established the FIA's ATU, through which it coordinates its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. In cooperation with IOM, the government is establishing a new model shelter for trafficking victims in Islamabad, and it has committed to replicating similar facilities in other parts of the country. At present, trafficking victims are offered shelter in 267 detention centers in the country, where they are provided with medical assistance, limited legal representation, and some vocational training. The anticipated opening of the model shelter and a joint screening referral process for all trafficking victims are expected to enhance Pakistan's protection efforts.

Prevention

The government improved its prevention efforts over the reporting period. In collaboration with IOM, it trained about 200 law enforcement and border security personnel in victim recognition methods. It also encouraged its embassies and consulates, particularly in the Gulf region, to play a more active role in identifying, assisting, and repatriating trafficking victims. It conducted, in collaboration with NGOs, several anti-trafficking public campaigns. Pakistan's diplomatic missions in the United Arab Emirates and Oman have worked closely with NGOs, such as Ansar Burney Welfare Trust, in rescuing, repatriating, and rehabilitating children trafficked as camel jockeys.

 

PANAMA (TIER 2)

Panama is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women and children trafficked for the purposes of labor and sexual exploitation. Women and children are primarily trafficked within Panama for sexual exploitation. However, there are credible reports of women and children trafficked from Colombia to Panama for sexual exploitation. Women are also trafficked from Colombia and the Dominican Republic to Panama, Costa Rica, the United States (through Central America) and Europe. Child domestic laborers, who may be trafficking victims, are trafficked from the western provinces to Panama City. There are unconfirmed reports of Chinese families trafficked into debt bondage in the country.

The Government of Panama does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Passage and effective implementation of a new comprehensive anti-trafficking law has increased the government's efforts to combat trafficking in the country. However, the government has yet to eliminate a visa program that facilitates the import of foreign women for prostitution, and is likely exploited by traffickers.

Prosecution

The Government of Panama made significant improvements in investigating, prosecuting, and punishing traffickers over the reporting period. In 2004, Panama enacted a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, which targets traffickers. The Technical Judicial Police (PTJ) investigated 24 trafficking cases under the new law — a four-fold increase over cases investigated in 2003 — and presented seven cases to the Attorney General's Office for prosecution. Additionally, the Attorney General's office investigated at least 82 cases under the new law. Using the new law as an investigative tool, in March 2005 the Attorney General's Office ordered the detention of several ranked National Police (PNP) officers for sexual trafficking-related offenses against children. There were no reported trafficking convictions using the new law. Panama temporarily suspended the "alternadora visa" in 2004, but reinstated it in January 2005. Due to the lack of coordination among law enforcement agencies, Panama struggles to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases involving adult trafficking victims. The government has acknowledged that it needs to improve its interview techniques to uncover trafficking cases.

Protection

Panama's new anti-trafficking legislation is ambitious and the government is still in the process of implementing provisions to improve victim protection. In February 2005, the Attorney General convoked the law's anti-trafficking commission (CONAPREDES), which has authority to collect a special tax for victim assistance. However, this tax has not yet been implemented. Nonetheless, the government provides legal, medical, and psychological services for victims. Additionally, the government funds NGOs that shelter or assist trafficking victims and operates a foster family program. Immigration officials maintain that none of the 137 foreign prostitutes deported, or other prostitutes offered voluntary departure in 2004, claimed to be a victim of trafficking.

Prevention

The government's efforts to prevent trafficking improved over 2004, as it carried out many new prevention campaigns during the reporting period. The new anti-trafficking law calls for a special tax to provide funds for anti-trafficking prevention activities, which could permit more extensive campaigns in the future. In November 2004, the Office of the First Lady and the Ministry of Youth, Children, Women, and Family initiated a formal campaign against the commercial sexual exploitation of minors and sexual tourism. The campaign targeted the demand for trafficking, using television and radio ads and the slogans, "If You Are a Man, We're Depending on You" and "Panama: A Country that Rejects Sex Tourism."

 

PARAGUAY (TIER 2)

Paraguay is a source country for women and children trafficked to Argentina, Spain, and Brazil for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Poor children are also trafficked internally from rural to urban areas for sexual exploitation and involuntary domestic servitude. Trafficking of Paraguayan and Brazilian women and girls, principally for sexual exploitation, remains an ongoing problem in the tri-border area, on the Brazil-Paraguay-Argentina border. Recruiters are typically Paraguayan and use false documents to move victims.

The Government of Paraguay does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government successfully prosecuted several trafficking cases and solicited bilateral assistance and international financial institution funding to train government officials, develop national public awareness campaigns, and establish a shelter to assist victims of trafficking. Projects approved late in the reporting year must now be implemented by the government in collaboration with NGOs. The government should work with NGOs to increase public awareness and improve services for victims. It should also take greater steps to identify and prosecute trafficking crimes.

Prosecution

The government identified new trafficking cases and prosecuted traffickers in 2004, but the lack of data for previous years makes it unclear whether law enforcement efforts have increased or decreased. Paraguay's basic anti-trafficking statute and existing laws, if properly enforced, are adequate to address most forms of trafficking and sexual exploitation of minors. Trafficking-related statutes prescribe sentences to a maximum of ten years' imprisonment. The Attorney General named a prosecutor as the national coordinator of trafficking prosecutions. In December 2004, a court in Villarica issued six-year sentences to two Paraguayans for transnational trafficking of women to Spain. Three traffickers were convicted for internal trafficking in two additional cases, and authorities launched an investigation of three suspects involved in an internal trafficking ring that was engaged in sexually exploiting teenage girls in February 2005. The Attorney General's office was investigating at least four additional cases involving transnational trafficking for sexual exploitation and internal trafficking for sexual and domestic servitude. The government also requested extradition of a trafficking suspect from Spain in early 2005. The government requested donor assistance to develop and implement training programs for law enforcement and judicial officials. There were no specific reports linking government officials to trafficking or of corruption related to trafficking, but corruption remained a general problem overall.

Protection

Many victims did not receive government assistance during the reporting period, in large part due to resource constraints. The Secretariat for Repatriations took the lead in assisting Paraguayan victims of transnational trafficking; efforts focused on identifying nongovernmental sources to repatriate victims. The government assisted two repatriated victims who had been trafficked for sexual exploitation to file complaints against traffickers, but lacked the resources to run or fund shelters for trafficking victims; local police and municipal authorities in Asuncion and Ciudad del Este screened potential victims and referred them to NGOs. There was no explicit policy offering trafficking victims relief from deportation, but Paraguay did not deport any foreign victims.

Prevention

The government did little to prevent trafficking and undertook no public awareness campaigns over the last year. Anti-trafficking efforts included appointing a national coordinator, creating a National Plan, and coordinating development of future programs through a series of interagency round-table discussions. NGOs and some municipal authorities provided information to the public; however, their efforts were insufficient to raise general public awareness, particularly regarding the dangers posed by bogus job offers that lure children and young women into situations of sexual exploitation.

 

PERU (TIER 2)

Peru is primarily a source country for women and children trafficked internally for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced domestic labor. Most victims are girls and young women moved internally from rural to urban areas or from city to city and forced or coerced into prostitution in nightclubs, bars, and brothels. Some victims are trafficked to cities for involuntary domestic servitude and some children are forced to beg. Narcotraffickers and terrorists hold rural families for forced agricultural labor in remote areas. Peruvians are trafficked for sexual exploitation to Western Europe, particularly Spain, and Japan, and for forced labor to neighboring countries such as Ecuador. Illegal migrants originate in and transit Peru; migrants use clandestine alien smuggling operations that increase their vulnerability to trafficking.

The Government of Peru does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Government officials in 2004 stepped up efforts against the sexual exploitation of children and worked with NGOs to educate officials and the public on the dangers of trafficking. The government should vigorously pursue prosecutions of trafficking-related crimes, increase protections for victims, develop better data collection and law enforcement training, work with NGOs to warn potential victims, and expand efforts to cooperate with destination countries.

Prosecution

Peru improved its law enforcement efforts against trafficking over the last year but needs to ensure that trafficking-related arrests result in prosecutions. The government does not have a comprehensive law against trafficking, but the penal code covers trafficking-related crimes such as slavery, pimping, sexual exploitation of children, and forced labor. In May 2004, a new law increased penalties for sexual exploitation of children. The government continued efforts to stop sexual exploitation of minors but the slow legal system resulted in a lack of convictions and only one prosecution is ongoing. Authorities investigated three cases of trafficking of Peruvian women to Japan and Africa for sexual exploitation; two of the cases remain pending. A joint operation with Ecuador disrupted a network moving forced laborers from Peru to Ecuador. Law enforcement officers conducted hundreds of raids of brothels, hotels, bars, and restaurants in Lima and six other regions to interdict commercial sexual exploitation of children. In the Lima region alone, police removed 81 underage victims from raided premises. Nationwide, police arrested dozens of pimps, of which 18 were held for trial. There was no evidence of government involvement in trafficking, but individual officials were suspected of tolerating underage sexual exploitation through prostitution, unregulated brothels, and migrant smuggling.

Protection

The government lacked the resources to provide adequate protection for trafficking victims over the last year. Legal assistance was almost nonexistent; the general lack of witness protection for victims of crime applied to trafficking victims as well and discouraged victim participation in prosecutions. The government funded repatriation for four Peruvian victims and developed procedural guides for police on handling trafficking victims. Law enforcement officers referred some victims to domestic violence shelters; no shelters exist specifically for trafficking victims. Authorities typically returned underage victims to their families or referred them to NGOs; adult victims were interviewed and released. The government provided some support for NGOs assisting trafficking victims.

Prevention

The government relied largely on NGO efforts and international assistance to educate the Peruvian public about trafficking over the last year. The Ministry for Foreign Relations launched a campaign about the dangers of transnational trafficking and an annual anti-trafficking course for consular officials. The Ministry of Commerce and Tourism initiated an anti-trafficking campaign. Government ministries also hosted major public conferences with NGOs and coordinated with NGOs on drafting legislative improvements.

 

THE PHILIPPINES (TIER 2 - WATCH LIST)

The Philippines is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Philippine women are often lured abroad with false promises of legitimate employment and are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation to destinations throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America. A significant number of the 71,084 Philippine women who entered Japan as overseas performing artists in 2004 are believed to have been women trafficked into the sex trade. Philippine men and women who go overseas to work in domestic service and the construction and garment industries often face exploitative conditions that meet the definition of involuntary servitude — a severe form of trafficking in persons. To a lesser extent, the Philippines is a transit point and destination for women from the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) who are trafficked for sexual exploitation. Within the Philippines, there is internal trafficking from rural to urban metropolitan areas and sexual exploitation of children. Endemic poverty, a high unemployment rate, a cultural propensity towards migration, a weak rule-of-law environment, and sex tourism all contribute to significant trafficking activity in the Philippines.

The Government of the Philippines does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Although the Philippines remains a strong proponent of anti-trafficking measures in the context of international organizations, more progress in its law enforcement efforts is needed. The Philippines' placement on Tier 2 Watch List is due to its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to convict traffickers. The government made modestly better efforts to implement its anti-trafficking law, dedicating four state prosecutors to focus on trafficking-related cases and providing training to law enforcement officials on the anti-trafficking law. The Philippine Government should take immediate corrective action by arresting, prosecuting, and convicting traffickers and any public officials found to be involved in trafficking. The government also needs to make greater efforts to address allegations of corruption and fraud regarding the issuance of documents to facilitate the recruitment of Philippine entertainers to Japan, a process that traffickers exploit.

Prosecution

During the reporting period, the Philippine Government made increasing efforts to implement its anti-trafficking law; the number of trafficking-related prosecutions under the anti-trafficking law remained low, although there were other prosecutions under legislation related to child abuse and illegal recruitment. There were no reported convictions under the anti-trafficking law of 2003. The government dedicated four state prosecutors to focus on trafficking-related cases and provided training to law enforcement officials on the anti-trafficking law. Currently, there are 28 cases under investigation. The Department of Justice is prosecuting at least 15 cases under the anti-trafficking law and other statutes related to child abuse and illegal recruitment. Corruption and a weak judiciary remain serious impediments to the effective prosecution of traffickers. Despite widespread allegations of law enforcement officials' complicity in trafficking, the government reported no prosecutions of trafficking-related corruption.

Protection

The Philippine Government continued to sponsor impressive protection efforts for trafficking victims in 2004. The anti-trafficking law passed in 2003 recognizes trafficked persons as victims and does not penalize them. Despite limited resources, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) continued to provide a range of protective services, including temporary residency status, relief from deportation, shelter, and access to legal, medical, and counseling services. With assistance from the Department of Foreign Affairs, the DSWD also established arrangements with NGOs in destination countries to provide overseas Philippine workers who had been exploited with temporary shelter, counseling, and medical assistance. The government also provided additional protective services, including telephone hotlines for reporting cases of abused/exploited women and children. The Philippine Government increased its efforts to train law enforcement officials and consular officials in all of its embassies to deal with trafficking victims.

Prevention

The government continued modest efforts to raise awareness of trafficking. Senior government officials frequently spoke out about the dangers of trafficking. Fourteen government agencies also coordinate the government's anti-trafficking efforts, much of which is prevention-oriented. The Philippine Government's information campaign on overseas employment resulted in a decline in illegal recruitment and recruitment violations. The government has a national action plan to address trafficking in persons.

 

POLAND (TIER 1)

Poland is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked to Western Europe, Israel, and Japan primarily for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Some internal trafficking also occurs. Persons trafficked to and through Poland originate from eastern and southeastern countries, primarily Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Belarus, and Moldova. Ukraine continued to serve as the largest source of persons trafficked through Poland, while fewer Russian victims transited Poland. During 2004, there was a small but growing percentage of victims in Poland forced to work in agricultural settings, sweatshops, or begging.

The Government of Poland fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Poland continued to show progress, particularly in the area of prevention. The government should adopt pending legislation to provide for greater victim protection in order to avoid deporting potential trafficking victims who risk being re-trafficked and to impose greater sentences on traffickers.

Prosecution

While trafficking investigations and prosecutions decreased in 2004, conviction statistics remained similar to the previous reporting period. The decrease is likely the result of a shift in focus from pursuing prostitution-related charges to more complex trafficking prosecutions that may result in longer sentences. The Polish Criminal Code prohibits trafficking for the purposes of both sexual and non-sexual exploitation with sufficiently severe penalties. In 2004, the courts prosecuted 18 of 39 traffickers arrested. The most recent conviction statistics, from 2003, indicate that the government convicted 147 traffickers under forced prostitution charges and five traffickers under human slavery charges. Of the 152 convicted, only 36 received a non-suspended prison sentence. Approximately 100 officers received special training in 2004 in trafficking identification and victim assistance. Additionally, all incoming police receive basic trafficking awareness instruction. The police participated in bilateral Czech, German, and Swedish police task forces that sought to share information, track the movement of traffickers and victims across borders, and coordinate repatriations and casework. While there were no reported cases of law enforcement officials punished for trafficking-related corruption, unconfirmed reports noted that some local police took bribes to ignore known trafficking activity.

Protection

Poland's legal framework to protect victims of trafficking remained unchanged during the reporting period. Eight foreign victims stayed in Poland in 2004 to assist in the investigations of their traffickers; two of these individuals received police protection. Trafficking victims, when identified, were typically referred to the nearest assistance point within Poland. Due in part to a lack of formal screening procedures, enforcement authorities continued to deport some potential victims. NGO and government sources reported that increased training has improved law enforcement responses. The government allocated a small amount of funding to an NGO providing victim assistance. Local governments also partially funded shelters and NGOs fighting trafficking. Consular officials in Polish embassies abroad received regular training on helping Polish nationals who were trafficked abroad. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs helped repatriate 100 to 150 Polish victims in 2004.

Prevention

The Polish Government in 2004 launched new programs aimed at preventing trafficking in persons. The Ministry of Education in early 2004 trained 40 teachers to teach human rights including trafficking. It altered the national fourth, fifth, and sixth grade curricula to incorporate instruction on protection against trafficking, and the national high school curriculum to include sections on the dangers of trafficking and prostitution. The Polish police distributed 8,000 leaflets on trafficking and prostitution in locales frequented by individuals in prostitution and those who buy sex. Eleven Polish Government agencies were actively involved in coordinating Poland's anti-trafficking policies and programs. The interagency anti-trafficking working group approved a draft 2005 National Action Plan for Combating Trafficking to update the 2003 National Action Plan; the new plan awaits ministerial approval.

 

PORTUGAL (TIER 1)

Portugal is a country of destination for women, men, and children trafficked from Ukraine, Moldova, Russia, Romania, and Brazil for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labor and begging. Portugal is also sometimes used as a transit point for victims en route to other European countries.

The Government of Portugal fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Although the government did not provide full data on investigations, prosecutions, convictions, and sentences, the Secretary of State has determined that it has made a good faith effort to do so. In January 2004, the government established an anti-trafficking task force to ensure coordination and communication among relevant government bodies and NGOs. The government should take steps to ensure that all anti-trafficking efforts are documented through this task force. The Portuguese Immigration Service (SEF) established a new unit to compile trafficking-related statistics; the government should ensure that the new unit and task force actively coordinate to produce data that are complete and comprehensive. The government should also build deeper relationships with relevant NGOs to increase coordination and victim identification and to obtain more information on the nature and extent of the problem in Portugal.

Prosecution

Police agencies and the SEF actively implemented Portugal's anti-trafficking legislation, investigating and prosecuting trafficking-related cases throughout the year. The government reportedly initiated 408 investigations and 248 prosecutions. These numbers relate to the full range of immigration crimes, an undetermined percentage of which are trafficking related. Prison sentences ranged from 18 months to 15 years; many were in the 11 to 15 year range. Following the investigation of a major prostitution ring involving Brazilian women, a bar owner was found guilty of commercial sexual exploitation and sentenced to seven years in prison. As a result of this highly publicized case, many other bars in the city closed down due to lack of customers. On October 28, 2004, the government signed a bill expanding the definition of trafficking that will extend liability to other entities and companies, beyond the individual trafficker.

Protection

The government opened up two National Immigrant Support Centers in March and April 2004 that are providing immigrants, including trafficking victims, with multi-lingual information and assistance, including a telephone hotline. The government continued to refer victims to receive protection, shelter, employment, education, and access to services, including family reunification. According to the Portuguese Association for Victims Support, 20 trafficking victims were assisted in 2004. Throughout the reporting period, victims were directed to immigrant support centers or temporary shelters. Some were provided residency status; others were repatriated.

Prevention

The government continued its practice of placing immigration liaison officers in source countries and established a new land border entry point with Spain. It also continued to conduct information campaigns aimed at the general public and targeted campaigns toward vulnerable populations in Portugal and source countries. As a result of the local media's extensive coverage of an orphanage child abuse case involving prostitution, public awareness of trafficking-related sexual exploitation has increased during the last year.

[Countries Q through Z]



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