Challenged by corruption, limited resources, and, in some places, tolerance for the commercial sex trade, Southeast Asia is one of the world's top destinations for pedophiles seeking sex with children.QATAR (TIER 2 WATCH LIST)
Qatar is a destination country for men and women from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, and Indonesia who migrate willingly, but are subsequently trafficked into involuntary servitude as domestic workers and laborers. The problem of trafficking of foreign children for camel jockey servitude in Qatar — which has been highlighted in previous Reports — was thoroughly addressed by Government of Qatar action over the last year, though independent confirmation of the problem's complete elimination is not yet available.
The Government of Qatar does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Qatar has made noticeable progress in rescuing and repatriating child camel jockeys, establishing a shelter for abused domestic workers, and creating hotlines to register complaints. Nonetheless, Qatar is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide sufficient evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons over the last year, particularly with regard to labor exploitation. The government did not prosecute any person on trafficking charges despite reports of widespread exploitation of foreign domestic workers. Qatar also lacks a screening mechanism to distinguish trafficking victims from illegal immigrants housed in detention centers and should increase referrals to the victim shelter. The Government of Qatar should expand on the progress it made in the summer of 2005 by more widely advertising the existence of its shelter for abused foreign domestic workers and allowing access to that shelter without a referral from the police or certain government agencies.
The Government of Qatar made little progress in increasing prosecutions of trafficking offenses during the reporting period. In July 2005, Qatar banned the use of camel jockeys under the age of 18 and established a committee to monitor compliance with this law. Although it does not have a specific anti-trafficking law, other criminal laws could be applied to combat trafficking, including laws against forced labor. Despite several hundred reports of abuse against expatriate workers, there is no evidence that Qatar has used its laws banning forced labor to prosecute employers or labor recruitment agencies for trafficking. The Government of Qatar should increase investigations and prosecutions of trafficking offenses and should consider enacting a comprehensive anti-trafficking law.
The Government of Qatar made uneven improvements in its efforts to protect victims of trafficking. Qatar's population of expatriate domestic workers remains unprotected by the country's labor law. The government also lacks a comprehensive system of identifying trafficking victims among the significant number of illegal immigrants kept in detention centers. As a result, trafficking victims are often deported without receiving adequate protective services or compensation for abuse. In addition, sponsorship regulations requiring the sponsor's permission for any travel by the employee can significantly delay the employees' return home. Many expatriate workers awaiting repatriation languish in the detention center for months because they have not received permission to travel from their sponsors. Foreign workers with legal claims against their employers may not leave detention pending resolution of their cases.
Throughout the summer, the government repatriated 200 Sudanese child camel jockeys and plans to facilitate their reintegration through a local quasi-governmental organization. In July 2005, Qatar also founded a shelter that can accommodate 42 victims of domestic servitude and established three multilingual hotlines to register complaints of expatriate workers. Although the shelter is now operational, it is rarely accessed because it requires formal referrals before a victim is admitted. There is also a low level of awareness of the shelter and hotlines despite media coverage of their openings.
Qatar's efforts to prevent abuse of foreign workers have not improved considerably over the evaluation period. Although it publicized the opening of the shelter and hotlines for trafficking victims, the government has not pursued broad information campaigns to increase the public's awareness of trafficking. The government published some pamphlets on worker's rights in English and Arabic to distribute to incoming employees and monitors immigration patterns for evidence of trafficking.
ROMANIA (TIER 2)
Romania is a source and transit country for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Females from Moldova, Ukraine, and Russia are trafficked through Romania to Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece, France, Austria, and Canada. There were reports that Romanian boys and young men were trafficked to another Eastern European country for purposes of sexual exploitation. Romanian girls are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation, and boys are trafficked from Eastern and Northern Romania to urban cities for purposes of forced labor including forced petty theft.
The Government of Romania does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Romania increased its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts and took steps to improve government coordination of anti-trafficking efforts by creating the National Agency for the Prevention of Trafficking in late 2005; it will receive funding from the national budget and have authority to direct other agencies to act on anti-trafficking initiatives. Romania should work to improve its victim identification methods and establish a functional victim referral system; the national government should work more closely with anti-trafficking NGOs and provide them with stable funding. Police should be better instructed to inform victims about services offered by NGOs. Since many trafficking victims have elected not to enter state shelters, the government should develop other strategies for offering needed services to victims. The government should not fine or in any way penalize trafficking victims.
The Government of Romania significantly improved its law enforcement efforts against trafficking in persons crimes over the last year. Romanian police in 2005 conducted 231 investigations and prosecuted 124 trafficking cases, resulting in the conviction of 235 traffickers — more than a 100 percent increase over the 103 traffickers convicted in 2004. Of the 235 traffickers convicted in 2005, 137 received prison sentences while 98 received no prison time. Sixty-four traffickers received between one and five years in prison; an additional 64 traffickers were sentenced from five to 10 years' imprisonment.
Romania made modest progress in improving victim assistance and protection over the last year. Seven state-run shelters were operational during 2005. Victims were entitled to medical, legal, and social assistance, although the quality of the care and facilities provided was inconsistent among the various state-run shelters, and funding issues prompted the closure and reopening of several of the shelters during the reporting period. Further, these centers are intended for short-term use only; victims are permitted to stay in the center for 10 days, although this may be easily extended for up to three months and, in special circumstances, beyond three months based on a request by judicial officials. Police and prosecutors are required to inform victims of their right to go to a state-run shelter, but in practice most victims did not utilize the centers because of the short period of assistance offered and the lack of trust by victims in state institutions and procedures. Only 29 of the 175 victims assisted by the government used the state shelters. Victims continued to receive the greatest level of care and assistance from NGOs. Although NGOs did receive some local government funding for victim assistance, overall support was inconsistent and largely inadequate. There was evidence that police fined victims for acts that were a direct result of their having been trafficked.
The Government of Romania demonstrated adequate efforts to prevent human trafficking. Romanian law enforcement agencies provided financial support and worked closely with NGOs to target children at high-risk of becoming trafficking victims. The Romanian National Office to Combat Human Trafficking set up seminars and a website for students to increase trafficking awareness. More than 3,000 students participated in NGO and government-organized awareness seminars and classes in public schools in 2005. The government funded a nationwide program focusing on child trafficking; the campaign disseminated anti-trafficking posters, banners, and materials within schools.
RUSSIA (TIER 2 WATCH LIST)
Russia is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for various purposes. It remains a significant source of women trafficked to over 50 countries for commercial sexual exploitation. In the Russian Far East, men and women are trafficked to China, Japan, and South Korea for both forced labor and sexual exploitation. Russia is also a transit and destination country for men and women trafficked from Central Asia, Eastern Europe including Ukraine, and North Korea, to Central and Western Europe and the Middle East for purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Internal trafficking remains a problem in Russia; women are trafficked from rural areas to urban centers for commercial sexual exploitation, while forced labor in the maritime industry remains a concern in the Far East. Men are trafficked internally and from Central Asia for forced labor in the construction and agricultural industries. The ILO estimates that 20 percent of the five million illegal immigrants in Russia are victims of forced labor. Debt bondage is common among trafficking victims. Child sex tourism remains a concern.
The Government of Russia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Russia is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for a third consecutive year for its continued failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking, particularly in the area of victim protection and assistance. The government made uneven progress during the reporting period. Although Russia implemented a witness protection program that affords a mechanism to shelter and protect trafficking victims, significantly increased investigations and prosecutions, and improved local government cooperation with NGOs, much more remains to be done. Passage and implementation of comprehensive legislation on victim assistance, which has been anticipated for three years, would greatly improve the status of trafficking victims and would provide much-needed funding for shelters and victim assistance. Today, victim protection and assistance is provided on an ad-hoc basis and is highly dependent upon local and regional authorities. Moreover, the support provided by these local governments is not formalized and dependent upon relationships between NGOs and local government officials. Passage of the proposed legislation would guarantee that victims across Russia receive necessary assistance and would serve to alleviate some of the financial burden currently placed on local authorities. Local governments should work with NGOs to facilitate the establishment of more trafficking shelters in Russia.
Russia demonstrated improved law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Police significantly increased the number of trafficking investigations from 26 in 2004 to 80 in 2005; 60 of these investigations were sexual exploitation cases and 20 were forced labor cases. Authorities also notably increased criminal prosecutions five-fold, conducting 53 prosecutions in 2005, up from 11 in 2004. Courts convicted at least nine traffickers and sentenced six traffickers to time in prison. Trafficking sentences ranged between three and one-half years and eight years in prison. Russia needs to develop a system to better track convictions and sentences of traffickers.
The government conducted several joint trafficking investigations with other governments. In 2005, Russian authorities assisted in the successful prosecution and conviction of four traffickers in the United States, and provided critical assistance to the U.S. prosecution of an American citizen who allegedly sexually exploited trafficked children in St. Petersburg. The Ministry of Interior (MVD) and anti-trafficking NGOs completed a trafficking manual that has been used by several police units to assist officers in field investigations. The Ministry of Interior and NGOs also conducted three joint training seminars on investigative techniques for police instructors from regional police academies; these instructors then conducted instructional seminars for cadets at their respective MVD academies. Approximately 120 police instructors were trained in 2005 by NGO-sponsored anti-trafficking seminars. Although this progress is notable, the need for additional trainings for law enforcement and judicial officials remains.
While the Russian constitution prohibits the extradition of Russian citizens, Russia does permit the extradition of others. In 2005, Russia cooperated with Israeli authorities and extradited to Israel a man charged with trafficking women from Uzbekistan and Ukraine. Corruption remained a serious problem in Russia; corrupt police officers and border guards reportedly accepted bribes to facilitate or protect trafficking. The extent and thoroughness of investigations into trafficking corruption is unknown; however, over the last year, authorities investigated at least four trafficking cases involving corrupt government officials, including a June 2005 case involving a drug enforcement agent who beat and sold unsuspecting Uzbek migrants to slave traders for $15 each. An NGO reported instances where several prosecutors resigned during the course of trafficking prosecutions because they were either threatened or bribed. Concern remains over the lack of vigorous punishment of trafficking-related corruption.
The Government of Russia again failed to provide adequate protection to victims of trafficking. The number of trafficking shelters in Russia remained insufficient. Although an internationally funded shelter is expected to open in Moscow in spring 2006, shelter space in the city of approximately 8.3 million people remains greatly needed. At least three Russian trafficking victims were re-trafficked in 2005, due in part to the lack of a trafficking shelter in Moscow; the victims returned to Moscow and, because they had nowhere to go, were identified by their traffickers and quickly re-trafficked.
Furthermore, there are no trafficking-specific shelters east of the Ural Mountains. Although some municipalities run child shelters that assist child trafficking victims, all adult trafficking shelters are managed by NGOs and most do not receive government funding or assistance. Only one NGO-run shelter receives financial support from its local government; another shelter is provided with free office space by the local government. Local governments have expressed their support for the passage and implementation of the comprehensive legislation as it will provide much needed funding for shelters and victim assistance in local municipalities.
Assistance provided to trafficking victims remained inconsistent and inadequate. The government relied on NGOs to provide adult victims with legal, medical, and psychological assistance. Foreign trafficking victims, like all foreigners in Russia, cannot receive medical treatment unless they are able to pay for it, though at least one local government provided medical assistance to foreign trafficking victims while another local government provided psychological counseling. Authorities used the new witness protection law in 2005 to assist four Russian trafficking victims in two cases; the victims were placed in protective housing and their identities were changed. The witness protection program guarantees social, employment, and medical benefits for all qualifying victims. Although there were no reported cases of foreign victims being deported in 2005, there is currently no formal program that grants foreign trafficking victims legal residency in Russia while a trafficking case is investigated and prosecuted. Currently, victims are permitted to stay in Russia during the investigation and prosecution of their respective case; this decision is made at the discretion of the police and prosecutors involved in the victim's case. There is currently no system in place to track the number of foreign victims identified by law enforcement. There is also no system in place to calculate the number of foreign victims that were successfully repatriated.
Authorities increased their level of coordination with NGOs over the last year. In one city, NGOs and police signed a formal victim referral agreement. Several NGOs also reported informal agreements with police for victim referral. There were no reported cases of victims being prosecuted in 2005, but there is no current legal protection to prevent authorities from prosecuting a victim for visa fraud, bribery, or border violations that directly result from their being trafficked.
Some local governments increased their cooperation and in-kind support for NGOs working to raise public awareness in several cities; this support was often in the form of office space, utilities, and coverage in the local media. Some NGOs received financial assistance to cover operating costs while at least five received grants to conduct specific outreach and awareness raising projects. Students from a state-funded university in Smolensk worked with local authorities to conduct anti-trafficking awareness training for more than 4,000 students. In 2005, the government provided amnesty to more than 7,300 illegal migrants working in Russia; this preventative measure made those workers less vulnerable to labor exploitation, which is the principal form of trafficking in Russia.
RWANDA (TIER 2)
Rwanda is a source country for children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and child soldiering. As a result of extreme poverty, deficient education, and lack of family support, a small number of Rwandan girls resort to prostitution. There were no reports of brothels, organized sex trafficking networks, or of women or girls being lured to urban areas or sold into commercial sexual exploitation. However, there were limited reports of older women working in loose association with younger girls, an activity which may constitute trafficking in persons. While living as refugees in Democratic Republic of the Congo, some children of Rwandan background were trafficked by armed rebel groups for forced labor and child soldiering; numbers of returning child ex-combatants decreased in 2005, but more are expected to be repatriated in the future.
The Government of Rwanda 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 continued its notable efforts to protect former child soldiers and increased the availability of information regarding its anti-trafficking efforts, it lacked specific information on arrests, prosecutions, and convictions of traffickers. To enhance its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should consider the passage of a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, clarify which court cases, if any, involving rape and child labor constitute human trafficking, and further assess the situation of children in prostitution.
The government expanded its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the last year. Rwanda lacks a specific anti-trafficking law, but statutes criminalizing slavery, coerced prostitution, kidnapping, and child labor could be used to prosecute traffickers. Police reportedly conducted regular counter-prostitution operations; the specifics of these investigations are unknown, as are the statistics on prosecutions of those who utilized or exploited children in prostitution. At an August 2005 meeting with the management of Kigali hotels, night clubs, and guest houses, the National Police called for adherence to the law prohibiting access by unaccompanied children to such establishments; police posted the law in businesses throughout the city. The government provided police with training on sex crimes and crimes against children during the year. Through close coordination among the military, national police, immigration, and intelligence services, the government closely monitored security checkpoints for any evidence of trafficking through an extensive system of security checkpoints and regular inspections of vehicle cargo, and by checking the identification of adult males traveling with children without an adult female. Such inspections yielded no reported cases of trafficking in persons. In early 2005, there were allegations of the involvement of the Rwandan Defense Forces in the recruitment of child soldiers from two refugee camps in Rwanda. Senior officials stated that recruitment of child soldiers was against government policy and investigated the incidents in May. There have been no further reports of any recruitment of child soldiers from refugee camps.
The government increased its efforts to protect trafficking victims during the year. The Rwandan Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (RDRC) broadcast radio programs in eastern D.R.C. reiterating the government's policy of accepting all returnees who disarm and renounce violence, and granting immunity from prosecution for war crimes to anyone who was under 14 years of age during the 1994 genocide. As a result, some Rwandan child combatants voluntarily fled the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, an armed rebel group operating in eastern D.R.C., and returned to Rwanda. The RDRC continued operation of a center for child ex-combatants, which provided three months of care and education to returning children; 39 children resided at the center in March 2006. The RDRC worked with local authorities and an NGO to locate the children's families, and social workers sensitized the families before their child's return. During the period, 104 former child soldiers were reunited with their families and the government followed up with 364 previously returned children to assess the success of their reintegration. The lack of child labor inspectors, combined with a dearth of vehicles and fuel, made regular inspections of child labor usage difficult; however, there were no reports of internal trafficking of children for forced labor. The Ministry of Gender worked with NGOs to provide health services, housing, and vocational training to children engaged in prostitution.
The government focused its limited resources on addressing the root causes of the engagement of children in prostitution during the period. In February 2005, the inter-ministerial National Consultative Committee on Child Labor was established to draft a national child labor action plan; a first draft of the plan was released in August 2005, focusing on educational and vocational alternatives for girls who head households and the final draft is scheduled for adoption in May 2006. The government developed and broadcasted radio programs, including two radio debates in June and October, to raise public awareness of child sexual exploitation and related legal reforms. The Ministry of Education's "catch-up program" provided services to 1,800 vulnerable unschooled children, including domestic workers, heads of households, and street workers, between the ages of nine and 14. In October, the Rwandan Women Parliamentary Forum organized meetings throughout the country to heighten awareness among potential trafficking victims of gender-based violence.
SAUDI ARABIA (TIER 3)
Saudi Arabia is a destination country for workers from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia, an indeterminate number of whom are subjected to conditions that constitute involuntary servitude. There were reports that victims are subjected to physical and sexual abuse, non-payment of wages, confinement, and withholding of passports as a restriction on their movement. Domestic workers are particularly vulnerable because some are confined to the house in which they work, unable to seek help. Saudi Arabia is also a destination country for Nigerian, Yemeni, Pakistani, Afghan, Somali, Malian, and Sudanese children trafficked for forced begging and involuntary servitude as street vendors. There were also reports that some Nigerian women were trafficked into Saudi Arabia for commercial sexual exploitation.
The Government of Saudi Arabia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Although the government took some steps to combat trafficking, it disputed the extent to which trafficking occurred in the Kingdom. The government identified a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official as a point of contact for anti-trafficking issues; he collects data on prosecutions, prevention, and victim assistance. The government prosecuted a few cases of abuse against expatriate workers under Saudi criminal laws during the past year. However, reports indicated that the government did not adequately protect victims, sometimes arresting, punishing, and deporting them instead. Saudi Arabia should significantly increase criminal investigations and prosecutions of abusive employers, enforce existing laws that punish employers who abuse foreign workers, and impose appropriate sentences for such crimes. The government should also take steps to ensure that trafficking victims are not detained or punished, and institute a screening mechanism to distinguish trafficking victims from among the thousands of undocumented illegal workers it deports each year for immigration violations and other crimes. In addition, the government should expand public awareness campaigns to educate employers on the rights of foreign workers and the consequences of violating those rights.
The Government of Saudi Arabia's efforts to punish trafficking crimes over the last year were inadequate. Effective prosecution of trafficking crimes is inhibited by weak enforcement of existing laws and regulations protecting employees from harsh treatment, a lack of judicial transparency, and a lack of a comprehensive anti-trafficking law that specifically criminalizes trafficking, provides adequate punishment, including imprisonment for serious offenders, and includes provisions for the protection of domestic workers. The penalties of fines and business restrictions in lieu of imprisonment were inadequate to deter violations. Saudi law states that sponsors and employers may not retain the passports of their employees, but the government does not actively enforce this law.
In February 2006, the government collaborated with UNICEF to sponsor a series of workshops and modules to train regional security officials to recognize and investigate trafficking in persons cases. UNICEF also trained Saudi social workers to assist street children, some of whom may be victims of trafficking, in Jeddah, Riyadh, and Dammam. The Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC is also pursuing training by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, for Saudi judges, prosecutors, and investigators. The government also cooperated with Nigeria in investigating and prosecuting cases involving the trafficking of Nigerian women to Saudi Arabia for commercial sexual exploitation. Saudi Arabia should pass a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, significantly increase criminal prosecutions, and impose sufficient penalties for such acts. The government should enforce existing Islamic laws that forbid the mistreatment of women, children, and laborers, and specifically extend protection to foreign domestic workers.
During the year, Saudi Arabia did not take adequate measures to protect victims of trafficking. Although the government and several Saudi NGOs operate shelters for abused domestic workers and trafficked children, some victims of trafficking claimed that they had to rely on the embassies of their country of origin for assistance and protection because they did not receive adequate protection from the Government of Saudi Arabia and were treated poorly. In a case that received considerable international attention in 2005, a severely injured Indonesian maid filed a complaint against her Saudi employers (husband and wife), claiming they had tortured her. The maid was subsequently sentenced to 79 lashes because she purportedly had made contradictory statements, although this decision was later reversed. Nonetheless, while the court sentenced the wife to 35 lashes for beating the maid, the husband was not punished.
Domestic workers who ran away from their sponsors claiming ill-treatment often experienced difficulty finding assistance. Victims who run away from their sponsors may be arrested, sentenced, and deported without any screening to determine whether they are trafficking victims. Some victims claim difficulty receiving consular access, accessing national and international NGO assistance, or receiving legal or social counseling in their own language. In January 2006 alone, approximately 1,000 foreign domestic workers, who had filed complaints of abuse or nonpayment of wages against their employers, accepted a special government offer of monetary incentives and free repatriation, apparently in frustration with a lack of legal alternatives in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, victims filing criminal and civil complaints against their abusive employers often were reportedly denied assistance in filing claims, were interrogated without consular or legal counsel, and were prosecuted without legal representation.
Saudi Arabia cooperated with the Government of Yemen to repatriate Yemeni children trafficked into the Kingdom for begging, and provided monetary compensation to some victims prior to deportation. The Saudi Government also relied on private charitable organizations and UNICEF to assist child victims. The Government of Saudi Arabia should properly identify trafficking victims to protect them from incarceration and punishment. The government should also screen foreign workers deported every year to identify and protect victims of trafficking among them. In addition, Saudi Arabia should improve its collaboration with labor source country embassies to identify and protect trafficking victims.
This year, Saudi Arabia's efforts to prevent trafficking in persons were insufficient. The government acknowledged a problem with the mistreatment of foreign workers, and in November, the government began distributing guidelines written by the Ministry of Labor explaining workers' rights and identifying available assistance resources to all source country embassies and to arriving workers at ports of entry. Nevertheless, serious logistical and coordination deficiencies existed among the ministries involved in implementing anti-trafficking efforts. In addition to increased media coverage of cases involving foreign workers, the government should institute a broad public awareness campaign to inform Saudi employers of their obligations towards foreign workers.
SENEGAL (TIER 2)
Senegal is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. Boys are trafficked within Senegal for forced labor, particularly for begging by Koranic teachers called marabouts. Girls are trafficked within Senegal for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation. Boys are trafficked to Senegal from The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Guinea for forced labor and begging. Women and girls are trafficked from Senegal to neighboring West African countries, the Middle East, Europe, and to a lesser extent, North America. They are also trafficked to Senegal from neighboring West African countries and from these countries through Senegal to the Middle East and Europe.
The Government of Senegal does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. To strengthen its trafficking response, Senegal should increase efforts to enforce its anti-trafficking law, coordinate inter-ministerial anti-trafficking efforts, and educate government officials and the public about trafficking.
The Government of Senegal showed increased law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking during the reporting period. In April 2005, the National Assembly passed a comprehensive anti-trafficking statute. As yet, there have not been any prosecutions under the new law. Two marabouts were convicted for subjecting boys to forced begging under child abuse laws, however. In addition, a foreign national was convicted for sexually exploiting a 15-year-old boy he had picked up at a home for destitute children. He was sentenced to five years in prison, but on appeal his sentence was reduced to three months. The Ministry of Tourism established a tourism police unit to investigate child sex tourism, but the unit is not yet operational. Senegal entered into a multilateral agreement with nine other West African nations and cooperated with Guinean officials to arrest two Senegalese traffickers in Guinea in February 2006. The government is collaborating with UNODC to establish local and regional "Houses of Justice" to resolve child exploitation cases through mediation.
The Government of Senegal sustained a strong commitment to protect trafficking victims during the reporting period. The government continued to operate a shelter that has a 24-hour toll-free hotline for children in distress, including trafficking victims. Between June 2003 and May 2005, the shelter received 4,137 children and 150,417 calls. The government cooperated with the Government of Mali and IOM to repatriate 54 child trafficking victims from Senegal to Mali. Under the new trafficking law, victims cannot be punished for unlawful acts that are a result of their being trafficked.
Senegal demonstrated modest efforts to raise awareness about trafficking in persons. Senegal's President spoke publicly against human trafficking in April 2005 and the Family Minister publicly highlighted the threat of child trafficking numerous times. While the government continued to work with an NGO to assess the problem of child sex tourism, it has not yet conducted a study of the trafficking of adults for sexual exploitation. In collaboration with UNICEF, the Ministry of Education is planning a project to establish 80 modernized Koranic schools to help stop the exploitation of boys by religious leaders. Although the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as the national anti-trafficking coordinator, established an inter-ministerial technical group against trafficking in 2005, awareness of trafficking among some key government officials remains low.
SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO (TIER 2)
The union of Serbia and Montenegro (SaM) is a source, transit, and destination country for women and girls trafficked within the country and transnationally for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Victims identified in Serbia and Montenegro in 2005 came from SaM, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia. Victims trafficked from or through the union were often trafficked through Croatia, then on to Western Europe. Roma children were trafficked internally for forced begging. IOM reported a growing trend in internal trafficking involving both Serbian and Montenegrin victims; a number of these cases involved repeated exploitation of the victims. An estimated 30-50 percent of females in prostitution in Montenegro are victims of trafficking; of that number, one-half are children.
The Governments of constituent republics Serbia and Montenegro, to which most authority has devolved, do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, they are making significant efforts to do so. The two republics do not share counter-trafficking institutions, but conduct joint counter-trafficking activities on an ad hoc basis; this Report provides a separate analysis for each. Montenegro made tangible strides in prosecution and protection; Serbia increased efforts to protect victim witnesses, but law enforcement efforts remained weak. Both republics failed to take action against public officials complicit in trafficking. The Tier 2 designation is based on the weighted aggregate for both republics which, due to the significant efforts made by Montenegro, showed evidence of increasing efforts in 2005.
The Government of the Republic of Serbia made some modest, but unbalanced progress in its law enforcement response and victim protection in 2005. During the reporting period, a few major trafficking cases proceeded quickly; however, others languished in Serbian courts. The government issued a higher number of humanitarian visas for trafficking victims and began implementing a new witness protection law. Traffickers continue to receive relatively light punishment, but maximum sentencing improved to six-to-eight years in some cases. The government should institutionalize a referral mechanism to continue the increase in identification and protection for trafficking victims in Serbia. It should ensure its witness protection law is fully applied, to prevent re-traumatizing trafficking victims who are willing to assist law enforcement and testify against their traffickers. The government should continue to investigate and prosecute allegations of trafficking-related corruption and continue to take steps to improve the adjudication of trafficking cases.
The Republic of Montenegro made concrete progress in its overall anti-trafficking efforts in 2005. It increased its trafficking convictions, referred more victims for assistance and protection, and increased resources to assist and protect victims. Traffickers in Montenegro also continue to receive relatively light punishment. The government should institutionalize a referral mechanism to increase identification and protection for trafficking victims in Montenegro and ensure consistent funding for trafficking shelters. It should ensure its witness protection law is fully applied to prevent further harm to trafficking victims who are willing to assist law enforcement and testify against their traffickers. Some traffickers continued to escape official attention due to trafficking-related corruption. The government must vigorously address and prosecute trafficking-related complicity.
THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA
A new criminal code for Serbia was adopted in July 2005 and became effective on January 1, 2006. It differentiates between trafficking and smuggling and covers all forms of trafficking. In 2005, the Serbian Government investigated 15 cases of trafficking, indicted 34 individuals for trafficking, and convicted 15 traffickers, a decrease from 25 convictions during the previous year. Sentences ranged from two to eight years' imprisonment. Most traffickers, however, are released after serving half of their sentences, following standard practice for all convicted criminals. In March 2006, the Serbian Supreme Court upheld an appeal of a 2004 Belgrade District Court conviction of the "Zarubica" case involving trafficking of women and girls from Moldova. The Supreme Court also increased the prison sentence from 3.5 to 4.5 years. These defendants, however, following standard judicial practice, remain on release, with no date yet set for serving actual imprisonment. Extensive police and border guard training yielded some significant results in 2005; police successfully interdicted two groups of traffickers at a border crossing in February 2006, one involving an international group of Serbians, Ukrainians, and Moldovans attempting to traffic Ukrainian girls into Serbia. There were no reports of trafficking-related corruption; however, there were allegations from one NGO of police complicity in a prostitution ring in Novi Pazar. Local officials from Novi Pazar have not responded to information requests from the NGO about these allegations.
The police and Agency for the Coordination of Protection to Victims of Trafficking worked together with NGOs to identify and refer 44 victims in 2005. All victims are provided shelter, medical and psychological services, and reintegration assistance; while NGOs provided most of these services, the government funded the salaries for workers in one shelter. The government increased the number of residence permits for victims of trafficking, approving 13 in 2005. The government amended a law to provide free medical services to trafficking victims in 2005; education of service providers is ongoing, as some NGOs reported cases of local hospitals refusing to provide services to victims. In January 2006, Serbia adopted a witness protection law applicable to victims of trafficking and implemented a victim witness protection unit. There were some reports of victims being poorly treated in courts outside Belgrade. Courts often require victims to testify against their traffickers repeatedly for criminal and civil proceedings, creating unnecessary trauma and travel costs. The government mandated that all municipalities establish a response team consisting of one police officer and one social welfare worker to provide assistance to victims; only a few local teams were active and functional in 2005, others failed to be responsive or have yet to be designated. Although Serbian police are responsible for the initial identification of trafficking victims, five victims were inappropriately detained, one of whom was deported in 2005. The police subsequently identified them as victims and transferred the four remaining victims to a shelter.
The government's anti-trafficking prevention activities remained nascent in 2005; NGOs continued to organize and fund the majority of Serbia's public information campaigns. NGOs participate in the government's anti-trafficking team and subgroups; however, the national team met only periodically throughout the reporting period and one subgroup did not meet at all. In 2005, the National Council developed and implemented a National Action Plan in consultation with NGOs. The National Council drafted an anti-trafficking strategy for 2006-2009 and submitted it to the Serbian Government for approval; the Prime Minister's office has yet to approve the strategy, but elements of the Action Plan, consistent with the proposed strategy, continue to be implemented. NGOs distributed anti-trafficking awareness pamphlets and posters to Serbian youth to warn them about becoming victims of trafficking. Consular officers sought to prevent trafficking into Serbia by refusing over 4,000 visa applications from known countries of origin.
THE REPUBLIC OF MONTENEGRO
The Government of the Republic of Montenegro improved its law enforcement response to trafficking and increased its investigations and convictions of traffickers during the reporting period. In 2005, the government issued five indictments against seven individuals, initiated 14 investigations of trafficking, and convicted six traffickers in three cases. Sentences ranged from six months to five years, and all convicted traffickers are currently serving their sentences. The government continued to provide training to police, prosecutors, judges, and other officials on how to recognize, investigate, and prosecute trafficking. In 2005, in cooperation with Ukrainian officials, the government convicted and sentenced four traffickers to a total of 14 years for trafficking Ukrainian victims to Montenegro for labor exploitation. There were reports that some police and customs officials facilitated trafficking and corrupt officers provided security to commercial sex establishments in 2005.
The Government of Montenegro demonstrated increased efforts to protect and assist trafficking victims in 2005. It signed a memorandum of cooperation with NGOs to reinforce cooperation to protect and assist trafficking victims; police referred 25 victims to NGOs under the memorandum. In 2005, the government issued formal guidance on the issuance of temporary residence permits to victims of trafficking. Occasionally, police pressured victims to file formal police reports in order to qualify for shelter residency. In January 2006, the Montenegrin government took over funding for a trafficking shelter in Podgoricia, which reported housing 28 victims in 2005 and five potential victims as of February 2006. The Republic of Montenegro passed a witness protection law applicable to trafficking victims in 2004, but it has yet to apply it to protect a trafficking victim. Reportedly, border police screen for trafficking victims and informally monitor the border for evidence of trafficking; however, the government has yet to establish a formal referral mechanism to ensure victims are consistently and accurately identified and referred to NGO shelters. IOM reported that on rare occasions some potential trafficking victims were prematurely deported.
In 2005, the Montenegrin Government, in cooperation with one NGO, organized workshops in many high schools and elementary schools to raise awareness and ways to recognize the potential risks of trafficking. The office of the national coordinator required monthly anti-trafficking progress reports from all relevant state agencies and the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare organized a seminar on trafficking in children. In 2005, the government updated its 2003 National Anti-Trafficking Strategy and various ministries adopted tailored action plans as required by the strategy.
Kosovo, while technically a part of Serbia and Montenegro, continued to be administered under the authority of the United Nations Interim Administrative Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999). Since June 1999, UNMIK has provided transitional administration for Kosovo, and retains ultimate authority over anti-trafficking roles such as police and justice, but is slowly transferring capacity to local institutions. UNMIK is aware of the trafficking problem in Kosovo and continued to conduct anti-trafficking efforts with the OSCE, the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG), and local and international NGOs. Responsibility for social support to victims of trafficking is shared by UNMIK, PISG, and international organizations.
Kosovo is a source, transit, and destination point for women and children trafficked for sexual exploitation. Some involuntary domestic servitude and forced labor occurs. Internal trafficking continued to grow into a more serious problem. Over 80 percent of identified victims assisted were minors. IOM reported 64 percent of victims from Kosovo assisted in 2005 were internally trafficked, 15 percent were trafficked into Macedonia, with 13 percent trafficked into Albania and Italy. UNMIK's Trafficking in Human Beings Unit (THBS) reported the foreign victims it assisted were trafficked mainly from Moldova, Albania, and Bulgaria. A growing number of Albanian and Kosovar victims were re-trafficked in Kosovo in 2005. The commercial sex trade continued to shift more underground and become increasingly clandestine in Kosovo, and traffickers increasingly use financial incentives to encourage victims to refuse assistance.
There continued to be a significant gap between the number of police raids and arrests in 2005; the THBS reported that traffickers are often tipped off to its operations. The THBS carried out 2,000 raids during the reporting period, but arrested only 33 suspects. In 2005, the THBS conducted 45 searches of private residences for trafficking victims. The THBS identified 49 victims, assisted 38, and repatriated 14. In July, three Albanian citizens were convicted of trafficking and sentenced to 10 and 12 years. In November a UNHCR official was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for exploitation of a minor. The majority of sentences for traffickers ranged from one to three years. Weak sentencing for convicted traffickers continued to be a significant obstacle, due to corruption and a cultural misperception of the key differences between trafficking and smuggling and force and consent. Prosecutors reportedly do not seek the strongest charges for traffickers due to misperception, lack of training and collusion with traffickers.
Investigation and prosecution continued to be hampered by a lack of adequate witness protection in 2005. Prosecutors continued to request the victim testify in the presence of their traffickers, although the law stipulated otherwise. In 2005, a consortium of local and international actors involved in anti-trafficking (the international and local police services, victim advocates, the OSCE, and local NGOs) introduced a standard operating procedure (SOP) to improve the previous duplicative and inefficient process of victim assistance and referral. Under the SOP, identified victims are referred by the THBS to one of 23 victim advocates across Kosovo who provide direct assistance to victims.
In May 2005, the PISG published an action plan to consolidate all relevant anti-trafficking actors and actions under one framework. IOM and UNMIK led several anti-trafficking awareness campaigns in 2005, one of which targeted potential clients in the sex industry and one to increase victim assistance, including opening an anonymous hotline for victims and vulnerable groups. The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with an NGO, continued to be involved in awareness campaigns in schools.
SIERRA LEONE (TIER 2)
Sierra Leone is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. Within the country, women and children are trafficked from rural areas to towns and diamond mining areas for work in mining, domestic servitude, petty trading, begging, agriculture, and the fishing industry and for sexual exploitation. Women and children are trafficked from Sierra Leone to Liberia, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau, The Gambia, the Middle East, and Europe.
The Government of Sierra Leone does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Sierra Leone demonstrated increased efforts to combat trafficking through law enforcement, despite limited resources. To improve its response to trafficking, the government should strengthen protection and prevention efforts, educate law enforcement about the new anti-trafficking law, and increase regional cooperation to eradicate trafficking.
The Government of Sierra Leone demonstrated modest efforts to combat trafficking through law enforcement over the last year. In August 2005, the President signed into law the Anti-Human Trafficking Act. An Inter-Ministerial committee mandated by the Act held its inaugural meeting, but the committee has not yet directed the subordinate anti-trafficking Task Force to begin its work. In the interim, Sierra Leone's police continued to host meetings of an ad hoc anti-trafficking working group consisting of government officials, NGOs, and international organization representatives dedicated to fighting trafficking. The government is investigating three cases of suspected trafficking. The police Family Support Unit plans to add a specific field for trafficking to its crime database in 2006. Police and Ministry of Social Welfare officials countrywide attended NGO-sponsored anti-trafficking training, and law enforcement officials are seeking funding to implement a trafficking training module of their own. The government failed to prosecute a Ministry of Social Welfare official allegedly involved in stealing children for fraudulent adoptions. Government officials who falsified official identity documents were rarely investigated or disciplined.
The Government of Sierra Leone continued to provide inadequate protection to trafficking victims. While the government lacks the resources to operate its own shelters, it has not developed a formal victim screening and referral system, although it refers trafficking victims to NGOs or international organizations for care on an informal basis. The government trained social workers for placement in the police Family Support Units to assist victims, but many reportedly left to work for NGOs once they receive the training. Collaborating with NGOs and international organizations, the Ministry of Social Welfare agreed to host a trafficking forum for service providers to develop strategies to work together to help victims. The government works with UNICEF and NGOs to provide a service provider network for street children, some of whom may be trafficking victims.
The Government of Sierra Leone continued to make modest efforts to prevent trafficking. Sierra Leone's new trafficking statute established a Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Task Force to oversee all aspects of government anti-trafficking efforts and an Inter-Ministerial Committee responsible for governing the activities of the TIP Task Force. While the Task Force has not yet convened, the committee had its first meeting in 2006. The police regularly use allotted radio spots to discuss the dangers of trafficking. A radio interview about trafficking with a member of the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee has been periodically re-broadcast. A parliamentarian sponsored a one-day trafficking awareness workshop in her constituency.
SINGAPORE (TIER 1)
Singapore is a destination country for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Some women and girls from Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) who travel to Singapore voluntarily for prostitution or non-sexual work are deceived or coerced into sexual servitude. A small minority of foreign domestic workers in Singapore face seriously abusive labor conditions that amount to involuntary servitude, a severe form of trafficking.
The Government of Singapore fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Over the last year, the Singaporean Government continued to address abuses of foreign domestic workers and made significant progress in its efforts to combat trafficking for sexual exploitation. In March 2006, Singapore's parliament approved legislation that, when enacted, will criminalize the offense of child sex tourism committed by Singaporean citizens in other countries and the commercial sexual exploitation of persons under the age of 18, regardless of consent. Singapore does not have a specific anti-trafficking law, but its criminal code criminalizes all forms of trafficking. Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) also implemented new regulations to address abuses of foreign domestic workers. Future government action should focus on implementing a systematic screening of at-risk populations-such as migrant workers and foreign women in prostitution-in order to identify and care for victims of trafficking.
The Singaporean Government made clear progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts in 2005. Although the Singaporean police investigated 28 cases of possible trafficking during the reporting period, none led to a trafficking-specific prosecution. The police used other statutes, however, to prosecute and convict 18 persons involved in crimes of trafficking related to some of the 28 cases. The government increased its efforts to curb abuses of foreign domestic workers. The government, through the MOM, implemented new regulations for employment agencies, including higher penalties for holding an employee's passport, a new licensing scheme that requires a background check on potential employers, an exam on laws related to employment agencies for agency directors, and a demerit system used to track agencies' infractions and revoke licenses. A small number of Singapore's estimated 140,000 foreign domestic workers continued to experience abusive employment conditions that amount to involuntary servitude, but MOM increased enforcement against abusive employers and resolved many other cases through mediation. Laws against forced or coerced prostitution carry sentences of up to 10 years' imprisonment, a fine, and caning; laws against rape, which have been used against traffickers, carry a penalty of up to 20 years' imprisonment, a fine, and caning. The government tracks the number of trafficking-related prosecutions, repatriations of foreign women and girls who are suspected sex workers, and complaints from foreign domestic workers. In 2005, the Singaporean Government reported 76 prosecutions for violations of national prostitution laws; eight of these involved the commercial sexual exploitation of minors. There is no evidence that government officials are complicit in trafficking.
The government provided adequate assistance to trafficking victims in the last year. The government generally tolerates consensual prostitution, but outlaws any form of third-party involvement, such as pimping, and actively works to eliminate organized crime in the vice trade. Through increased law enforcement efforts in red-light and entertainment districts, Singaporean police were able to identify a larger number of trafficking victims among the 3,220 foreign women in prostitution detained in 2005 - a total of 83 victims, including 48 minor girls. The Singaporean Government did not generally provide government shelter for trafficking victims, but through its Ministry of Community Development, Youth, and Sports (MCYS), the government funded the provision of shelter at local NGO facilities, and provided counseling, health care, physical security, and skills development programs for abused foreign domestic workers and victims of sexual exploitation. Some victims may be referred to shelters run by their embassies. There are no NGOs in Singapore that focus exclusively on trafficking, but there are several that are working against sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children, as well as a number exclusively focused on assisting foreign workers and seeking the enactment of enhanced labor protections.
The Singaporean Government substantially improved efforts to raise awareness of trafficking in 2005. Aware of the trafficking potential in the growing marriage-brokering of Vietnamese women, the government in 2005 formed an inter-agency task force to examine this phenomenon with a focus on ways of regulating it more closely in order to prevent trafficking and exploitation. The MOM launched an information campaign to raise awareness among foreign workers, including domestic workers, of their rights and the resources available to them by printing such information and hotline numbers on prepaid phone cards. MCYS has launched, in cooperation with local NGOs, a public awareness campaign aimed at stopping child sex tourism. There were no specific anti-trafficking campaigns directed at the use of fraud or coercion to recruit foreign women as prostitutes. Singapore has no national action plan to address trafficking.
SLOVAK REPUBLIC (TIER 2)
The Slovak Republic is a transit and, to a lesser extent, a source country for women trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Victims from Moldova, Ukraine, and the Balkans are trafficked through Slovakia to the Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, and Japan. Some women are exploited in Slovakia while in transit to their final destinations in Western Europe. In one case, a man was trafficked to Japan for purposes of forced labor; evidence suggests recruitment of additional men may be ongoing. The Roma within Slovakia continued to be a vulnerable group targeted by traffickers.
The Government of the Slovak 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 has shown greater commitment to combat human trafficking. In April 2005, the government created a national working group on trafficking in persons that meets monthly. In October, a national coordinator was appointed to head the working group and was given a budget of $60,000 for 2006 to implement an increased network of victim services and awareness campaigns. In January 2006, the government adopted its first national action plan on trafficking in persons. The government should ensure that the action plan is adequately funded and the National Coordinator is given adequate institutional resources to implement the plan. Slovakia should also ensure that border police, customs officials, and social workers at refugee camps and asylum centers receive more trafficking-specific training.
The Government of the Slovak Republic made notable efforts to increase its law enforcement activities over the last year. Police increased trafficking investigations to 47 in 2005, up from 27 in 2004. The government also increased its prosecutions from 19 in 2004 to 30 in 2005. The courts convicted four traffickers in 2005. Prison sentences for convicted traffickers ranged from three to 10 years; in January 2006, eight traffickers were given sentences ranging from three to eight years in prison for trafficking 12 women to the Czech Republic. There were no reported cases of government involvement or complicity in trafficking activity. During the reporting period, police worked with NGOs to receive training on victim identification and assistance.
The Slovak Government took additional steps to improve victim assistance and protection in the last year, although more remains to be done. A new law passed in 2005 requires police to inform victims about how and where to find local support services. NGOs reported that police began to contact them directly and referred victims for assistance. There are no dedicated trafficking shelters in Slovakia, although NGOs reported working with several municipalities to create specialized shelter facilities for trafficking victims. Authorities repatriated 24 Slovak victims in 2005. The IOM estimates there are between 100 and 200 victims trafficked from and through Slovakia annually.
The government improved prevention efforts during the reporting period. The Ministry of Labor provided small grants to local NGOs seeking to raise public awareness, although the IOM reported that it did not receive government funding for a proposed awareness program targeting the Roma community. Slovak military personnel assigned abroad to multinational peacekeeping missions received training to identify and report potential victims. The new national action plan on trafficking financed the upgrade of an anonymous police hotline for victims of trafficking that has been successful in identifying both current and former victims who wish to warn others about their experiences.
SLOVENIA (TIER 2)
Slovenia is primarily a transit and, to a lesser extent, a source and destination country for women and girls trafficked from Ukraine, Slovakia, Romania, Moldova, and Bulgaria for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Some of these victims are trafficked onward to Italy, the Netherlands, and other Western European countries.
The Government of Slovenia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In 2005, the Parliament adopted a witness protection law and took steps to improve its ability to track trafficking statistics by establishing a standard methodology for the collection of data from the Ministry of Labor, police, prosecution, and NGO databases. In addition to these efforts, Slovenia should take the necessary steps to convict traffickers. The government should also improve support for public awareness efforts and provide consistent budget funding for designated NGO-run trafficking shelters.
The government demonstrated modest progress in its law enforcement efforts over the reporting period. Police investigated seven new trafficking cases in 2005. Authorities prosecuted two cases. The government again failed to convict any traffickers in 2005; Slovenia has not convicted a trafficker since 2002. Consequently, no traffickers were sentenced to prison sentences in 2005. Police were active on the Interpol Working Group on trafficking. The working group cooperated on "Red Routes," a project that shares trafficking data, trafficking methods, and investigative techniques. More than 800 police officers and prosecutors participated in an NGO's anti-trafficking training program. Police and prosecutors also participated in several three-day workshops on victim reintegration sponsored by IOM.
The Government of Slovenia's efforts to provide victim protection and assistance diminished considerably during the reporting period. The government temporarily withheld funding from the one anti-trafficking NGO shelter operating in Slovenia until the end of 2005. Victim assistance in Slovenia was provided primarily by this NGO. Parliament adopted a witness protection law in November 2005, though it has not yet been implemented.
The Government of Slovenia demonstrated adequate prevention efforts during the reporting period. Specifically, the government tightly controlled its borders and regularly detained persons attempting to enter Slovenia illegally. The government, in cooperation with an NGO, continued the program "Vijolica" and "Caps," which provided trafficking awareness classes for 1,000 students in elementary and secondary schools around Slovenia in 2005. The government funded a project focused on preventing asylum seekers from becoming trafficking victims and established a web page with contact information for victim assistance organizations. Ministry of Defense officials received preventative training from IOM to assist officers in their peacekeeping missions in the Balkans.
SOUTH AFRICA (TIER 2 WATCH LIST)
South Africa is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. South African women and girls are trafficked internally and occasionally by organized crime syndicates to European and Asian countries for sexual exploitation. Women from other African countries are trafficked to South Africa and, less frequently, onward to Europe for sexual exploitation. Men and boys are trafficked from neighboring countries for forced agricultural labor. Thai, Chinese, and Eastern European women are trafficked to South Africa for debt-bonded sexual exploitation.
The Government of South Africa does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. South Africa is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show increasing efforts to address trafficking over the last year. The government did not provide comprehensive data on trafficking crimes investigated or prosecuted, or on resulting convictions or sentences during the year. The government should demonstrate continued progress toward the passage of comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation and develop national procedures for victim protection, including the screening of undocumented immigrants for signs of victimization before deportation. As it does for other types of crimes, the government should also regularly compile national statistics on the number of trafficking cases prosecuted and victims assisted.
The Government of South Africa's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts did not improve significantly over the last year, but officials showed greater awareness of the issue. However, the government did not supply full data on anti-trafficking investigations, prosecutions, or convictions during the reporting period. Anecdotal information indicates there were at least two convictions. The lack of specific anti-trafficking legislation continued to hamper South African law enforcement efforts; however, relevant bills moved through the legislative process during the reporting period. In 2005, the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces passed the Children's Bill which specifically prohibits child trafficking; the bill must be signed by the President to take effect. The South African Law Reform Commission's "Discussion Paper" on trafficking in persons, which includes draft comprehensive legislation, was released for public comment in early 2006. The National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) Committee on Justice debated the Sexual Offenses Bill, which prohibits some forms of sex trafficking, and referred the draft to the Department of Justice for review. In the absence of specific legislation, law enforcement officials continued to investigate and prosecute traffickers under existing laws. In early 2006, the government successfully convicted a South African woman of kidnapping and operating a brothel for the purpose of exploiting three girls in prostitution. The prosecution of 79 Nigerian nationals for prostituting children is pending while the victims undergo drug rehabilitation. The trial of alleged trafficker Amien Andrew concluded with convictions on several charges, including operating a brothel of under-aged children for profit, resulting in a 51-year prison sentence. Police in Johannesburg arrested a school bus driver supplying minors for prostitution. He was charged with abduction, but the case was dropped after the victims recanted their original statements. Nineteen Iraqi trafficking victims were placed in the witness protection program to await the capture of their Jordanian trafficker. In March 2006, police removed four Thai women from forced prostitution and turned them over to IOM for protection. In May 2005, NPA signed a memorandum of understanding with IOM to share information about trafficking crimes. During the year, SAPS, NPA, and the Department of Home Affairs enrolled more than 800 staff in anti-trafficking training programs that enabled some law enforcement officials to identify and properly question trafficking victims, particularly at the international airport.
Government protections for trafficking victims during the reporting period remained inadequate. Although the government does not have programs designed to specifically assist only trafficking victims, it provides an array of social services through facilities that are accessible to such victims. Police officers referred an unknown number of victims to local shelters during the reporting period. The Sexual Offenses and Community Affairs' (SOCA) eight "Thuthuzela" reception centers assist victims of sexual violence with medical and psychological care, as well as legal and social assistance; it is unknown whether trafficking victims utilized these centers during the reporting period. Immigration officials do not always screen undocumented foreigners for signs of victimization before deportation. For example, in December 2005, South African authorities deported 940 Mozambican illegal immigrants without first screening them to identify potential trafficking victims.
Government efforts to raise public awareness increased during the period. The government enlisted a local NGO to incorporate information on the trafficking of women and children into the government's annual "Violence against Women and Children Campaign." A youth-oriented talk show on government-owned television twice aired a program on human trafficking. SOCA coordinated the work of the Human Trafficking Inter-Sectoral Task Team that adopted a preliminary National Plan of Action in March 2005; the plan remains unimplemented without a mandate from the Department of Justice to act. In late 2005, NPA advertised a position for a national coordinator to lead a national anti-trafficking office. In June, the NPA and the EU delegation to South Africa held a national workshop to validate the European Union's anti-trafficking project proposal. In early 2006, SOCA's "Sexual Offenses and Community Affairs Bulletin" highlighted provisions of the new child trafficking legislation.
SPAIN (TIER 1)
Spain is a destination and transit country for women trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. These victims are trafficked from Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, South and Central America, and Africa. The most prominent source countries for these victims are Romania, Russia, Brazil, Colombia, and Nigeria. Spain continued to serve as a transit country for victims destined for Portugal, France, and Germany. Romanian trafficking networks continued to expand their operations in Spain.
The Government of Spain fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government aggressively investigated and prosecuted trafficking in 2005 securing 150 convictions. During the reporting period, Spanish law enforcement officials actively coordinated with counterparts in source countries to investigate and arrest traffickers. The government continued to provide trafficking victims with comprehensive assistance and protection. The cities of Madrid and Barcelona increased their demand reduction initiatives with an emphasis on the responsibility of the clients and the rights of the victims. The government should promote a multidisciplinary approach to trafficking by including NGOs and relevant agencies in each case. It should keep information on numbers of victims assisted and the types of assistance provided to victims.
In 2005, the Spanish National Police continued to aggressively investigate trafficking networks and reportedly dismantled 205 networks for sexual exploitation and arrested 910 traffickers. The government prosecuted 92 cases of trafficking, resulting in 150 convictions with an average sentence of 4.5 years. In 2005, the government continued to cooperate with law enforcement counterparts in countries of origin investigating 131 cases, arresting 280 traffickers, and dismantling 131 human trafficking networks. Commendably, the Spanish National Police drew a clear distinction between trafficking crimes and migrant smuggling. The government also continued to provide specialized training to all new law enforcement officers on both recognition of trafficking victims and victim assistance. There were no reports or evidence of public officials complicit in trafficking.
In 2005, the government increased its funding of NGOs providing comprehensive services to trafficking victims in Spain. During the reporting period, one NGO reported providing 95 victims of trafficking with legal, medical, and psychological assistance. The police reported identifying 1,337 victims of sexual exploitation and 681 victims of forced labor trafficking in 2005. The Spanish Government encourages trafficking victims to testify against their traffickers, and informs victims in writing of their right to seek legal action and restitution from traffickers. Trafficking victims who agree to testify in criminal cases are eligible for short-term legal residency in Spain; otherwise, they must be repatriated within 40 days. Although the government did not have a formal screening and referral mechanism, Spanish police continued to refer trafficking victims directly to NGOs providing shelter and assistance. The government did not punish victims for unlawful acts that were a direct result of their being trafficked.
Spain's Ministry of Interior continued to coordinate and evaluate the government's response to trafficking over the last year, and regional police units reviewed anti-trafficking enforcement efforts on a quarterly basis. In 2005, a parliamentary committee requested that the government draft a National Action Plan, expected to be completed in 2006. In 2005, the Madrid city government increased its enforcement of its anti-prostitution and anti-trafficking campaign through elevated police presence in targeted zones. In addition, the city of Madrid continued its extensive publicity campaign to prevent trafficking and discourage potential clients with posters and advertisements in the media and on city buses. In Catalonia, the Interior Minister continued to make anti-trafficking a priority and often accompanied police to areas with prostitution to assess conditions and discourage client solicitation.
SRI LANKA (TIER 2)
Sri Lanka is a source and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for sexual exploitation, and domestic labor, especially to the Middle East, China, and South Korea. Internal trafficking of women, girls, and boys for commercial sexual exploitation also occurs. An unsubstantiated number of women from Thailand, China, Russia, and other former Soviet Union countries are trafficked to Sri Lanka for commercial sexual exploitation. Sri Lanka is also considered a popular destination for child sex tourists. In areas controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, children have been forced to become child soldiers.
The Government of Sri Lanka does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Over the last year, the Government of Sri Lanka passed an amendment to the criminal code to bring its laws in line with international standards for the prevention of trafficking in persons. The government also dedicated human resources to the Anti-Human Smuggling Investigation Bureau and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs continued to assign Welfare Officers to Sri Lanka missions abroad to aid and assist women who are victims of trafficking. Officials remained vigilant toward the potential of increased child trafficking in the wake of the December 2004 tsunami, and there was no significant increase in reports of trafficking following the tsunami. Nonetheless, Sri Lanka should increase prosecutions of traffickers and improve its protection services for internal trafficking victims. The government should also improve its law enforcement efforts against travel agencies facilitating child sex tourism.
Sri Lanka made some progress in its law enforcement efforts this year. In February 2006, Parliament passed an amendment to the Criminal Code that brings its legislation in line with the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. In particular, the amendment criminalizes the "kidnapping, abduction, procuration, sexual exploitation of children, trafficking, debt bondage, serfdom, forced or compulsory labor, slavery, compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict, offenses related to adoption, and soliciting a child." The government investigated and arrested some people for cases involving trafficking during the past year, but did not distinguish these cases from prosecutions and convictions of people involved in migrant smuggling, pedophilia, and prostitution. The government does not provide centralized training to law enforcement officers, though individual divisions of the police such as the Anti-Human Smuggling Unit and Women's and Children's Bureau conduct annual anti-trafficking trainings for their staff. The government should improve its data collection system to disaggregate trafficking prosecutions and convictions from other crimes and institute anti-trafficking training programs for law enforcement officers in government-controlled areas of the country.
The Government of Sri Lanka's efforts to provide protection for trafficking victims improved slightly over the year. Although the government operates rehabilitation camps and community centers that offer some medical and psychological services to internal trafficking victims, it relies primarily on international organizations and NGOs to provide victim protection services. Furthermore, some suspected victims who may have been trafficked into Sri Lanka have been arrested and released after paying a fine. The Bureau of Foreign Employment appoints labor attach�s to Sri Lankan missions abroad to assist Sri Lankan victims of trafficking. Sri Lanka should allocate more resources to victim protection, particularly for child victims of trafficking and repatriated Sri Lankans exploited abroad. The government should also ensure that foreign victims of trafficking are not jailed or fined.
During the course of the year, Sri Lanka improved its trafficking prevention efforts. The National Child Protection Authority, as part of its overall efforts to address child welfare, included child trafficking as part of its educational campaigns. Most public awareness programs, however, are initiated by IOM and ILO, such as dance-drama troupes and information workshops to educate the public on the dangers of trafficking.
SUDAN1 (TIER 3)
Sudan is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and, at times, sexual exploitation. Sudan may also be a transit and destination country for Ethiopian women trafficked for domestic servitude. Young Sudanese boys from the country's eastern Rashaida tribe are trafficked to the Middle East, particularly Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, for use as camel jockeys. Small numbers of Sudanese girls are reportedly trafficked within Sudan for domestic servitude, as well as for commercial sexual exploitation in small brothels in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. The terrorist rebel organization "Lord's Resistance Army" (LRA) continues to abduct and forcibly conscript small numbers of children in Southern Sudan for use as cooks, porters, and combatants in its ongoing war against the Government of Uganda; some of these children are then trafficked across borders into Uganda or possibly the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Sudanese children are utilized by rebel groups in Sudan's ongoing conflict in Darfur; the Sudanese Armed Forces and associated militias reportedly continue to utilize children in this region. Vulnerable boys often perceive that voluntarily attaching themselves to an armed group, whether a rebel militia or the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), is their best option for survival. Forcible recruitment of adults and particularly children by virtually all armed groups involved in Sudan's recently ended North-South civil war was commonplace; thousands of children now require demobilization and reintegration into their communities of origin.
During the decades of civil war, thousands of Dinka women and children were abducted and subsequently enslaved by members of two Baggara tribes (Missiriya and Rezeigat). An unknown number of children from the Nuba tribe were similarly abducted and enslaved during the same time period. Motivations behind this form of warfare were complex, but the end result was capture through raiding and abduction; rapid transport of victims from Bahr el Ghazal to locations in northern Sudan; and subjection of abductees to various forms of forced labor without remuneration, as well as, at times, physical and sexual abuse. Often, a complete cultural reorientation accompanied such enslavement, involving such practices as renaming, involuntary female circumcision, forced religious conversion, and forbidding the use of native languages. Many of those who were abducted and enslaved remained with their abductors in South Darfur and West Kordofan; some were married into the abductor's family; others were sold or given to third parties, including in other regions of the country; and some ultimately escaped from their captors. Due to the cessation of the North-South conflict and the ongoing peace process, there were no known new abductions of Dinka by members of Baggara tribes during the year. However, inter-tribal abductions of a different nature, as are historically common among East African tribes, continue in Southern Sudan and warrant further investigation.
The Government of National Unity (GNU) of Sudan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. While Sudan demonstrated initial progress on a number of fronts, most of these efforts were not sustained. In addition, protective efforts did not extend to all types of trafficking victims and the Committee for the Eradication of Abduction of Women and Children's (CEAWC) efforts to return victims of slavery were stalled for part of the year by a lack of funding. To improve its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should take steps to provide protective services to all types of trafficking victims found within the country; demobilize all child soldiers from its ranks, as well as those of allied militias; publicly acknowledge the link between abductions and slavery, and denounce the continuation of this practice in the country; establish a comprehensive policy framework for identifying, verifying, retrieving, and reintegrating abductees that is developed and agreed to by all affected parties in the north and the south; strengthen the leadership, professional management, and accountability of CEAWC at the state and local levels; and continue, as was demonstrated during the January/February returns, to work closely and transparently with the international community to adequately verify and document cases of enslavement of individuals from all affected tribes.
The national government's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts were almost non-existent over the reporting period. The Sudanese Criminal Code neither specifically outlaws trafficking nor covers all of the worst forms of trafficking in persons, though Articles 162 through 164 of the Sudan Criminal Code outlaw abduction, luring, and forced labor. No trafficker has ever been prosecuted under these articles. In November 2005, the GNU reported that Emirati agents attempted to recruit 100 Sudanese children to race camels in the United Arab Emirates, but the Ministry of Interior denied the children's applications for exit visas. In October 2005, the Government of Uganda and the GNU expanded their agreement permitting Ugandan military operations on Sudanese territory. The revised agreement allows Ugandan forces to use air support and operate north of the "red line" that previously limited Ugandan pursuit of LRA rebels. During the year, the LRA reportedly continued to receive support through the continued presence of the Sudan Armed Forces' military garrison and intelligence agents in Juba. During the reporting period, the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), through both the President and the Vice President, publicly delivered several ultimatums to the LRA to leave Southern Sudan.
During the reporting period, the GoSS drafted a comprehensive Children's Act that prohibits the sale or exchange of children, as well as the recruitment and use of child soldiers under the age of 18. Additional draft legislation, entitled the Children in Armed Forces Act, creates a legal framework to criminalize the act of recruitment of children and allow for the civilian prosecution of perpetrators; the bills are slated for presentation to the GoSS Assembly in April 2006.
The national government's victim protection efforts were extremely limited over the reporting period, producing mixed results. Protective efforts did not extend to all types of trafficking victims found within the country. Disagreements remain between the government and NGOs over the application of international legal standards for returning trafficked individuals to their areas of origin, as well as the definition of a child.
Child Camel Jockeys
The GNU, through the National Council of Child Welfare (NCCW), signed an agreement with a Qatari NGO that enabled the repatriation of 212 Sudanese child camel jockeys from Qatar, most through informal traditional channels. While the NCCW's efforts to repatriate children from the U.A.E. are ongoing, governmental procedures and policies, such as income generation projects, that would protect children and prevent re-victimization were lacking during the reporting period; 285 children were repatriated in mid-to-late 2005. During the year, an NCCW-NGO team conducted three field visits to follow-up with reintegrated children. In March 2006, the NCCW signed an agreement with UNICEF that established a plan of action for repatriating additional child camel jockeys from the U.A.E. Under the agreement, the NCCW is tasked with coordinating the return of victimized children, advocating locally against the use of child camel jockeys, and initiating legal reform; the recent enactment of this agreement renders an evaluation of its impact impossible.
In December, the North Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) Interim
Authority and UNICEF jointly held a child advocacy meeting with commanders of 15 militias and other armed groups (OAGs) to familiarize them with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement's (CPA) guidelines for the removal of child soldiers and prepare them for the upcoming survey of child soldiers within their ranks. According to the United Nations Mission in Sudan, the OAGs agreed to fully support the removal of children. In February 2006, the GNU established, as mandated by the CPA, the inter-ministerial National DDR Coordination Council, a body with responsibility for policy formation, as well as oversight, coordination, and evaluation of the plans and processes of the Northern and Southern Sudan sub-commissions. In February 2006, President Bashir issued a Presidential Decree that established the Northern Sudan DDR Commission and mandated it with design, implementation, and management of the DDR process at the northern sub-national level. To date, the national government has made no concrete progress in demobilizing or caring for child soldiers because it denies their existence in the Sudanese Armed Forces.
The Southern Sudan DDR Commission has not yet been established to replace the South Sudan DDR Interim Authority; the GoSS had not paid the salaries of the DDR Interim Authority staff to enable a full commencement of operations. Nevertheless, during the period, the SPLA continued to cooperate with the international community to demobilize associated children, some of whom had been used as soldiers; in August 2005, 205 children were released in Western Upper Nile. In conjunction with UNICEF, the SPLA has informally released thousands of children from its ranks since 2001. In December 2005, SPLA commanders from Western Upper Nile and Nuba Mountains attended a training session to prepare for the first official demobilization of children associated with the armed forces under the CPA. In February 2006, the SPLA commenced the formal removal and demobilization of children from its ranks (which include other recently incorporated armed groups) in Unity State with the technical support of UNICEF. To date, the South Sudan DDR Interim Authority has demobilized and reunified 142 children through the formal process.
Because of an agreement between the GNU and the Government of Uganda, Ugandan children who escape or are captured from LRA forces are delivered by the SPLA to Department of Social Welfare offices in Juba or Torit for repatriation by an international organization. The same agreement applies to Sudanese children captured in Uganda; in late-2005, three Sudanese children formerly abducted by the LRA were returned to southern Sudan through this mechanism.
Abduction and Slavery
According to CEAWC, approximately 694 victims of abduction and slavery were collected from the northern states of South Darfur and South Kordofan and returned to the Bahr el Ghazal region of southern Sudan during the reporting period. This number of returned victims represents a dramatic decrease compared to the 2,708 CEAWC rescues from the previous year. NGOs and international organizations maintain that some of the individuals included in the reported 694 victims were not rescued from situations of slavery, but instead were internally displaced persons residing in the north. These retrieval and transport missions took place in June 2005 and January/February 2006; between June and January, the GNU did not provide CEAWC with the necessary funding for the transport and reunification of previously identified abductees with their families. As a result, thousands of people continued to remain in prolonged situations of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Although the GNU provided funding for this most recent movement, it did not provide additional funding for further return efforts. During the period, CEAWC permitted UNICEF to observe some of its operations to return abducted southerners. In the latest round of repatriations, in January and February 2006, there were noticeable improvements in CEAWC's methods of returning abductees, including no known cases of forced returns and improved provisions and condition of the convoys. CEAWC reportedly delivered former abductees to their villages where their families received them. NGOs, however, have reported that the few returnees who were not reunited with their families remained extremely vulnerable, and faced food shortages and a lack of health care.
The national government took steps to prevent trafficking for the purpose of child camel jockeying during the reporting period, but made no effort to prevent other forms of trafficking in persons. An NCCW-NGO team conducted three field visits to raise tribal awareness of the dangers of camel jockeying. According to observers, this awareness raising has done little to stop the practice, as dire economic circumstances force families to rely on their children's work for survival. The NCCW and a consultant, with NGO funding, produced a booklet entitled "Together to Protect Children from Violence" that highlighted the illegality of using children for camel jockeying and sexual exploitation. The NCCW is distributing 2,000 copies of the booklet to its chapters in each state, as well as in schools. In November, the NCCW held a public workshop on the possibility of proposing legal reforms to criminalize trafficking children for camel jockeying and to evaluate the repatriation process. An inter-ministerial committee screened travel by children to the Gulf countries when their families applied for exit visas, and a team of doctors performed medical exams to verify age in some exit visa cases.
1A wide array of grave human rights violations, including incidences of sexual violence perpetrated against women in the Darfur region, continue to occur unchecked in Sudan. The government's progress in combating these issues is covered in great detail in the Department of State's annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.
SURINAME (TIER 2)
Suriname is primarily a transit and destination country for women and children trafficked internationally for the purpose of sexual exploitation. It is also a source country for children trafficked internally for sexual exploitation. Foreign girls and women are trafficked from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Colombia for commercial sexual exploitation; some transit Suriname en route to Europe. Chinese nationals transiting Suriname risk debt bondage to migrant smugglers; men are exploited in forced labor and women in commercial sexual exploitation. Haitians migrating illegally through Suriname are also vulnerable to forced labor exploitation in the country.
The Government of Suriname does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government increased law enforcement actions, improved efforts to identify and assist victims, and launched new training and public awareness efforts during the reporting period. The government should amend laws to criminalize all forms of trafficking and continue improving procedures to prevent entry and exploitation of foreign victims. It should also work with civil society contacts to better assist victims and encourage the reporting of trafficking cases.
Government efforts to investigate and prosecute traffickers intensified significantly in the last year. A variety of laws can be used to prosecute trafficking, and authorities invoked statutes against trade in women, brothel operation, and organized crime to arrest and prosecute traffickers. Congress passed anti-trafficking legislation in March 2006. A court convicted a government official and sentenced him to two years' imprisonment for sexually exploiting Guyanese minors and women in a brothel he owned. Five other brothel owners suspected of trafficking foreign women to Suriname were arrested with investigations pending. Police also investigated five additional cases that appeared to involve trafficking. Authorities began some screening of foreigners arriving in Suriname for signs of having been trafficked. Police expanded joint anti-trafficking investigative work with counterparts in the Dominican Republic and Guyana, and justice officials sought improved mechanisms for cooperation with Colombia and the Netherlands Antilles.
Although the government continues to lack resources for the direct provision of services to victims of trafficking, it increased efforts to work with civil society to shelter and assist these victims. Authorities extended services provided for domestic violence victims to trafficking victims and worked with civil society contacts and consular representatives of victims' source countries. As a result, identified foreign victims were temporarily sheltered and kept safe until their repatriation. Victims could file suit against traffickers, but few victims came forward. Women arrested in brothel raids as immigration violators and who did not indicate they were trafficked were deported, but efforts improved in treating identified victims as material witnesses needing protection rather than as criminals.
The government made concerted and significant efforts to educate the public and train government officials during the reporting period. It launched a new national awareness campaign in February 2006, distributing brochures and posters and provided in-depth interviews about trafficking and the government's plan of action to the media. These interviews and anti-trafficking statements by senior government officials throughout the year received widespread coverage.
SWEDEN (TIER 1)
Sweden is a destination and, to a lesser extent, a transit country for women and children from Estonia, Russia, the Balkans, and Nigeria trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Authorities noted an increase in ethnic Roma women and children trafficked from Romania. Victims transit Sweden as they are trafficked to Denmark, Norway, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Recently, a large number of Chinese children were trafficked through Sweden to Denmark, Germany, Italy, France, and the Netherlands.
The Government of Sweden fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons. The government provides funding and administrative support to NGOs in Sweden and abroad to provide assistance to victims of trafficking. The government continued to provide generous funding to combat trafficking world-wide. In October 2005, the government announced a project to improve victim repatriation and reintegration by creating a Nordic-Baltic regional network of NGOs and social and law enforcement agencies; Sweden has contributed more than $450,000 to the project that will run from 2006 through 2009. Sweden should consider implementing domestic public awareness campaigns focusing on demand, and should implement the proposed immigration law granting a 30-day reflection period for all identified victims. Sweden's anti-trafficking efforts were supported by a law that reduced demand for trafficking victims by criminalizing the purchase of sex.
The Government of Sweden increased law enforcement efforts and aggressively targeted traffickers over the reporting period. In 2005, authorities conducted 44 investigations. Prosecutions and convictions increased as well. During 2005 and early 2006, the government prosecuted and convicted 15 individuals under the anti-trafficking law, compared with two convictions obtained during the previous reporting period. Over the last year, the government also prosecuted and convicted 25 traffickers using statutes directly related to trafficking, resulting in sentences ranging from two to five years' imprisonment. Those sentenced for crimes related to trafficking received sentences ranging from two to three years. In February 2006, Sweden conducted its first trafficking in persons training for judges to help improve judicial understanding of the issue and the application of the anti-trafficking law. The government regularly cooperates with other governments in trafficking investigations. In 2005, Sweden requested and was granted the extradition of a Russian citizen from Germany in connection with a trafficking case. During the reporting period, the government did not identify or prosecute any cases of public officials complicit in trafficking.
Sweden continued to provide extensive victim support and assistance to foreign victims of trafficking, particularly after their repatriation to countries of origin. The government sponsored numerous shelters and rehabilitation centers in source countries such as Russia. It also partially funded a project that focused attention on child trafficking in Albania, Greece, and Italy. Foreign victims identified within Sweden may obtain a temporary residence permit which entitles victims to health care and social services; although these permits are currently only available to those victims who cooperate in trafficking investigations, the government recently proposed new changes to the law that would grant victims a 30-day temporary residency permit regardless of whether the victim elects to cooperate with authorities. The government has performed inadequately, however, in interdicting and protecting unaccompanied foreign children — particularly Chinese — seen transiting Sweden and believed to be victims of trafficking.
The government continued its efforts to raise international awareness of trafficking, including efforts to increase awareness of the root causes of trafficking. Sweden worked to develop sustainable best practices and strategies to combat trafficking; this program continues to be carried out in partnership with two international NGOs. In August 2005, the government agreed to jointly fund a three-year program to strengthen the capacity of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina to combat trafficking in persons, provide necessary victim assistance and protection, and strengthen public awareness.
SWITZERLAND (TIER 1)
Switzerland is a destination and, to a lesser extent, a transit country for women trafficked from Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia, Moldova, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Thailand, Cambodia, and countries in Africa for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The government estimates the total number of potential victims currently in Switzerland is 1,500 to 2,000. Limited cases of domestic servitude and forced labor in the agricultural, construction, and tourism industries were also reported.
The Government of Switzerland fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In December 2005, Parliament passed a new immigration law that formalizes and improves the process of granting potential trafficking victims a stay of deportation and provides for residency status or the assisted return of victims and witnesses to their countries of origin.
Parliament unanimously adopted a more comprehensive definition of human trafficking that includes forced labor. Switzerland continued to demonstrate great commitment to combat human trafficking by generously funding protection and prevention efforts in source countries. Although the government's international efforts are commendable, more should be done to fight trafficking domestically. The government should ensure that more convicted traffickers serve time in prison. The government should also enact a domestic demand-reduction public awareness campaign. The national government should continue to work with cantonal authorities to establish a national trafficking statistics gathering system.
The Government of Switzerland continued to make progress in its law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. National statistics on the total number of trafficking investigations were unavailable at the time of this report, but police investigated at least 30 trafficking cases in 2005. Authorities conducted at least 16 prosecutions in 2005. Courts convicted at least 22 traffickers in 2005, an increase from 12 in 2004. Of the 22 traffickers convicted in 2005, 16 received suspended sentences while six traffickers received sentences ranging from five to 16 months. The Swiss Government cooperated with other governments in the investigation and prosecution of numerous trafficking cases. During the reporting period, the national government expanded its specialized anti-trafficking training program for police officers and instructed cantonal migration offices to improve victim assistance statistics.
Switzerland continued to improve victim protection efforts. The government identified at least 97 victims in 2005. Trafficking victims, regardless of their immigration status, are entitled to free and immediate medical care as well as psychological, social, and legal assistance. Local victim assistance centers provided victims with a minimum of 14 days of emergency lodging and 14 days of living allowance. In 2004, 84 trafficking victims received help from victim assistance centers. At least three cantons provided funding to a victim assistance anti-trafficking NGO in 2005. Several cities have established victim referral processes between judicial, police, and immigration authorities and NGOs. In 2005, 30 trafficking victims were granted 30-day temporary stays of deportation for contemplation and recovery. An additional 18 victims were granted short-term residency permits for the duration of the legal proceeding against their traffickers. Eight victims were given long-term residency permits subject to annual review for reasons of personal hardship.
The Government of Switzerland continued its commendable public awareness programs in source countries, but domestic prevention efforts remained limited. In 2005, the government provided more than $1 million for prevention and protection projects to international organizations and multiple NGOs working abroad; over two dozen prevention campaigns were funded in Eastern and Southeastern Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. The Department of Foreign Affairs also worked to raise trafficking awareness among business people of multinational companies based in Switzerland. Swiss embassies and consulates abroad increased their scrutiny of applicants for work visas as nightclub performers; officials ensured that applicants received valid work contracts, were aware of their future working conditions, and were given NGO contact information if they later required assistance. The government did not conduct a domestic public awareness campaign in 2005.
SYRIA (TIER 3)
Syria is a destination country for women from South and Southeast Asia and Africa for domestic servitude and from Eastern Europe and Iraq for sexual exploitation. Women from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Ethiopia, and Sierra Leone are recruited for work in Syria as domestic servants, but some face conditions of exploitation and involuntary servitude including long hours, non-payment of wages, withholding of passports and other restrictions on movement, and physical and sexual abuse. Similarly, Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarussian women recruited for work in Syria as cabaret dancers are not permitted to leave their work premises without permission and have their passports withheld — indicators of involuntary servitude. In addition, of the 450,000 Iraqis in Syria, some of the women and children are reportedly forced into sexual exploitation.
The Government of Syria does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Syria has done little to address its trafficking in persons problem. It has no anti-trafficking policy, programs, or coordinator, but has shown some political will to tackle the issue. With IOM's assistance, Syria conducted a workshop to raise awareness of the trafficking problem and formed a committee to combat trafficking. Nonetheless, this committee has never met. The government also reported no trafficking prosecutions during the year. The government failed to provide protection for trafficking victims, and even incarcerated child victims of sex trafficking in detention centers. Syria should prosecute more traffickers; improve protection for victims by building a shelter; providing medical, psychological, and legal aid; and increase public awareness of trafficking.
Syria failed to take any significant steps to improve its prosecution record over the year. In September 2005, Syria decreed the formation of a committee to draft a comprehensive anti-trafficking law and a set of rules to regulate manpower agencies. This committee, however, has yet to meet and there has been no progress on drafting a new law or regulations. Syria also did not report any prosecutions of trafficking offenses and failed to train law enforcement officials in trafficking investigation and prosecution techniques. In addition, although manpower agencies are illegal in Syria, the government took no steps to shut them down or otherwise regulate them to ensure that they do not facilitate the trafficking of foreign workers. The government should enact a comprehensive trafficking law or utilize existing provisions in its criminal code to prosecute sex traffickers and traffickers of forced labor. Law enforcement training and better regulation of manpower agencies would also help address trafficking problems in Syria.
During the year, the Government of Syria took insignificant steps to improve protection of trafficking victims. Syria failed to financially support or make available protection services such as a shelter or legal aid to trafficking victims. Minors caught in sexual exploitation are reportedly housed in juvenile detention facilities. The government should cease detaining child trafficking victims and increase protection for all victims.
Syria took minimal steps in preventing trafficking over the year. Syria continues to monitor its borders closely for signs of smuggling and trafficking, though it did not detect one case of trafficking over the last year. The government should consider formulating a broad public awareness campaign to increase awareness of trafficking in persons.
TAIWAN (TIER 2 WATCH LIST)
Taiwan is primarily a destination for men, women, and children trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. Women from the P.R.C. and Southeast Asian countries are trafficked to Taiwan for sexual exploitation and forced labor. Women and children, primarily from Vietnam, are trafficked to Taiwan through the use of fraudulent marriages, deceptive employment offers, and illegal smuggling for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor.
A significant share of foreign workers — primarily from Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines — are recruited legally for low-skilled jobs in Taiwan's construction, fishing, or manufacturing industries or as domestic servants, and are subjected to forced labor or involuntary servitude by labor agencies or employers upon arrival in Taiwan. Many of these contract migrant workers come from poor rural areas and are forced to pay up to $8,000 to recruitment agencies or brokers for a job in Taiwan, resulting in substantial debt that labor agencies and/or employers use as a tool for involuntary servitude. The process for recruitment and placement of the 350,000 foreign workers in Taiwan — half of whom are caregivers working in private residences and not protected by Taiwan's labor law — lacks regulation and oversight and may therefore lead to situations of involuntary servitude. The recruitment of foreign brides primarily from Vietnam, but also from other Southeast Asian nations, is poorly controlled and, as a consequence, has become a major conduit for the trafficking of girls and women into the Taiwan sex trade, as well as for forced labor. To a much lesser extent, there is internal trafficking of children for sexual exploitation and trafficking of a small and declining number of Taiwan women to Japan for commercial sexual exploitation.
Taiwan authorities do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, they are making significant efforts to do so. Taiwan is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts over the past year to address trafficking, despite ample resources to do so, particularly to address the serious level of forced labor and sexual servitude among legally migrating Southeast Asian contract workers and brides. Taiwan authorities need to demonstrate political will in tackling the trafficking in persons problem on the island. Taiwan should also develop a clear policy and action plan that adequately covers sex trafficking and involuntary servitude among foreign workers and brides. Comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation that criminalizes all forms of trafficking is critical to punishing traffickers who currently operate with relative impunity.
Taiwan has improved its collaboration with local and international NGOs to protect victims of trafficking, particularly P.R.C. citizens, and some members of its legislature are attempting to pass comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation. However, there continue to be concerns over the treatment of the large number of Vietnamese brides present in Taiwan. Taiwan officials concede that the process for admitting foreign brides is not sufficiently monitored, noting that 47 percent of Vietnamese brides in Taipei county are not living with their Taiwanese husbands. Taiwan also remains a destination for foreign workers. The oversight system for their recruitment and stay in Taiwan is not adequately scrutinized. Twenty thousand of the 350,000 foreign contract workers in Taiwan are "runaways" who have left their site of employment in Taiwan for a variety of reasons, including abuse or conditions of involuntary servitude. Taiwan authorities view most runaways as workers seeking to remain in Taiwan illegally, and therefore treat them as law-breakers, detaining and then deporting them immediately upon capture. Labor rights and anti-trafficking NGOs claim — with detailed accounts — that many of these runaway workers escaped conditions of bonded or forced labor or sexual servitude.
Taiwan has a number of related laws that may be used to prosecute traffickers, including laws against slavery and exploiting children in prostitution, but it does not have comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation. On April 13, 2006, Taiwan's Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) announced that businesses or individuals caught employing illegal workers will be fined up to $23,000. The new regulation, which took effect on April 20, 2006, will be directed at those who knowingly hire illegal workers. The CLA also announced that it will begin inspecting businesses that employ large numbers of female workers to ensure the workers are not being mistreated and to verify that the businesses have mechanisms in place that allow workers to report sexual harassment or abuse.
Over the reporting period, there were 94 indictments and eight convictions for sex trafficking crimes under Sections 231, 296, and 296-1 of Taiwan's criminal code; in contrast, there was only one reported prosecution for forced labor or exploitative labor practices. Although the CLA identified some victims of involuntary servitude, there were no cases referred for investigation or prosecution by law enforcement or judicial authorities. Punishments for employers or labor agencies found guilty of abuses, including forced labor, were administrative and light, most involving fines. The government has procedures for monitoring companies that employ foreign workers; however, none have been held criminally responsible for any potential trafficking-related violations. Taiwan legislative officials have drafted and are attempting to pass anti-trafficking legislation. Efforts are also underway to tighten immigration procedures and interviewing techniques in detention centers.
The Taiwan authorities provided inadequate protection for many victims of trafficking on the island over the last year, though they made efforts to improve levels of victim support in some areas. Most significant were efforts to identify and treat with care victims of sex trafficking found among the thousands of P.R.C. girls and women arrested for involvement in prostitution or immigration violations. As of April 3, 2006, there were 15 P.R.C. female trafficking victims at detention center facilities. Care for the estimated larger number of foreign victims of labor trafficking, domestic servitude, or sex trafficking among Southeast Asian contract laborers and imported "brides" remained uneven. Taiwan authorities continue to punish victims of trafficking for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked. Taiwan authorities fail to offer P.R.C. and Southeast Asian trafficking victims legal alternatives to their removal to countries in which they face hardship or retribution. Taiwan authorities operate two detention centers that are used to detain undocumented P.R.C. females prior to their forced repatriation, which contain separate, more comfortable facilities for the hundreds of P.R.C. females identified as trafficking victims. It is not clear if these identified trafficking victims are encouraged to assist in the prosecution of their traffickers. Victim protection varied widely among the different localities on the island. While Taiwan authorities provide substantial funding to the Foundation of Women's Rights Promotion, which in turn funds local NGOs to which it also refers victims — primarily Vietnamese brides — there are no centrally funded anti-trafficking shelters on the island. Taiwan authorities have undertaken modest efforts to ensure that brides in Taiwan understand their rights, and also run a hotline for reporting abuse. However, critics claim that the hotline is rarely used and that most potential victims are not aware of its existence. Taiwan also made stronger attempts to interview foreign spouses upon entering Taiwan, as demonstrated by the increase in the identification of fraudulent marriages (30-35 percent were rejected in 2005).
In contrast, care and assistance to Southeast Asian contract workers who have become victims of involuntary servitude is minimal. Taiwan authorities made significant efforts to better regulate the foreign labor sector, but this was focused on minor labor abuses rather than on more serious allegations of involuntary servitude. In 2005, the CLA established 24 offices around the island to provide counseling and other services to abused foreign workers. These centers, however, do not provide overnight shelter for victims; the only shelters available for victims of labor exploitation or involuntary servitude are NGO facilities. In 2004, the CLA established legal aid offices, a hotline, and a booth in the airport aimed to provide information to incoming foreign workers. The CLA reported that it is administering a program that will allow abused foreign workers to be reassigned to another employer or be returned to their country of origin. It also plans to increase the number of labor inspectors. NGOs question whether the CLA will follow through with plans, and many foreign workers remain unaware of the hotline, pamphlets, or shelters.
Taiwan authorities' public statements about the dangers of the sex trafficking problem demonstrate the seriousness with which Taiwan evaluates the problem. There is also a growing public awareness and media coverage of the huge forced labor problem found in Taiwan's relatively unregulated inflow of low-skilled foreign contract laborers. Taiwan has conducted prevention campaigns aimed at foreign workers, including brochures laying out the laws in Taiwan and running radio public service announcements. Taiwan authorities, who participate in anti-trafficking training, also provide funding to international organizations for anti-trafficking outreach, largely for the purpose of counseling girls who may be sexually exploited or trafficked.
TAJIKISTAN (TIER 2)
Tajikistan is a source country for women and children trafficked to the U.A.E., Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iran for purpose of sexual exploitation; men are trafficked to Russia for labor exploitation. In 2005, at least 420 women were trafficked to the U.A.E. and other Arab countries for sexual exploitation, according to IOM. IOM confirmed that 2,000 men were trafficked to Russia to labor in the construction and agricultural industries. Media reports linked trafficking rings to financing terrorist organizations, although the government denies such reports.
The Government of Tajikistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government continued to demonstrate commitment and interest in combating human trafficking. The government drafted a national action plan that, when formally adopted, will coordinate the government's actions and clarify its goals. The government should focus on amending its trafficking law to clearly define human trafficking. Prosecutors should also receive training on how to effectively prosecute trafficking cases. The government should continue to cooperate with neighboring governments to seek cooperation in joint investigations, the extradition of traffickers, and repatriation of victims.
The Government of Tajikistan greatly improved its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the last year. Authorities conducted 81 trafficking investigations in 2005, a substantial increase from 14 in 2004. The government prosecuted 57 trafficking cases; at the time of this report 17 of these prosecutions were still pending. Twenty-eight traffickers were convicted in 2005. Specific sentencing data on these 28 traffickers was unavailable, although the average sentence for convicted traffickers ranged from five to 12 years in prison. There were no suspended sentences; all 28 convicted traffickers were sentenced to time in prison. Government corruption in trafficking activity remained a concern; traffickers used their contacts in government agencies to illegally obtain false documents. In 2005, the 14 low-level law enforcement officers who were arrested during the previous reporting period for engaging in the commercial sexual exploitation of underage girls were dismissed from their positions.
The Tajik Government did not improve its protection of trafficking victims during the reporting period, due in part to a lack of funding. The government did not provide direct shelter facilities for victims, nor did it provide financial support to NGOs that assisted victims; however, it did work with international organizations to establish shelters and to assist and repatriate Tajik victims from abroad. In 2005, officials from the government and IOM traveled to the U.A.E. to assist in the repatriation of 48 Tajik women and one man. Once the action plan is enacted, the Ministry of Health will provide victims with medical and psychological treatment. The government encourages victims to assist in the investigation process and provide testimony during trials.
The government conducted limited trafficking awareness efforts over the last year, though it did improve efforts to monitor immigration patterns for trafficking activity. The Ministry of Interior opened an Intelligence and Analytical Center for Counter-Narcotics and Trafficking in Persons in February 2006. Border Guards are trained to screen for potential traffickers and victims. Authorities established a data analysis center at the Dushanbe Airport to monitor travelers' data in and out of the country. In early 2006, the State Migration Service established a database to track trafficking acts. In February 2006, the government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with IOM that will coordinate IOM programs and government efforts. The government cooperated with local and international NGOs to raise awareness among more than 71,000 students at the high school and university levels. The awareness campaign included lectures, theater shows on trafficking, television and radio programming, brochures, and leaflets.
TANZANIA (TIER 2)
Tanzania is a source and possibly transit country for children trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. Girls from rural areas are trafficked to urban centers for domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. Domestics fleeing abusive employers as well as voluntary migrants unable to find work in urban centers sometimes fall prey to exploitation in prostitution. Boys are trafficked within the country for exploitative work on farms, in mines, and in the informal sector. Small numbers of girls are also reportedly trafficked to South Africa, Oman, the United Kingdom, and possibly other European or Middle Eastern countries for domestic servitude. Citizens of neighboring countries may be trafficked through Tanzania for forced domestic labor and sexual exploitation in South Africa and the Middle East.
The Government of Tanzania does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government made progress over the last year in improving its law enforcement response to human trafficking, particularly through training of security personnel. In order to address trafficking in persons more effectively, Tanzania should investigate and prosecute traffickers more vigorously, implement its plans to harmonize all elements of its legal code pertaining to trafficking in persons, and build on the joint government-NGO efforts in education and awareness to result in a nationwide campaign.
The Tanzanian government's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts were modest during the reporting period. Although Tanzanian law prohibits human trafficking, these provisions are inadequate as they lack precise definitions and do not cover all forms of trafficking. In 2005, the government sent two officials to a seminar in South Africa on anti-trafficking legislation. The resulting national legislative review and recommendations prompted other officials to request outside technical assistance in producing draft legislation. Implementation of the Employment and Labor Relations Act of 2004 that specifically prohibits forced child labor began; during the year, 60 of the nation's 90 labor officers received three months of training on the new labor laws, including provisions concerning commercial sexual exploitation and forced child labor. No specific trafficking cases were fully prosecuted or convicted during the year. However, in May 2005, a man was arrested and charged with abusing and raping a trafficked domestic servant; the investigation is ongoing. In November 2005, police arrested a woman in Morogoro for abducting a 16-year-old girl and forcing her into prostitution and labor at a food stall; the case is pending prosecution. In addition, police in five regions rescued 53 trafficked girls and turned them over to an NGO for care. In June 2005, immigration officials detained a woman suspected of attempting to traffic two children to the United Kingdom. Although further police investigation revealed that the case did not constitute human trafficking, training provided to law\ enforcement officials in the previous reporting period resulted in increased awareness of trafficking, recognition of suspicious movements, and improved cooperation between police and immigration officials. Government officials who participated in a November 2005 conference on combating human trafficking subsequently trained 30 local officers on Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar archipelago, and 15 to 20 immigration officials in March on Pemba island. In March 2006, the government obtained training for 130 immigration cadets and 500 prison wardens on the nature of human trafficking and recognizing victims.
The government provided indirect care to trafficking victims during the reporting period. Police officers and railway officials referred trafficking victims to NGOs that provided protective services. An NGO established a free hotline in Dar es Salaam that police utilized during the year to report the discovery of trafficking victims. The government provided medical supplies, including HIV test kits and drugs for treating STDs, to NGOs that assist trafficking victims; between 1,800 and 2,200 girls, some of whom are trafficking victims, received these provisions in 2005. The government also trained more than 30 NGO staff members on health issues and provided trafficking victims access to health clinics. In 2005, 969 children were withdrawn from commercial sexual exploitation, 1,379 from domestic work, and 420 from mining through the involvement of labor inspectors and police in an ILO-IPEC program; some of these children were victims of trafficking.
The government undertook modest prevention efforts. Knowledge of human trafficking spread beyond a central core of officials in a few ministries to groups of key officials in all relevant ministries. Local government officials at the district and ward-level worked with an NGO at 18 locations in 11 districts to educate bar owners on the illegality of employing underage girls. During the year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs assumed the lead in coordinating national anti-trafficking initiatives and chaired the inter-ministerial committee on human trafficking, which met twice. In December, the committee appointed a police officer to be the Research Coordinator for Human Trafficking; he requested training of government officials and began advocating for the creation of an anti-trafficking office within the Ministry of Public Safety and Security. The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training assumed responsibility for operating over 300 educational centers for persons at risk of being trafficked, many of whom headed households or had never been to school.
THAILAND (TIER 2)
Thailand is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. A significant number of Thai women are trafficked to Japan, Malaysia, Bahrain, Australia, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Europe, and North America for sexual exploitation. Thai laborers working abroad often pay excessive recruitment fees prior to departure, resulting in situations of severe indebtedness which can lead to debt bondage, a form of trafficking in persons. Burmese, Cambodian, and Lao men are primarily trafficked to Thailand for forced labor in the construction and agricultural sectors, particularly the fishing industry, while Burmese, Cambodian, and Lao women and girls are trafficked for factory and domestic work and the sex trade. A significant number of Cambodian children are trafficked to Thailand for the purpose of begging. The majority of trafficking victims from Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) are economic migrants who are subjected to conditions of forced or bonded labor and commercial sexual exploitation in Thailand. Regional economic disparities drive significant illegal migration into Thailand, presenting traffickers with opportunities to move victims into labor or sexual exploitation. Internal trafficking also occurs in Thailand, involving victims from Northern Thailand, especially ethnic hill tribe women and girls who are denied Thai citizenship. The denial of citizenship to ethnic hill tribe people makes them more susceptible to trafficking. Widespread sex tourism in Thailand encourages trafficking for sexual exploitation.
The Government of Thailand does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The Thai Government showed progress in convicting traffickers and providing protection for victims of trafficking, although progress was not seen in efforts to address labor forms of trafficking. Implementation of Thailand's labor export regulations is weak, allowing unscrupulous employment agencies to subject Thai workers to conditions of debt bondage in jobs overseas. Some Thai agricultural and unskilled laborers pay exorbitant fees to work overseas and often face conditions of involuntary servitude in the destination country. Thailand lacks adequate protection for victims of labor trafficking, but a comprehensive draft anti-trafficking law that will criminalize labor forms of trafficking is expected to be approved by the Thai Parliament by the end of 2006. Government action should focus on taking steps to punish acts of forced labor among vulnerable foreign migrant populations in Thailand and to provide greater protection for Thai workers sent abroad by exploitative Thai labor supply companies. Progress in passing and enacting the draft comprehensive anti-trafficking law would bring Thailand into compliance with international standards.
The Royal Thai Government made modest progress in its law enforcement efforts against trafficking over the reporting period. Thailand has an anti-trafficking law (1997), but it applies only to trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation and fails to criminalize forced or bonded labor or trafficking involving men. The 1997 law provides for imprisonment of one to 10 years for trafficking women and seven years-to-life imprisonment for trafficking children. In 2005, the government reported 352 arrests and 74 convictions from cases filed in 2003 and 2004. Sentences handed down for trafficking cases remained light, with an average sentence of three years' imprisonment. The Thai Police reported no arrests or prosecutions of law enforcement officials complicit in trafficking. There was no information available on the prosecution of 18 police officers fired in 2003 for complicity in trafficking.
In 2005, the Thai Government continued to provide impressive protection to select categories of trafficking victims; others, such as male foreign victims of forced or bonded labor, received little or no protection. Government care for victims of sexual exploitation is provided only after the victims are identified by NGO or government social workers. The Thai Government operated 97 shelters throughout the country for abused women and children, six regional shelters exclusively for foreign trafficking victims, and a central shelter outside of Bangkok with capacity for over 500 foreign trafficking victims. Coverage of this network of shelters, however, is uneven as the northernmost shelter in Phitsanulok is too far to provide rapid and adequate victim services to key northern provinces such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Phayao. A $12.5 million fund was established in August 2004 by the Thai prime minister to care for victims of trafficking and to support anti-trafficking projects, but so far only $2.5 million has been scheduled for expenditure.
Thailand's overseas missions continued to provide support to Thai sex trafficking victims who wished to return home and could prove their Thai citizenship, but limited funding is available to assist their repatriation through the Ministry of Social Development and Welfare (MSDW). Ethnic non-Thai victims trafficked from or through Thailand, however, received less Thai Government support. Implementation of a June 2005 Thai Cabinet policy decision to protect and repatriate non-Thai citizens to Thailand, if they can prove prior residency in Thailand, has yet to be completed. During the reporting period, MSDW continued to conduct seminars for government officials on implementation of the government's memorandum of understanding with NGOs on the treatment of sex trafficking victims and the country's national action plan. The government also provided police and consular officials with training on trafficking issues and dealing with victims.
There remain no formal and systematic protections offered to foreign victims of forced or bonded labor in Thailand. Although trafficking of men is not addressed in current Thai law, the Thai police in several cases in the last year referred Burmese men who were trafficking victims to protective care, rather than subject them to arrest and deportation. The Thai Government does not offer legal alternatives to the removal of foreign trafficking victims to a country where they may face hardship or retribution.
The Thai Government sustained its efforts to raise awareness of trafficking in 2005. The Thai police continued its public information campaign, which included the placement of signs and posters at public transportation venues and in residential neighborhoods. The public information campaign also included a hotline for reporting suspected cases. The government continued to support the work of NGOs and international organizations to carry out public awareness campaigns and provide victim support services.
TOGO (TIER 2 WATCH LIST)
Togo is a source, transit, and destination country for children, women, and men trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. The majority of victims are children, and trafficking within the country is more prevalent than international trafficking. Children are trafficked within Togo, and to Gabon, Benin, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Niger, Cote d'Ivoire, Lebanon, and Europe to work as domestic servants, produce porters, roadside sellers, agricultural laborers, and for sexual exploitation. Togolese women may be trafficked to Europe for forced labor and sexual exploitation.
The Government of Togo does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Togo is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for failure to show evidence of increased efforts to combat trafficking over the past year, particularly in the areas of prosecution and protection. The government failed to convict any persons for trafficking offenses during the year. For the first time, however, the government passed legislation in 2005 prohibiting child trafficking. To improve its response to trafficking, Togo should increase prosecution and protection efforts and improve inter-ministerial cooperation to combat trafficking.
The Government of Togo has taken initial steps to combat trafficking through law enforcement over the last year despite resource constraints. Inconsistencies in the 2005 anti-child trafficking law have made implementation and prosecution difficult. However, a draft Child Code with an improved law is pending adoption, as is a comprehensive law criminalizing all forms of trafficking in all persons. The government filed complaints against 16 traffickers who are awaiting prosecution. Togo signed a multilateral anti-trafficking agreement with nine other West African countries in July 2005.
The Togolese Government continued to provide limited protection to victims during the reporting period. The government provides initial, temporary shelter and psychological and social services to victims, although it does not operate its own shelters. Police, ministry officials, and regional anti-trafficking committees refer victims to NGOs and international organizations for care. The National Committee for the Reception and Reinsertion of Trafficked Children continued to assist NGOs and international organizations to reunify victims with their families. The government contributed $4,000 to an NGO shelter in 2005. During and following "Operation Rescue" — a raid of a Lome market where children are sexually exploited — the government inadvertently violated victim rights and provided inadequate victim care by returning detained children, including possible trafficking victims, to the market after brief detention. The government failed to educate these victims' families about trafficking or to provide follow-up care or monitoring.
Togo continued to make modest efforts to educate the public about trafficking. Regional and local committees organized by the government, and with government participation, have played a significant role in raising awareness about trafficking and identifying potential victims. Although Togo's new child trafficking statute mandates the formation of a National Commission Against Child Trafficking, the government has not issued the decree necessary to establish this body. The government lacks adequate inter-ministerial coordination to combat trafficking. The government media ran several articles about the new anti-trafficking law and, in collaboration with NGOs, aired a television documentary on trafficking. The government also collaborated with NGOs, regional committees, and international organizations to educate union and employer organizations, school associations, students, and journalists about trafficking.
TUNISIA (TIER 2)
Tunisia is a transit country for North and sub-Saharan African men and women migrating to Europe, some of whom may be trafficked for the purposes of involuntary servitude or sexual exploitation. The Government of Tunisia does not systematically differentiate trafficking victims from illegal migrants traveling through the country. Tunisia may also be a source country for internal trafficking of children for commercial sexual exploitation.
The Government of Tunisia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Tunisia worked closely with European neighbors to address the issue of smuggling and trafficking. The government also monitors its borders closely to interdict smuggling and trafficking rings. However, Tunisia should take measures to systematically screen illegal migrants to identify possible trafficking victims and devise an appropriate anti-trafficking response, including a means for according protection to victims of trafficking. The government should also utilize existing laws to identify and prosecute a greater number of traffickers.
The Government of Tunisia took some measures to punish trafficking crimes over the last year. Tunisia has a comprehensive anti-trafficking law criminalizing all forms of trafficking, but the government may have used other statutes to prosecute some persons involved in human smuggling to Europe and those involved in the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Nonetheless, the government failed to actively distinguish between persons smuggled and trafficking victims. Local NGOs report none of the illegal migrants they assist have identified themselves as victims of trafficking. Tunisia should ensure investigators have appropriate training to identify potential trafficking victims. It should also pursue training programs for police officers, attorneys, and judges on methods of investigating and prosecuting trafficking crimes.
Tunisia made limited progress in its efforts to protect victims of trafficking during the year. The government has no formal system specifically to protect trafficking victims, but victims of trafficking have access to social services available for the abused and vulnerable. For instance, the government assigns a child protection delegate for each district to ensure that child sexual abuse victims receive adequate medical care and counseling. Tunisia also employs government workers, including social workers, to assist in three shelters operated by the Tunisian National Women's Union. Nonetheless, child victims of commercial sexual exploitation may be incarcerated for acts directly related to their having been trafficked. The government should grant funding to foreign or domestic NGOs to support identified trafficking victims. In addition, the government should provide specialized training programs for government or embassy officials to help them identify victims of trafficking.
The Government of Tunisia took positive steps to prevent trafficking in persons over the reporting period. Tunisia collaborated with European counterparts such as the Italian Government to interdict smuggling rings, some of which may include traffickers. The Tunisian and Italian Governments, for example, jointly implemented an immigration program designed to reduce illegal migration via Tunisia to Italy. To prevent the abuse of Tunisian workers abroad, the government deployed "social attach�s" in countries with large Tunisian populations to inform those workers of their rights. The government should continue monitoring its borders to screen for potential victims of trafficking and develop anti-trafficking public awareness campaigns.
TURKEY (TIER 2)
Turkey is a major destination and transit country for women and children trafficked primarily for sexual exploitation and, to a lesser extent, forced labor. In 2005, IOM's office in Turkey reported that 60 percent of cases identified involved victims from Ukraine and Moldova; other victims are trafficked from throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Reports of trafficking within Turkey continued. Turkish traffickers used violence to control their victims, often using threats against victims' families as a powerful form of coercion.
The Government of Turkey does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The Turkish Government actively investigated cases of trafficking in 2005 and continued to screen potential trafficking victims, increasing the number of identified and repatriated victims during the year. However, the application of this screening appeared uneven; IOM reported that many trafficking victims were not identified prior to their deportation by Turkish authorities. The number of government prosecutions decreased in 2005 and courts acquitted or dismissed cases against a significant number of suspected traffickers. The Turkish Government should improve the screening of potential victims and ensure they are fully informed of their rights. The government should take steps to improve its investigations and judicial awareness of trafficking, fully implement the revisions to the penal code to strengthen punishments for trafficking, and encourage victims to assist in investigations.
The Government of Turkey made modest, but uneven, progress in its efforts to punish trafficking crimes over the last year. Turkish authorities investigated 166 trafficking cases against 241 suspects in 2005. The government prosecuted 48 cases involving 144 suspects during the reporting period, a decrease from 142 cases in 2004. Turkish courts increased the number of trafficking convictions to a total of 29 traffickers in 2005, nine of whom received sentences of four to five years' imprisonment. The remaining 20 convicted traffickers received probation or fines. Seventy-five of the suspected traffickers prosecuted were acquitted and 40 other cases were dismissed or remanded to other courts. Of the 379 suspects arrested for trafficking, 134 were released and 105 escaped in 2005. The government continued to train its police to improve its law enforcement response to trafficking. During the reporting period, the Jandarma trained 206 new officers in targeted trafficking districts. In addition, 120 officers attended training that focused on investigative techniques, sensitive treatment of victims as witnesses and ways to cooperate with NGOs. The government improved its capacity to cooperate on trafficking cases with source countries by signing anti-trafficking protocols with Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova. During the reporting period, some source country governments reported that the Turkish Government failed to respond to requests for bilateral assistance. Reports of Turkish law enforcement officials facilitating illegal prostitution and trafficking continued, although there were no reported investigations of official complicity in trafficking in 2005. The government continued its prosecution of two police officers charged with trafficking in March of 2005.
The Turkish Government improved protection for victims of trafficking over the last year. In October 2005, Ankara authorities renovated and opened a second trafficking shelter in the country. Local government officials continued to provide the rent and administrative costs for its shelter in Istanbul. Combined, both shelters reported assisting 134 victims in 2005. International organizations and NGOs reported repatriating a total of 220 victims in 2005, a significant increase from 62 in 2004. The government issued eight humanitarian visas to allow victims to stay in Turkey and receive government services, a decrease from 13 issued the previous year. The government continued to provide full medical assistance to victims of trafficking. Although the government has a screening and referral system in place, IOM reported 249 trafficking victims were identified outside Turkey after their likely deportation in 2005. Notably, the Ministry of Interior is investigating IOM's claims that some victims of trafficking are not provided with legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they face hardship or retribution.
The Turkish Government launched a national multi-lingual anti-trafficking hotline in May 2005. This hotline helped rescue 52 victims from their traffickers. Throughout the reporting period, Turkish authorities at key border crossings and consular officials abroad distributed small passport inserts to travelers to publicize the hotline and warning signs of trafficking. The Turkish Jandarma printed and distributed an additional 150,000 copies of their anti-trafficking brochures to police precincts and citizens throughout Turkey in 2005.
UGANDA (TIER 2)
Uganda is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. The terrorist rebel organization Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) abducts children and adults in northern Uganda and southern Sudan to serve as cooks, porters, agricultural workers, and combatants; girls are subjected to sex slavery and forced marriage. Some abducted children and adults remain within Uganda, while others are taken to southern Sudan or eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. There are reports of a small number of children serving in the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) and various local militias known as Local Defense Units; there is no evidence that security forces conscript children. Ugandan girls are trafficked within the country from rural villages to border towns and urban centers for commercial sexual exploitation.
The Government of Uganda 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 anti-trafficking efforts, the government should prosecute perpetrators of child commercial sexual exploitation, develop a mechanism for providing protective services to all types of trafficking victims, take steps to pass a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, and clarify which cases of child defilement meet the definition of trafficking in persons.
With the exception of the existing amnesty program, the government's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts were minimal during the reporting period. Uganda does not have a comprehensive law specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons; however, during the year, a member of parliament drafted a comprehensive anti-trafficking law and lobbied for support. The penal code specifies penalties for several trafficking-related offenses, such as forced labor, but there have been no trafficking cases prosecuted under these laws. The government's vigorous prosecution of "child defilement" cases included an undetermined number of cases involving trafficked children. Police conducted several anti-prostitution "sweeps" in urban centers; statistics on children in prostitution found during these activities were not kept and these girls were generally released the same day. In October 2005, the Ugandan and Sudanese Governments expanded their agreement permitting UPDF operations on Sudanese territory, allowing the UPDF to use air support and operate north of the previous boundary line. When captured, LRA rebels are not charged with human trafficking. Instead, almost all ex-combatants apply for amnesty; in 2005, 691 former LRA combatants applied for and received amnesty. The UPDF reportedly screened out 72 children applying to join military forces in early 2005.
While the government offers initial protection to children separated from the LRA, it does little to care for those exploited in prostitution. In 2005, the UPDF's Child Protection Unit facilitated the reception and debriefing of 563 surrendered or captured child soldiers at two reception centers, as well as their subsequent transfer to NGO-run reintegration programs. Child soldiers that have been reintegrated by NGOs into their communities are provided the same protective services extended to the entire community. The government does not offer protection for child victims of commercial sexual exploitation. In June, the Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development began coordinating the administration of government services and international funds that support vulnerable children, including those in prostitution or made vulnerable by conflict.
The government demonstrated greater initiative to increase public awareness of trafficking during the reporting period. In northern Uganda, the government used regular local-language radio programs to persuade abducted children to return from the bush. ILO-IPEC trained 150 local police officers and 38 senior police commanders to raise local community awareness on the nature and dangers of exploitative child labor, including child commercial sexual exploitation. Between October and December 2005, these officers led over 40 community meetings on the subject, visited more than 40 schools, participated in 25 radio programs, and trained an additional 300 police officers on their responsibility to prevent child exploitation and enforce the related laws. Government officials participated in a national anti-trafficking working group that supported the drafting of an anti-trafficking law.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (TIER 2 WATCH LIST)
The United Arab Emirates is a destination country for men, women, and children trafficked from South and East Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East for involuntary servitude and for sexual exploitation. An estimated 10,000 women from sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, South and East Asia, Iraq, Iran, and Morocco may be victims of sex trafficking in the U.A.E. Women also migrate from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Ethiopia, and the Philippines to work as domestic servants, but may have their passports confiscated, be denied permission to leave the place of employment in the home, and face sexual or physical abuse by their employers. Similarly, men from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan come to the U.A.E. to work in the construction industry, but may be subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude as they are coerced to pay off recruitment and travel costs that can exceed two years' wages, sometimes having their wages denied for months at a time. Victims of child camel jockey trafficking may still remain in the U.A.E. Once a destination for thousands of young boys trafficked from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sudan, and Mauritania to work as camel jockeys, the U.A.E. enacted a law banning the practice in July 2005, and all identified victims were repatriated at the government's expense to their home countries. Questions persist as to the effectiveness of the ban, and the number of victims is still unidentified.
The Government of the U.A.E. does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The U.A.E. is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show increased efforts to combat trafficking over the past year, particularly in its efforts to address the large-scale trafficking of foreign girls and women for commercial sexual exploitation. Despite a significant problem of sex trafficking, U.A.E. authorities failed to take adequate measures to screen women found in prostitution in order to determine whether they were victims of trafficking, and to provide them with adequate care. Instead, many victims are jailed along with criminals and deported. Prosecutions for sex trafficking are extremely low relative to the scope of the problem. The government should do more to improve screening for victims, encourage victims to testify against their traffickers, and provide them with alternatives to detention and deportation.
Over the year, the U.A.E. made minimal improvements in its law enforcement efforts, particularly with regard to prosecutions for sex trafficking. Despite approximately 100 reported complaints of trafficking for sexual exploitation in 2005, the government reported only 22 convictions for sex trafficking crimes. Victims of sex trafficking are regularly treated as criminals if they entered the U.A.E. consensually, regardless of their being subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude later. Similarly, the government prosecuted no cases of labor trafficking this year; in fact, the U.A.E. does not identify laborers forced into involuntary servitude as trafficking victims if they are over the age of 18 and entered the country voluntarily.
The Dubai police established a human trafficking division to investigate trafficking crimes, and police, prosecutors, judges, and other government officials received anti-trafficking training. Nonetheless, investigations and prosecutions for trafficking remain uneven; although the government regularly inspects for violations of the child camel jockey ban, police do not proactively investigate sex or labor trafficking, resulting in many victims being deported as criminals or remaining in trafficking conditions. In July 2005, the U.A.E. banned the use of camel jockeys under the age of 18, and has convicted 20 individuals for trafficking child camel jockeys. The U.A.E. should significantly increase prosecutions of all forms of trafficking, recognize forced labor as a form of trafficking even if the victim came to the U.A.E. willingly, and actively investigate trafficking for sexual and labor exploitation.
The U.A.E. made uneven progress in protecting trafficking victims this year. The government failed to provide adequate protection to victims of labor trafficking, often deporting them or relying on source country embassies to care for them. The U.A.E. also continues to arrest and deport between 5,000 and 6,000 foreign women found in prostitution annually without adequately screening them for evidence of trafficking or offering them legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they face hardship or retribution. Women who identify themselves as trafficking victims may be housed in hotels pending their testimony against their traffickers and can access counseling, medical care, and repatriation aid from the Victim Assistance Unit in Dubai, though in practice such assistance to trafficking victims is sporadic. Victims often conceal that they were trafficked, fearing retribution by traffickers if they are compelled by local police to cooperate in an investigation or prosecution. Improved screening for indications of trafficking and additional alternatives to deportation are necessary to identify these victims and provide an avenue of escape for those who wish to pursue it. The U.A.E. has reportedly been uncooperative in repatriating victims to Tajikistan.
In July, with the help of UNICEF, the U.A.E. established additional shelters for rescued child camel jockeys. Between late 2005 and early 2006, the government repatriated approximately 1,071 children identified by UNICEF and the U.A.E. as trafficking victims, and provided funding to facilitate their reintegration into their home countries. It is unclear how many unidentified child camel jockey victims may still remain in the country. The U.A.E. should increase protection for victims of forced labor, improve screening to distinguish illegal migrants and women arrested for prostitution from trafficking victims, and provide shelters to protect victims during investigation and prosecution of the traffickers.
The U.A.E. made noticeable progress in its efforts to prevent trafficking in persons this year. The Dubai police established a website and 24-hour hotline for victims to lodge complaints. The government also launched an anti-trafficking awareness campaign including public advertisements and pamphlets distributed in airports, worksites, and embassies warning potential victims of their rights and resources.
UKRAINE (TIER 2)
Ukraine is primarily a source country for men, women, and children trafficked internationally for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Primary destination countries include Turkey, Russia, and Poland. Other major destinations include the Czech Republic, Italy, Israel, Greece, Serbia and Montenegro, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, and Portugal. Reports of internal trafficking continued. The number of destination countries used by traffickers increased in 2005, with almost 50 countries serving as destination points throughout Europe and eastward, including China.
The Government of Ukraine does not fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In 2005, Ukraine increased its law enforcement capacity, proactively investigated trafficking, and strengthened its anti trafficking criminal code; however, two-thirds of convicted traffickers received probation instead of prison sentences. The government should strengthen the General Prosecutor's Office's (GPO) capability to effectively prosecute trafficking cases by creating a specialized unit of trial prosecutors and strengthen their anti-trafficking advocacy and trial skills through regular training courses. The government should also take greater steps to provide protections for government witnesses, ensure victims' rights are protected in court, and provide guidance to courts on procedures for handling trafficking cases with the goal of increasing the number of victims willing to testify against their traffickers. The government should collaborate with NGOs in providing victims with comprehensive protection and rehabilitation services, especially by increasing government funding of these services. Failure to increase effective trafficking prosecutions could lead to a more negative assessment in the next Report.
The Government of Ukraine in 2005 created an anti-trafficking department with over 500 officers assigned throughout Ukraine. During the reporting period, the government completed 78 trafficking investigations, prosecuted 95 trafficking cases, and convicted 115 traffickers. The sentences for 47 traffickers ranged from three to eight years, with the remaining traffickers being placed on probation. In 2005, the government amended its criminal code to address the full range of trafficking crimes and satisfy the requirements of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. Ukrainian law covers both trafficking for forced labor and sexual exploitation; penalties range from three to 15 years and are commensurate with those for other grave crimes. During the reporting period, the government, in cooperation with international organizations, conducted specialized anti-trafficking training for investigators, prosecutors, and judges. The Ukrainian Government took steps during the year to improve and accelerate procedures for sharing evidence and investigating trafficking with its law enforcement counterparts in source countries. Trafficking-related complicity and official corruption continued to be problems, and reports of high-level intervention continued. The government investigated five anti-trafficking police for taking bribes related to trafficking.
The Government of Ukraine continued to rely on NGOs and international organizations to provide the bulk of victim assistance and protection in 2005. Through its consulates abroad, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs repatriated 498 Ukrainian victims during the reporting period. The government reported 446 Ukrainian victims in trafficking cases and IOM assisted 720 victims in 2005. Law enforcement authorities continued to cooperate with NGOs at the port of Odessa and Boryspil airport to screen and refer victims repatriated or deported from abroad. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs encouraged Ukrainian diplomats to refer all trafficking victims to IOM. The government failed to take steps to establish a credible victim witness program for trafficking victims in 2005. The government's inability to adequately protect victims continued to result in few victims safely cooperating in prosecutions; victims' confidentiality and dignity were not sufficiently respected.
During the reporting period, the government's inter-agency commission coordinated and monitored the country's overall anti-trafficking efforts. High-ranking government officials spoke at various public events to warn citizens about the potential risks of trafficking, and underscored the in need to be compassionate and supportive of victims who are repatriated to Ukraine. Ukraine in 2005 slightly increased its resources for implementation of its Comprehensive Program for Combating Trafficking. In 2005, the Ministry of Labor withdrew some domestic employment agencies' licenses due to their involvement in trafficking. The Ministry for Education and Science helped conduct an information campaign on trafficking to raise awareness among both students and teachers.
UNITED KINGDOM (TIER 1)
The United Kingdom is primarily a destination country for trafficked women, children, and men from Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and East Asia for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Some victims are trafficked through the U.K. to Western Europe. It is estimated that a number of the foreign nationals in prostitution in London's brothels, saunas, and massage parlors are trafficking victims. NGOs report a problem of children trafficked into domestic servitude, particularly from West Africa.
The Government of the United Kingdom fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The United Kingdom demonstrated strong law enforcement and prevention efforts throughout the reporting period, and made appreciable progress in improving its performance regarding victim protection. The government showed strong political will to prosecute trafficking and took initiative to improve its protection and overall anti-trafficking efforts by launching a wholesale review of its approach to trafficking in 2005. However, there is no specialized immigration status available for trafficking victims, and shelter capacity for victims continued to be limited. Although the government implemented protocols on victim identification in some of the largest police jurisdictions, nationwide adoption of standardized protocols are recommended to increase victim identification and protection. The government should continue and expand specialized training to include screening and referral of potential trafficking victims for all front line responders among law enforcement, immigration, medical, educational, and social services.
The Government of the United Kingdom mounted a vigorous and effective enforcement and prosecution campaign to combat trafficking in 2005. It successfully prosecuted and punished trafficking, and U.K. courts handed down some of the longest sentences for traffickers in Europe. In 2005, it conducted 343 trafficking investigations and prosecuted eight cases of trafficking for sexual exploitation and one case of forced labor trafficking. As a result, the government convicted 22 traffickers. Punishment adequately reflected the heinous nature of the crime; sentences in these cases ranged from five to 21 years. In addition, the government continued to prosecute traffickers using other law enforcement tools. In January 2006, the government sentenced a U.K. national to five years and four months for sexually abusing two boys in Ghana. In April 2005, the government passed the Serious Organized Crime and Police Act creating a national-level law enforcement entity to disrupt and dismantle organized crime, placing human trafficking second on its list of priorities. The agency is expected to ensure a more comprehensive and coordinated response to trafficking in the U.K. The government's current task force on trafficking continued to coordinate with and engage counterparts in source and transit countries to investigate and dismantle trafficking networks.
The United Kingdom did not adopt a nation-wide victim-centered approach for trafficking victims in 2005, although it is making serious and sustained efforts to remedy this. National level protocols for identification and standardized procedures for trafficking victims were developed and finalized during the reporting period; many police officers already exercise good practice in identifying and protecting victims of trafficking. The government continued to fund its pilot project that provided 25 places in a London shelter and specialized care for adult women who are victims of trafficking. The government took steps to increase victim capacity at the shelter by funding an additional 10 spaces for victims who require less urgent care. According to the government's evaluation of the project released in September 2005, the shelter accommodated 43 victims of trafficking out of a total of 169 referrals during the period of March 2003 to July 2004. Many of the referrals did not meet the project's criteria. In 2005, the shelter reported housing 56 victims of trafficking. During this timeframe, four victims who met the shelter's criteria were turned away due to the project being at capacity, and three more victims were waitlisted and ultimately turned away. Some NGOs and international organizations criticized the eligibility criteria, claiming they excluded many trafficking victims from receiving much needed assistance and safety. On some occasions, police provided accommodations to trafficking victims at their own expense. The police continued to maintain a child protection presence at Heathrow airport in response to at-risk unaccompanied children arriving at this significant port of entry. According to some observers, the government and immigration authorities made insufficient efforts to proactively screen or identify all potential trafficking victims at ports of entry during the reporting period. However, a major initiative to conduct such screening was launched in February 2006.
In 2005, in coordination with NGOs and other stakeholders, the government launched a national consultation regarding trafficking policy that solicited comment on a number of reforms of existing policies and approaches, which if adopted would bring the United Kingdom more in line with established best practices in the area of victim protection. The process boosted visibility of trafficking in the media and served to raise grassroots and official awareness of the problem. In January 2006, the government announced a policy of reducing demand for women in prostitution which included a "zero-tolerance" policy for those who solicit women in prostitution in public.
URUGUAY (TIER 2)
Uruguay is principally a source country for women and children trafficked within the country, and particularly to states bordering Brazil, for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Prostitution rings may also exploit children in popular tourist areas of Maldonado. Reports were received of poor parents turning over their children to third parties for domestic service or agricultural labor in conditions of involuntary servitude. Authorities have identified no transborder trafficking cases since the discovery in January 2005 of a group of Chinese migrants exploited in forced agricultural labor.
The Government of Uruguay does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Official reports of trafficking are few, but the government has made a good faith effort to investigate allegations of trafficking while strengthening programs to educate and warn potential victims. The government should update national laws to criminalize all forms of trafficking, and increase efforts to train government officials throughout the country to identify and investigate potential trafficking situations.
The Government of Uruguay made limited progress in investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases during the reporting period. Authorities successfully prosecuted and convicted three traffickers in a forced labor case uncovered in January 2005, initiated prosecution of one trafficking ring, and investigated one case of an alleged child prostitution ring operating near the Argentine border. Uruguay�s anti-trafficking laws do not address the trafficking of adults and most trafficking-related crimes fall under commercial sexual exploitation of children, fraud, and slavery statutes. There were no reports of officials complicit in trafficking during the reporting period.
The Government of Uruguay continued to lack programs for assisting trafficking victims during the last year. Social services for all victims of crime were generally under-funded. The government funded some assistance to NGOs working in the area of trafficking, but legal, medical, and psychological care for victims was not available in all parts of the country. Shelters for victims of abuse were also mandated to assist trafficking victims but could not provide accommodations to all those requesting shelter and did not keep records that identified whether any individuals they assisted were trafficking victims.
Government efforts to raise public awareness, particularly among groups most vulnerable to trafficking, increased during the reporting period. The Ministry of Education produced public service announcements aired on national television. The Ministry also began to incorporate anti trafficking segments in the sex education curriculum at all levels taught. The government disseminated information and trained police forces on new legislation including anti-trafficking provisions, but these efforts were weakly felt outside the capital, where almost half of the population resides.
UZBEKISTAN (TIER 3)
Uzbekistan is a source and, to a lesser extent, a transit country for women trafficked to the U.A.E., Israel, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Russia, Japan, Thailand, and Turkey for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Women from other Central Asian countries and China are trafficked through Uzbekistan. Men are trafficked for purposes of forced labor in the construction and agricultural industries to Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Men and women are also trafficked within the country. A significant number of Uzbek victims are trafficked annually.
The Government of Uzbekistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The Government of Uzbekistan was placed on Tier 2 Watch List in the 2005 Report based on commitments by the country to take additional steps during the 2006 reporting period, including the adoption of comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, criminal code amendments to raise trafficking penalties, support to the country's first trafficking shelter, and approval of a national action plan. Uzbekistan is placed on Tier 3 because it failed to fulfill these commitments. Regrettably, the government made no progress in the adoption of comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation that has been pending since 2003, nor did it amend its criminal code to strengthen the punishment for traffickers to ensure convicted traffickers serve time in prison. Further, the government did not approve a national action plan on trafficking nor did it provide any financial assistance, in-kind assistance, or logistical support to the country's only anti-trafficking shelter. These sizable deficiencies in law enforcement and victim assistance must be addressed in order for Uzbekistan to effectively combat human trafficking.
The Government of Uzbekistan showed very little progress in its law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking over the last year. According to the Prosecutor's Office, 148 traffickers were convicted in 2005. As a result of the government's failure to amend its criminal code during the last year to increase prison sentences for trafficking offenses, the majority of convicted traffickers received prison sentences of less than 10 years, were granted amnesty, and thus served no time in prison. Allegations that local officials accepted bribes from traffickers to facilitate trafficking continued, though there were no reported investigations or prosecutions of such corrupt officials. The government, however, acknowledges the need for more cooperation with destination countries. In October 2005, the government co-sponsored an international conference on trafficking organized by IOM and a local NGO; a wide-range of government agencies and law enforcement representatives participated and helped boost regional counter-trafficking cooperation.
The government failed to provide adequate victim assistance and protection. The government provided no direct support to victims within Uzbekistan, although it did work closely with an NGO network to assist in the repatriation of some Uzbek victims and provided legal assistance to victims. The government's general crack-down on NGOs resulted in the closure of two NGOs addressing trafficking during the reporting period. Airport police referred a few female victims to the only trafficking shelter in Uzbekistan. This shelter is run by a local NGO and housed about 100 victims in 2005; the NGO assisted a total of 313 trafficking victims in 2005. The government identified 675 trafficking victims during the reporting period. The government encouraged victims to give statements and assist with investigations; however, it continued to provide minimal protection to victims or witnesses. The government preserved the confidentiality of victim names, provided police escorts for some victims when necessary, and allowed NGOs to observe some police interviews of victims. Uzbek missions abroad assisted in repatriating Uzbek trafficking victims.
The Uzbek government worked with NGOs to promote public awareness of trafficking in 2005. Regional government-owned television stations worked with NGOs to air informational public service announcements regarding the dangers of trafficking. The government allowed NGOs to place posters warning about trafficking on public buses, at passport offices, in subway cars, and in Uzbek embassies abroad. The government also paid to have these posters translated into the Karakalpak language and distributed them to regions in the western part of Uzbekistan. The state radio continued to air campaigns sponsored by the Ministry of Interior and IOM to raise public awareness.
VENEZUELA (TIER 3)
Venezuela is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Women and children from Colombia, China, Peru, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic are trafficked to and through Venezuela and subjected to commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor. Venezuelans are trafficked internally and to Western Europe, particularly Spain and the Netherlands, and countries in the region such as Mexico, Aruba, and the Dominican Republic for commercial sexual exploitation. Venezuela is a transit country for illegal migrants from other countries in the region - particularly Peru and Colombia - and for Asian nationals; some are believed to be trafficking victims.
The Government of Venezuela does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The government made some clear improvements in anti-trafficking activities during the reporting period, such as training officials and undertaking initiatives to raise public awareness. Unfortunately, these increased activities were not matched by progress in prosecutions of traffickers. The government should increase investigation and prosecution efforts against traffickers, continue educating the public, and provide victim assistance geared to the specific needs of trafficking victims.
The Government of Venezuela improved efforts to apprehend suspected traffickers throughout the year; however, there were no reports of prosecutions or convictions of traffickers for the fourth consecutive year. Article 16 of the Organic Law Against Organized Crime, passed in September 2005, makes transborder trafficking punishable with imprisonment for 10 to 18 years. Provisions of the 2004 Naturalization and Immigration Law could also be applied against transnational trafficking. These recent anti-trafficking laws do not address trafficking within the country. The Child Protection Act and various articles of the penal code could be used to prosecute internal trafficking, but many of these statutes carry low penalties. Laws against child trafficking provide for fines of one to 10 months' salary. Stipulated punishment for the prostitution or corruption of minors is as little as three months in jail; repeat offenders may face three to 18 months' imprisonment. In addition, laws against trafficking-related crimes generally were not enforced and some officials failed to distinguish the difference between traffickers and migrant smugglers. Authorities investigated a number of cases of transnational crime, but only four cases were clear instances of trafficking for labor or sexual exploitation. Six suspects awaited prosecution for cases initiated in the current and previous reporting periods. There were no reports that government officials participated in or condoned human trafficking, but corruption among immigration, identification, customs, and border patrol officials was widespread and may have contributed to the small number of trafficking cases reported.
Venezuelan government services to assist trafficking victims remained inadequate during the reporting period. The government funded no NGO programs and operated no shelters designated specifically for trafficking victims. There were no witness protection or restitution programs to assist victims. Government shelters for battered women and at-risk children had limited space and inadequate services to meet trafficking victim needs. Government authorities did, however, negotiate the use of a government-owned building for an NGO working with trafficking victims. A domestic violence hotline operated by the National Institute for Women reportedly helped one trafficking victim seek assistance.
The government significantly increased efforts to raise awareness and train officials as the reporting period progressed. In December 2005, the government launched a national campaign to educate the public about the dangers of trafficking using posters and radio and television spots. The government also increased public awareness about trafficking by hosting a hemispheric meeting on trafficking and encouraging in-depth media coverage of the event both in Venezuela and throughout the region. The Ministry of Interior and Justice's Crime Prevention Unit held 65 training sessions on identifying trafficking and illegal migration that reached 1,544 government officials in eight states. National toll-free crime line personnel received training for handling trafficking-related calls.
VIETNAM (TIER 2)
Vietnam is a source and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Vietnamese women and girls are trafficked to Cambodia, the P.R.C., Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Czech Republic for sexual exploitation. State-owned labor export companies recruit and send workers abroad; some of these laborers have been known to suffer conditions of involuntary servitude or bonded or forced labor. Women from Vietnam are trafficked to Taiwan through fraudulent marriages for sexual exploitation and labor. Other Vietnamese women are recruited to travel to Singapore by offers of marriage to Singaporean men; after arrival they face coercion or pressure that makes them vulnerable to trafficking. Vietnam is a destination country for Cambodian children who are trafficked for the purpose of begging. There is also internal trafficking from rural to urban areas.
The Government of Vietnam does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Vietnam has not made sufficient efforts to combat trafficking, particularly the trafficking of Vietnamese women as brides to destinations in East Asia and the forced labor conditions of many Vietnamese workers sent abroad. Although the Vietnamese Government took steps to provide greater protection for Vietnamese workers sent abroad by labor export companies, its oversight of labor export companies remained inadequate. Vietnam's revised labor code has not been effectively implemented to address cases involving overseas workers who have been subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude or forced or bonded labor. The Vietnamese Government also did not make sufficient efforts to address the growing problem of Vietnamese women who are lured by fraudulent offers of marriage to men in Taiwan, Singapore, and the P.R.C.; many of these Vietnamese brides may have been abused or trafficked. Government action should focus on stepping up efforts to investigate possible trafficking in the labor sector among overseas workers and increasing efforts to identify and protect Vietnamese brides who are potential trafficking victims. Comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation would greatly enhance Vietnam's anti-trafficking efforts.
In 2005, the government continued its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts in cases of trafficking for sexual exploitation, but made minimal efforts to investigate cases of trafficking for labor exploitation. Vietnam has a statute that prohibits sexual exploitation and the trafficking of women and children, with penalties ranging up to twenty years in prison. Labor forms of trafficking, such as forced labor, are covered under the Vietnamese Penal Code. While the Vietnamese Government has a process by which it apparently monitors labor export companies, there have been no reported investigations or prosecutions of involuntary servitude or forced or bonded labor. Labor attaches in the nine top labor export receiving countries, assigned to look after the welfare of workers and to assist in resolving workplace disputes, rarely investigated complaints from workers who had suffered abuses that constitute involuntary servitude. Over the past year, the government's crime statistics office reported 182 prosecutions and 161 convictions specifically related to sex trafficking in women and children. While some local government officials reportedly profited from trafficking, there were no reported prosecutions of officials for complicity in trafficking.
The Vietnamese Government made increased efforts to provide protection to victims in 2005. The government allocated funding for a program to receive and provide initial support for women and child sex trafficking victims returning from overseas. Local governments often collaborate with NGOs to provide support to returned trafficking victims in the form of vocational training, farmland, or capital for micro-credit loans. Victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation in Vietnam are usually not detained, arrested or otherwise punished; some victims of involuntary servitude have been punished for breaking their contracts. Victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation are also encouraged to assist in the investigation and prosecution process. The government routinely sends women who engage in prostitution within the country to "rehabilitation" detention centers that provide medical treatment, vocational training, and counseling and seek to deter the women's return to prostitution. The government's rehabilitation efforts lack adequate financial resources and usually take place at the provincial and local levels. There were no formal efforts to protect victims of involuntary servitude or forced or bonded labor over the reporting period.
The Vietnamese Government did not implement specific anti-trafficking awareness campaigns in 2005, but it continued to raise the issue of trafficking in combination with other information and education programs. The government's official anti-prostitution program underway since 2001 includes trafficking information and education campaigns. Vietnam's national action plan also tasks the Women's Union with education of the community on prevention of trafficking.
YEMEN (TIER 2)
Yemen is a source country for children trafficked internally for sexual exploitation and to Saudi Arabia for forced begging, unskilled labor, or street vending, as well as a possible destination country for Iraqi women trafficked for sexual exploitation. Children are often lured by family members or trusted adults with promises of well-paying jobs in Saudi Arabia or in the Yemeni cities of Aden and Sanaa. Estimates reflect that the age of children trafficked for forced begging ranges from seven to 16 years of age, with the majority being between 12 and 14 years old. The number of child victims of sex trafficking is believed to be in the low hundreds.
The Government of Yemen does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Yemen expanded upon progress made last year by continuing to train security forces, working with UNICEF and IOM to raise awareness of trafficking among parents of small children in rural and border areas, and establishing a database to collect information on child trafficking. Yemen should, however, take steps to prevent the incarceration and prosecution of child victims of sex trafficking. Yemen should improve measures to effectively screen prostitutes and women entering the country for signs of sex trafficking.
The Government of Yemen improved its efforts to prosecute child labor trafficking cases, but should do more to increase prosecutions of corrupt officials and traffickers of women and girls for sexual exploitation. In addition to an absence of prosecutions against sex traffickers, Yemen reportedly detains and prosecutes child victims of commercial sexual exploitation under its prostitution laws. Although Yemen lacks a specific anti-trafficking law, it uses other provisions of its criminal code to prosecute traffickers. This year, the government reported 19 convictions for child trafficking, up from two prosecutions last year, with 14 more investigations pending. Despite reports of corruption among low-ranking government representatives, Yemen has not prosecuted any officials for involvement in trafficking.
Yemen continued progress in protecting child trafficking victims, particularly those repatriated from Saudi Arabia. The government opened one fully operational reception center in the Harath region, providing victims with social services, limited medical care, and family reunification services. This center has received over 300 children in its first six months. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs also operated four additional, smaller reception centers in northern regions of the country. In addition, the Ministry of Interior runs 10 specialized "rooms" to house repatriated children. Over the last year, Yemen trained 51 government officials on shelter management and trafficking victim assistance with the help of UNICEF and IOM. The government, however, provides no protection to victims of sex trafficking and should improve its efforts to screen the girls and women it arrests and prosecutes for prostitution to determine if any of them are trafficking victims.
With assistance from UNICEF and IOM, Yemen increased its trafficking prevention efforts over the last year. The government launched an information campaign to distribute printed materials, videos, and radio messages to educate parents and local leaders on the dangers of child trafficking. The Ministry of Human Rights also circulated information about a hotline it operates, particularly in areas where child trafficking is prevalent. In addition, the government, with equipment provided by UNICEF, created a database for information collected on child trafficking at border crossings, resulting in monthly reports from the Ministry of Interior. Yemen also continued to require visas for Iraqis entering the country to prevent the trafficking of Iraqi women and girls and to identify potential victims.
ZAMBIA (TIER 2)
Zambia is a source and transit country for women and children trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. Zambian children are internally trafficked for forced agricultural labor, domestic servitude, and sexual exploitation; some reportedly are trafficked to Europe for sexual exploitation.
The country's estimated 1.2 million orphans are particularly susceptible to trafficking. Zambian women, lured by fraudulent employment or marriage offers, are trafficked to South Africa for prostitution. Zambia is a transit point for regional trafficking of women and children, particularly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to South Africa. The Government of Zambia 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 combat trafficking, the government should take steps to draft and pass comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, formalize a victim screening and referral process, and increase public awareness of human trafficking.
The Government of Zambia undertook significant efforts to combat trafficking through law enforcement action during the last year, but encountered difficulty prosecuting cases due to an inadequate legal framework, under-trained officials, and lack of communication between law enforcement agencies. Zambia currently employs less than half the number of officers needed for adequate policing of the country; few of these have received any training on trafficking issues. In April 2005, shortly after receiving training from IOM, border officials intercepted a Congolese woman attempting to traffic 14 Congolese into Zimbabwe. The lack of specific laws prevented her prosecution on trafficking charges; she was fined and deported after being convicted of forgery and possessing forged documents. The case drew attention to weaknesses in existing laws, prompting Parliament to enact, in September, a stop-gap penal code amendment that provides tough penalties for any person that "sells or traffics a child or other person for any purpose or in any form." The amendment, however, does not define trafficking, limiting its utility. A plan was subsequently put in place for drafting comprehensive legislation. Prosecutors encountered setbacks with several other trafficking cases, including the prosecution of two Congolese accused of trafficking Zambian girls to Ireland. During the year, both defendants were granted bail; immigration services deported one without first consulting police and the other fled to Ireland. Through Interpol, the government is working with Irish officials to prosecute the man in Ireland and send the Zambian victims to Ireland to testify. There were no reported instances of public officials' complicity in trafficking during the reporting period.
The government's efforts to provide protection to victims of trafficking were extremely limited during the reporting period. The government cooperated with IOM and an NGO to shelter and repatriate 14 Congolese trafficking victims. Through its social welfare agencies, the government also provided limited counseling and shelter to small numbers of children in prostitution, and referred such victims to NGO service providers. There is no formal victim screening or referral process.
While Zambia lacks a coordinated public awareness campaign, the government undertook increased efforts to prevent trafficking during the reporting period. Immigration officials at border posts distributed written information on trafficking to local communities. A government-owned radio station broadcast IOM public service announcements on trafficking. The inter-ministerial committee on trafficking met several times and laid out a counter-trafficking strategy that focuses on drafting a comprehensive law, conducting a baseline survey, and raising public awareness; the government is seeking donor funds to support these initiatives. In 2005, the government funded a program that removed from the streets 5,000 children vulnerable to trafficking and is providing them with rehabilitation assistance and reintegration into the community. It also funded a Ministry of Youth and Sports initiative that transformed two Zambia National Service camps into shelters that provided education and job skills training for 212 street children; graduates are provided with start-up capital or help securing employment.
ZIMBABWE (TIER 3)
Zimbabwe is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. Large, well-organized rings may be involved. Zimbabwean children may be trafficked internally for forced agricultural labor, domestic servitude, and sexual exploitation. Trafficked women and girls are lured out of the country to South Africa, China, Egypt, and Zambia with false job or scholarship promises that result in domestic servitude or commercial sexual exploitation. There are reports of South African employers demanding sex from undocumented Zimbabwean workers under threat of deportation. Women and children from Malawi, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo transit Zimbabwe en route to South Africa. Small numbers of South African girls are trafficked to Zimbabwe for domestic labor.
The Government of Zimbabwe does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The government showed little political will to address Zimbabwe's trafficking problem during the last year. Although Zimbabwe demonstrated modest progress in the area of law enforcement, the government harassed an anti-trafficking NGO and placed a significant number of its citizens at risk for trafficking as a result of the mid-2005 "Operation Restore Order" urban destruction campaign. To further its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should advance comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation that allows for the thorough investigation and prosecution of foreign traffickers, launch a broad public awareness campaign, and take immediate steps to ensure that those made vulnerable to trafficking by "Operation Restore Order" do not become victims of exploitation.
Although Zimbabwe demonstrated modest law enforcement efforts over previous years, the government did not bring traffickers to justice. There is no specific anti-trafficking law; existing statutes prohibit forced labor and various forms of sexual exploitation. In 2005, IOM conducted training for 280 police, which was successfully utilized to identify trafficking cases and refer victims for assistance. During the period, the Victim Friendly Unit (VFU) of the Zimbabwe Republic Police actively investigated at least nine cases of suspected trafficking; 26 persons were positively identified as trafficking victims by the end of the reporting period. Victim Friendly Courts exist and would hear trafficking cases; however, there were no prosecutions in the identified cases. Prosecution of traffickers is constrained by an immigration requirement to deport foreigners within two weeks of arrest, leading to incomplete investigations and fines and deportations of suspected traffickers. There were no reported instances of public officials' complicity in trafficking during the reporting period.
Over the last year, the Zimbabwean Government collaborated with some NGOs to provide victim assistance; however, the government-controlled press verbally attacked one anti-trafficking NGO and police raided the NGO's offices and one of its shelters, harassing already traumatized victims. VFU and IOM officers jointly interviewed and referred victims to multiple NGOs for shelter, health care, counseling, and reintegration services. At least nine of the victims identified by police received these services and foreign victims were offered temporary residency while they received services and their cases were investigated. The Ministry of Public Service, Social Welfare, and Labor worked with an NGO to run a center to assist deported children to return to their homes, including counseling for victims of sexual exploitation. The Ministry assumed operation of three of eight related pilot projects that provide assistance to vulnerable minors. One district council hired a child protection officer, convened a protection committee, and conducted a small survey of the trafficking problem.
These positive steps on protection were, however, undermined when the government placed many of its citizens at increased risk for exploitation with its mid-2005 urban destruction campaign code-named "Operation Restore Order." Tens of thousands of people remain homeless in the wake of the operation, which demolished ostensibly illegal homes and businesses. An estimated 223,000 children were affected and left vulnerable to trafficking.
Human trafficking received increasing attention during the year, though efforts remain modest. For example, during a trip to the border, government ministers concluded that irregular migration was a national crisis after observing the volume of returnees from South Africa, many of whom related stories of being exploited during migration. Government-sponsored media outlets ran IOM's trafficking awareness messages. In addition, the government-sponsored media continued to print or air messages warning the public about prostitution and false employment scams that can lead to trafficking.