QATAR (Tier 2 Watch List)
Qatar is a transit and destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of involuntary servitude and, to a lesser extent, commercial sexual exploitation. Men and women from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Sudan, Thailand, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and China voluntarily travel to Qatar as laborers and domestic servants, but some subsequently face conditions indicative of involuntary servitude. These conditions include threats of serious harm, including financial harm; job switching; withholding of pay; charging workers for benefits for which the employer is responsible; restrictions on freedom of movement, including the confiscation of passports and travel documents and the withholding of exit permits; arbitrary detention; threats of legal action and deportation; false charges; and physical, mental and sexual abuse. One Nepali man was reportedly recruited for work in Qatar as a domestic servant, but was then coerced or forced into labor in Saudi Arabia as a farm worker. Qatar is also a destination for women from China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, India, Africa, and Eastern Europe for prostitution, but it is unknown how many are trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.
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. In February 2009, Qatar enacted a new migrant worker sponsorship law that criminalizes some practices commonly used by trafficking offenders, and it announced plans to use that law effectively to prevent human trafficking. Senior members of the Qatari government have indicated their plans to finalize and enact a draft comprehensive law on human trafficking. These measures constitute significant efforts by the Qatari government; because they are steps that the government has indicated it will carry out over the coming year, Qatar is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. The Qatari government in early 2009 launched a month-long public outreach campaign that involved local imams advocating anti-trafficking norms and designed to heighten citizen awareness of trafficking in persons. However, punishment for offenses related to trafficking in persons remains lower than that for crimes such as rape and kidnapping, and the Qatari government has yet to take significant action to investigate, prosecute, and punish trafficking offenses. In addition, the government continues to lack formal victim identification procedures and, as a result, victims of trafficking are likely punished for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
Recommendations for Qatar: Enact the draft comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation; significantly increase efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, and convict and punish trafficking offenders; institute and consistently apply formal procedures to identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable groups, such as those arrested for immigration violations or prostitution; and abolish or significantly amend provisions of Qatar’s sponsorship law – such as the provision requiring workers to obtain their sponsor’s permission to leave Qatar -- to prevent the forced labor of migrant workers.
The Government of Qatar made modest efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses during the reporting period. Qatar does not prohibit all acts of trafficking, but it criminalizes slavery under Section 321 and forced labor under Section 322 of its Criminal Law. The prescribed penalty for forced labor – up to six months’ imprisonment – is not sufficiently stringent. Article 297 prohibits the forced or coerced prostitution of a child below age 16; the prescribed penalty is up to 15 years’ imprisonment, which is commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. In February of 2009, the Qatari government enacted a new sponsorship law that explicitly prohibited certain acts found to be common to trafficking in persons. Under this new law employers face stiff penalties and up to three years in jail for such offenses as withholding employees’ passports and forcing employees to work for people other than their sponsors. Nonetheless, the government does not have any laws that specifically target all trafficking offenses. During the reporting period, the government prosecuted two individuals under trafficking-related laws. One of these resulted in the conviction of a foreign national for murdering a domestic worker, who was believed to have been subjected to conditions of forced labor; the defendant was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment. The government provided no other evidence of criminally prosecuting or punishing employers or recruiters for forced labor or fraudulent recruitment. Similarly, the government failed to report any law enforcement efforts against trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.
Qatar failed to make significant efforts to protect victims of trafficking during the reporting period. Although health care facilities reportedly refer suspected abuse cases to the government anti-trafficking shelter for investigation, the government continues to lack a systematic procedure for law enforcement to identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable populations such as foreign workers awaiting deportation and women arrested for prostitution; as a result victims may be punished and automatically deported without being offered protection. Qatar commonly fines and detains potential trafficking victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, such as immigration violations and running away from their sponsors, without determining the underlying causes. Some potential victims remain in deportation centers for several months pending resolution of their cases, permission from their sponsors to leave the country, or in retaliation for seeking to recover unpaid wages or request a new sponsor. The government-operated shelter for victims of trafficking remained underutilized, although it provides some victims with medical, psychological, and legal assistance. During the reporting period, the shelter assisted five victims in filing civil charges against their employers. Qatar sometimes offers relief from deportation so that victims can testify as witnesses against their employers. Nonetheless, the government did not routinely encourage victims to assist in trafficking investigations or consistently offer victims alternatives to removal to countries where they may face retribution or hardship.
Qatar made significant efforts to prevent trafficking in persons during the reporting period. The government continued to produce informational anti-trafficking brochures in several targeted languages, posters, and radio and TV commercials. In addition, a large outreach program that enlisted the support of local imams began in March 2009 with the aim of educating Qatari citizens about the moral and legal implications of trafficking in persons. During the year, senior Qatari officials made public statements reflecting the government’s recognition that trafficking in persons is a serious problem in Qatar, though the problem was characterized as a phenomenon that originates in the country of origin rather than Qatar itself. Qatar also tightened visa requirements to prevent the entry of women suspected of engaging in prostitution, but did not report efforts to distinguish these women from victims of trafficking to protect them. The government did not take any other reported measures to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. Similarly, Qatar did not undertake any known public awareness campaigns targeting citizens traveling to known child sex tourism destinations abroad.
ROMANIA (Tier 2)
Romania is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Romanian men, women, and children are trafficked to Spain, Italy, Greece, the Czech Republic, and Germany for commercial sexual exploitation, forced begging, and forced labor in the agriculture, construction, and service sectors. Men and women from Romania are trafficked to Cyprus, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Poland, Portugal, Belgium, and Turkey, Sweden, Hungary, and Denmark for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Romanian men, women, and children are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor including forced begging and petty theft. In 2008, sixty-nine percent of victims identified were trafficked for forced labor. Romania is a destination country for a small number of women from Moldova, Colombia, and France trafficked into forced prostitution and a small number of men from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Honduras trafficked for forced labor.
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. In 2008, the government significantly increased its funding of NGOs providing victim assistance, made notable improvements in victim referrals by law enforcement, and continued efforts to raise awareness of both sex and labor trafficking. The government also demonstrated strong cooperation with foreign law enforcement counterparts, resulting in the disruption of several high-profile trafficking rings. However, the number of victims who received government-funded assistance significantly decreased in 2008. Although 69 percent of identified victims were trafficked for the purpose of labor exploitation, the government was again unable to report significant efforts to address labor trafficking. The Government of Romania announced plans in March 2009 to reorganize the government’s lead anti-trafficking agency -- the National Agency against Trafficking in Persons (NAATIP). Experts expressed concern that the proposed reorganization could reduce the authority and independence of NAATIP, and could negatively affect government cooperation with NGOs, and victim treatment, assistance, and protection.
Recommendations for Romania: Take concerted steps to investigate and punish acts of labor trafficking; increase the number of victims provided access to government-funded assistance; and provide victim sensitivity training for judges.
Romania sustained its law enforcement efforts over the reporting period. Romania prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through Law no. 678/2001, which prescribes penalties of 3 to 15 years’ imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. In 2008, authorities investigated 494 new cases, up from 232 new cases in 2007. The government prosecuted 329 individuals for trafficking in 2008, compared to 398 individuals prosecuted in 2007. During the reporting period, Romania convicted 125 trafficking offenders, down from 188 individuals convicted in 2007. During the reporting period, 106 of the 125 convicted traffickers served some time in prison; 19 traffickers were given suspended sentences and served no time in prison. In 2008, forty-eight traffickers were sentenced to one to five years’ imprisonment, 56 traffickers were sentenced to five to 10 years’ imprisonment, and two traffickers were sentenced to more than 10 years’ imprisonment. There were no reports that government officials were involved in trafficking during the reporting period.
Romania demonstrated adequate efforts to protect and assist victims of trafficking during the reporting period. In 2008, the government provided $270,000 in support to four NGOs to provide assistance to victims of trafficking compared to $72,000 in 2007. Three hundred-six victims were provided with government-funded assistance, down from 669 victims assisted by the government in 2007. An additional 234 victims were assisted by non-government funded programs. In 2008, the government identified 1,240 victims, compared to 1,662 victims identified in 2007. In 2008, there were at least 649 identified victims of forced labor and at least 287 identified victims of sexual exploitation. The government operated nine shelters for victims of trafficking, though their quality varied and most victims preferred to go to NGO-operated shelters. Victims were encouraged to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions; 1,053 victims assisted such law enforcement efforts in 2008. Foreign victims receive a 90-day reflection period to decide whether they would like to cooperate in a criminal proceeding. Law enforcement proactively identified and referred 540 victims of trafficking for assistance. While the rights of victims were generally respected and victims were not punished for acts committed as a result of being trafficked, some judges were disrespectful toward female victims of sex trafficking which discouraged victims from participating in trafficking cases.
Romania continued its efforts to raise awareness and prevent human trafficking during the reporting period. The government, in conjunction with NGOs, conducted two demand reduction campaigns that specifically targeted clients of the sex trade. The government also worked with counterparts in the Czech Republic and IOM to raise awareness about Romanians trafficked to the Czech Republic for forced labor. In 2008, the government provided 24 trafficking awareness training sessions for Romanian troops prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions.
RUSSIA (Tier 2 Watch List)
Russia is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Men and women from the Russian Far East are trafficked to South Korea, China, Bahrain, Oman, Japan, and South Korea for purposes of sexual exploitation, debt bondage, and forced labor, including in the agricultural and fishing sectors. Some Russian women are trafficked to Turkey, Greece, South Africa, Germany, Poland, Italy, Israel, Spain, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Men and women from Central Asia and Ukraine are trafficked to the Russian Far East for the purpose of forced labor, including victims trafficked for forced labor in the fishing industry. The ILO reports that labor trafficking is the most predominant form of trafficking in Russia. Men and women are trafficked within Russia and from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, and Moldova to Russia for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor, including work in the construction industry. A significant number of men from Belarus are trafficked to Russia for the purpose of forced labor in the construction, manufacturing, and fishing sectors. Moscow and St. Petersburg have been destinations for children trafficked within Russia and from Ukraine and Moldova for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced begging. Men from Western Europe and the United States travel to Western Russia, specifically St. Petersburg for the purpose of child sex tourism; experts continue to credit a decrease in the number of child victims in these cities to aggressive police investigations and Russian cooperation with foreign law enforcement.
The Government of the Russian Federation does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite these significant efforts, the government over the last year: decreased the number of reported trafficking investigations, prosecutions, and convictions; did not vigorously prosecute, convict, and punish government officials; made no significant efforts to improve efforts to identify and assist victims of trafficking; and did not make adequate efforts to address labor trafficking; therefore, Russia is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. Victim identification and assistance remained inadequate and varied in quality and availability, despite efforts by some regional and local authorities. The federal government did not dedicate funding to anti-trafficking activities or trafficking victim assistance during the reporting period; and, despite limited funding by some local governments, the majority of shelter and direct trafficking assistance continued to be provided by foreign-funded international organizations and NGOs.
Recommendations for Russia: Develop and implement a comprehensive national strategy that addresses all forms of trafficking and provides comprehensive victim assistance throughout Russia; provide funding from federal, regional, and/or municipal budgets to implement this national strategy; allocate funding to anti-trafficking NGOs that provide victim assistance and rehabilitative care; increase the number of victims identified and assisted; designate trafficking-specific responsibilities to relevant government ministries on the national and regional levels; establish an official federal coordinating body with the authority to implement the national strategy; increase the number of investigations, prosecutions, and convictions for trafficking offenses, particularly government officials complicit in trafficking; ensure convicted traffickers and convicted complicit officials are sentenced to some time in prison; create a central repository for investigation, prosecution, conviction, and sentencing data for trafficking cases; continue efforts to raise public awareness of both sex and labor trafficking; increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, convict, and punish labor trafficking offenses; and continue to take steps to prevent the use of forced labor in construction projects for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The Government of the Russian Federation sustained its investigation efforts, but reported limited prosecution and no conviction efforts during the reporting period. Article 127 of the Russian Criminal Code prohibits both trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Other criminal statutes are also used to prosecute and convict traffickers. Article 127 provides punishments of up to five years’ imprisonment for trafficking crimes and aggravating circumstances may extend penalties up to 15 years’ imprisonment; this is commensurate with punishments prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. In 2008, police conducted 111 trafficking investigations under Article 127 -- 95 for sex trafficking and 16 for forced labor cases -- down from 139 trafficking investigations in 2007. It was difficult to ascertain the exact number of prosecutions and convictions resulting from these investigations because the government again did not collect and maintain such statistics. At least nine traffickers were prosecuted during the reporting period, compared with at least 46 prosecutions in 2007. The government did not report the number of convicted traffickers or those sentenced to serve time in prison during the reporting period. In July 2006, the Duma passed asset forfeiture legislation that permits prosecutors to forfeit the assets of convicted persons, including traffickers; however, there were no reports that the law has been used against human traffickers since its enactment.
In 2008, authorities reportedly investigated three high-level officials for possible involvement in human trafficking, including one military official for organizing an international sex trafficking syndicate which was allegedly responsible for trafficking 130 women and girls from Eastern Europe to Western Europe and the Middle East between 1999 and 2007. One low-level police officer was arrested for trafficking women to the UAE and two low-level police officers were arrested for trafficking women within Russia for commercial sexual exploitation; these investigations were ongoing at the end of the reporting period. There was no updated information on whether the three officials that were arrested for trafficking-related complicity in 2007 – as reported in the 2008 Report – were prosecuted, convicted, or punished during the reporting period. There was no updated information on whether the five military officials investigated in 2007 for the labor exploitation of military conscripts under their command were prosecuted, convicted, or punished for their actions during the reporting period.
Russia demonstrated limited progress in improving its inadequate efforts to protect and assist victims during the reporting period. Russia lacks national policies and national programs to provide specific assistance for trafficking victims. The majority of aid to NGOs and international organizations providing victim assistance continued to be funded by international donors. Some local governments reportedly provided modest financial and in-kind support to some anti-trafficking NGOs. A local government in the Russian Far East provided facility space for a foreign-funded shelter that opened in February 2009; one victim was assisted during the reporting period. The City of St. Petersburg continued to fund a number of shelters for children which provided assistance to some child victims of trafficking in 2008. Although the government did not track the number of victims assisted by local governments and NGOs in 2008, some victims of trafficking were provided with limited assistance at regional and municipal-run government-funded domestic violence and homeless shelters. However, the quality of these shelters varied and they were often ill-equipped to provide for the specific legal, medical, and psychological needs of trafficking victims. Also, foreign and Russian victims found in regions where they did not reside were sometimes denied access to state-run general health care and social assistance programs, as local governments could restrict eligibility to these services to local residents.
Russia demonstrated inadequate efforts to identify victims; the majority of assisted victims continued to be identified by NGOs or international organizations. Some municipalities across Russia had cooperation agreements between NGOs and local authorities to refer victims for assistance, and in 2008 an increasing number of the victims assisted nationwide were referred by government officials; IOM reported that approximately 48 percent of the 117 trafficking victims assisted by their foreign-funded shelter in Moscow were referred by law enforcement and other government authorities. In October 2008, a local government in Tatarstan signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a local NGO to improve victim identification and referral for assistance. In early April 2009, an NGO-run shelter in Vladivostok also signed a similar agreement with the local police. Police in some communities encouraged victims to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions. The Ministry of Interior introduced anti-trafficking training in its police academies. No victims of trafficking were assisted by the witness protection program in 2008. Foreign victims were permitted to reside in Russia pending the investigation and prosecution of their trafficker and may petition for asylum to remain in Russia. There were no reports that victims were punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
Russia maintained its modest awareness efforts from the previous reporting period. Government-owned media in newspapers, television, and over the Internet reported numerous stories and aired documentaries relating to human trafficking, and often detailed preventative measures for potential victims to avoid falling prey to traffickers. The Russian Academy of Sciences conducted a recent survey of 837 potential victims of trafficking; the results indicated that more than 70 percent of those surveyed were aware of the dangers of both sex and labor trafficking. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs continued to maintain a website warning Russian citizens traveling abroad about the dangers of trafficking. The government did not take specific steps to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. In 2008, one American man was arrested by authorities for the commercial sexual exploitation of a child; the defendant subsequently pleaded guilty and was expected to be sentenced after the conclusion of the reporting period. The government did not report trafficking-specific training for its troops deployed abroad as peacekeepers. The regional government in Yekaterinburg continued to fund a migrant center that worked with local Diaspora organizations to shelter and legalize migrants, making them less vulnerable to labor trafficking in the region.
RWANDA (Tier 2)
Rwanda is a source country for some women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Rwandan girls are trafficked within the country for domestic servitude, as well as for commercial sexual exploitation; in a limited number of cases, this trafficking is facilitated by loosely organized prostitution networks. There were isolated reports of such sex trafficking networks operating in secondary schools and universities. In addition, older females reportedly offer vulnerable younger girls room and board, eventually pushing them into prostitution to pay for their keep. Rwandan children are also trafficked to Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya for agricultural labor or use in commercial sexual exploitation. Recruiters for the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), fraudulently promising high paying employment, defrauded Congolese men and boys from Rwanda-based refugee camps, as well as Rwandan adults and children from towns in western Rwanda, into forced labor and soldiering in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In December 2008, the UN Group of Experts on the DRC released a report accusing Rwandan authorities of complicity in the fraudulent recruitment of soldiers, including children, by the CNDP and their movement across the border. Rwandan police or administrative officers reportedly were sometimes present during such recruitment.
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. During the reporting period, the government concluded its first known anti-trafficking prosecution.
Recommendations for Rwanda: Enact and enforce the anti-trafficking provisions of the draft Penal Code through increased investigations and prosecutions of traffickers; take additional steps to assist children trafficked into prostitution and domestic servitude and to provide for their care; and launch a nationwide anti-trafficking public awareness campaign.
The government’s anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts increased modestly during the reporting period. Rwandan law does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, though existing penal and labor code statutes prohibit slavery, forced labor, forced prostitution, and child prostitution, under which traffickers are prosecuted. Prescribed penalties under these statutes range from small fines to six years’ imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent but not commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes. Penal code revisions that encompass draft anti-trafficking legislation remained under consideration by the plenary of the Chamber of Deputies in 2008. Amendments to the Child Protection Law, which include draft provisions criminalizing the actions of hotels and cinema halls that provide venues for child prostitution, were not passed during the reporting period. In 2008, the Cabinet approved revisions to the labor code and transferred them to Parliament for review. On the local level, more than 10 districts have instituted bylaws against child labor that prescribe fines for employers and parents; NGOs reported that these bylaws’ provision of fines, accompanied by sensitization campaigns, has had a deterrent effect on child labor in local jurisdictions.
The government did not provide statistics on the punishment of trafficking offenders during the year. However, in May 2008, the Gasabo district court sentenced a man to 30 years’ imprisonment for operating an underage prostitution ring. Due to her status as a minor, his 17-year old accomplice received a suspended sentence of five years’ imprisonment. This is the country’s first known conviction of a trafficking offender. In December 2008, the government arrested, but has yet to charge, three Rwandans suspected of illegally recruiting children and adults on behalf of the CNDP. Labor inspectors issued warnings and levied fines during the reporting period against those illegally employing children; no cases of forced labor were brought to court. At border crossings and security checkpoints throughout the country, the National Police questioned men traveling with children but without an adult female and inspected suspected irregularities, including any possible indications of trafficking; such inspections yielded no reported cases of trafficking.
With the exception of its care for former child combatants, some of whom are trafficking victims, the government provided few protective services to victims. The Rwandan Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (RDRC) continued operation of a center for child ex-combatants in Muhazi, which provided three months of care and education to children returned from the DRC by the United Nations Mission to the Congo; 28 children arrived at the center during the reporting period, joining 13 children who remained at the center from the previous reporting period. 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; in 2008, 12 children were reunited with their families. RDRC’s social workers and district integration officers track each child’s progress for two years and provide assistance with school fees and expenses, as well as offering income-generating support to their families.
In January 2009, Rwandan authorities cooperated with Ugandan law enforcement to repatriate a trafficked Rwandan boy to the country. During the reporting period, some local authorities identified children in prostitution and brought them to the attention of local organizations for assistance. The police headquarters in Kigali operated a hotline and an examination room for victims of gender-based violence; both were staffed by trained counselors and could be used by female victims of trafficking. Fully equipped examination rooms were also operational in Gasabo and Rwamagana. In June 2008, the Supreme Court distributed three checklists developed for police officers, prosecutors, and judges, respectively, on proper investigative, protective, and judicial procedures for addressing the needs of sexual and domestic violence victims; these measures are also applicable to the provision of protective services to trafficking victims. Resource and capacity constraints hindered full implementation of these procedures nationwide. In “catch-up” education programs spread over 80 centers, the Ministry of Education provided education for approximately 9,000 children who had missed all or part of their primary education due to involvement in child labor. The government encouraged victims to participate in investigation and prosecution of trafficking crimes and did not penalize victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked during the reporting period. Beyond a temporary stay of up to one month, existing legal statutes do not provide foreign trafficking victims with legal alternatives to their removal to a country where they may face hardship or retribution.
The government’s anti-trafficking prevention efforts significantly increased during the reporting period. There is, however, a general lack of understanding among government officials and the general population of what constitutes human trafficking. In January 2009, the Acting Commissioner General of Police spoke publicly about a case of child trafficking to Uganda and the importance of addressing trafficking crimes as a regional concern. In 2008, the Ministry of Public Serve and Labor (MIFOTRA) and an NGO produced a documentary on child labor that was broadcast on national television eight times. The national university’s radio station, in collaboration with labor inspectors, conducted awareness programs for parents, children, and teachers on exploitative child labor. District child labor task forces, comprised of the mayor, the vice mayor for social affairs, police, army child protection officers, education officers, teachers, and local leaders, met bi-monthly and conducted sensitization activities on the dangers and illegality of exploiting child labor, including during monthly community service days. In mid-2008, cell leaders, under the supervision of the Nyaruguru district child labor task force, conducted a survey assessing the extent of exploitative child labor and released the results in February 2009. In an effort to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts, men arrested for procuring females in prostitution received informal sensitization on women’s rights, including a brochure on gender-based violence. Rwandan troops deployed to the UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur received training on gender sensitivity and sexual exploitation.
ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES (Tier 2 Watch List)
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a potential source country for children trafficked internally for the purposes of sexual exploitation; it may also be a destination country for women trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. Anecdotal reporting suggests the number of victims trafficked in, to, or through St. Vincent and the Grenadines is comparatively small. Information on the full extent of human trafficking in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, however, is lacking, as neither the government nor NGOs have conducted any related investigations, studies, or surveys. Reports indicate that a traditional practice of sending children away from home to live with another family is sometimes misused for the purpose of coercing children into commercial sexual exploitation. In these situations, care-givers force fostered children into sexual relationships in exchange for financial and in-kind compensation.
The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite these overall significant efforts, the government did not provide evidence of vigorous law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking by investigating reports of the commercial sexual exploitation of children and of women who may be forced to engage in prostitution; therefore, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is placed on the Tier 2 Watch List.
Recommendations for St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Develop and implement a comprehensive anti-trafficking law; investigate allegations of the commercial sexual exploitation of children; utilize existing legal statutes to prosecute cases of women or children forced into commercial sexual exploitation; and provide protective services to children rescued from commercial sexual exploitation.
The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines did not make adequate progress in anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the last year. It has no specific or comprehensive laws prohibiting trafficking in persons, although slavery and forced labor are both constitutionally prohibited. Trafficking offenders could be prosecuted under relevant provisions in immigration, prostitution, or labor laws, though there were no such reported efforts over the past year. Sufficiently stringent penalties for trafficking offenders under these laws, ranging from 10-15 years’ imprisonment, are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The government did not receive reports of trafficking victims during the reporting period. St. Vincent and the Grenadines legal experts, in conjunction with IOM and nine other Caribbean countries, developed and published a counter-trafficking legislative model for the Caribbean and the accompanying explanatory guidelines.
In cooperation with local NGOs, the government ensures victims’ access to limited medical, psychological, legal, and social services. The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Human Rights Association would provide legal services and other limited aid to identified trafficking victims, though it was not requested to do so during the year. Government officials did not proactively identify victims of trafficking for the purpose of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation. The government provided some funding to a local NGO which offers counseling and other victim care services that would be available to trafficking victims. Under current laws, the government did not encourage victims’ assistance in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking or other crimes, nor did it provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they would face hardship or retribution. St. Vincent and the Grenadines had no law or official procedures in place to ensure that victims would not be inappropriately incarcerated, fined, or otherwise penalized for offenses committed solely as a direct result of being trafficked. The government has collaborated, however, with international organizations to provide specialized training in identifying and reaching out to potential victims.
The government made weak efforts to prevent trafficking and increase the public’s awareness of human trafficking in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The government conducted no anti-trafficking campaigns and made no efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.
SAUDI ARABIA (Tier 3) Saudi Arabia is a destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of involuntary servitude and, to a lesser extent, commercial sexual exploitation. Men and women from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sudan, Ethiopia, and many other countries voluntarily travel to Saudi Arabia as domestic servants or other low-skilled laborers, but some subsequently face conditions indicative of involuntary servitude, including restrictions on movement, withholding of passports, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and non-payment of wages. Women, primarily from Asian and African countries are also believed to have been trafficked into Saudi Arabia for commercial sexual exploitation; others were reportedly kidnapped and forced into prostitution after running away from abusive employers. In addition, Saudi Arabia is a destination country for Nigerian, Yemeni, Pakistani, Afghan, Chadian, and Sudanese children trafficked for involuntary servitude as forced beggars and street vendors. Some Saudi nationals travel to destinations including Morocco, Egypt, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh to engage in commercial sexual exploitation. Some Saudi men have also used legally contracted “temporary marriages” in countries such as Mauritania, Yemen, and Indonesia as a means by which to sexually exploit migrant workers. Females as young as seven years old are led to believe they are being wed in earnest, but upon arrival in Saudi Arabia subsequently become their husbands’ sexual slaves, are forced into domestic labor and, in some cases, prostitution.
The Government of Saudi Arabia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making discernible efforts to do so. There is no evidence that the government criminally prosecutes or punishes trafficking offenders, particularly abusive employers and fraudulent recruiters involved in labor trafficking. Furthermore, it has not been observed that the government took law enforcement action against trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation in Saudi Arabia, or took any steps to provide victims of sex trafficking with protection. In general, victim protection efforts in Saudi Arabia remain weak, with authorities failing to institute a formal victim identification procedure and often treating victims of trafficking as criminals. The government shows no sign of significant political commitment to addressing the serious issue of involuntary servitude in the Kingdom; indeed, an official responsible for such matters has denied that trafficking in persons takes place in Saudi Arabia. Despite tightening immigration laws and visa entry requirements, there has been no prevention of the trafficking of men, women, and children who migrate legally and voluntarily, but who are subsequently trafficked into involuntary servitude or commercial sexual exploitation.
Recommendations for Saudi Arabia: Enact a comprehensive anti-trafficking law that criminalizes all forms of trafficking in persons and assigns sufficiently stringent criminal penalties; significantly increase criminal prosecutions and punishments of traffickers, including abusive employers and those culpable of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation; institute a formal victim identification mechanism to distinguish trafficking victims among the thousands of workers it deports each year for immigration violations and other crimes; ensure that trafficking victims are not detained or punished for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, such as violations of immigration regulations; extend protection to victims of sex trafficking; undertake public awareness campaigns to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts and child sex tourism committed by Saudi nationals abroad; consider measures to prevent labor trafficking, such as ensuring that all workers hold their own passports and are free to depart the country without requiring permission from their sponsors, and extending labor law protections to domestic workers.
Saudi Arabia made no discernible efforts to criminally prosecute or punish trafficking offenses during the reporting period. While the government points to examples of employers being jailed or fined, these examples are rare and are usually only in cases of extreme physical abuse that may or may not include trafficking. The government does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, but penalizes forced labor through Articles 229-242 of its Labor Law. Penalties prescribed under these forced labor statutes, however, are limited to fines or bans on future hiring, and are not sufficiently stringent. These laws also do not apply to domestic servants, the primary victims of forced labor in Saudi Arabia. In March 2009, it was reported that the Shura Council discussed a number of draft regulations that would prohibit some activities that facilitiate human trafficking, including a proposed comprehensive anti-trafficking law. Saudi Arabia does not have a law specifically prohibiting trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. The Saudi government asserts that Shari’a (Islamic) law can be used to prosecute trafficking offenses, though in practice no prosecution of such cases was observed. Trafficking victims are often deported without receiving assistance and with little or no compensation. By May 2008, all charges were dropped and a conviction was nullified against the employer of Nour Miyati, an Indonesian domestic worker who was severely abused, exploited, and enslaved in a Saudi residence in 2004 and 2005; after years of seeking justice in her well publicized case, Ms. Miyati was awarded just $668 in compensation by a Saudi court. In addition, despite available administrative laws, the government does not regularly enforce fines or bans on hiring workers imposed upon abusive employers or recruitment agencies. Police continue to be criticized for being unresponsive to requests for help from foreign workers. Furthermore, it has been maintained by some observers that the social status of the employer weighs heavily on the chances of a judge siding with a plaintiff’s case in court, with wealthy individuals, high officials, and royalty rarely if ever losing a case. As in previous years, training was provided in January 2009 to judges, prosecutors, and investigators about trafficking; the training has not yet been observed to result in improved criminal law enforcement against trafficking in persons. Adequate enforcement is not possible without a comprehensive anti-trafficking law that clearly outlines jail time and fines for specific acts.
Saudi Arabia made insufficient efforts to protect victims of trafficking. The government operates deportation facilities for runaway workers in several cities and a shelter for female domestic workers in Riyadh. The government sometimes pays workers’ repatriation expenses but not their claims for compensation. However, many victims are not provided access to government facilities or shelter; they must seek refuge at their embassies, negotiate settlements with their employers, and independently obtain funds to return home. Of particular concern is Saudi Arabia’s continued lack of a formal procedure to identify victims of trafficking from among vulnerable populations, such as foreigners detained for immigration violations or women arrested for prostitution. As a result, victims of trafficking are often punished or automatically deported without being offered protection. Women arrested for prostitution are not interviewed for evidence of trafficking and may be subjected to stringent corporal punishment under Saudi law. Women who have been raped by their employers have found themselves imprisoned or sentenced to lashes for “moral criminality.” Although Saudi Arabia offers temporary relief from deportation to some victims who identify themselves to authorities, those who have run away from their employers, overstayed their visas, or otherwise violated the legal terms of their visas may be jailed. Saudi officials do not encourage victims to assist in investigations against their traffickers, and often discourage cooperation by persuading victims to take monetary compensation in lieu of filing criminal charges against their employers or by returning to their employers. The length of time to process cases against employers leads many foreign workers to drop both criminal and monetary claims, choosing instead to return to their home countries in lieu of submitting to a legal process. There is no mechanism in place under Saudi law for continuing such cases once the employee has departed Saudi Arabia. Although the government reports providing legal services to victims, the lack of translation assistance and lengthy and costly delays often discourage victims. Some children caught in begging rings are now sent to juvenile shelters and reportedly offered counseling and medical care instead of being put into prison, which was previously the norm. The government does not offer legal alternatives to the removal of foreign trafficking victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution.
Saudi Arabia has not made significant efforts to prevent trafficking in persons during the reporting period. Although the Shura Council indicated its intent to discuss a comprehensive anti-trafficking law in November 2008, there has been no public discussion of the matter to date. The government continues to produce brochures about workers’ rights in Arabic, English, and some source country languages, but the distribution of these materials appears extremely limited. Officials tend to favor employers -- particularly those who are well-connected -- who claimed they were victims of nonperforming, negligent migrant workers and accuse them of such offenses as child abuse and witchcraft and even more routinely of theft. No information was available from the government about measures taken during the reporting period to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. Similarly, there is no evidence that Saudi Arabia took steps to reduce participation in child sex tourism by its nationals abroad.
SENEGAL (Tier 2 Watch List)
Senegal is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Trafficking within the country is more prevalent than trans-border trafficking and the majority of victims are children. Within Senegal, religious teachers traffic boys, called talibe, by promising to educate them, but subjecting them instead to forced begging and physical abuse. A 2007 study done by UNICEF, the ILO and the World Bank found that 6,480 talibe were forced to beg in Dakar alone. Women and girls are trafficked for domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation -- including exploitation by foreign sex tourists -- within Senegal. Children are also trafficked for forced labor in gold mines within Senegal. Transnationally, boys are trafficked to Senegal from The Gambia, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea for forced begging by religious teachers. Senegalese children are trafficked to Mali, Guinea, and possibly other West African countries for forced labor in gold mines. Senegalese women and girls are trafficked to neighboring countries, the Middle East, and Europe for domestic servitude and possibly for sexual exploitation. Women and girls from other West African countries, particularly Liberia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria may be trafficked to Senegal for sexual exploitation, including for sex tourism.
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, despite limited resources. The government continued to demonstrate a strong commitment to protecting child trafficking victims during the year by providing them with shelter, rehabilitation and reintegration services. Despite these overall significant efforts, the government did not show progress in prosecuting, convicting, and punishing trafficking offenders over the last year; therefore, Senegal is placed on Tier 2 Watch List.
Recommendations for Senegal: Intensify efforts to prosecute and convict trafficking offenders; ensure that the Ministry of Interior’s Special Commissariat Against Sex Tourism and the Tourism Ministry’s sex tourism police unit arrest suspected sex tourists and rescue their victims; and increase efforts to raise awareness about trafficking.
The Government of Senegal demonstrated insufficient anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the year. Senegal prohibits all forms of trafficking through its 2005 Law to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Related Practices and to Protect Victims. The law’s prescribed penalties of five to 10 years’ imprisonment for all forms of trafficking are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for rape. The government reported that it arrested two religious teachers for abusing boys they had trafficked for forced begging. The government did not report any additional arrests, prosecutions, or convictions of trafficking offenses. During the year, the Ministry of Justice’s Center for Judicial Training conducted a UNICEF-funded training for police, gendarmerie, and immigration officials to educate them about trafficking. Although the government in 2007 activated two special police units to combat child sex tourism, one within the Interior Ministry and the other within the Tourism Ministry, these units did not report any law enforcement actions against foreign pedophiles. The Ministry of the Interior, through its Bureau of Investigations, continued to work with Interpol to monitor immigration and emigration patterns for evidence of trafficking.
The Government of Senegal sustained solid efforts to protect trafficking victims over the last year. The government continued to operate the Ginndi Center, its shelter for destitute children, including trafficking victims. While the Family Ministry, which funds and operates the Center with support from international donors, began using a donor-funded computerized database to track trafficking victims in 2006, the center recently stopped using the database due to lack of funds. The center, which has the capacity to house 60 children at a time, assisted 949 foreign and Senegalese destitute children, including trafficking victims, over the last year. With international organization and NGO assistance, 807 children were reunited with their families and 69 were trained in vocational centers located in the Ginndi center. The government also continued to operate its free child protection hotline out of the Ginndi Center. In the last year, the hotline received 17,501 calls, though it is not known how many of these calls related to human trafficking. The government also sometimes referred trafficking victims to NGOs for care on an ad hoc basis. The government espoused a policy of encouraging victims to assist in trafficking investigations or prosecutions in part by permitting closed door victim testimonies during trafficking prosecutions. The government did not report, however, that it encouraged any victims to assist in prosecutions during the last year. The government provided legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they faced hardship or retribution. Trafficking victims had the option of remaining temporarily or permanently in Senegal under the status of resident or refugee. Victims were not inappropriately incarcerated or fined for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
The Government of Senegal made modest efforts to raise awareness about trafficking during the reporting period. As part of its program against the worst forms of child labor, the Family Ministry continued to conduct donor-funded workshops and roundtables in Mbour, Dakar and other areas of the country to raise awareness about forced child begging, child domestic servitude, and child prostitution. In 2008, the Family Ministry collaborated with the ILO and the Governments of Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, and Burkina Faso to implement a 12-month regional anti-trafficking project. The project collected information on the parameters of regional trafficking and organized donor-funded anti-trafficking workshops for 60 police, gendarmerie, and customs officials from the participating countries. In December 2008, project participants released a document listing 68 best practices to combat trafficking in the region. The government did not take steps to reduce demand for commercial sex acts in Senegal. The government did not take measures to ensure that its nationals who are deployed abroad as part of peacekeeping missions do not engage in or facilitate trafficking.
SERBIA (Tier 2)
Serbia is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and girls trafficked internationally and within the country for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Foreign victims are trafficked to Serbia from Eastern Europe and Central Asia through Kosovo and Macedonia. Serbia continued to serve as a transit country for victims trafficked from Bosnia, Croatia, and Slovenia and destined for Italy and other countries in Western Europe. Children, mostly Roma, continued to be trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, forced marriage, or forced street begging. The majority of identified victims in 2008 were Serbian women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation; over half were children. There was an increase in cases of trafficking for forced labor in 2008.
The Government of Serbia 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 funding for protection of victims and appointed a new National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator in November 2008, though serious concerns remained about punishment of traffickers and prosecution of complicit officials. Moreover, law enforcement data provided was incomplete. The government also has not yet developed formal procedures to adequately identify and refer potential trafficking victims, seriously hampering its ability to provide assistance and protection to victims. Serbia may be negatively assessed in the next Report if it does not address these deficiencies.
Recommendations for Serbia: Provide comprehensive data on efforts to vigorously prosecute, convict, and punish traffickers; aggressively prosecute and punish officials who facilitate trafficking; implement a standardized protocol for victim identification and referral that includes the Agency for Coordination of Protection of Victims of Trafficking and NGOs, as appropriate; provide sustained direct funding for victim protection and assistance; increase training for social workers and police to improve identification of trafficking victims; develop programs to address the increasingly growing problem of trafficking for forced labor and children who are victims of trafficking; and improve prevention efforts.
The Government of Serbia continued to actively investigate trafficking cases, but it did not provide evidence it adequately prosecuted, convicted and punished trafficking offenders. Trafficking suspects accused of violent crimes often continued to be freed during the pre-trial and appeal process, posing a serious risk to their victims. The criminal code for Serbia prohibits sex and labor trafficking through its article 388, which prescribes penalties of two to 10 years’ imprisonment; these are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave offenses, such as rape. In 2008, the government investigated and charged 94 persons with trafficking. The government did not provide comprehensive prosecution data, but reported that, in 2008, 18 trafficking offenders were convicted and sentenced to prison; 17 others were acquitted. The government did not provide information on the length of these sentences or whether any were suspended. It reported that it detained 29 trafficking suspects pending trial or investigation during 2008. At times, traffickers were not held in detention during pre-trial and appeals processes; by law, individuals convicted for trafficking are only detained during the appeals process if their sentence was greater than five years. Trials that last months or years and multiple appeals result in delays, sometimes by several years, in convicted traffickers serving their sentences. One of Serbia’s most infamous traffickers, sentenced to four years and three months by the Supreme Court in 2006, remains free. NGOs and international organizations reported anecdotally that sentences were increasing due to better education of judges. In December 2008, an individual was convicted of trafficking in persons in the District Court in Subotica, which sentenced him to 10 years in jail; this trafficker remains in jail pending appeal. The government did not demonstrate adequate punishment of officials complicit in trafficking. In a high profile case in Novi Pazar in August 2008, the government prosecuted and convicted 12 trafficking offenders, including the Deputy Public Prosecutor and two police officers. The principal trafficker in this case, a private citizen, received an eight-year sentence, though the two police officers received suspended sentences and the prosecutor was given a suspended sentence of three years and released for time served of one year. The prosecutor had sexually exploited some of the victims. There were no further developments in the 2007 case reported by the media of a police office investigated for facilitating the trafficking of a forced labor victim. The government’s refusal to cooperate with the Kosovo government hampers Serbia’s efforts to investigate and prosecute transnational trafficking.
The Government of Serbia increased efforts to protect victims but did not improve its identification procedures in 2008. While the government, with the assistance of international organizations, trained law enforcement officials on victim identification and treatment, the government continued to lack systematic victim identification, referral and treatment procedures and standards; trafficking cases were addressed on an ad hoc basis. The government provided three NGOs with $36,571 for victim assistance in July 2008 through the one-time sale of a special stamp. The government’s Agency of Coordination for Protection of Victims of Trafficking remained understaffed, but it received $18,501 in direct government funding, an increase compared to 2007, and also received $29,143 from the public stamp subsidy for its victim assistance funding. In 2008, the government and NGOs identified 55 trafficking victims and accommodated 20 in two NGO shelters. Identified victims generally are not detained, jailed, or otherwise penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked; however, government officials and organizations that deal with trafficking believe that due to the lack of systematic victim identification procedures, some victims were not identified and may have been penalized for acts committed as a result of being trafficked. In February 2008, border police arrested two trafficked girls from Uzbekistan for immigration violations. Serbia's Ombudsman learned of the case and facilitated the girls’ release from detention two weeks later. The girls declined temporary residence permits and departed Serbia at their own expense. Reportedly, their traffickers fled across the border before police were able to arrest them. According to organizations dealing with trafficking, many victims were not provided with adequate protection in court mandated by the 2006 Witness Protection Law due to the lack of court facilities that would allow victims to await court proceedings or testify in areas separated from the defendants. An NGO reported that in early 2009, one victim and her child were repeatedly threatened by the trafficker during the trial; the victim subsequently changed her testimony; she was then charged by the government with perjury and defamation. During the reporting period, six NGO-municipal multi-disciplinary teams established last year to improve victim protection continued to operate.
The Government of Serbia demonstrated some efforts to prevent trafficking in 2008. The new government appointed a new anti-trafficking national coordinator in November 2008, after the previous government left the position unfilled for many months. The government also created a ministerial-level Anti-Trafficking Council the same month. The Council and the working level Anti-Trafficking Team and Working Groups, which included NGO and international organization representatives, collaborated on a 2009-2011 national anti-trafficking action plan which the government adopted in April 2009. The Interior Minister and Justice Minister held a press conference on International Women's Day specifically to draw attention to human trafficking. The government funded and implemented an anti-trafficking campaign that included posters displayed at airports and border crossings around the country, flyers distributed at schools and police stations, and advertisements published in the help-wanted sections of magazines. The materials were designed to warn potential victims and to ask the public to report trafficking-related activity to a police hotline. An NGO campaign targeted at potential clients of the sex trade was not funded by the government.
SIERRA LEONE (Tier 2)
Sierra Leone is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. The majority of victims are children trafficked internally within the country, largely from rural provinces, and sometimes from refugee communities, to urban and mining centers. Within the country, women and children are trafficked for: domestic servitude; commercial sexual exploitation; forced labor in agriculture, diamond mining, and the fishing industry; forced petty trading; forced street crime; and forced begging. Transnationally, Sierra Leonean women and children are trafficked to other West African countries, notably Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau, and The Gambia for the same purposes listed above and to North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation. Sierra Leone is a destination country for children trafficked from Nigeria, and possibly from Liberia and Guinea, for forced begging, forced labor and for sexual exploitation.
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, despite limited resources. Sierra Leone demonstrated slightly increased law enforcement efforts over the last year by convicting a second trafficker under its 2005 anti-trafficking law. Sierra Leone also reported referring more trafficking victims to IOM for care than the prior reporting period. Overall anti-trafficking efforts remained weak, however, as government authorities continued to lack a clear understanding of trafficking and relied largely on the NGO and international community to tackle it.
Recommendations for Sierra Leone: Strengthen efforts to prosecute and convict trafficking offenders; train law enforcement officers and social workers to implement formal procedures to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as females in prostitution, unaccompanied foreign children, and illegal migrants; provide comprehensive services to identified victims; improve coordination between the central and provincial governments for the collection of data on traffickers arrested and victims rescued; and increase government participation at meetings of the national trafficking task force.
The Government of Sierra Leone made slightly increased law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking in the last year. Sierra Leone prohibits all forms of trafficking through its 2005 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, which prescribes a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment. This penalty is sufficiently stringent, but not commensurate with penalties for rape, which carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Comprehensive law enforcement statistics were not available due to poor data collection and communication among law officials in the interior of the country and central government authorities. According to data collected by the Family Support Units (FSU) of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) tasked with addressing trafficking, between January and December 2008, the government investigated 38 trafficking cases. More than half of these cases involved female victims below the age of 16. During the year, a total of 12 individuals were charged with trafficking. In December 2008, the government secured the conviction of a man for trafficking a child for forced labor; he was given a sentence of four years’ imprisonment. In February 2009, the Special Court of Sierra Leone, which was operated jointly by the UN and the Sierra Leonean government, convicted two former members of the Revoutionary United Front for conscripting child soldiers during the country’s 11-year civil war. Border officials continue to lack a full understanding of the distinction between smuggling and trafficking.
The Sierra Leonean government demonstrated some efforts to protect trafficking victims during the last year. The government does not provide direct assistance to victims, but instead refers them to the country’s only trafficking victim shelter, which is located in Freetown and operated by IOM. The FSU in 2008 identified 38 trafficking victims, whom it referred to the Ministry of Social Welfare (MOSW). The MOSW referred the majority of these victims to IOM’s shelter for care, while others were placed in the custody of family members. In 2008, government officials referred 84 victims to IOM for care. Some victims outside Freetown were not referred for care, however, due to lack of transport to the capital or the difficulty of travel during the rainy season. While the Sierra Leonean government has developed a protocol for law enforcement and social services authorities’ identification of trafficking victims, only a small number of officials have been trained to follow it. Authorities do not follow procedures to identify trafficking victims among most populations vulnerable to trafficking, such as females in prostitution, unaccompanied minors, and undocumented immigrants. When identified, however, victims are encouraged to participate in the prosecution of their traffickers. Due to lengthy delays in court proceedings, many victims are not available to testify in court, often resulting in the dropping of trafficking charges against suspected traffickers. Sierra Leone does not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution. There were no known cases during the year of trafficking victims penalized for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked. However, a weak understanding among officials of trafficking has likely led to some trafficking victims being penalized as illegal immigrants or females in prostitution.
The Government of Sierra Leone made inadequate efforts to raise awareness about trafficking during the reporting period. Every two months during the year, the MOSW convened meetings of the Task Force, a joint government, NGO, and international organization entity to coordinate national anti-trafficking efforts. These meetings, however, were not well attended by government ministries, hampering the government’s coordination with donors. While Sierra Leone’s 2007 national action plan was implemented with donor funding throughout 2007 and early 2008, implementation halted in late 2008 due to lack of support and resources within the government. The government took no measures to reduce demand for commercial sexual exploitation. Sierra Leone has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
SINGAPORE (Tier 2)
Singapore is a destination country for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Some women from Thailand and the Philippines who travel to Singapore voluntarily for prostitution or work are subsequently deceived or coerced into sexual servitude. Some foreign domestic workers are subject to conditions that may be indicative of labor trafficking, including physical or sexual abuse, confiscation of travel documents, confinement, inadequate food, rest, or accommodation, deceptions about wages or conditions of work, and improper withholding of pay. Some Singaporean men travel to countries in the region for child sex tourism.
The Government of Singapore does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Singapore secured convictions of two defendants for sex trafficking-related crimes, including the first conviction under a recently amended law criminalizing the commercial sexual exploitation of children between 16 and 18 years of age. Singapore strengthened the Conditions of Work Permits for foreign domestic workers and collected unpaid wages on behalf of such workers in 276 cases. The government did not take adequate measures to protect victims of trafficking particularly foreign domestic workers subjected to forced labor conditions. While Singapore has made progress in combating trafficking to date, it can and should do more to investigate and prevent trafficking and to identify and assist trafficking victims.
Recommendations for Singapore: Prosecute the maximum possible number of cases involving the trafficking of children under the age of 18 for commercial sexual exploitation; prosecute employers and employment agencies who unlawfully confiscate workers’ passports as a means of intimidating workers or holding them in a state of involuntary servitude, or use other means to extract forced labor; expand investigations and prosecutions in adult sex trafficking cases; develop robust procedures to identify potential traffickers and trafficking victims by immigration officers at ports of entry and other law enforcement personnel; devote additional resources to systematically identifying and quantifying sex and labor trafficking within and across national borders, as well as indicators (such as certain unlawful labor practices) that are common associated with trafficking, and publish findings and follow-up; use the findings to improve the anti-trafficking training of police, immigration, and Ministry of Manpower officers, as well as judicial personnel, carry out targeted anti-trafficking law enforcement operations, conduct focused public information campaigns, and make appropriate adjustments to administrative rules or procedures relating to the prevention of trafficking or the protection of trafficking victims; study ways to make affordable legal aid to trafficking victims to enable them to obtain redress by pursuing civil suits against their traffickers; reduce the demand for commercial sex acts in Singapore by vigorously enforcing existing laws against importing women for purposes of prostitution, trafficking in women and girls, importing women or girls by false pretenses, living or trading on prostitution, and keeping brothels; increase cooperative exchange of information about potential trafficking issues with NGOs and foreign diplomatic missions in Singapore; conduct public awareness campaigns to inform citizens and residents of the recent amendments to the Penal Code and the penalties for involvement in trafficking for sexual exploitation or forced labor; and cooperate with foreign governments to institutionalize procedures for reporting, investigating, and prosecuting child sex tourism committed overseas by Singaporean citizens and permanent residents.
The Government of Singapore demonstrated some law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking in persons during the reporting year. Singaporean law criminalizes all forms of trafficking, through its Penal Code, Women’s Charter, Children and Young Persons Act, Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, Employment Agencies Act, Employment Agency Rules, and the Conditions of Work Permits for foreign domestic workers. Penalties prescribed for sex trafficking, including imprisonment, fines, and caning, are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes, as are penalties prescribed for labor trafficking. The Singapore Police Force investigated 54 reports of sex trafficking during the reporting period; two cases resulted in prosecutions, while the others reportedly were closed due to lack of substantiating evidence. The government prosecuted and secured the convictions of two trafficking offenders in 2008, both for sex trafficking offenses. One trafficker who brought a Filipina woman into Singapore for the purpose of prostitution was fined $8,000 with an alternative sentence of 12 weeks’ imprisonment if she failed to pay the fine. Another trafficker who brought an underage Chinese girl to Singapore for commercial sexual exploitation was sentenced to one year in prison. There were no criminal prosecutions of labor agency representatives for trafficking crimes in 2008; the government prosecuted some employers for physical or sexual abuse of foreign domestic workers, for “illegal deployment” (unlawfully requiring a worker to work at premises other than those stated in the work permit), for failing to pay wages due, or for failing to provide acceptable accommodation or a safe working environment. There were no reports of government officials’ complicity in trafficking crimes during the reporting period.
The government did not show appreciable progress in protecting trafficking victims, particularly foreign domestic workers subjected to forced labor conditions. The government does not operate victim shelters, but instead referred potential victims of trafficking to NGO shelters or foreign embassies over the reporting period. Although two foreign embassies in Singapore documented over 150 women allegedly trafficked into Singapore for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, the government only identified two trafficking victims during the reporting period. One identified victim, a Chinese girl, was referred by the government to an NGO-operated shelter during the prosecution of her trafficker. The other victim returned voluntarily to the Philippines before a report was filed with the police. In 2008, one NGO reported offering assistance to over 850 foreign workers, some of whom claimed they had experienced trafficking-related conditions, such as fraudulent recruitment, withholding of documents, confinement, threats of serious financial harm related to recruitment debts as part of a scheme to keep the worker performing the relevant labor or service, and physical abuse. In a survey of 206 migrant workers who resided at the shelter, 95percent reported that their employer or employment agency in Singapore held their passport, a known contributing factor to trafficking if done as a means to keep the worker performing a form of labor or service. The Philippine Embassy in Singapore reported contacts from 136 potential sex trafficking victims whose claims Philippine authorities determined to be credible. Six other diplomatic missions in Singapore reported a combined total of 21 to 23 potential or confirmed sex trafficking victims. Law enforcement efforts aimed at curbing prostitution may have resulted in victims of sex trafficking being penalized for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. In 2008, the police arrested 5,047 foreign women for prostitution, who were generally incarcerated and then deported. The number of trafficking victims among this group is unknown; however, government measures to proactively identify potential trafficking victims among this vulnerable population, if any, appear to have been limited during the majority of the reporting period. At least 53 of those reportedly arrested and deported without being formally identified and provided with appropriate protective services were children, who should therefore have been classified as crime victims under Singapore’s amended Penal Code. The government encourages identified victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenders, and makes available to all foreign victims of crime temporary immigration relief that allows them to reside in Singapore pending conclusion of their criminal case. Singapore does not otherwise provide trafficking victims with a legal alternative to removal to countries where they may face hardship or retribution.
The Singaporean government demonstrated some increased efforts to prevent trafficking in persons during the year. The government expanded its information campaign that aims to raise awareness among foreign workers of their rights and resources available, in an effort to prevent incidents of trafficking. It continued to print information on employees’ rights and police hotline numbers for domestic workers on prepaid phone cards. The Ministry of Manpower has a biannual newsletter, published in multiple languages, that it mails directly to all 180,000 foreign domestic workers. All foreign domestic workers working in Singapore for the first time attend a compulsory course on domestic safety and their employment rights and responsibilities. The government undertook some administrative actions for violations of labor laws potentially related to trafficking, including employer fines and license suspensions for several employment agencies. It also strengthened the terms of work permits to expressly prohibit employers from making unauthorized deductions from domestic workers' salaries. Throughout the reporting period, at least 25 employers were convicted of physically or sexually abusing their foreign domestic workers and sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from a few weeks to over two years, depending on the severity of the abuse. Some male employers convicted of sexual abuse were also sentenced to caning. The government did not undertake specific measures to reduce demand for commercial sex acts involving adults in the legalized commercial sex industry in Singapore. Singapore has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
The Slovak Republic is a source, transit, and limited destination country for women and girls from Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria, the Baltics, the Balkans, and China trafficked to the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain, Croatia, and Slovenia for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Roma women and girls are trafficked internally for sexual exploitation and Roma children are trafficked to Austria, Italy, and Germany for the purpose of forced begging.
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 allocated $400,000 for all anti-trafficking efforts in 2008, a significant increase from $91,000 allocated in 2007; more than half of this funding went toward victim assistance. In December 2008, the Ministry of Interior adopted a National Referral Mechanism for use by law enforcement across the country in referring identified victims to necessary services. Despite these significant efforts, including sustained law enforcement measures, it failed to identify or assist any foreign victims of trafficking during the reporting period.
Recommendations for the Slovak Republic: Ensure that a majority of convicted traffickers serve some time in prison; provide additional training on victim identification and victim treatment for border police, prosecutors, judges, and Roma community social workers in Eastern Slovakia; continue to increase the number of victims assisted by government-funded NGO programs; ensure that foreign victims are identified and provided access to government-funded assistance; continue collaboration with NGOs in identifying victims among persons in police detention centers and immigration facilities; and conduct a public awareness campaign to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.
The Government of the Slovak Republic sustained its law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. The Slovak Republic prohibits all forms of trafficking through Sections 179-181 of its criminal code, which prescribe penalties ranging from 4 to 25 years’ imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and are commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. Police conducted 18 trafficking investigations in 2008, including one labor trafficking investigation, an increase from 14 investigations conducted in 2007. The government prosecuted three individuals in 2008, a significant decrease from 16 individuals prosecuted in 2007. Eleven trafficking offenders were convicted during the reporting period, an increase from seven in 2007; some traffickers convicted in 2008 were prosecuted and investigated during the previous reporting period. In 2008, seven out of 11 convicted traffickers were given suspended sentences and thus served no time in jail. There were no official cases of high-level government officials involved in trafficking during the reporting period. The government funded victim identification training for 160 police officers in 2008.
The government demonstrated mixed efforts to assist and protect victims in 2008. The government provided $220,000 to five anti-trafficking NGOs to implement a victim assistance program; it again failed to identify and assist any foreign victims. Seventeen victims received government-funded shelter and assistance in 2008, a significant increase from four victims in 2007. An additional 20 victims were assisted by nongovernment-funded programs. Police identified and referred 16 victims to NGOs for assistance, compared to 15 in 2007. The government claimed to offer foreign victims, upon their identification, an initial 40-day reflection period to receive assistance and shelter and to consider whether to assist law enforcement; however, no foreign victims were granted the reflection period in 2008. During the reporting period, 17 victims participated in trafficking investigations and prosecutions. Foreign victims who cooperate with law enforcement are permitted to remain in Slovakia and work for the duration of the investigation or trial; however, the government did not identify any foreign victims during the reporting period. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs funded the repatriation of three trafficking victims in 2008. The government did not penalize victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
Slovakia demonstrated some efforts to prevent trafficking during the reporting period. The government partially funded an IOM-run trafficking hotline that opened in June 2008 and provided information to persons vulnerable to trafficking and assisted trafficking victims; in 2008, hotline staff identified three victims. The government paid for posters, leaflets, and radio and television public awareness commercials advertising the existence of the hotline. During the reporting period, the government provided trafficking awareness training for Slovak troops before they were deployed to international peacekeeping missions.
SLOVENIA (Tier 1)
Slovenia is primarily a transit country for men, women, and children trafficked from Ukraine, Moldova, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, the Dominican Republic, Thailand, and Iran through Slovenia to Western Europe for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. To a lesser extent, Slovenia is also a destination country for men, women, and children trafficked from Ukraine, the Dominican Republic, and Romania for forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation and a source of women trafficked for the purpose of forced prostitution within Slovenia.
The Government of Slovenia fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In November 2008, the government amended Slovenia’s criminal code to increase the maximum penalty for trafficking to 15 years’ imprisonment. Authorities also increased the number of trafficking prosecutions and conducted public awareness campaigns aimed at reducing the demand for commercial sex acts. Although the total number of victims identified and assisted increased, Slovenia decreased funding for victim assistance.
Recommendations for Slovenia: Continue to vigorously investigate both sex and labor trafficking offenses and increase trafficking prosecutions and convictions; continue to provide trafficking awareness training for judges; ensure that a majority of convicted traffickers serve some time in prison; and continue to refer a significant number of identified victims for assistance.
The Government of Slovenia demonstrated increased law enforcement efforts in 2008. The government prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through Article 113 of its criminal code, which prescribes penalties ranging from 6 months to 15 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. The government conducted seven trafficking investigations in 2008, compared to six in 2007. Authorities prosecuted eight cases in 2008, an increase from three cases in 2007. Six traffickers were convicted in 2008, compared to five convictions in 2007. Four traffickers convicted in 2008 were given sentences ranging from 9 to 48 months’ imprisonment, and two traffickers served no time in prison; in 2007, four traffickers were given sentences ranging from 15 to 57 months’ imprisonment, and one convicted trafficker served no time in prison. The Ministry of Justice collaborated with an NGO to hold several anti-trafficking training seminars for judges, prosecutors, and police during the reporting period.
The Government of Slovenia maintained its efforts to provide adequate victim assistance and protection during the reporting period. The government provided $95,000 to two NGOs to provide both short-term and extended victim assistance including shelter, rehabilitative counseling, medical assistance, vocational training, and legal assistance; this is a decrease from $105,000 provided in 2007. During the reporting period, government officials referred 70 potential victims for assistance, compared to four victims in 2007. A total of 65 victims were identified, of which 38 were provided with assistance by government-funded NGOs, an increase from 26 victims in 2007. After identification, victims were granted a 90-day reflection period. Victims were encouraged to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions of trafficking offenders. Foreign victims who assisted law enforcement could apply for a temporary residence permit and remain in Slovenia for the duration of the trial and may choose to stay longer if they are employed or in school. Nine victims assisted law enforcement in 2008, compared to eight the previous year. Victims were not punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
The government maintained its prevention efforts during the reporting period. In 2008, the Ministry of Interior, UNHCR, and local NGOs jointly administered a project that addressed trafficking and gender-based violence by providing information and assistance to asylum seekers at greatest risk of being trafficked, particularly single women and children separated from their parents. The government monitored immigration and emigration patterns for evidence of trafficking, and immigration and law enforcement officials screened for potential trafficking victims along borders. The government printed brochures and produced television commercials as part of an awareness campaign aimed at reducing the demand for commercial sex acts.
SOUTH AFRICA (Tier 2)
South Africa is a source, transit, and destination country for trafficked men, women, and children. Children are largely trafficked within the country from poor rural areas to urban centers like Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, and Bloemfontein – girls trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic servitude; boys trafficked for forced street vending, food service, begging, crime, and agriculture; and both boys and girls trafficked for “muti” (the removal of their organs for traditional medicine). The tradition of “ukuthewala,” the forced marriage of girls as young as 12 to adult men, is still practiced in remote villages in the Eastern Cape. Local criminal rings and street gangs organize child prostitution in a number of South Africa’s cities, which are also common destinations for child sex tourists. In the past, victims had typically been runaways who fell prey to city pimps, but now crime syndicates recruit victims from rural towns. South African women are trafficked to Europe and the Middle East for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation. Nigerian syndicates have reportedly begun moving trafficked women from South Africa to the U.S. as well for African migrant clients there. Women and girls from Thailand, Congo, India, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan, Russia, Ukraine, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe are trafficked to South Africa for commercial sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and other forced work in the service sector. Some of these women are trafficked onward to Europe for sexual exploitation. A large number of Thai women are trafficked into South Africa’s illegal brothels, while Eastern European organized crime units force women from Russian and Ukraine into debt-bonded prostitution in exclusive private men's clubs. Traffickers control victims through intimidation and threats, use of force, confiscation of travel documents, demands to pay job "debts," and forced use of drugs and alcohol. Organized traffickers from the PRC bring victims from Lesotho, Mozambique, and Swaziland to Johannesburg for exploitation locally, or to send them on to other cities. Men from PRC and Taiwan are trafficked to mobile sweatshop factories in Chinese urban enclaves in South Africa which evade labor inspectors by moving in and out of neighboring Lesotho and Swaziland to avoid arrest. Young men and boys from Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe voluntarily migrate illegally to South Africa for farm work, sometimes laboring for months in South Africa with little or no pay and under conditions of involuntary servitude before unscrupulous employers have them arrested and deported as illegal immigrants.
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. The government opened prosecutions against 16 suspected trafficking offenders during the year and is continuing to prepare for late 2009 passage and subsequent implementation of its comprehensive anti-trafficking law by developing inter-agency operating procedures and training officials on the law, victim identification, and agency roles. Foreign victims in South Africa, however, still face inadequate protection from the government and sometimes are treated as criminals. Labor trafficking does not receive as much government attention as does sex trafficking. Moreover, little or no information is made available about the status of pending prosecutions, and the government suspended development of a national anti-trafficking plan of action to start the process anew.
Recommendations for South Africa: Pass and enact the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill; implement the Children’s Amendment Act of 2007; increase awareness among all levels of relevant government officials as to their responsibilities under the trafficking provisions of the Sexual Offenses and Children’s Acts; support prevention strategies developed by NGOs to address demand for commercial sex acts and protect children from commercial sexual exploitation in advance of the 2010 World Cup; support the adoption of measures to protect children from sexual exploitation in travel and tourism; and institute formal procedures to regularly compile national statistics on the number of trafficking cases prosecuted and victims assisted, as is done for other crimes.
The government greatly increased its law enforcement efforts in 2008. Since May 2008, the government began prosecuting new trafficking cases under recently implemented sex offense laws; the court cases are on-going and no trafficking offenders have yet been convicted. The South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) released a first draft of comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation in mid-2008 for consultations and revisions. The SALRC then submitted a report on the bill along with a second draft to the Minister of Justice and the parliamentary committee in November 2008. That draft is posted online for public commentary to close by June 15, 2009, in preparation for a year-end Parliamentary vote. A variety of other criminal statutes, such as the Prevention of Organized Crime Act (POCA) and the Sexual Offenses Act (SOA), were used to prosecute trafficking crimes. Law enforcement authorities could also use existing laws prohibiting involuntary servitude, child labor, and forced labor to prosecute labor trafficking cases but have done so in only one case. The aforementioned laws prescribe sufficiently stringent penalties of up to 20 years’ imprisonment, which are commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. During the past year, the government opened at least five new trafficking prosecutions, including two with charges under the newly expanded SOA, and began arresting suspects as a result of a separate recently-completed investigation in Durban. In May 2008, the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court opened the trial of a Mozambican woman charged under the SOA and labor laws with child trafficking and forced labor for exploiting three Mozambican girls in prostitution and domestic servitude in early 2008. The trial was interrupted and postponed twice in 2008 for illness and equipment failure, then resumed in late February 2009 when the final prosecution witnesses testified. No result had been announced as of the drafting of this report. Also in May 2008, a female club owner and her adult daughter were arrested for forcing eight South African women into prostitution; the government did not provide any additional information on this case. In June 2008, the government began prosecuting a Sierra Leone national for selling girls aged 8 to 12 into prostitution. In December 2008, a prosecution began of five Nigerian men charged under the SOA for trafficking Nigerian women through South Africa. In late January 2009, six Nigerians and one Tanzanian were arrested, and 17 South African victims rescued, in North West province. In late March 2009, several top businessmen in Durban were arrested for involvement in a child prostitution syndicate and charged under the amended SOA, child protection laws, and pornography laws; their prosecutions are pending. Police continued investigating other suspects in this case. Prosecutions begun in 2006 and 2007 were still before the courts – no verdict has been reached in the trial of a South African man charged in 2006 with the forced prostitution of 16 Thai victims, racketeering and money laundering; the trial of two Indian and Thai traffickers arrested in July 2007 at a brothel in Durban also continued. In April 2008, a South African citizen and his Thai wife pled guilty to charges of keeping a brothel and prostitution, and both were deported to Thailand. Twenty-seven Chinese female trafficking victims who were arrested in a brothel raid along with their traffickers in March 2008 were deported to China for immigration and employment violations, but no information about the traffickers has been released by the government. In conjunction with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), IOM used anti-trafficking funds from multiple donors to train police, immigration and border officials to identify trafficking victims among prostituted women, laborers, travelers, and victims of abuse. Police began to alert some embassies and IOM in advance of raiding brothels suspected of holding foreign victims.
South African government efforts to ensure trafficking victims’ access to protective services increased during the reporting period. The Department of Social Development directly ran some shelters, notably for children, while also overseeing and helping to fund private shelters for victims of trafficking. Draft legislation and recently enacted laws contained significant provisions for the protection of victims which had previously been unavailable, and some agencies began to train their officials and implement the provisions. The amended SOA stipulates that victims of sex trafficking not be charged with crimes which are the direct result of having been trafficked; in the two trafficking cases prosecuted under the SOA, trafficked women forced to work as prostitutes were identified by police as victims during a raid to arrest their traffickers, and were referred for assistance rather than arrested. Following extensive awareness and sensitivity training by the UNODC, IOM, and others, police began to implement victim protection provisions contained in the SOA and in the Children’s Act, which is still not enacted. Both identified and suspected trafficking victims received services and shelter at overextended facilities for victims of domestic abuse, gender-based violence, rape, and sexual assault run by NGOs. The Department of Social Development (DSD), South African Police Service (SAPS), and these private shelters collaborated to care for identified trafficking victims. DSD is the only agency authorized to refer victims to registered private shelters, and to monitor their care, prepare them for court, and accompany them through trial and/or repatriation stages. DSD and SAPS formally notified each other of cases to enable rapid care, as well as effective gathering of evidence and testimony.
Victim-witnesses in the aforementioned child-trafficking trial testified via video-link from outside the courtroom. Three Thai women are currently receiving long-term assistance, which is offered to foreign victims who agree to remain in South Africa in witness protection programs while awaiting the trial of their traffickers. Sex trafficking victims continued to be classified in law enforcement records as victims of rape, domestic abuse, and gender-based violence; as a result, there are no official statistics concerning the number of victims assisted during the reporting period. South Africa did not provide all trafficking victims with legal alternatives to deportation to countries where they may face hardship or retribution. In March 2009, the press reported that police deported the aforementioned 27 Chinese women detained in 2007 along with their seven alleged traffickers. Awareness of trafficking-related law, the ability to apply it to identify victims, and knowledge of appropriate procedures were lacking among many police and immigration officers, since only a relatively small number have yet received specific counter-trafficking training.
The government demonstrated strong progress in combating human trafficking through prevention efforts. Extensive workshops by the NPA’s Sexual Offenses and Community Affairs unit (SOCA), IOM, NGOs, and academic experts prepared over 3,000 government, community, NGO, and media personnel for the passage of the comprehensive anti-trafficking law. As part of the training program, IOM ran 30 awareness-raising workshops across all nine provinces which drew 573 community participants; government officials presented speeches and led discussions during these events. The government worked with IOM to distribute more than 85,000 counter-trafficking posters and brochures in six languages, publicizing IOM's toll-free helpline. High-level officials repeatedly spoke out against sex trafficking that might occur during the 2010 FIFA World Cup preparations and activities. The Inter-sectoral Task Team addressed anti-trafficking and child protection measures as part of the plans for hosting the World Cup. The multinational South African Immigration Liaison (SAIL) Team at Johannesburg’s airport observed passengers’ behavior and travel histories for patterns indicative of trafficking. In addition, flight manifests were checked for known trafficking suspects against databases with information about persons of concern before boarding began. The government continued a project begun in 2003 by drafting a Child Labor Plan of Action to combat and prevent child labor, including trafficking for child labor, which the government planned to implement in 2009. The government provided anti-trafficking training to all South African troops destined for peacekeeping missions abroad prior to their deployment.
SPAIN (Tier 1)
Spain is a transit and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Victims are primarily trafficked from Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Paraguay, Venezuela, and Nigeria, though victims are also trafficked from other areas of Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa. While most identified victims are women between the ages of 18 and 25 who are trafficked for sexual exploitation, minor females are also trafficked to Spain for the same purpose, and men and women are trafficked for forced labor, most often in the agriculture and construction sectors. There has been an increase in the number of minors trafficked into Spain for forced begging. In smaller numbers, Chinese victims are trafficked to Spain, primarily for forced labor. A coalition of 20 NGOs in Spain estimates that there are at least 50,000 people in Spain who are victims of human trafficking. Particularly vulnerable to trafficking are migrants from Romania and Bulgaria and possibly unaccompanied migrant minors, though there is limited data available on the latter group.
The Government of Spain fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government recognized weaknesses in the area of victim protection and took formal steps during the reporting period to strengthen policies to ensure that victims are granted full protection under the law.
Recommendations: Continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute human trafficking crimes and convict and punish trafficking offenders; track data on trafficking prosecutions, convictions and sentences served by trafficking offenders; continue to develop formal procedures to guide government officials in proactively identifying victims among vulnerable groups, such as irregular migrants and women in prostitution; implement the new national referral mechanism; ensure victim protection and assistance programs are adequately funded; ensure male and child victims’ access to appropriate assistance and protection; consider a campaign at the national level to raise awareness of labor and sex trafficking.
The government demonstrated solid efforts to prosecute and punish trafficking offenders during the reporting period. Spain prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons though Articles 313 and 318 of its criminal code and the Organic Law 11/2003, which prescribe penalties for sex trafficking of five to 15 years’ imprisonment and penalties for labor trafficking of four to eight years’ imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent, and the penalties prescribed for sex trafficking are commensurate with the prescribed penalties for other grave crimes. During the reporting period, Spanish police arrested 403 people for sex trafficking and 68 people for forced labor. In 2008, the government prosecuted 135 trafficking cases -- up from 102 in 2007 -- and convicted 107 trafficking offenders (14 of which were involved in forced labor) -- down from 142 in 2007, with an average sentence of slightly more than four years. Approximately 95 percent of those convicted received sentences of one year or more imprisonment, and five percent of those convicted received a fine and/or suspended sentence. There were no reports of trafficking related official complicity in Spain in 2008.
The government demonstrated efforts to address victim protection deficiencies that came to light in 2008. During the course of dismantling a large-scale sex trafficking network from 2007 to 2008, authorities arrested over 500 possible victims and deported many of them back to their country of origin; it is unclear if any of them received trafficking victim protection assistance subsequent to their arrests. In December 2008, in an effort to improve victim protection measures, Spain established a formal mechanism for referring victims to service providers. While Spain still is in the process of developing formal procedures for officials to use in identifying potential victims among vulnerable groups, such as people involved in the decriminalized commercial sex trade or migrant workers, the government funded NGOs to provide victim identification training for officials throughout Spain and reportedly identified 771 sex trafficking and 133 forced labor victims during the reporting period. Five of the leading anti-trafficking NGOs in Spain assisted 1,002 victims in 2008. While Spain did not release official figures on the amount it spent on victim protection, the government increased funding to a leading anti-trafficking NGO during the reporting period . Victims were entitled to medical and psychological assistance, including emergency care, through the national health care system as well as access to temporary shelter and legal protection. It is not clear whether the government offered specialized anti-trafficking services for labor trafficking or child victims. The government encouraged foreign victims to assist in trafficking investigations and prosecutions by providing trafficking victims with a 30-day reflection period. The government did not report on the number of victims that received the reflection period. Trafficking victims may qualify for the establishment of new identities in some instances. Spanish law permits trafficking victims to remain in Spain if they agree to testify. According to government policy, after legal proceedings conclude, victims had the option to remain in Spain permanently.
Spain sustained efforts to prevent trafficking through awareness raising about human trafficking over the past year. The government approved a national anti-trafficking action plan in December 2008 that pledged approximately $57 million over the next four years toward combating trafficking through law enforcement, victim assistance, and trafficking prevention programs. The national government did not implement a broad anti-trafficking public awareness campaign during the reporting period, but the cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Seville funded local public awareness campaigns. The Madrid city government produced awareness posters targeted at potential clients of the sex trade with the slogan “Because you pay, prostitution exists…Do not contribute to the perpetuation of 21st century slavery.” A government-funded NGO provided a 24-hour number for trafficking victims, but the number was not toll free throughout the country. Under the motto “There Are No Excuses,” the Spanish government in 2008 partnered with UNICEF on a website to warn Spanish travelers against committing child sex tourism offenses abroad. According to the Spanish military, Spanish troops receive trafficking awareness training before their deployment abroad for international peacekeeping missions.
Sri Lanka is primarily a source and, to a much lesser extent, a destination for men and women trafficking for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Sri Lankan men and women migrate willingly to Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, and Singapore to work as construction workers, domestic servants, or garment factory workers. Some of these workers find themselves in situations of involuntary servitude when faced with restrictions on movement, withholding of passports, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and debt bondage that is, in some instances, facilitated by large pre-departure fees imposed by labor recruitment agencies and their unlicensed sub-agents. Children are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation and, very infrequently, for forced labor. The designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued to recruit, sometimes forcibly, children for use as soldiers in areas outside of the Sri Lankan government’s control. Government security forces may be complicit in letting a breakaway LTTE faction that has aligned itself with the government, to unlawfully recruit child soldiers, sometimes with force. A small number of women from Thailand, China, and Russia, and other countries of the former Soviet Union may be trafficked into Sri Lanka for commercial sexual exploitation.
Sri Lanka does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite these overall efforts, the government has not shown evidence of progress in convicting and punishing trafficking offenders; therefore, Sri Lanka is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. While the Sri Lankan government did not achieve any convictions of trafficking offenders, it arrested 29 alleged traffickers and started prosecutions against ten people for trafficking-related offenses, an increase from the previous year when no one was arrested or prosecuted for trafficking-related crimes. It also drafted a national policy on migration that promises to prevent the trafficking of Sri Lankan migrants and it developed a national anti-trafficking task force that should become operational in the coming year.
Recommendations for Sri Lanka: Vigorously investigate and prosecute suspected trafficking offenses and convict and punish trafficking offenders, particularly those responsible for recruiting victims with fraudulent offers of employment and excessive commission fees; follow through with the creation of the national anti-trafficking task force; develop and implement through training of law enforcement personnel formal victim referral procedures; and ensure that victims of trafficking found within Sri Lanka are not detained or otherwise penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked.
Although the Government of Sri Lanka made strides in arrests and prosecutions of alleged traffickers, it did not demonstrate adequate law enforcement efforts in addressing human trafficking cases over the reporting period. Sri Lanka prohibits all forms of trafficking through an April 2006 amendment to its penal code, which prescribes punishments of up to 20 years’ imprisonment; these penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave offenses, such as rape. While the government conducted over 400 raids of fraudulent foreign recruiting agencies and took legal action against 80 of them – which resulted in their licenses being suspended and the initiation of two prosecutions – the majority had not yet been prosecuted criminally for trafficking-related offenses. The government canceled the licenses of 32 agencies and imposed fines on them. The police made 29 arrests of suspected trafficking offenders under the 2006 anti-trafficking statute. In addition, the Attorney General’s Department has started prosecutions against 12 people for trafficking-related offenses. There were no reported trafficking convictions during the reporting period.
The Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), which is responsible for regulating foreign employment agencies and protecting Sri Lankan workers going abroad, developed a ranking system that would publicly grade all employment agencies based inter alia on the number of complaints the SLBFE receives relating to each agency, the number of legal cases against each, and the time each takes to resolve disputes with workers. This ranking system will be available on a website, but has not yet been finalized. The Attorney General began drafting a circular that would advise police to identify possible trafficking victims among women they detain for prostitution; this too has not yet been finalized. In collaboration with IOM, the police added a trafficking training module to the standard police curriculum used to train all new police recruits, as well as adding the curricula of two in-service police training institutes; so far, 520 police officers have received training on the new trafficking module.
Following the November 2007 repatriation of 118 Sri Lankan peacekeepers from Haiti because of accusations that some of them had engaged in sexual misconduct, including possible exploitation of children, a Sri Lankan military court found 23 officers and soldiers guilty of sexual misconduct and abuse of children. During the last year, two of the officers were forced out of the military and one solider was discharged, while two other soldiers subsequently died in military action within Sri Lanka. Punishment for the remaining eight officers and ten soldiers has not yet been reported.
The government made some efforts to provide victims with necessary protection directly and ensure they received access to protective services provided by NGOs or international organizations. The government continued to provide limited counseling and day care for child victims of trafficking – through the operation of six resource centers run by the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA). In addition, the SLBFE runs an overnight shelter for international trafficking victims returning from overseas at Sri Lanka’s only international airport. The Commissioner General for Rehabilitation, with the assistance of the NCPA, operated two rehabilitation centers specifically for children involved in armed conflict.
Although government personnel did not employ formal procedures for proactively identifying victims and referring them to service providers, some ad hoc referrals were made during the year. Police did not attempt to identify trafficking victims among 16 foreign women who were arrested on prostitution charges during the year; all were placed in detention until they could pay for their departure from Sri Lanka. The government provided no legal alternatives for the removal of foreign victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution. Authorities encouraged victims to participate in investigations and prosecutions of trafficking offenders, though sex trafficking victims rarely came forward to cooperate with police and prosecutors out of fear that doing so would damage their reputations. The slow pace of the Sri Lankan judicial system provided a strong disincentive to come forward. The government generally did not penalize victims of trafficking for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked, though some sex trafficking victims could have been penalized because the government failed to identify them among persons arrested for prostitution offenses. Victims who were employed abroad may seek assistance from the SLBFE. The SLBFE collected fees from registered workers who went abroad, which were used to run shelters abroad, as well as domestically at the international airport.
The Sri Lankan government undertook modest efforts on trafficking prevention during the last year. The government conducted several trafficking awareness-raising activities, including the Women and Children’s Bureau of the Police’s sponsorship of a series of television docudramas that highlighted violence and crime against women and children, including the sex trafficking of Sri Lankan women and girls. The SLBFE launched an awareness campaign in October 2008 to inform the public of the dangers of using non-registered employment agencies. The Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare developed a National Policy on Migration and presented it to the parliament for consideration. Among other things, this policy seeks to better protect Sri Lankan workers abroad. The government continued plans started in 2007 to develop an inter-agency anti-trafficking task force, to be coordinated by the Secretary of the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Empowerment, though the task force has not yet been launched. The government showed some efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex acts during the year.
SUDAN (TIER 3)
Sudan is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked internally for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Sudan is also a transit and destination country for Ethiopian women trafficked abroad for domestic servitude. Sudanese women and girls are trafficked within the country for domestic servitude. Local observers report the recruitment – sometimes by force – of Darfuri girls to work in private homes, including those occupied by soldiers from the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), as cooks or cleaners; some of these girls are subsequently pressured by male occupants to engage in commercial sexual acts. Sudanese women and girls are trafficked to Middle Eastern countries such as Qatar, for domestic servitude and to European countries, such as Poland, for sexual exploitation. Sudanese children are trafficked through Yemen to Saudi Arabia for forced begging. Sudanese gangs coerce other young Sudanese refugees into prostitution in nightclubs in Egypt.
Sudanese children are unlawfully conscripted, at times through abduction, and exploited by armed groups – including the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), all Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) factions, the Popular Defense Forces, Janjaweed militia, and Chadian opposition forces – in Sudan's ongoing conflict in Darfur; the Sudanese Armed Forces, associated militias, and the Central Reserve Police also continue to unlawfully recruit children in this region. There were confirmed reports of forcible child recruitment in 2008 by the JEM in several refugee camps in eastern Chad, as well as villages in Darfur. Forcible recruitment of adults and particularly children by virtually all armed groups involved in Sudan's concluded north-south civil war was previously commonplace; thousands of children still associated with these forces await demobilization and reintegration into their communities of origin. Although the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) high command committed to preventing recruitment and releasing the remaining children from its ranks, reports suggest some local commanders continue recruiting children. In certain states, the SPLA also persists in using children for military activities, even after these children have been formally identified for demobilization and family reunification.
A recently released report by a consortium of NGOs found that government-supported militia, like the Janjaweed and the Popular Defense Forces, together with elements of the SAF, have systematically abducted civilians for the purposes of sexual slavery and forced labor as part of the Darfur conflict. This practice was far more common, however, at the beginning of the conflict in 2003 than during the reporting period, when the conflict in Darfur had largely subsided. Some were released after days or weeks of captivity, while others escaped after a number of months or even years. The vast majority of those abducted are from non-Arabic speaking ethnic groups like the Fur, Massalit, and Zaghawa. Abducted women and girls are subjected to rape, forced marriage, and sexual slavery, as well as forced domestic and agricultural labor. Abducted men and boys are subjected to forced labor in agriculture, herding, portering goods, and domestic servitude.
Thousands of Dinka women and children were abducted and subsequently enslaved by members of the Missiriya and Rizeigat tribes during the north-south civil war. An unknown number of children from the Nuba tribe were similarly abducted and enslaved. A portion of those who were abducted and enslaved remained with their abductors in South Darfur and West Kordofan and experienced varying types of treatment; others were sold or given to third parties, including in other regions of the country; and some ultimately escaped from their captors. While there have been no known, new abductions of Dinka by members of Baggara tribes in the last several years, inter-tribal abductions continue in southern Sudan between warring African tribes, especially in Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria States; Murle raids on Nuer villages in Jonglei State resulted in the abduction of an unknown number of children.
The terrorist rebel organization, Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), continues to harbor small numbers of enslaved Sudanese and Ugandan children in southern Sudan for use as cooks, porters, and combatants; some of these children are also trafficked across borders into Uganda or the Democratic Republic of the Congo. UN/OCHA reported 66 LRA-related abductions in southern Sudan’s Western Equatoria Province in 2008 and early 2009.
The Government of National Unity of Sudan (GNU) does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. This report discusses the problem of human trafficking as it impacts the country in its entirety and analyzes the efforts of the national government, the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), and the state governments to combat the problem. Sudan’s Tier 3 ranking reflects the overall lack of significant anti-trafficking efforts demonstrated by all levels of the country’s governing structures, each of which bear responsibility for addressing the crime. While the GNU and the GOSS took greater steps to demobilize child soldiers, combating human trafficking through law enforcement or significant prevention measures was not a priority for any Sudanese government entity in 2008. The national government published neither data nor statistics regarding its efforts to combat human trafficking during the year; it did not respond to requests to provide information for this report.
Recommendations for Sudan: Increase efforts to investigate suspected human trafficking cases, prosecute trafficking offenses, and convict trafficking offenders; implement trafficking-related provisions of newly-enacted legislation, including the Sudan Armed Forces Act; establish an official process for law enforcement officials to identify trafficking victims and refer them for assistance; demobilize all remaining child soldiers from the ranks of the armed forces, as well as those of aligned militias; take steps to identify and provide protective services to all types of trafficking victims found within the country; and make a much stronger effort, through a comprehensive policy approach that involves all vested parties, to identify, retrieve, and reintegrate abductees who remain in situations of enslavement.
The government's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts were negligible during the reporting period; it did not investigate or prosecute any suspected trafficking cases. Sudan is a large country with porous borders and destitute hinterlands; the national government had little ability to establish authority or a law enforcement presence in many regions. Sudan's criminal code does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, though its Articles 162, 163, and 164 criminalize abduction, luring, and forced labor, respectively. No trafficker has ever been prosecuted under these articles. In May 2008, the Council of Ministers received the Child Act 2008 for review; the act must be approved by the council and ratified by the parliament before it can be implemented. The Act prohibits the recruitment of children under the age of 18 into armed forces or groups and ensures the demobilization, rehabilitation, and reintegration of child victims of armed conflict. Several states subsequently drafted their own Child Acts based on the national act; in November 2008, Southern Kordofan State ratified its Child Act. In December 2008, Sudan’s National Assembly approved the Sudan Armed Forces Act of 2007, which establishes criminal penalties for persons who recruit children under 18 years of age, as well as for abduction and enslavement; the act prescribes penalties of up to five years’ imprisonment for child recruitment and up to 10 years’ imprisonment for enslavement. In August 2008, the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly passed the Southern Sudan Child Act of 2008, which prohibits the recruitment and use of children for military or paramilitary activities and prescribes punishments of up to 10 years’ imprisonment for such crimes. The President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) signed the act into law in October 2008. The Southern Sudan Penal Code Act, enacted in July 2008, prohibits and prescribes punishments of up to seven years’ imprisonment for unlawful compulsory labor, including abduction or transfer of control for such purposes; the Act also criminalized the buying or selling of a minor for the purpose of prostitution and prescribes a punishment of up to 14 years’ imprisonment. In December 2008, the Minister of Justice issued a decree establishing offices with specialized children’s attorneys in Southern Darfur, Gedaref, Southern Kordofan, Sennar, Blue Nile, Western Darfur, and Kassala States to supervise investigations. The government neither documented anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts nor provided specialized anti-trafficking training to law enforcement, prosecutorial, and judicial personnel during the year. At the request of the Sudanese Police, in January 2009, UNPOL trained 122 women police officers who staff gender desks in child protection. UNPOL also conducted a five-day training program on human rights, gender, and child protection for 25 police officers in Aweil.
Sudan’s Government of National Unity (GNU) made only minimal efforts to protect victims of trafficking during the past year, and these efforts focused primarily on the demobilization of child soldiers. The government continued to demonstrate extremely low levels of cooperation with humanitarian workers in the Darfur region on a broad spectrum of issues, including human trafficking. The GOS and GOSS provide little to no protection for victims of trafficking crimes; Sudan had few victim care facilities readily accessible to trafficking victims and the government did not provide access to legal, medical, or psychological services. The government did not publicly acknowledge that children are trafficked into prostitution or domestic servitude in Sudan or take steps to identify and provide protective services to such victims. The Khartoum State Police’s child and family protection unit, which offers various services such as legal aid and psychosocial support, assisted an unknown number of child victims of abuse and sexual violence in 2008 and could have potentially provided these services to trafficking victims. In 2008, similar units were established with UNICEF’s support in Western Darfur, Northern Darfur, Southern Kordofan, Northern Kordofan, and Gedaref States. The government did not have a formal referral process to transfer victims to organizations providing care or a system of proactively identifying victims of trafficking among vulnerable populations.
In January 2008, the government and its UN counterparts established a forum to share information and coordinate an appropriate response to children affected by armed conflict; the group met three times during the year. In May 2008, the Northern Sudan DDR Commission (NSDDRC) and the Southern Sudan DDR Commission (SSDDRC), with support from UNICEF and the Integrated UNDDR Unit, demobilized 88 children formerly associated with the SPLA in Kurmuk, Blue Nile State. In December 2008, the SSDDRC demobilized 46 children from the SPLA training academy in Korpout, Upper Nile State; they were part of a group of 68 children registered for demobilization in July 2007. Identification and registration programs were ongoing for remaining children still serving under the SPLA in Unity and Jongley States, as well is in South Kordofan. In July 2008, NSDDRC in Blue Nile State and UNICEF commenced an interim program to monitor demobilized children’s participation in reintegration opportunity programs; in October 2008, the program provided training to NSDDRC’s child DDR workers on DDR standards and communicating effectively with children. In August 2008, the GOSS opened a child protection unit to ensure that no children are part of the SPLA’s ranks. In December 2008, the Sudan Armed Forces, the National Council for Child Welfare, and UNICEF signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen the protection of children in Sudan and prevention of recruitment into the armed forces.
During the reporting period, the government punished trafficking victims for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked. Following the May 2008 clash between JEM and government forces in Omdurman, a suburb of Khartoum, Sudanese authorities arrested 110 children on charges of attempted violent overthrow of the state and held them with adults for several days. The government then established a Presidential High Committee to care for the children under the leadership of the Humanitarian Aid Commissioner. The National Council for Child Welfare (NCCW) took custody of 100 children, placed them in a National Security detention center, and provided medical care and psychosocial support; international NGOs certified the quality of the center as good and in keeping with international standards. However, 10 children were not sent to the separate facility and remained in detention with adults and an estimated 30 children were used as witnesses in trials of JEM combatants. The government pardoned and released 103 children for family reunification; tried, acquitted, and released four children; and sentenced one child to death, pending appeal. The whereabouts of one child is unknown.
The Committee for the Eradication of Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWC), established in 1999 to facilitate the safe return of abducted and enslaved women and children to their families, was not operational during the reporting period. Its most recent retrieval and transport missions took place in March 2008 with GOSS funding; since that time, neither the GNU nor the GOSS provided CEAWC with the necessary funding for the transport and reunification of previously identified abductees with their families. The government made no efforts to address issues of abduction and enslavement in Darfur during the reporting period.
PreventionThe government made limited efforts during the reporting period aimed at the prevention of trafficking. In September 2008, the SSDDRC and the UN’s DDR unit began a weekly radio talk show to sensitize the public on demobilization and reintegration issues. In June 2008, the government NCCW, in collaboration with UNICEF, hosted its national celebration of the Day of the African Child in Kadugli, South Kordofan State. Based on the theme “No use of children under 18 years in the military,” activities included speeches, radio and television interviews, songs, children’s theater, traditional dance, sporting events, and the distribution of printed materials such as posters, leaflets, and banners; these events reached an estimated 85,000 people in Kadugli. Similar celebrations took place in all other states in collaboration with state Councils for Child Welfare and state Ministries of Social Welfare. During 2008, Sudanese national security personnel prevented the publication of newspaper articles on human trafficking. The government did not take any known measures during the reporting period to reduce the demand for forced labor or commercial sex acts. Sudan has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
SURINAME (Tier 2)
Suriname is a destination and transit country for men, women, and children from the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Guyana, Colombia, Haiti, Indonesia, Vietnam, and China trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Suriname is also a source country for women and children trafficked within the country for sexual exploitation and forced labor, as well as women trafficked transnationally for forced labor. Foreign trafficking victims are exploited in illegal urban brothels and the western district of Nickerie. Guyanese women and girls are forced into street prostitution and are trafficked into the sex trade near both legal and illegal gold mining camps in the Amazon jungle. At least one criminal network traffics Brazilian women among gold mining sites in both Suriname and French Guiana. Women from urban areas are recruited for domestic work at these mining camps and subsequently coerced into sexual servitude. Some Chinese men are subjected to forced labor in the construction industry, while some Chinese women are forced into prostitution in massage parlors and brothels. Chinese men and women are forced to labor in grocery stores. Some Haitian migrants transiting Suriname are forced to work in agriculture. Traffickers fraudulently promised at least 23 Surinamese women that they would be given well-paying jobs in Europe after finishing cooking school in Trinidad and Tobago. The women were intercepted in Curacao and returned to Suriname. Although Chinese organized crime units traffic some people to and through Suriname, most traffickers in Suriname operate through smaller, local networks.
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. Despite significant resource constraints, the government increased anti-trafficking law enforcement actions, and modestly improved victim assistance and prevention efforts. Reports of officials’ complicity in trafficking, however, continue and the government has made no efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex acts.
Recommendations for Suriname: Continue investigating, prosecuting, and adequately punishing trafficking offenders; investigate and prosecute corrupt public officials who allegedly facilitate trafficking; investigate reports of forced labor; consider measures to better protect both foreign and Surinamese trafficking victims; and sponsor public campaigns to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.
The Surinamese government strongly increased its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the last year. Suriname prohibits all forms of human trafficking through a 2006 amendment to its Criminal Code, which prescribes sufficiently stringent penalties of five to 20 years’ imprisonment – penalties that are commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes. An interagency, public-private working group (IWG) coordinates government efforts to investigate and prosecute traffickers. The public prosecutor reported nine trafficking arrests between March 2008 and February 2009. Three offenders were convicted: A Korean boat captain was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for the forced labor of four Vietnamese, and two nightclub owners, a Chinese and Brazilian couple, were convicted of trafficking nine Brazilian women into prostitution. The husband was sentenced to 12 months' and the wife to four months' imprisonment. A case with three defendants accused of trafficking a 16-year old Guyanese girl for sexual exploitation at a nightclub was before the courts in March 2009. Two additional cases are pending. The TIP Police Unit regularly inspected places where trafficking victims might be found, and conducted random brothel checks to ensure the women were not mistreated, no minors were present, and that owners did not keep the women’s airline tickets and passports. The government requested the extradition of four Surinamers from Curacao, in connection with the probable trafficking of 21 Surinamese men and two women en route to Europe through Trinidad and Tobago; three more Surinamers were arrested in Suriname in connection with the case, and are in jail pending trial. Investigations continue in the case of 11 Indonesians rescued from forced labor at a motorbike assembly plant. The government initiated investigations of some Surinamese officials who reportedly facilitated trafficking into the country by accepting money and favors from suspected traffickers, though no prosecutions were begun.
The government continued to provide moderate protection for victims of trafficking during the year. The government provided free legal services to trafficking victims, and instituted a formal mechanism for referring victims to a local foundation which, in collaboration with the TIP Police Unit and the Ministry of Justice and Police, coordinates the provision of shelter, medical care, and psychological services to identified foreign and Surinamese victims. Surinamese law does not grant foreign victims temporary or permanent residency status or legal alternatives to removal to countries where they may face hardship or retribution, though victims who participated in law enforcement investigations and prosecutions were allowed to stay during these proceedings. There were reports that some foreign victims were incarcerated and deported for immigration violations, though identified foreign victims are generally not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. The same local foundation is charged with arranging shelter and services for as long as victims are needed for the investigation and court case, then works with embassy or consulate officials to arrange victims’ repatriation. Foreign victims were required to remain in the country until they could issue a sworn statement and a judge determined that they could leave Suriname. Victims who had been found working illegally in Suriname could not seek temporary employment while awaiting trial proceedings. The Ministry of Justice and Police is reviewing draft legislation that would grant foreign victims legal resident status. The government encourages victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenders. During the year, at least 28 victims cooperated with police. None chose to file a civil suit for restitution against their traffickers, although that option is available.
The government continued its solid prevention efforts during the year. Senior officials continued to condemn and draw public attention to the problem of human trafficking in Suriname. The government ran an education campaign for journalists, religious groups, youth organizations, officials, labor unions, brothel owners, and NGOs, and conducted a specialized campaign in the Marowijne District. The IWG systematically monitored government anti-trafficking efforts. Immigration police monitored visa applications and ports of entry for patterns that might indicate trafficking. Police closed a brothel in Nickerie district for exploiting a minor in prostitution. The Ministry of Labor along with the Youth Affairs section of the Police Force and the Commission for Child Rights educated and informed the public on the worst forms of child labor and child exploitation. The government made no discernable efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex acts.
SWAZILAND (Tier 3)
Swaziland is a source, destination, and transit country for women and children trafficked internally and transnationally for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and forced labor in agriculture. Swazi girls, particularly orphans, are trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation and domestic servitude in the cities of Mbabane and Manzini, as well as to South Africa and Mozambique. Swazi boys are trafficked for forced labor in commercial agriculture and market vending. Some Swazi women are forced into prostitution in South Africa and Mozambique after voluntarily migrating to these countries in search of work. Chinese organized crime units acquire victims in Swaziland and traffic them to hubs in Johannesburg, where they “distribute” victims locally or send them on to be exploited overseas. Traffickers force Mozambican women into prostitution in Swaziland, or else transit Swaziland with their victims en route to South Africa. Mozambican boys migrate to Swaziland for work washing cars, herding livestock, and portering; some of these boys subsequently become victims of trafficking.
The government of Swaziland does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The government believes that trafficking probably does occur, but does not know the extent of the problem. Its limited resources were directed towards other issues because the government does not judge trafficking to be an “important” problem, a judgment which significantly limited the government’s current efforts to eliminate human trafficking, or to plan anti-trafficking activities or initiatives for the future.
Recommendations for Swaziland: Enact and implement comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation; prosecute trafficking offenses under existing laws; train law enforcement officials to recognize human trafficking situations; proactively identify victims; institute a formal system to refer victims for assistance; work with NGOs and international organizations as appropriate, to better determine the nature and extent of Swaziland’s trafficking problem; implement a comprehensive law-enforcement record-keeping system; and conduct visible campaigns to educate the public about the dangers and risks of trafficking in Swaziland.
The government made no effort to investigate or prosecute trafficking offenses during the year. While Swaziland has no law specifically prohibiting trafficking, existing statutes prohibiting acts such as kidnapping, forced and compulsory labor, confiscation of passports, aiding and abetting “prohibited immigrants” to enter the country, brothel keeping, procurement for prostitution, sex or solicitation of sex with an underage girl, and employing children under the age of 15 could be used to prosecute trafficking offenses, but were not. Under traditional Swazi law, many such cases are resolved within the chiefdom via customary, rather than civil law, and cases reviewed under customary law are not generally reported to civil authorities, or the media. As plaintiffs in these cases tend to be reluctant to bring additional civil or criminal charges against the suspected offender, the government has no information whether any of these cases do or could involve trafficking. A draft bill now in its fourth year of review -- the Sexual Offenses and Domestic Violence Bill -- would criminalize sex trafficking and mandate psychological services for victims. It has not yet been presented to parliament. In the past year, law enforcement officials made no effort to proactively identify cases of children trafficked for labor.
The Swaziland government made inadequate efforts to protect victims of trafficking over the reporting period. There were no government programs which provided services specifically to victims of trafficking, and the government continued to depend on NGOs to provide shelter, referral, counseling, and other care for victims. A government-run center in Manzini provides medical and social services to victims of abuse, which would be made available to trafficking victims. Swazi law did not protect victims from prosecution for crimes committed as a direct result of trafficking. Under the Immigration Act, a person entering Swaziland for the purpose of prostitution, even as a victim of trafficking, is subject to deportation, although it is not automatic. The government did not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they would be at risk of hardship or retribution.
There were no government-run anti-trafficking campaigns during the reporting period. In late 2008, the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Gender Unit again worked with NGOs to organize the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign, which addressed human trafficking and other abuses against women and children. Movement across the borders with South Africa and Mozambique are not well-controlled; undocumented crossings of illegal migrants and trafficking victims are common. Although the authorities lack the personnel to patrol Swaziland’s borders adequately, they claim that they made some efforts to monitor them for trafficking during the year. The government also made some effort to reduce demand for commercial sex acts during the year. Swaziland has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
SWEDEN (Tier 1)
Sweden is a destination, and, to a lesser extent, a transit country for women trafficked from Romania, Russia, Nigeria, Albania, Tanzania, Thailand, and Estonia for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Some of these women are trafficked through Sweden to Norway, Denmark, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Women and children from Romania are trafficked to Sweden for the purpose of forced begging. One man from Ukraine was trafficked to Sweden for the purpose of begging and petty theft. In 2008, a Swedish national was identified as a victim of trafficking in another EU country, where her alleged trafficker attempted to force her into prostitution. The Swedish police estimate that 400 to 600 persons are trafficked to Sweden annually, primarily for forced prostitution.
The Government of Sweden fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In January 2009, Sweden used its anti-trafficking law to prosecute and convict labor traffickers for the first time. The government allocated $26 million to implement the Ministry for Integration and Gender Equality’s two- year comprehensive anti-trafficking action plan in Sweden and in select source countries, which included measures to prevent sex trafficking, improve victim assistance and the victim repatriation system, provide training for law enforcement and judges, and improve screening for potential victims during the visa application process.
Recommendations for Sweden: Consider increased use of the 2002 anti-trafficking law to prosecute trafficking offenders; improve efforts to collect trafficking specific law enforcement data; develop and implement formal procedures for the identification of trafficking victims and increase efforts to identify victims; improve labor trafficking awareness and coordination among local and regional police; continue training judges on the application of the anti-trafficking law; and continue efforts to better identify, address and prevent child trafficking to Sweden.
The government continued its law enforcement efforts to fight sex trafficking and improved efforts to address labor trafficking over the reporting period. Sweden’s 2002 anti-trafficking law prohibits trafficking for both sexual exploitation and forced labor and prescribes penalties of two to 10 years’ imprisonment, penalties that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes. Prosecutors continued, however, to rely on a prostitution procurement law with weaker penalties to prosecute and convict some sex traffickers. In 2008, police conducted 15 sex trafficking and eight labor trafficking investigations, compared to 15 investigations reported in 2007. Authorities prosecuted four labor trafficking offenders and nine sex trafficking offenders, compared to 13 prosecutions in 2007. Four individuals were convicted for labor trafficking and eight individuals were convicted for sex trafficking, compared to two labor trafficking convictions and 11 sex trafficking convictions in 2007. Sentences given to nine convicted traffickers ranged from six to 78 months’ imprisonment.
Sweden provided adequate victim assistance during the reporting period, although the number of victims assisted decreased over the reporting period. Police received some victim identification training and referred identified victims to NGOs for assistance. The government funded NGOs both in Sweden and abroad to provide victim rehabilitation, health care, vocational training, and legal assistance. Identified foreign victims were granted a minimum 30-day temporary residency permit that provided them with access to health care and social services. Swedish authorities encouraged victims to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions; victims who declined to participate in investigations were subject to deportation after the 30-day reflection period, although no victims were deported from Sweden in 2008. Over the reporting period, six victims received state-funded assistance compared to 11 victims in 2007. Four victims received temporary residency permits to remain in Sweden for the duration of the relevant criminal trial, a decrease from 10 victims given such temporary permits in 2007. The Swedish government provided temporary residency to certain victims, but did not otherwise offer legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution. The government did not punish victims for unlawful acts committed as a result of being trafficked.
The Government of Sweden demonstrated efforts to raise awareness and prevent trafficking over the reporting period. The local government in Stockholm conducted an awareness campaign targeted at cab drivers and hotel and restaurant personnel who are likely to come in contact with victims of trafficking; the campaign consisted of posters and television advertisements and provided information on how the public can report suspected instances of trafficking. In July 2008, the Ministry for Integration and Gender Equality adopted a comprehensive anti-trafficking action plan, which in part requires increased efforts to prevent commercial sexual exploitation.
SWITZERLAND (Tier 1)
Switzerland is primarily a destination and, to a lesser extent, a transit country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. One NGO reported that roughly 50 percent of the trafficking victims counseled in Switzerland came from Eastern Europe; 27 percent were from Latin America; 14 percent were from Asia; and the remaining nine percent came from Africa. Primary countries of origin during the reporting period were Romania, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Ukraine, Moldova, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Thailand, Cambodia, Nigeria, and Cameroon. Swiss federal police assess that the total number of potential trafficking victims residing in Switzerland is between 1,500 and 3,000. There is reportedly forced labor in the domestic service sector. Trafficking of ethnic Roma minors, who reportedly are brought from other European countries to various Swiss cities to beg and commit petty theft, is a rising concern of Swiss authorities.
The Government of Switzerland fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. While only 16 percent of trafficking offenders convicted during the reporting period served time in jail and authorities initiated no labor trafficking prosecutions, the number of sex trafficking convictions increased.
Recommendations for Switzerland: Increase the number of convicted traffickers serving time in prison; establish formal procedures to guide officials nationwide in proactively identifying victims among vulnerable groups, such as women in prostitution, street children, or undocumented migrant worker; establish formal procedures to guide officials nationwide in referring potential victims to service providers; provide adequate funding for trafficking victim service providers; consider a nationwide awareness campaign that addresses labor and sex trafficking and targets potential victims, the general public, as well as potential clients of the sex trade and beneficiaries of forced labor.
The Government of Switzerland’s anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts yielded an increased numbers of sex trafficking convictions during the reporting period, though very few convicted trafficking offenders served jail time, and there were no labor trafficking prosecutions. Switzerland prohibits trafficking for both sexual and labor exploitation under the new Article 182 of the Swiss penal code, which prescribes penalties of up to 20 years’ imprisonment and are commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes. To improve the process for gathering statistics on trafficking prosecutions, Switzerland’s 26 cantons embarked on a data harmonization process that has resulted in a change of timing for the release of comprehensive law enforcement statistics. As a result, the latest available law enforcement statistics for this Report were the comprehensive data from 2007. Authorities reported 20 prosecutions under the trafficking statute in 2007, compared to 20 prosecutions under the trafficking statute in 2006. Swiss courts handed down convictions of 22 people under article 182 and three for sex trafficking under a separate forced prostitution statute in 2007, compared with five under the trafficking statute and 11 for sex trafficking under the forced prostitution statute in 2006. Authorities reported no labor trafficking prosecutions or convictions in 2007. Of those convicted and receiving sentences that were not subsequently suspended, the average sentence in 2007 was two years’ imprisonment -- the same average sentence seen in 2006. The maximum jail sentence that was not suspended in 2007 was four years, compared to a maximum of 28 months’ imprisonment in 2006. The government reported that only 16 percent (four of the 25) convicted trafficking offenders in 2007 served time in jail. The government trained 25 Swiss prosecutors and judges in November on sensitization to trafficking issues, such as recognizing trafficking crimes and appropriate victim protection.
The government demonstrated sustained victim protection efforts during the reporting period. The Swiss federal and cantonal governments have established some systems for human trafficking identification. For example, the Swiss Foreign Office has procedures for screening visa candidates who seek to travel to Switzerland to work as cabaret dancers, a group considered to be particularly vulnerable to trafficking. The Federal Police have a trafficking victim-screening checklist that is distributed to all federal and cantonal police officials and is mandatory for use in all cantonal immigration offices. Thirteen out of Switzerland’s 26 cantons have their own formal procedures for victim identification and referral. NGOs suggested that centrally-determined standards for how individual cantons are to provide assistance to victims would be useful. Trafficking victims had access to free and immediate medical, psychological, and legal assistance in coordination with government-and NGO-funded victim assistance centers or battered women’s shelters. Funding levels for the reporting period were not available, but some NGOs indicated government funding for victim assistance was inadequate. Special protective measures were available for juvenile trafficking victims. There were no specialized facilities for male victims of trafficking, although authorities did not identify any male victims in 2007. In January 2009, Switzerland amended its victim assistance law to include incentives for victim assistance centers to tailor programs for trafficking victims. The government reported assisting 128 trafficking victims in 2007. There were no reports that victims were penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked. Swiss authorities encouraged victims to participate in the prosecution of trafficking offenders and granted foreign victims both temporary and long-term legal alternatives to removal to countries where they faced hardship or retribution. The government started a pilot program in April 2008 to assist victims with repatriation to their home countries.
The government demonstrated some trafficking prevention efforts during the reporting period. In conjunction with the European Soccer Cup, which Switzerland hosted jointly with Austria in June 2008, the government provided $96,000 to NGOs to implement an anti-trafficking public awareness campaign. The campaign targeted potential clients of Switzerland’s sex trade through TV and Internet spots and posters but ran only from March to September. The government provided funding for a hotline for Russian-speaking trafficking victims, though it did not provide funding for the main victim assistance hotline, which was run by an NGO on private donations. The Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a November 2008 conference on the linkages among prostitution, migration, and human trafficking. The Swiss government funded trafficking prevention and protection programs in various countries and regions at an annual level of approximately $5.4 million. The Swiss federal police added a form to its website where suspected incidents of child sex tourism could be reported. Switzerland’s penal code provides for extraterritorial application of Switzerland’s child sexual abuse laws, though there were no reported prosecutions or convictions of Swiss child sex tourists under this law. The government provided specific anti-trafficking training modules for all Swiss peacekeeping troops.
SYRIA (Tier 3)Syria is principally a destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. Women from Iraq, Eastern Europe, former Soviet states, Somalia, and Morocco are recruited as cabaret dancers and subsequently forced into prostitution after their employers confiscate their passports and confine them to their work premises. A significant number of women and children in the large Iraqi refugee community in Syria are forced into sexual exploitation by criminal gangs or, in some cases, their families. Some desperate Iraqi families reportedly abandon their girls at the border with the expectation that traffickers on the Syrian side would arrange forged documents for the children and “work” in a nightclub or brothel. Iraqi families arrange for young girls to work in clubs and to be "married," often multiple times, to men for the sole purpose of prostitution. Some Iraqi women and girls who turn to prostitution out of economic desperation are trafficked back into Syria after they are arrested and deported. Syria is becoming a destination for sex tourism by citizens of other Middle Eastern countries, due in part to the influx of Iraqi women and girls exploited in prostitution. Syria is also a transit country for Iraqi women and girls trafficked to Kuwait, the UAE, and Lebanon for forced prostitution.
Some women, mostly from South and Southeast Asia and East Africa, who are recruited to work in Syria as domestic servants are subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude by employers and some of the dozens of recruitment agencies -- many of which are unlicensed – within Syria. Their work as domestic servants is not covered by Syrian labor law. Contracts signed in the employee’s country of origin are often changed upon arrival in Syria, contributing to the employees’ vulnerability to forced labor. Some of these women are confined to the residences in which they work, and have their passports confiscated by their employers as a way of restraining their movement. Employers sometimes physically abuse their foreign domestic workers. The Governments of Sri Lanka, Indonesia, East Timor, and the Philippines ban their citizens from accepting employment as domestic workers in Syria, absent enhanced measures to regulate such employment, although this has not stopped the flow of workers into the country.
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 again did not report any law enforcement efforts to investigate and punish trafficking offenses over the past year. Protection of trafficking victims remained inadequate overall, though the government opened a new shelter in cooperation with IOM in late 2008 and made plans to open a second shelter in 2009. The government made no significant efforts to inform the Syrian public about the practice of human trafficking or to reduce the demand for forced labor – particularly the forced labor of domestic servants -- or commercial sex acts in Syria. The government has drafted and is reviewing an anti-trafficking law, though it has not made the text public or indicated when the legislation might be enacted.
Recommendations for Syria: Enact a law that criminalizes trafficking; investigate, prosecute, and punish offenders; institute a formal procedure to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable groups, such as girls and women found in prostitution, or foreigners detained for lack of immigration documentation, and refer these identified victims to providers of appropriate care; and undertake a campaign to raise public awareness of trafficking.
The Government of Syria made no reported efforts to investigate or punish trafficking crimes during the past year, though the government reportedly closed several labor recruitment agencies that may have been involved in recruiting workers through fraudulent means for the purpose of exploitation. Syria continued to lack anti-trafficking legislation, without which the police were stymied in identifying potential victims and investigating suspected trafficking offenses. During the year, the government showed signs of nascent recognition of Syria’s trafficking problem. Anti-trafficking legislation was drafted and reviewed by the Cabinet and Parliament during the year, though it was not passed or enacted. Without an adequate trafficking law, authorities could use existing statutes prohibiting kidnapping, forced prostitution, forced labor, and illegal entry into Syria, to prosecute some trafficking cases; however, there was no evidence that they did so.
The 1961 anti-prostitution law criminalizes bringing a person into the country for the purpose of prostitution, and prohibits prostituting a minor less than 16 years old, with a prescribed penalty of one to seven years’ imprisonment. The General Penal Code imposes a three-year prison term and nominal fine for exploitation of prostitution by force, fraud, or coercion. These penalties are not commensurate with the penalties prescribed for rape. Decree 29 of 1970, which regulates immigration, stipulates that "any foreigner who tries to enter the country with false documents and anyone who aided that person is subject to imprisonment of three months to one year.” In practice, however, these laws are not targeted toward, or enforced against, traffickers. A 2005 law on money laundering and terrorism financing authorizes prosecution of anyone who receives illicit funds from, inter alia, “trading in people,” although there is no information indicating that anyone has been prosecuted under this provision.
During the year, the Syrian government made modest progress in protecting trafficking victims. The government donated building space for a new trafficking shelter opened in Damascus in late 2008, and made plans to open a second shelter in Aleppo later this year. These shelters offer legal and medical services and psychological counseling to victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. Referral of trafficking victims to shelters or NGOs remained informal absent enactment of anti-trafficking legislation or development of a formal anti-trafficking policy. In some cases, Iraqi refugee women who were identified as victims of trafficking were moved from detention facilities to shelters. The government continues to lack formal victim identification procedures to identify potential trafficking victims. As a result, victims of trafficking may have been arrested and charged with prostitution or violating immigration laws. There were reports, however, that some women arrested for prostitution and subsequently identified as victims of trafficking were referred to shelters; this is a positive development. Also, Syrian immigration authorities worked with IOM and foreign embassies to arrange for repatriation of several women, most of whom had escaped from abusive situations as domestic workers. Syria did not actively encourage victims to assist in investigations or prosecutions of their traffickers and did not provide foreign victims with legal alternatives to their removal to countries in which they may face hardship or retribution.
During the past year, the government took minimal steps to prevent trafficking. Syria did not conduct any campaigns to educate the public about trafficking, or take any measures to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. Similarly, the government did not undertake any public awareness campaigns against child sex tourism. Together with IOM, the government provided training to Syrian border immigration officials on combating fraudulent documents, which included a trafficking-awareness component. Syria has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
Taiwan is primarily a destination for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. To a far lesser extent, it is a source of women trafficked to Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States for sexual exploitation and forced labor, as well as a transit area for People’s Republic of China (PRC) citizens seeking to enter the United States illegally, some of whom may become victims of debt bondage and forced prostitution. Most trafficking victims are workers from rural areas of Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, employed through recruitment agencies and brokers to perform low-skilled work in Taiwan’s construction, fishing, and manufacturing industries, or to work as domestic workers. Many of these workers fall victim to labor trafficking by unscrupulous brokers and employers, who force workers to perform work outside the scope of their contract and often under exploitative conditions. Some women and girls from the PRC and Southeast Asian countries are trafficked to Taiwan through fraudulent marriages, deceptive employment offers, and illegal smuggling for sexual exploitation and forced labor. Many migrant workers are charged job placement and service fees up to the equivalent of $14,000, some of which are unlawful, resulting in substantial debt that unscrupulous labor brokers or employers may use as a coercive tool to subject the workers to involuntary servitude. Labor brokers often help employers forcibly deport “problematic” employees, thus allowing the broker to fill the empty quota with a new foreign worker who must pay placement and brokerage fees that may be used to subject them to involuntary servitude. Many foreign workers remain vulnerable to trafficking because legal protections, oversight by authorities, and enforcement efforts are currently inadequate. Taiwan authorities reported that traffickers, including syndicates in Southeast Asia, continued to recruit women from the PRC, Vietnam, Indonesia, and other Southeast Asian countries into marriages with Taiwan men, and then force them into prostitution or exploitative labor upon their arrival. Some women knowingly enter into false marriages after being promised jobs as caregivers or domestic workers in Taiwan, but are subsequently forced into Taiwan’s sex industry or into forced labor. NGOs continued to report an increase in the number of boys rescued from prostitution, mainly discovered during police investigations of online social networking sites suspected of fronting for prostitution rings.
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 authorities made noticeable progress during the reporting period by passing a new anti-trafficking law, bolstering law enforcement efforts, and approving a budget plan of $14.8 million for victim protection measures. Authorities provided training for law enforcement, social workers, and judicial personnel to enhance investigative skills and increase understanding of human trafficking, victim protections, and related legal issues. Taiwan’s efforts on victim identification and protection, however, remained inadequate over the last year. NGOs report that immigration, police, and local law enforcement officials continue to view trafficking victims as runaways or criminals, resulting in some victims being penalized rather than assisted.
Recommendations for Taiwan: Extend labor protections to all categories of workers including domestic workers and caregivers to prevent labor trafficking; implement the new comprehensive anti-trafficking law and effectively carry out its victim and witness protections so that victims are not penalized for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; ensure law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, and judges consistently implement victim identification procedures and victim protection procedures to prevent the prosecution of trafficking victims for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; encourage victims to voluntarily assist in the prosecution of traffickers; increase police efforts to investigate trafficking crimes and to identify trafficking victims; and improve cooperation with governments of labor source countries on trafficking investigations.
Taiwan authorities made notable progress in combating trafficking through law enforcement efforts during the last year. In January 2009, Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan passed a new anti-trafficking law, which along with portions of the Criminal Code, criminalizes trafficking for both sexual exploitation and forced labor. The new law, which provides punishment of up to seven years’ imprisonment for sex and labor trafficking, will come into effect when all corresponding statutes and regulations have been amended to conform to its provisions. During the reporting period, prosecutors continued to use sections of Taiwan’s criminal code, labor law, and immigration law to prosecute labor and sex trafficking offenses. The Labor Standards Law, which prohibits forced labor, does not apply to the unknown number of Taiwan nationals and the 169,000 foreign workers -- approximately half of Taiwan’s foreign work force -- employed as caregivers or domestic workers on Taiwan, who are especially vulnerable to labor trafficking. Typical punishments imposed on offenders convicted of forced labor or labor trafficking-related provisions under the Labor Standards Law are fines or imprisonment of less than one year – punishments that were not sufficient. The new anti-trafficking law criminalizes labor trafficking and significantly increases penalties for such offenses. According to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), six individuals were convicted in 2008 of trafficking-related provisions under the Employment Services Act. There were no trafficking-related convictions under the Labor Standards Law in 2008. Taiwan regulations allow employers to implement a system of “forced savings,” a practice known to facilitate trafficking whereby employers deduct up to thirty percent of a foreign worker’s monthly salary to be placed in a bank account in the worker’s name, while the worker has no access to the account. Foreign workers are forced into such an arrangement upon arrival in Taiwan, and they are often sent home if they object. The money is not returned if the worker ends work early due to abuse or exploitation, thereby deterring trafficked workers from seeking assistance. Traffickers also lure women to Taiwan with promises of marriage to Taiwan men, preying on hopes of a higher standard of living. These arrangements are sometimes fraudulent, resulting in foreign women trafficked into forced labor or sexual exploitation in Taiwan. Taiwan authorities banned for-profit marriage broker agencies in 2008, although there is a one-year grace period to allow existing agencies to close down operations.
The Ministry of Justice reports that authorities commenced prosecutions against 481 individuals for suspected trafficking from April to December 2008, most of which were sex trafficking cases. From April 2008 until January 2009, 234 individuals were convicted of trafficking-related offenses, including 80 for sexual exploitation and 35 for labor trafficking. In October 2008, the Taoyuan District Court convicted eighteen people for offenses related to coercing Indonesian and Vietnamese women to engage in prostitution and withholding their passports and earnings. The court sentenced the principal defendant to twenty years’ imprisonment and others to as many as twelve years’ imprisonment. Some trafficking victims have been required to serve as witnesses in the trials of their traffickers and, as a result, have spent many months on Taiwan unable to work. Although amendments to the Immigration Act in August 2008 allow some trafficking victims to apply for temporary work permits, foreign victims have not been permitted to work while awaiting the outcome of labor disputes and trafficking investigations, and their mounting, often fraudulent, debts owed to home country and Taiwanese labor brokers lead many to flee shelters to seek illegal sources of income. When the new anti-trafficking legislation is enacted, victims will not be required to serve as witnesses in an open court trial and will not need to be designated as witnesses by prosecutors in order to obtain a temporary work permit. During the reporting period, there were reports that some local officials took bribes to turn a blind eye to trafficking, and allegations that some Taiwan politicians accompanied employers or brokers to local Bureau of Labor Affairs (BLA) mediation sessions with workers who registered complaints. Some sources believe these were thinly-veiled attempts to influence BLA officials and intimidate workers in order to achieve a favorable outcome for the employer or broker. No officials were indicted or convicted of trafficking-related corruption during the reporting period.
Protection efforts by Taiwan authorities improved during the reporting period. A significant number of trafficking victims on Taiwan continue to go undetected by law enforcement authorities. Despite provisions in amendments to Taiwan’s Immigration Act enacted in August 2008, which allows trafficking victims to apply for six-month temporary residency and work permits, no such immigration relief has been granted. Although Taiwan authorities have adopted formal victim identification procedures, implementation was not consistent and the process of referring victims from law enforcement custody to shelter facilities remained unreliable. In February 2009, the Ministry of Justice amended victim identification principles to simplify and standardize trafficking indicators across agencies and to provide law enforcement officials with a reference guide for questioning victims. These guidelines encourage multiple victim identification assessments by both field officers and detention center officials. During the year, officials began to outsource victim placement services to NGOs, who are better equipped to provide social support services victims need. Nevertheless, many trafficking victims are treated as illegal immigrants or illegal laborers, held in detention facilities, prosecuted, fined, and ultimately deported. While incarcerated, most detainees have limited access to psychological or legal counseling. NGOs reported that more victims were being identified by government authorities during the period, and the government ensured that these identified victims were not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficking, though other victims not so identified by government authorities were likely arrested and penalized for immigration violations. Officials claimed that language barriers hamper their ability to sufficiently identify victims and investigate trafficking cases. In 2008, MOI began compiling a centralized interpreter database accessible by all law enforcement officials. Victims who cooperated with prosecutors in cases where charges were actually filed against the trafficker or other defendants were, in most cases, excused from punishment. Taiwan has no law to protect foreign trafficking victims from being removed to countries where they face hardship or retribution.
The treatment afforded to victims varies considerably from place to place. The Council for Labor Affairs (CLA) provides subsidies to 11 NGO-operated shelters for trafficking victims. Most of those sheltered in these facilities were referred by churches, NGOs, or other informal channels. In August 2008 and March 2009, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) contracted NGOs to operate two new trafficking shelters for one year, one in Taoyuan and one in Hualien. The Taoyuan shelter, which is co-located with one of NIA’s long-term detention facilities, housed 12 victims in 2008, most of whom were labor trafficking victims. There are some concerns that the shelter, which is a refurbished detention facility, would place victims under constant supervision by NIA officials. The Crime Victim Protection Act was amended in January 2009 to expand protections to include foreign victims of trafficking.
According to the MOI, local government agencies placed 65 trafficking victims with government-subsidized NGO shelters during 2008. In December 2008, the Executive Yuan approved a $14.8 million budget for anti-trafficking efforts through 2010.
Taiwan authorities report that their efforts to combat trafficking abroad are hampered by a lack of formal diplomatic relations with source country governments and an inability to join relevant international organizations. Taiwan demonstrated continued commitment to trafficking prevention efforts, spending over $900,000 in training and public awareness campaigns in 2008. Authorities launched a multimedia campaign to increase public awareness of Taiwan’s human trafficking problem, and held multiple training seminars and workshops for law enforcement, prosecutors, labor officials, judges, social work and medical personnel, and NGOs. The National Immigration Agency compiled and distributed an operations manual on human trafficking cases to law enforcement agencies, and the Ministry of Education included teaching materials on human trafficking in the national curriculum. A Direct Employment Service Center allows the rehiring of foreign domestic workers without going through labor brokers. This program could be improved and expanded, however, to encourage greater participation. As part of an ongoing campaign to combat child sex trafficking, authorities on Taiwan continued to display public service announcements in movie theaters, on television, and on online chat rooms and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) along with NGOs produced pamphlets and other materials in Mandarin, Japanese, and English to raise awareness of the child sex trade.Taiwan has a law with extraterritorial application that criminalizes the sexual exploitation of children by Taiwan passport holders traveling abroad; however, it did not prosecute anyone for child sex tourism abroad during the reporting period.
TAJIKISTAN (TIER 2 Watch List)
Tajikistan is a source country for women trafficked to the UAE often through Kyrgyzstan and Russia, for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Some women are trafficked from Tajikistan to Russia, Turkey, Iran, and India for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Men are trafficked to Russia and, to a lesser extent, Kazakhstan for the purpose of forced labor, primarily in the construction and agricultural sectors. Children, men, and women are coerced by some local government authorities to harvest cotton. In 2008, a small number of Tajik men were trafficked to Poland for the purpose of forced labor. Boys and girls are trafficked internally for various purposes, including forced labor, forced begging, and commercial sexual exploitation.
The government also failed to prevent local officials from compelling men, women and children – particularly in Khatlon and Sughd regions – to pick cotton during the annual cotton harvest. For the first time in 2008, local prosecutors initiated investigations into allegations that local officials and teachers forced children to pick cotton -- although there were no convictions of officials for compelled labor during the reporting period. Forced labor in the cotton sector remained problematic because the Government of Tajikistan continued to set a fixed price for a small cadre of investors to purchase cotton from farmers. This fixed price is well below market value, making it difficult for farmers to pay workers to pick cotton. This undervaluing of labor, and consequent lack of voluntary laborers, leads local officials to compel people to participate in the cotton campaign.
Recommendations for Tajikistan: Vigorously investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, especially those involving labor trafficking, and convict and punish trafficking offenders with imprisonment; ensure better coordination between law enforcement and security institutions, particularly the State Committee on National Security; prosecute and convict government officials who participate in or facilitate trafficking in persons and ensure they serve time in prison; ensure indentified victims are not assaulted or re-victimized by government officials and ensure such allegations of assault are fully investigated and culpable offenders are prosecuted and criminally punished; provide financial or in-kind assistance to existing trafficking shelters; be directly involved in trafficking awareness campaigns, and ensure anti-trafficking information appears in government media outlets; prohibit the forced or coerced labor of children and adults in the annual cotton harvest by monitoring school and university attendance, inspecting cotton fields during the harvest, and enforcing existing laws prohibiting the use of forced labor; make efforts to improve trafficking data collection and analysis; and develop a victim identification and referral mechanism.
The Government of Tajikistan reported increased but limited anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Article 130.1 of the criminal code prohibits both sexual exploitation and forced labor, and prescribes penalties of 5 to 15 years’ imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent but are lower than penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. Although it was added to the criminal code in 2003, officials have not successfully used the statute to prosecute trafficking offenders. However, officials have used other criminal provisions to address trafficking related crimes, and for the first time, authorities investigated suspected labor trafficking cases. In 2008, authorities reported investigating 23 individuals suspected of trafficking, an increase from 12 trafficking investigations in 2007. The government reported 23 prosecutions in 2008, compared to 19 reported in 2007. Courts convicted 17 traffickers in 2008, up from 11 convictions reported in 2007. The government reported that no convicted traffickers received suspended sentences or were granted amnesty in 2008; sentences for those serving time in prison ranged from six months to eight years’ imprisonment. The government worked with Russian authorities to investigate two trafficking cases in 2008.
The government did not demonstrate significant efforts to address government complicity in trafficking during the reporting period. The State Committee on National Security did not vigorously investigate reports that three identified trafficking victims were sexually assaulted by its officers after they were repatriated to Tajikistan. There were unconfirmed reports that some government officials used their authority to stop trafficking investigations because of illicit ties to traffickers. Local officials in Sughd and Khatlon regions were directly involved in organizing and coercing students to participate in the annual cotton harvest and, despite widespread public reports of this forced labor, the Ministry of Labor did not deploy inspection teams to investigate them and Ministry of Education officials generally did not discipline teachers or local administrators who facilitated or directed such practices. However, after the conclusion of the harvest, government prosecutors in Khatlon investigated 12 local government officials and teachers for forcing school age and university students to pick cotton; some of the education officials were reprimanded for their actions, however no officials were convicted of criminal offenses during the reporting period.
Tajikistan again demonstrated limited prevention efforts during the reporting period. In October 2008, the government produced and broadcast television programs informing potential labor migrants of their rights and practical considerations for the migration process. In 2008, officials instituted monitoring and licensing requirements for travel firms to help detect or investigate firms suspected of labor trafficking complicity.
TANZANIA (Tier 2)
Tanzania is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. The incidence of internal trafficking is believed to be higher than that of transnational trafficking. Tanzanian girls from rural areas are trafficked to urban centers and the island of Zanzibar for domestic servitude; some domestic workers fleeing abusive employers fall prey to forced prostitution. Tourist hotels reportedly coerce some girls employed as cleaning staff into prostitution. Boys are trafficked within the country for forced labor on farms, in mines, in the informal business sector, and possibly on small fishing boats. Smaller numbers of Tanzanian children and adults reportedly are trafficked to surrounding African nations, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and possibly other European countries for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation. Indian women legally migrate to Tanzania to work as entertainers in restaurants and nightclubs; some are reportedly forced into prostitution after arrival. In 2008, Malawian men were trafficked to Tanzania for forced labor in fishing. Citizens of neighboring countries may be trafficked through Tanzania for forced domestic labor and sexual exploitation in South Africa, Europe, 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. In August 2008, the government enacted a comprehensive human trafficking law and made progress in educating law enforcement officials and prosecutors about the full scope of human trafficking. Although more than 250 victims of trafficking were identified by government officials over the year, the government initiated no known prosecutions of their traffickers.
Recommendations for Tanzania: Use newly enacted anti-trafficking legislation to prosecute and punish trafficking offenders; implement national procedures for victim protection, including the identification of trafficking victims among undocumented migrants; institute trafficking-specific data collection systems for use by the national police and courts; and provide additional training to law enforcement authorities on differentiating human trafficking from smuggling.
Though the Tanzanian government enacted anti-trafficking legislation and received significant amounts of training from outside entities during the reporting period, it reported no prosecutions or convictions of trafficking offenders. In June 2008, the Parliament passed the comprehensive Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2008, which was signed by the president in August. In February 2009, the law came into effect after being translated into Swahili and officially published. This statute prescribes punishments of from one to 20 years’ imprisonment depending upon the severity of the crime, punishments that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes. However, as no specific anti-trafficking law existed for the majority of the reporting period, existing statutes criminalizing the sale of people, forced labor, child labor, and various sexual offenses were applied to human trafficking cases. The government reportedly investigated cases of trafficking using these statutes, but provided no information on the prosecution or conviction of trafficking offenders during the year. Acting on a hotline tip, police in Mlandizi arrested and charged a Rwandan woman attempting to traffic a Tanzanian child to France; her trial date has not been set. Although the Ministry of Labor reportedly conducted inspections and issued warnings to violators of child labor statutes, there were no reported forced child labor cases brought to court in 2008. Likewise, Zanzibar’s Ministry of Labor did not take legal action against any cases of forced child labor. In February 2009, the government transferred responsibility for all anti-human trafficking law enforcement efforts from a specific Anti-Human-Trafficking Unit to the police’s INTERPOL office, which has broad responsibility for transnational crimes. The police Cyber Crimes Unit estimated investigating 200 trafficking-related cases since its establishment in 2006; however, no arrests have resulted from these efforts. In December 2008, the government opened the East African Regional Training Academy for immigration officials; approximately 60 percent of this facility’s funding is provided by the Tanzanian government. The academy’s curriculum includes a module devoted to anti-trafficking education.
The government's efforts to protect victims of trafficking during the reporting period were moderate and suffered from a lack of resources. Government officials partnered with NGOs to provide shelter, counseling, and rehabilitation for victims of trafficking; facilities for shelter and specialized care were limited to urban areas. While Tanzania lacked systematic victim referral procedures, police and social workers across the country received training on victim protection and government authorities referred trafficking victims to NGOs for assistance during the reporting period. For instance, police and community social workers referred 256 female trafficking victims to an NGO-run shelter in 2008. In March 2009, local social workers in Pwani region took custody of a rescued child, placed her in an orphanage, and enrolled her in school. A plain-clothed female police officer, part of the Dar es Salaam city police force, visited shelters to obtain sex trafficking victims’ statements in a private setting. In mid-2008, the government collaborated with IOM and NGOs to draft a plan for the referral of trafficking victims for care; this mechanism has not yet been finalized. The government provided free use of buildings and supplied teachers, doctors, and social workers, to assist anti-trafficking NGOs during the reporting period. A 24-hour crime hotline staffed by Tanzanian police officers was available for citizens to make anonymous reports about suspected trafficking victims; the hotline responded to two trafficking tips during the reporting period. The government generally encouraged Tanzanian victims' assistance in the investigation of their traffickers, but the lack of national procedures for victim identification likely led to the deportation of many foreign victims before they were identified or able to give evidence in court. With no formal procedure in place to identify foreign victims, they may have been treated by the government as illegal migrants and housed in prisons until deportation arrangements could be made. The government conducted educational programs to help law enforcement officials identify trafficking victims among vulnerable groups. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2008 provides foreign victims legal alternatives to their removal to countries where their safety or the safety of their families may be endangered.
While awareness of human trafficking increased further in Tanzania, including among communities in remote locations, understanding of what constitutes trafficking remained low; law enforcement and social welfare officials sometimes conflated human trafficking with smuggling. In April 2008, the government produced guidelines for child labor intervention at the district and community levels that were implemented to varying degrees. For example, to prevent child labor exploitation and trafficking, teachers, police, and labor inspectors followed up with parents to determine whether children missing from school had been forced into domestic servitude or other forms of labor. While there were no reports of local government officials carrying out legal action against such parents, the resulting fear of criminal penalties significantly reduced the availability of child domestic workers in Dar es Salaam by year’s end. Local Child Labor Committees, partially comprised of local government officials, partnered with ILO-IPEC to identify and withdraw children from situations of forced labor and enroll them in public schools or Ministry of Education–operated Community Learning Centers. High-ranking national and local officials were visibly present at events associated with IOM’s national campaign, “Uwe Sauti Yao” (Be Their Voice). In an effort to decrease the demand for commercial sex acts, in June 2008, Dar es Salaam police arrested and indicted 38 men and women – madams, women engaged in prostitution, and clients – on charges of keeping brothels and soliciting sexual services. All suspects were released on bail or with fines; trial dates have not yet been determined. All Tanzanian soldiers completed a module on the respect of human rights and anti-trafficking interventions as part of their basic curriculum. Troops received additional human rights training, including sessions on gender and women’s rights, the protection of civilians, and international humanitarian law, before their deployment to international peacekeeping missions.
THAILAND (Tier 2)
Thailand is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Thailand’s relative prosperity attracts migrants from neighboring countries and from as far away as Russia and Fiji who flee conditions of poverty and, in the case of Burma, military repression. Significant illegal migration to Thailand presents traffickers with opportunities to force, coerce, or defraud undocumented migrants into involuntary servitude or sexual exploitation. Following migration to Thailand, men, women, and children, primarily from Burma, are trafficked for forced labor in fishing-related industries, factories, agriculture, construction, domestic work, and begging. Women and children are trafficked from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, the People’s Republic of China, Vietnam, Russia, and Uzbekistan for commercial sexual exploitation in Thailand. Ethnic minorities such as northern hill tribe peoples, many of whom do not have legal status in the country, are at a disproportionately high risk for trafficking internally and abroad. Media reports during the year alleged trafficking of some Burmese migrants, including some refugees, from Malaysia to Thailand. Most Thai sex trafficking victims repatriated to Thailand were trafficked to Bahrain and Malaysia. Some Thai men who migrate for low-skilled contract work in Taiwan, Malaysia, the United States and elsewhere are subjected to conditions of forced labor after arrival. There are no reliable estimates of the number of trafficking victims in Thailand. Sex tourism in Thailand may encourage trafficking for sexual exploitation.
The Royal Thai Government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government began implementing a new, comprehensive anti-human trafficking law that came into force in June 2008 and trained the law enforcement community on the new legislation. In recent years, the number of annual convictions for sex trafficking has declined. Three sex traffickers were convicted, and the government initiated prosecutions of 54 individuals for trafficking offenses, including forced child labor, during the reporting period. The government did not, however, achieve a conviction for a labor trafficking offense during the year. The government initiated prosecution for multiple trafficking offenses of three owners of a Samut Sakhon shrimp processing factory raided in 2006.
Recommendations for Thailand: Increase efforts to investigate labor trafficking and prosecute labor traffickers; improve efforts to identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable groups, such as undocumented migrants; ensure that adult foreign trafficking victims who are willing to work with local law enforcement are not confined to shelters involuntarily; develop and implement mechanisms to allow adult foreign trafficking victims to seek and find employment outside shelters; educate migrant workers on their rights, their employers' obligations to them, legal recourse available to victims of trafficking, and how to seek remedies against traffickers.Prosecution
The Thai government continued to provide impressive protection to foreign and Thai victims of trafficking in Thailand and Thai trafficking victims abroad. The government expanded its network of temporary shelters for trafficking victims by 99 to 138, with at least one temporary shelter in each Thai province. The government refers victims of trafficking to one of eight longer-stay regional shelters run by the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS), where they receive psychological counseling, food, board, and medical care. The new anti-trafficking law extended victim protection provisions to male trafficking victims, and one of the government's long-stay shelters exclusively serves adult male victims and their families. In 2008, the government’s shelters provided protection and social services for at least 102 repatriated Thai victims and 520 foreigners trafficked to Thailand. The Department of Consular Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that 443 Thai nationals classified as trafficking victims were repatriated from a number of overseas locations, including Bahrain (360 victims), Malaysia (73 victims), and Taiwan (5 victims), between October 2007 and September 2008. Most of the victims were sex trafficking victims held in conditions of debt bondage. The Thai government, with NGO assistance, has implemented trafficking victim identification procedures, and has since conducted trainings for approximately 2,500 government officials. The government claimed that it screened undocumented migrants for trafficking victims, but informed observers asserted that it did not systematically do so. The government provides shelter and social services to all identified Thai and foreign trafficking victims pending their repatriation to their country or town of origin. Foreign trafficking victims in Thai custody, including those who cooperate with law enforcement, cannot leave shelters unsupervised, are not offered legal alternatives to their removal to countries where the victims may face hardship or retribution, and are not permitted to work outside shelters. Some foreign victims have been confined to shelters for as long as two years. The government encourages victims’ participation in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking crimes, and some victims do participate. NGOs have reported complaints by some foreign victims in shelters who feel that the government does not handle their repatriation in a timely fashion, and who feel pressured to remain in shelters in order to assist with prosecutions. Language barriers, fear of traffickers, distrust of Thai officials, slow legal processes, and the financial needs of victims all played a role in the decision of some victims to not participate in the Thai legal process, including criminal prosecutions. The 1998 Labor Protection Act allows for compensatory damages from employers in cases of forced labor, and the government ordered compensation in one of the shrimp factory cases and funded plaintiffs' attorneys in a successful civil action in the other shrimp factory case.
The Thai government continued to support prevention and public awareness activities on trafficking during the year, including through “public dialogues” on trafficking and television advertisements. Informed observers report significant forced labor among migrants who participate in Thailand’s temporary work program, suggesting victims’ inability to seek assistance from the government without fear of punishment or deportation and a lack of efforts to inform migrant workers of options for remedies against exploitative employers and labor brokers. Government efforts to reduce domestic demand for illegal commercial sex acts and child sex tourism were evidenced through the prosecution of approximately 20 child sex tourists, as well as occasional police raids to shut down brothels and awareness-raising campaigns targeting tourists. Thailand has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
Timor-Leste is a destination country for women from Indonesia, Thailand, the People’s Republic of China, Malaysia, and the Philippines trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, and a destination for men from Burma trafficked for the purpose of forced labor. Timor-Leste has a growing internal trafficking problem, mainly women and children lured to Dili from rural areas or camps for internally displaced persons with offers of employment and subsequently forced into prostitution. Transnational traffickers, who may be members of organized crime syndicates, typically recruit and control their victims through fraud and psychological coercion.
The Government of Timor-Leste does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite limited resources. During the year, the government improved counter-trafficking coordination among ministries, trained officials and law enforcement agents on human trafficking, implemented a birth registration program as a form of preventing trafficking, established procedures to identify victims among foreign women arrested for prostitution, and increased trafficking awareness among vulnerable populations. The government, however, did not arrest or prosecute any trafficking offenders, though officials identified some trafficking victims, and has not investigated persistent reports of law enforcement agents accepting bribes from traffickers.
Recommendations for Timor-Leste: Enact the draft Penal Code provisions on trafficking in persons; increase investigations, prosecutions, and punishment of trafficking offenders; train law enforcement officers on victim identification and protection; institute formal procedures for referring victims to service providers; and investigate, prosecute, and punish government officials who accept bribes to facilitate sex trafficking.
The Government of Timor-Leste demonstrated a minimal increase in anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the past year. Although both labor and sex trafficking victims were identified, the government did not investigate, arrest or prosecute any trafficking offenders. The Ministry of Justice drafted a new Timor-Leste Penal Code, which defines and punishes all forms of trafficking and provides protection to witnesses and victims. The Penal Code is awaiting approval by the Council of Ministers. During the year, trafficking cases could have been prosecuted under provisions in the Immigration and Asylum Act of 2003. Timor-Leste prohibits all forms of sex and labor trafficking through this Act, which prescribes penalties ranging from three to 12 years’ imprisonment – penalties that are sufficiently stringent but not commensurate with those prescribed for serious crimes, such as rape. The government and IOM held joint training courses on human trafficking for civil servants, immigration, police and military officers, and members of the diplomatic, civil and religious communities. The Victims’ Protection Unit (VPU) of the police also received gender-protection training from two NGOs. The government did not investigate persistent reports that police officers in Dili accepted bribes or sex in exchange for tolerating brothels’ exploitation of trafficking victims. Complaints that some border officials accept bribes to let trafficking victims enter Timor-Leste were also not investigated.
During the past year, the government continued to ensure victims’ access to protection services provided by NGOs and international organizations, as a severe lack of resources and personnel limit the Timorese government’s ability to provide services directly. The Ministry of Labor helped arrange assistance and shelter for victims of labor trafficking when cases were brought to its attention. In the absence of formal procedures, social service, immigration, and law enforcement agencies referred identified victims to NGOs for assistance on an ad hoc basis. Within the government, only the Immigration Department of the Ministry of Interior followed formal procedures to identify proactively trafficking victims among high-risk populations such as foreign women in prostitution. The government did not encourage victims to participate in investigations and prosecutions of trafficking offenders, although victims could file civil suits or take other legal action against traffickers. The draft penal code includes witness protection provisions; the present lack of such protections makes it difficult for victims to safely step forward and make their own allegations. Victims of trafficking were arrested for offenses committed as a direct result of being trafficked. This year, however, the government began to provide victims relief from imprisonment, summary deportation, or removal to a country where they may face hardship or retribution. Officials, in consultation with IOM, were authorized to determine a person’s status as a trafficking victim, rather than rely on the inefficient court system for such a determination.
Acknowledging that trafficking is a problem in the country, the Timorese government expanded its nation-wide trafficking awareness campaign in partnership with international and local NGOs. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs chaired the Trafficking Working Group, which includes the Ministries of Justice, Labor, and Social Solidarity, the VPU of the national police, the Office for the Promotion of Gender Equality, and representatives from the civil, religious, diplomatic, and NGO communities. During the year, the group met twice. IOM, the government, and a local NGO implemented a comprehensive trafficking awareness program for civil servants and police officers. Anti-human trafficking posters with emergency contact numbers are now prominently displayed at most government agencies, in National Police stations throughout the districts, and the Dili port and airport. The Ministry of Social Solidarity deployed 13 child protection officers, one to each district, to monitor and manage cases of vulnerable children. Local women's and children's rights NGOs worked with the government on campaigns to raise public awareness of trafficking and to prevent the sexual abuse of children. They distributed leaflets in several communities, which include the telephone numbers for the National Social Service Division, the police, and three local and international NGOs. The government also implemented a new birth registration program and began developing a new adoption and guardianship law, as a way to make children less vulnerable to trafficking. Timor-Leste has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
TOGO (TIER 2)
Togo is a source, transit and, to a lesser extent, a destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Trafficking within Togo is more prevalent than transnational trafficking and the majority of victims are children. Togolese girls are trafficked primarily within the country for domestic servitude, for forced work as market vendors and produce porters, and for commercial sexual exploitation. To a lesser extent, girls from Togo are also trafficked to other African countries, primarily Benin, Nigeria, Ghana, and Niger, for the same purposes listed above. Although some Togolese boys are trafficked within the country, they are more commonly trafficked transnationally to work in agricultural labor, including on cocoa farms, in other African countries, primarily Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon and Benin. Over the last year, Togolese boys were also trafficked to Ghana for forced begging by a religious instructor. Beninese and Ghanaian children have been trafficked to Togo. There were reports of Togolese women and girls trafficked to Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, likely for domestic servitude and forced prostitution. Togolese women may be trafficked to Europe, primarily to France and Germany, for the same purposes.
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, despite limited resources. The government continued steady efforts to protect trafficking victims and to prosecute and convict trafficking offenders.
Recommendations for Togo: Continue to increase efforts to prosecute and convict trafficking offenders; criminalize the trafficking of adults; increase efforts to raise public awareness about trafficking, particularly about legislation criminalizing it; and establish the National Committee to Combat Child Trafficking mandated in Togo’s 2005 law against child trafficking.
The Government of Togo demonstrated increased law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking during the last year. Togo does not prohibit all forms of trafficking, though in July 2007 the government enacted a Child Code that criminalizes all forms of child trafficking. This law supplements Togo’s 2005 Law Related to Child Trafficking, which criminalizes the trafficking of children, but provides a weak definition of trafficking and fails to prohibit child sexual exploitation. Togo’s maximum prescribed penalty of 10 years' imprisonment for child trafficking is sufficiently stringent and commensurate with prescribed penalties for other grave offenses. The prescribed penalties of one to five years’ imprisonment for sex trafficking of children 15 years and older, and 10 years’ imprisonment for sex trafficking of children younger than 15 years, are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for statutory rape. Article 4 of the 2006 Labor Code criminalizes forced and obligatory labor, prescribing inadequate penalties for forced labor of either three to six months’ imprisonment, a fine, or both, and double these penalties for “obligatory” labor. This Article does not provide definitions of either of these labor violations. The Government of Togo reported 13 prosecutions of trafficking offenders, 12 of whom were convicted. Four convicted traffickers each received sentences of two years’ imprisonment, and one of these perpetrators, who is Beninese, was banned from entering Togo for five years after serving his sentence. Six traffickers each received punishments of eight months’ imprisonment and two traffickers received prison sentences of six months
The Ministry of Social Affairs (MOSA) contributed vehicles and trainers to UNICEF-supported anti-trafficking training of magistrates in Atakpame and Kara. In June 2008, the Ministry of Security conducted a donor-funded trafficking training for 30 police officers and gendarmerie. The government relied largely on ILO-funded local vigilance committees, usually composed of local government officials, community leaders, and youth, to report trafficking cases.
The Togolese government continued steady efforts to protect trafficking victims over the last year. The government did not operate its own victim shelter. Togolese officials continued to refer trafficking victims to NGOs for care, however. After identifying trafficking victims, police regularly contacted MOSA staff, who arranged for victim referral to an NGO. The MOSA also helped to identify the families of child victims and helped with their reintegration by ensuring that they received schooling. Two MOSA social workers were on-call 24-hours a day to assist trafficking victims. The government also provided temporary shelter to victims at community transit centers located in each of its four regions if NGO facilities were stretched to capacity. One anti-trafficking NGO in Lome that cares for child victims 14-years-old and younger reported that approximately two-thirds of the 180 children it provided with care in the last year were referred by government officials. Another NGO that assisted 260 female victims below the age of 18 during the year estimated that 65 percent of these victims were referred by the government. During the year, a MOSA vocational center for destitute children assisted approximately 20 trafficking victims. In April 2008, Togolese officials collaborated with authorities in Benin to repatriate two male child trafficking victims to Benin from Togo.
Because the government does not follow systematic procedures to identify trafficking victims among women and girls in prostitution, sex trafficking victims may have been inappropriately incarcerated or fined for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. The government sometimes encouraged victims to assist in trafficking investigations or prosecutions on an ad hoc basis. The government did not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution; however, the majority of victims identified in Togo were Togolese.
The Government of Togo made weak efforts to prevent trafficking during the year. In June 2008, the President presided over a day-long program to promote the government’s anti-trafficking strategy during which five child victims told their stories of being trafficked, an anti-trafficking film was shown, and both the President and the Minister of Social Affairs publicly denounced trafficking. At the end of the day, local anti-trafficking committees presented recommendations for a strengthened anti-trafficking response. In January 2009, the government ran a campaign to publicize its new toll-free hotline staffed by government personnel to report cases of violence against children, including trafficking. The number, “ALLO 111,” is jointly funded by Togo Telecom, private cell phone companies, UNICEF and an NGO. Soon after the hotline was announced, a caller phoned in a tip that prevented two children from being trafficked across the border to Benin. While some minor action items in the national action plan, which was developed in 2007, have been started, the majority of the plan has not yet been implemented due to lack of financial means. The National Committee for the Reception and Social Reinsertion of Trafficked Children reported close collaboration with its counterparts in Benin and Togo to develop bilateral anti-trafficking action plans. The government provided Togolese troops deployed abroad as part of peacekeeping missions some trafficking awareness training prior to their deployment. The National Committee to Combat Trafficking mandated by Togo’s 2005 anti-trafficking law has not yet been established. Togo did not take measures to reduce demand for commercial sex acts. Togo has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO (Tier 2)
Trinidad and Tobago is a destination and transit country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. In some instances, women and girls from Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and the Dominican Republic have been identified as trafficking victims in Trinidadian brothels and casinos. Last year the government identified five Colombian victims in the country; neighboring governments in Venezuela, Guyana, and Suriname identified additional victims. Foreign victims, including women who voluntarily enter the country to engage in prostitution, may subsequently be trafficked after being deceived by unscrupulous recruiters about the true nature and conditions of their employment. Additional reporting suggests that men from China and Guyana may be trafficked to Trinidad and Tobago for labor exploitation in construction and other sectors. Trinidad and Tobago also is a transit point to Caribbean destinations such as Barbados and the Netherlands Antilles for traffickers and their victims.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting period, senior Trinidadian officials publicly condemned human trafficking, noting that the country is a destination point for trafficked persons. The government worked closely with IOM and other Caribbean governments to draft model anti-trafficking laws for the region, and to develop standards for victim repatriation and care. The government also increased anti-trafficking training for law enforcement, and collaborated with IOM on additional awareness-raising measures. However, vigorous government efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes under existing laws remained lacking, and adequate victim services were extremely limited.
Recommendations for Trinidad and Tobago: Enact legislation to prohibit all forms of human trafficking; increase efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, and to convict and sentence trafficking offenders; increase victim services and protection efforts, particularly for foreign victims; develop formal procedures to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations; continue to increase anti-trafficking training and efforts to raise public awareness.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago demonstrated some progress in anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the last year. While Trinidad and Tobago has no specific laws prohibiting human trafficking, trafficking offenders could be prosecuted under trafficking-related offenses such as kidnapping, rape, or procuring a person for prostitution. Penalties for such crimes range from 15 years’ to life imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes. Last year the government worked closely with IOM and neighboring countries to draft model anti-trafficking legislation for the Caribbean, and engaged experts from the Canadian High Commission to assist with writing an anti-trafficking law for Trinidad and Tobago. During the reporting period, the government achieved no prosecutions, convictions, or sentences of trafficking offenders. In past years, Trinidadian law enforcement have utilized proactive strategies such as brothel raids to enforce anti-prostitution laws and prosecute the owners of such establishments, though formal procedures to identify trafficking victims during such operations are not typically utilized. In partnership with IOM, the government provided anti-trafficking training to more than 1,500 law enforcement officers last year, and published reference guides for immigration and police personnel. No allegations of trafficking-related corruption were reported.
The Trinidadian government made limited efforts to assist trafficking victims during the reporting period, relying on international organizations and NGOs to provide care and services for identified victims. The government encouraged crime victims, including trafficking victims, to assist with the investigation and prosecution of offenders, and provided interpreters for non-English speaking complainants. Foreign victims were not eligible to receive government-provided services such as medical assistance, counseling, or legal assistance with filing a complaint. Moreover, the government did not employ formal procedures for identifying victims of sex or labor trafficking among vulnerable populations, such as prostituted women in brothels or foreign migrant workers. The government did not provide foreign trafficking victims with legal alternatives to removal to countries where they may face hardship or retribution; most foreign victims were detained and deported without being identified as trafficking victims. However, the government recently instituted a protocol where identified foreign trafficking victims are maintained in NGO safe houses until authorities in the victim’s home country can be contacted to assist with travel documents and repatriation. In January 2009, government immigration officials met with Colombian counterparts to discuss procedures for identifying and sheltering Colombian trafficking victims found in Trinidad and Tobago, and as well as their safe return to Colombia; the workshop occurred due to a 2007 brothel raid in which more than 70 Colombian nationals, some of whom were believed to be trafficking victims, were detained and deported for being in Trinidad and Tobago illegally.
In collaboration with international and local NGOs, the government increased its efforts to educate the public about the dangers of trafficking. Senior government officials condemned human trafficking publicly, and emphasized the need to protect victims. During 2008, law enforcement officers and an IOM expert on investigating and prosecuting sexual offenses conducted several raids of brothels where foreign women engage in prostitution, thus addressing demand for commercial sex acts by arresting and prosecuting “clients.” The ILO and the government distributed informational brochures on regional child labor and protection concerns such as slavery, debt bondage, child drug trafficking, prostitution, and trafficking children in the Caribbean. The government also enacted laws to keep children in school, and raised the working age from 14 to 16 as measures to prevent child labor. No additional efforts to reduce demand for adult forced labor were reported.
TUNISIA (Tier 2 Watch List)
Tunisia is a source, destination, and possible transit country for small numbers of men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Several Tunisian trafficking victims were identified during the reporting period in foreign locations; two women were rescued from forced prostitution in Jordan and three men from forced labor in Italy. Some Tunisian girls are trafficked within the country for domestic servitude. A 2008 survey of 130 domestic workers in the Greater Tunis region found that 52 percent were under the age of 16; twenty-three percent claimed to be victims of physical violence, and 11 percent of sexual violence. Ninety-nine percent indicated they had no work contracts and the majority received salaries below the minimum wage. These conditions are indicators of possible forced labor. In 2007, three Ukrainians were identified as having been trafficked to Tunisia for work in hotels and commercial sexual exploitation.
The Government of Tunisia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but is making significant efforts to do so. Despite these significant overall efforts, including the conviction and sentencing of a trafficking offender and the signing of a cooperative agreement with Italy on trafficking and illegal migration, the government did not show evidence of progress in proactively identifying or protecting trafficking victims or raising public awareness of human trafficking over the last year; therefore, Tunisia is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. Human trafficking is not perceived to be a problem in Tunisia; it is possible that victims of trafficking remain undetected because of a lack of effort to identify them among vulnerable groups.
Recommendations for Tunisia: Utilize existing criminal statutes on forced labor and forced prostitution to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses and convict and punish trafficking offenders; undertake a baseline assessment to better understand the scope and magnitude of the human trafficking problem; draft and enact legislation that prohibits and adequately punishes all forms of human trafficking; and institute a formal victim identification mechanism to identify and refer trafficking victims to protection services.Prosecution
While the government did not provide protection services specifically for trafficking victims during the reporting period, women’s organizations provided services to at-risk groups of women and children with government support. While the government does not operate care facilities for crime victims, its social workers provided direct assistance to abused women and children in two shelters operated by a local NGO; these shelters could provide assistance to trafficking victims. The government encouraged the victim in the aforementioned legal case to testify against her trafficker during the court proceedings and provided her with medical care. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Family, Children, and Elderly Persons employed a child protection delegate in each of Tunisia’s 24 districts to intervene in cases of sexual, economic, or criminal exploitation of children; these delegates ensured that child sexual abuse victims received adequate medical care and counseling and could potentially advocate for service provision for child victims of labor and sex trafficking. The government lacked formal procedures to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable groups, such as illegal migrants and those arrested for prostitution. As a result, trafficking victims, when not identified, may be vulnerable to deportation or other punishment if caught engaging in illegal acts under Tunisian law. The government does not provide trafficking victims legal alternatives against removal to countries where they may face hardship or retribution.
The government made minimal efforts to prevent trafficking during the reporting period; there were no government campaigns to raise public awareness of trafficking or to reduce demand for commercial sex acts, but a government-sanctioned NGO hosted a symposium in December 2008 that raised awareness about exploitation of women, particularly domestic workers, in the workplace. The government monitored its borders closely to interdict smuggling rings and illegal immigration, but did not systematically screen for trafficking victims among illegal migrants. In January 2009, Tunisia and Italy agreed to strengthen their cooperation to combat illegal immigration and human trafficking The government did not take any significant measures during the reporting period to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. Information was unavailable regarding specific measures adopted by the government to ensure its nationals deployed to peacekeeping missions do not facilitate or engage in human trafficking; members of the military, however, received training on international human rights standards, which included human trafficking, as part of their 200 hours of required coursework.
TURKEY (Tier 2)
Turkey is a destination and, to a lesser extent, transit country for women and children predominately from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union trafficked primarily for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and, to a lesser degree, for the purpose of forced labor. Source countries for identified trafficking victims in 2008 included: Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Romania, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Indonesia, and Morocco. According to Armenian NGOs and the Government of Armenia, the trafficking of Armenian women to Turkey for the purpose of sexual exploitation continued to be a problem, although the Government of Turkey did not identify any such victims in 2008. Four foreign child victims were documented over the last year. The number of Uzbek and Turkmen victims increased in 2008. Some victims are reportedly trafficked through Turkey to the area administered by Turkish Cypriots for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Although a much smaller problem, some internal trafficking involving Turkish citizens in both the legal and illegal prostitution sectors is believed to occur.
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. Law enforcement continued to successfully target and disrupt trafficking networks and the government improved its prosecution of trafficking offenders in 2008. The government’s anti-trafficking efforts were constrained, however, by inconsistent identification, referral, protection, and assistance to trafficking victims in Turkey.
Recommendations for Turkey: Ensure consistent and sustained assistance for trafficking victims, including adequate government funding of shelters in Ankara and Istanbul; expand shelter capacity for victims; consider including NGOs and international organizations more consistently in the identification and interviewing process; take steps to identify trafficking victims within vulnerable populations in Turkey; continue to vigorously prosecute trafficking offenses and convict public officials complicit in trafficking; and expand awareness efforts to educate the public about the demand for commercial sex acts and its links to trafficking.
The Government of Turkey sustained vigorous anti-trafficking law enforcement and prosecutorial efforts in 2008. Article 80 of the Penal Code prohibits trafficking for both sexual exploitation and forced labor, and prescribes penalties of from 8 to 12 years’ imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as sexual assault. The Government of Turkey prosecuted 69 cases involving 273 suspected traffickers in 2008, a significant increase from 160 suspected traffickers prosecuted in 2007. The government reported securing the convictions of 58 trafficking offenders in 2008. The government expanded its use of Article 80 in 2008, convicting 13 traffickers under the trafficking-specific article, a three-fold increase from 2007. The 13 convicted traffickers received sentences averaging eight years’ imprisonment. Other trafficking offenders were convicted using Article 227, an older anti-trafficking statute. Penalties imposed on traffickers convicted under Article 227 averaged three to four years’ imprisonment. Six traffickers convicted under other related articles received a sentence of two to four years’ imprisonment. The government continued to institutionalize and implement comprehensive law enforcement training in 2008. The government reported investigating 25 security officials for trafficking-related complicity in 2008. In January 2008, the government secured the conviction of a Court of Appeals Judge for aiding traffickers; he was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, although the court subsequently reduced the sentence to probation and a prison term of one year and eight months. In June 2008, the government obtained the conviction of a judicial hall employee to one year and six months’ imprisonment and barred him from public service for one year for trafficking-related complicity. Turkish law, however, allows for the suspension of prison sentences of two years or less under certain conditions. The government continued an investigation of a prison warden who was arrested and jailed in February 2007 for facilitating trafficking activities. The government reported improvements in anti-trafficking cooperation with some governments during the reporting period. Lack of cooperation with other source countries, however, hampered the government’s ability to investigate and prosecute some traffickers.
The government’s overall protection efforts for victims of trafficking did not improve during the reporting period. Turkey failed to provide adequate direct funding for its two trafficking shelters and the overall number of trafficking victims identified dropped for a second consecutive year. In June 2008, Istanbul’s municipal government suspended the provision of free rent to Istanbul’s shelter, despite a signed protocol between the municipality and the shelter stipulating otherwise. Although the government continues to report that it is focused on finding a long-term financial solution to this problem, it has yet to commit adequate funding to either of its shelters in Ankara and Istanbul. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has pledged and begun disbursing approximately $20,000 per year to each shelter for three years beginning in 2009. Both shelters continue to require perennial outside donor funding. These two NGO-run shelters provided care to 83 trafficking victims, a decline from 109 in 2007. In 2008, the government identified a total of 118 trafficking victims, a decline from 148 in 2007; IOM facilitated the repatriation of 78 of these victims.
Due to inconsistent implementation of the government’s referral mechanism, some victims are not identified prior to being deported. Gaps in the referral process also resulted in some victims not receiving adequate care and assistance after providing information about their traffickers to law enforcement. While the government encouraged victims to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions, very few trafficking victims choose to testify in court cases against their traffickers, possibly because they feared retribution from their traffickers, but also because court proceedings are lengthy. The government also reported that many victims from neighboring source countries request to immediately return to their country of origin. During the reporting period, the government passed a general witness protection law, which may encourage more trafficking victims to testify against their traffickers. The government offers victims legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they would face retribution or hardship. Foreign victims may apply for humanitarian visas and remain in Turkey up to six months with the option to extend for an additional six months. Few such visas are issued, however; the government issued only two in 2008.
The government sustained its anti-trafficking prevention efforts during the reporting period. The government’s interagency task force met more frequently in 2008 and assumed a stronger role in coordinating the government’s anti-trafficking efforts. In 2008, the government published its second annual report on combating human trafficking and, with EU and IOM support, planned and supported via state TV and other free advertising, a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the national anti-trafficking (“157”) hotline. However, it failed to adopt a new National Action Plan; the plan has awaited formal adoption for over a year. Although the government signaled in 2007 that it would take over funding and operation of the “157” hotline from IOM, it has yet to do so. The Turkish government provided anti-trafficking training to its military personnel prior to their deployment aboard for peacekeeping duties. The government did not report any measurable steps to reduce demand for commercial sex acts during the year.
TURKMENISTAN (Tier 2 Watch List)
Turkmenistan is a source country for women trafficked primarily to Turkey but reportedly also to the UAE, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Men and women are trafficked to Turkey for the purpose of domestic servitude and forced labor, specifically in textile sweatshops.
The Government of Turkmenistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite these efforts, the government did not publicly acknowledge trafficking as a problem, undertake significant efforts to raise awareness, or assist victims; therefore, Turkmenistan is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. The government did investigate a small number of trafficking cases during the reporting period. While the government did make significant efforts by adopting the “Law on the Battle against Trafficking in Persons” in December 2007, it did not implement the law during the reporting period. The law identifies responsible ministries within the government to combat trafficking and requires authorities to develop measures to prevent trafficking, prosecute traffickers, and assist victims. The government began the process of updating the criminal code to include penalties for trafficking offenses defined as such in the 2007 trafficking law. All forms of trafficking currently are prohibited under existing disparate statutes.
Recommendations for Turkmenistan: Implement the 2007 Law on the Battle Against Trafficking in Persons by completing revisions to the national criminal code to prescribe penalties for both sex and labor trafficking as defined in the 2007 Law on the Battle Against Trafficking in Persons; vigorously investigate, prosecute, and convict trafficking offenders; investigate individual instances of government officials complicit in the facilitation of trafficking, provide victim identification, victim referral, and victim sensitivity training for border guards and police; provide financial assistance to anti-trafficking organizations assisting victims; continue to expand and improve systematic victim identification and referral procedures; establish safeguards and training procedures to ensure victims are not punished for acts committed as a direct result of trafficking, such as migration violations; and conduct a trafficking awareness campaign to inform the general public about the dangers of trafficking.
The Government of Turkmenistan demonstrated no significant law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Turkmenistan’s Law on the Battle against Trafficking in Persons, adopted in December 2007, prohibits all forms of trafficking, but does not explicitly prescribe penalties for such crimes. All forms of trafficking currently are prohibited under disparate statutes, and the criminal code is being amended to prescribe penalties for trafficking under the 2007 law. Statutes under which traffickers may be prosecuted and punished include those prohibiting pimping, organizing a brothel, the illegal harboring of a person, and the unlawful taking of freedom. In 2008, the government investigated and prosecuted two cases of trafficking under non-trafficking statutes. The government provided no information on the number of traffickers convicted or sentenced to time in prison in 2008. The General Prosecutor’s Office provided victim identification training for officials on international trafficking. There were unconfirmed reports that some customs or migration officials were notified of cases when women were trafficked abroad but made no efforts to prevent the trafficking.
The government made no effort to protect or assist victims during the reporting period. The Government of Turkmenistan did not provide medical assistance, counseling, shelter, legal assistance, or rehabilitative services to victims of trafficking, nor did it supply funding to international organizations or NGOs to provide services to victims. The 2007 trafficking law has provisions for victim care facilities and guarantees protection and assistance for victims of trafficking. Twenty victims were assisted by nongovernment-funded organizations during the reporting period; the government referred no victims for assistance. Government personnel employ no formal victim identification procedures. In 2008, at least two victims assisted in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases. Some law enforcement officers detained and questioned victims in order to obtain information; there were no reports of victim imprisonment.
Turkmenistan demonstrated no efforts to raise awareness during the reporting period. The government did not fund or conduct any anti-trafficking awareness campaigns in 2008. The government monitored the trafficking situation within its borders.
UGANDA (Tier 2)
Uganda is a source and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Ugandan children are trafficked within the country for forced labor in the fishing, agricultural, and domestic service sectors, as well as for commercial sexual exploitation; they are also trafficked to other East African and European countries for the same purposes. Karamojong women and children are sold as slaves in cattle markets or by intermediaries and are subsequently forced into domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, cattle herding, and begging. Security companies in Kampala recruit Ugandans to migrate and work as security guards in Iraq where sometimes their travel documents and pay have been withheld as a means to restrain them and coerce them into continued labor. Pakistani, Indian, and Chinese workers are trafficked to Uganda, and Indian networks traffic Indian children to the country for sexual exploitation. Children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, and Tanzania are trafficked to Uganda for agricultural labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Until August 2006, the terrorist rebel organization, Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), abducted children and adults in northern Uganda to serve as soldiers, sex slaves, and porters. At least 711 additional people, mostly children, were abducted by the LRA between December 2007 and January 2009 in the Central African Republic, the DRC, and southern Sudan. Human trafficking of Ugandan children for the forcible removal of body parts reportedly is widespread; so-called witchdoctors seek various body parts of live victims for traditional medical concoctions commonly purchased to heal illness, foster economic advancement, or hurt enemies.
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. Despite these significant overall efforts, the government did not show progress in prosecuting human trafficking offenses and punishing trafficking offenders. In addition, the government’s provision of protective victim services remained weak and sex trafficking victims continued to be arrested and sometimes punished.
Recommendations for Uganda: Increase efforts to prosecute, convict, and punish trafficking offenders; enact and implement the newly passed comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation; investigate and punish labor recruiters responsible for knowingly sending Ugandans into forced labor abroad; and develop further mechanisms for providing, in partnership with NGOs, protective services to all types of trafficking victims.
The government’s punishment of trafficking offenders did not improve in 2008; however, extensive training of law enforcement officials and the establishment of an anti-trafficking police unit occurred late in the reporting period. The government reported no prosecutions or convictions compared to several trafficking convictions obtained the previous year. In 2008, the Minister of Internal Affairs partnered with Uganda’s 102 female parliamentarians to advance draft comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation in Parliament. In early April 2009, the Parliament passed the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2008, which prescribes penalties of 15 years’ to life imprisonment; these penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes. The act will become law 45 days from the date of passage. In anticipation of the law’s enactment, the government established a five-person anti-trafficking police unit within the Ugandan Police Force’s (UPF) Child and Family Protection Unit (CFPU) in January 2009. Law enforcement officials investigated a number of suspected trafficking cases during the reporting period, but did not secure convictions of any trafficking offenders. For example, in November 2008, police in Rakai District arrested a Rwandan woman as she attempted to sell a 15-year old Rwandan boy. She was remanded to prison in Kampala; the case is pending before the court. Immigration officials posted at the border rescued 12 Tanzanian children from a Tanzanian trafficker who had promised to pay their school fees in Uganda.
After receiving foreign anti-trafficking training, 27 Ugandan instructors from the UPF, Immigration Department, and Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development (MGLSD), in turn trained 2,010 colleagues in a series of one-day sessions in late 2008. The instructors distributed a UPF-developed 25-page pocket manual for first responders. The Inspector General of Police issued an order requiring all police officers to receive specialized anti-trafficking training.
The Ugandan government showed some efforts to offer initial protection to children demobilized from the ranks of the LRA, including trafficking victims, though it did less to care for victims of other types of trafficking. Lacking resources to provide direct assistance, it typically referred identified victims to NGOs. During the reporting period, the UPF referred 12 child trafficking victims to a local NGO’s shelter. The UPF’s January 2009 memorandum of understanding with the same NGO allowed for the placement of the NGO’s social workers in the Central Police Station and in stations in two other districts to assist trafficking victims with legal, medical, and psychological services. The government also repatriated a child trafficking victim to Rwanda and assisted IOM in repatriating two female Ugandan victims by issuing travel documents. In 2008, the Ugandan military’s Child Protection Unit (CPU) received 60 children returning from LRA captivity; children were processed at transit shelters before being transported to NGO-run rehabilitation centers for longer-term care. The government provided each child with non-food items and approximately $50 for resettlement. In December 2008, the Governments of Uganda, the DRC, and Southern Sudan launched a joint military operation against the LRA in the DRC’s territory, enabling the rescue of 346 people, including 127 children; as of this Report’s writing, 10 Ugandan children were transferred to a rehabilitation center in northern Uganda. The government continued to remove Karamojong children in possible trafficking situations from the streets of Kampala and transferred them to two shelters in Karamoja. Local governments also convened child labor committees that instituted local bylaws against child labor, monitored the working conditions of children, and counseled parents whose children were not in school. The government does not have a formal system to identify victims among high risk groups and potential victims are sometimes prosecuted for immigration or prostitution violations. The Minister of Internal Affairs possesses the authority to allow foreign victims to remain in Uganda to assist with investigations, but this authority was not used and most potential victims were quickly deported to their country of origin. The government encouraged victims of sex trafficking to testify against their exploiters.
The government sustained its efforts to prevent human trafficking through increased public awareness efforts during the year. The Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Internal Affairs conducted extensive and well-publicized hearings on the draft Bill for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons. In December 2008 and January 2009, the UPDF (Ugandan People’s Defense Force) airdropped flyers to LRA abductees in eastern DRC directing them to locations for rescue. The government also continued its use of local language radio spots to persuade abducted children and their captors to surrender. In February 2009, the government established a 15-member inter-ministerial anti-trafficking task force comprised of police, immigration, and MGLSD officials. The police announced the availability of a new hotline to report trafficking cases in the same month. Joint government-NGO efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts included a billboard campaign in Uganda’s major cities discouraging “sugar daddies,” and arrests of men found procuring females in prostitution on disorderly conduct charges. The government provided two Ugandan battalions being deployed to the African Union Mission in Somalia with training on human trafficking from the UPDF’s Human Rights Desk and CPU personnel. Ugandan forces deployed to the DRC in December 2008 received refresher briefings on the treatment of children abducted by the LRA; each deployed unit contained two to five child protection officers. Uganda has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
UKRAINE (Tier 2 Watch List)
Ukraine is a source, transit and, to a lesser extent, destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Forty-eight percent of the trafficking victims assisted by IOM and its local NGO partners in Ukraine in 2008 suffered sexual exploitation; three percent had been forced to beg; and 49 percent suffered other forms of forced labor. Ukrainian victims are trafficked to Russia, Poland, Turkey, Italy, Austria, Spain, Germany, Portugal, the Czech Republic, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Israel, Greece, Lebanon, Benin, Tunisia, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Slovakia, Syria, Switzerland, the United States, Canada and Belarus. Women were forced into the sex industry, or forced to work as housekeepers, in service industries, or in textile or light manufacturing. The majority of Ukrainian male labor trafficking victims were exploited in Russia but also in other countries, primarily as construction laborers, factory and agriculture workers, or sailors. There were three instances in which males were forced to take part in criminal activities, such as dismantling stolen cars for parts to be sold on the black market. Children were most often trafficked for sexual exploitation or forced begging. Ukraine continues to be a country of transit for trafficking victims from Central Asia and Russia. Victims were trafficked within Ukraine for the purpose of labor exploitation in the agriculture and service sectors, sexual exploitation, and begging. In 2008, IOM reported one male from Belarus was trafficked to Ukraine for the purpose of labor exploitation. Homeless children or children in orphanages are particularly vulnerable to trafficking in Ukraine.
The Government of Ukraine does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite these overall efforts, the government did not show evidence of progress in punishing trafficking offenders, addressing the significant complicity of government officials, and providing sufficient protection for trafficking victims; therefore, Ukraine is placed on Tier 2 Watch List.
Recommendations for Ukraine: Seek sentences for convicted trafficking offenders that require them to serve appropriate jail time; take steps to curb trafficking complicity by government officials; continue trafficking-specific training for prosecutors and judges; increase funding for victim protection and assistance; develop formal systems to guide law enforcement in proactive identification of trafficking victims and referral of victims to available services; take steps to provide specialized protection and assistance to child trafficking victims; and consider awareness initiatives targeted at potential clients of the sex trade and labor trafficking beneficiaries to reduce the demand for human trafficking.
The Government of Ukraine made progress in prosecuting labor trafficking cases during the reporting period, though these efforts were overshadowed by inadequate punishments imposed on both sex and labor trafficking offenders and a lack of effort to address official complicity in human trafficking. The government prohibits all forms of trafficking through Article 149 of its Criminal Code. Penalties prescribed range from three to 15 years’ imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes. This year, the government prosecuted 80 trafficking cases, compared with 95 cases in 2007. The number of labor trafficking prosecutions increased from 23 in 2007 to 53 in 2008. The government reported 99 convictions in 2008 compared with 128 in 2007. The average prison term imposed on convicted trafficking offenders was six years; however, only 39 percent of convicted traffickers actually served time in jail. Two offenders who were convicted of the most serious category of trafficking crimes were sentenced only to pay fines. In 2008, the General Prosecutor’s Office issued a report assessing human trafficking trial procedures and calling for prosecutors to give more serious attention to human trafficking cases. The Academy of Judges incorporated a human trafficking lecture into professional training for judges and the Ministry of Interior conducted ongoing training throughout Ukraine on trafficking awareness for police officers. Widespread trafficking-related corruption of law enforcement officials remained a serious impediment to more effective anti-trafficking efforts in Ukraine. NGOs reported that corruption was particularly a problem at times involving prosecutors or judges, though the government reported no investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in trafficking.
Ukraine’s protection efforts remained heavily reliant on international donor funding during the reporting period. While one of the goals of the government’s 2007-2010 national anti-trafficking plan was to provide assistance to trafficking victims, the government has not developed a mechanism for referral or sufficient funding for assistance. Through donor-sponsored programs and some government services, foreign and domestic victims of trafficking in Ukraine received shelter, medical, psychological, legal, and job placement assistance. The government placed child trafficking victims in temporary homeless shelters for children that do not offer specialized services for trafficking victims. Local governments offered sporadic in-kind contributions toward protection of victims. The government does not have a formal system established to proactively identify trafficking victims. While the government has expressed a policy of encouraging victims to participate in investigations or prosecutions through a witness protection program, in practice the government rarely employed this program due to lack of funding or a lack of prosecutors’ understanding of the program. In 2008 IOM, working with its local partners, registered 820 victims, including 32 victims of internal trafficking. IOM reported that 295 of these 820 victims participated in criminal proceedings. There were no reports of victims being punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, but there were reports that victims’ rights were not fully respected during court trials. The government did not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution.
The government made modest progress in preventing trafficking in persons during the reporting period. In 2008, the government spent approximately $34,431 for printing and distribution of anti-trafficking awareness materials targeting potential victims. The government also cooperated with local television channels to broadcast public service announcements and informational programs aimed at raising awareness of human trafficking. There were no specific campaigns targeted at potential clients of the sex trade or beneficiaries of forced labor. Inadequate funding, lack of performance indicators and other obstacles impeded implementation of the government’s national anti-trafficking plan in 2008. The Kherson regional government provided some financial support to a local awareness campaign. Ministry of Interior police conducted two operations in 2008 aimed at identifying and preventing Ukrainians and foreigners participating in sex-tourism. Ukraine’s National Academy of Defense cooperated with IOM to conduct five pre-departure counter trafficking training for Ukrainian troops being deployed for international peacekeeping duties in 2008.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (Tier 2 Watch List)
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a destination for men and women, predominantly from South and Southeast Asia, trafficked for the purposes of labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Migrant workers, who comprise more than 90 percent of the UAE’s private sector workforce, are recruited from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, China, and the Philippines. Women from some of these countries travel willingly to work as domestic servants or administrative staff, but some are subjected to conditions indicative of forced labor, including unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, or physical or sexual abuse. Trafficking of domestic workers is facilitated by the fact that the normal protections provided to workers under UAE labor law do not apply to domestic workers, leaving them more vulnerable to abuse. Similarly, men from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan are drawn to the UAE for work in the construction sector, but are often subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude and debt bondage – often by exploitative “agents” in the sending countries – as they struggle to pay off debts for recruitment fees that sometimes exceed the equivalent of two years’ wages. Some women from Eastern Europe, South East Asia, the Far East, East Africa, Iraq, Iran, and Morocco reportedly are trafficked to the UAE for commercial sexual exploitation. Some foreign women also are reportedly recruited for work as secretaries or hotel workers by third-country recruiters and coerced into prostitution or domestic servitude after arriving in the UAE.
The vulnerability of some migrant workers to trafficking likely increased towards the end of the reporting period as a global economic decline – noted particularly in the construction sector, the UAE’s largest single employer of foreign workers – saw many laborers repatriated to their home countries where they still owed debts. Unpaid construction workers often were defrauded or forced to continue working without pay, as they faced threats that protests may destroy any chance of recovering wages owed to them. By the unique nature of their work in homes, domestic workers were generally isolated from the outside world making it difficult for them to access help. Restrictive sponsorship laws for foreign domestic workers often gave employers power to control their movements and left some of them vulnerable to exploitation.
The Government of the United Arab Emirates does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant, and increasingly public, efforts to do so. Although the government demonstrated sustained efforts to prosecute and convict sex trafficking offenders during the year and made modest progress to provide protections to female trafficking victims, there were no discernable anti-trafficking efforts against the forced labor of temporary migrant workers and domestic servants. The UAE historically has not recognized people forced into labor as trafficking victims, particularly if they are over the age of 18 and entered the country voluntarily; therefore, the United Arab Emirates is placed on Tier 2 Watch List.
Recommendations for the UAE: Increase efforts to investigate and prosecute human trafficking offenses, particularly those involving labor exploitation, and convict and punish trafficking offenders, including recruitment agents (both locals and non-citizens) and employers who subject others to forced labor; develop and institute formal procedures for law enforcement and Ministry of Labor officials to proactively identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable groups such as workers subjected to labor abuses, those apprehended for violations of immigration laws, domestic workers who have fled their employers, and foreign females in prostitution; improve protection services for victims of sex trafficking and forced labor, including adequate and accessible shelter space, referral to available legal aid, and credible recourse for obtaining financial restitution; consider sustaining and expanding the pilot program involving recruitment of foreign laborers in key source countries in order to eliminate recruitment fraud and other contributing factors to debt bondage and forced labor; ensure trafficking victims are not incarcerated, fined, or otherwise penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; consider conducting interviews of potential trafficking victims in safe and non-threatening environments with trained counselors (preferably conversant in the victims’ language); collaborate with sending countries of laborers and domestic workers on investigations of recruiting agencies that engage in trafficking; and work proactively with NGOs to provide services for victims and educate both employers and workers on the practices that constitute human trafficking, and how to prevent them.
The UAE government made uneven progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the last year. The prosecutions of 20 sex trafficking cases were initiated in UAE courts – and six of these resulted in convictions during the year, with sentences imposed of three years’ to life imprisonment. The government did not prosecute, convict, or punish any labor trafficking offenders. It did, however, impose fines on companies that violated labor laws, though such administrative responses are inadequate for labor trafficking crimes. The UAE prohibits all forms of trafficking under its federal law Number 51 of 2006, which prescribes penalties ranging from one year’s imprisonment to life imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. Although this comprehensive law emphasizes labor trafficking offenses, it has not yet been used to prosecute a labor trafficking offense – a major gap in the UAE’s anti-trafficking efforts. When victims of potential labor trafficking were identified by law enforcement authorities, criminal investigations were not initiated; instead the cases were often referred to the Ministry of Labor (MOL) to file an administrative complaint. In collaboration with IOM, the government provided anti-trafficking training to law enforcement personnel in Dubai and Abu Dhabi during the reporting period.
During the year, a member of a UAE ruling family and six of her traveling party were charged by a Belgian court for subjecting at least 17 Asian and Middle Eastern girls into forced labor as domestic servants.
The UAE government showed modest but uneven progress in its efforts to provide victims of trafficking with assistance. The government continued operation of a Dubai shelter largely for female victims of trafficking and abuse and opened a second shelter for female trafficking victims in Abu Dhabi in February 2009; the Dubai shelter reported assisting 43 trafficking victims since its September 2007 opening and the Abu Dhabi shelter provided assistance to 35 trafficking victims since its opening. Administration of the Dubai shelter, however, included several practices harmful to victims’ welfare, including detention of victims that the police wanted to hold for use as prosecution witnesses, an overly restrictive intake process that prohibited assistance to victims who did not have appropriate immigration status, and tight restrictions on victims’ movements and access to persons outside the shelter. Moreover, Dubai police do not consistently ensure that women who enter the UAE voluntarily to engage in prostitution but later become victims of sex trafficking are not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked. When the police identify women in prostitution as trafficking victims, however, the victims are encouraged to participate in investigations and prosecutions of their traffickers. Victims who agree to testify against their traffickers are provided shelter by the government, and sometimes the option of temporary work.
Potential victims of labor trafficking – likely the most prevalent form of trafficking in the UAE – were not offered shelter or counseling or immigration relief by the government during the reporting period. The government regularly referred potential victims, who had been working in the formal sector, to the MOL to file complaints through administrative labor resolution channels; this did not apply to domestic workers. Unlike other laborers, domestic workers were not covered by UAE’s labor law and had little recourse to protection from abuse. This administrative remedy is not a sufficient deterrent to the serious crime of trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation. Several unofficial shelters were in operation, and supported hundreds of female domestic workers who fled their employers – termed “runaways” in the UAE – and who reported conditions of forced labor at the hands of their employers. The UAE government, however, did not initiate any reported investigations or prosecutions of forced labor offenses associated with these victims. Together with the Government of Mauritania, the UAE government closed the cases of 560 Mauritanian children who had been trafficked to the UAE as camel jockeys in previous years, and had been removed from their exploitation and repatriated; the UAE government continued funding a UNICEF program that provides rehabilitation assistance to these and other repatriated child camel jockeys from Sudan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Police and immigration officials in Abu Dhabi and Dubai received training on identification and appropriate care of trafficking victims during the year.
The UAE government made continued efforts to prevent human trafficking over the reporting period. Coordination of all government anti-trafficking efforts continued through the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, chaired by a coordinator who is currently the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. The The MOL continued to implement a policy designed in part to prevent non-payment of salaries, and possibly debt bondage, by requiring employers of foreign workers to pay salaries through an electronic system that could be monitored. The MOL also embarked on a potentially path-breaking pilot initiative with the labor sending governments of the Philippines and India to improve the transparency and accountability of labor recruitment from these countries and eliminate fraudulent recruitment practices that have in the past fostered forced labor and debt bondage; the initiative has yet to be fully implemented. In January 2009, the government launched an awareness-raising campaign in UAE airports. During the reporting period, the government and many companies in the UAE embarked on a model labor camp initiative to improve the accommodations of the country’s largely unskilled male foreign workforce. Currently standards for accommodation differ across the UAE's seven emirates, but the MoL has begun consultations with the ILO to develop federal standards of accommodation, health, and safety for the country’s guest workers, which are likely to prevent conditions that contribute to forced labor.
UNITED KINGDOM (Tier 1)
The United Kingdom (UK) is a significant destination and, to a lesser extent, transit country for women, children, and men trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor, primarily from Eastern Europe, Africa, the Balkans, and Asia (principally China, Vietnam, and Malaysia). Some victims, including UK-resident children, are also trafficked within the country. Migrant workers are trafficked to the UK for forced labor in agriculture, construction, food processing, domestic servitude, and food services. Data collected from assisted women trafficked for sexual exploitation revealed that Lithuania, Nigeria, and Moldova were the leading sources of trafficking victims in the UK in 2008. Unaccompanied foreign children, including girls from the PRC, were trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. It is estimated that hundreds of young children, mostly from Vietnam and China, are trafficked to the UK and subjected to debt bondage by Vietnamese organized crime gangs for forced work on cannabis farms. Media reports and results from law enforcement operations indicate a large-scale trafficking problem in Scotland, involving both women and children for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Inadequate protection measures for these victims result in their re-trafficking throughout the UK. London police estimate that 70 percent of the 88,000 women involved in prostitution in England and Wales are under the control of traffickers. There is anecdotal evidence that some trafficking may occur, although not on a large scale, in some UK territories such as Bermuda.
The Government of the United Kingdom fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Over the last year, UK authorities continued to vigorously investigate and prosecute trafficking and conducted innovative demand reduction and prevention campaigns. Concerns remain that some victims, including children, are not being adequately identified or receiving adequate protection and assistance.
Recommendations for the United Kingdom: Adopt and implement national procedures for identifying potential trafficking victims among vulnerable populations for all forms of trafficking in the UK; expand shelter and assistance capacity to meet the needs of all trafficking victims, including specialized care for children who have been trafficked; establish protection measures specifically for foreign unaccompanied minors to prevent their trafficking; and ensure repatriation and reintegration services for victims to prevent their re-trafficking and re-victimization.
The UK Government sustained its aggressive efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenders in 2008, doubling its conviction rate from the previous year. The UK prohibits all forms of trafficking through its 2004 Sexual Offenses Act and its 2004 Asylum and Immigration Act, which prescribe penalties of a maximum of 14 years’ imprisonment, though the specific punishments prescribed for sex trafficking are less severe than those prescribed for rape. In March 2008, the government completed Pentameter II, a large-scale operation aimed at disrupting trafficking networks and rescuing victims, resulting in the identification of 167 potential trafficking victims, the arrest of 528 suspects and over $5 million in assets seized or forfeited. The UK government reported prosecuting 129 ongoing trafficking cases between March 2008 and March 2009. Twenty-three trafficking offenders were convicted -- four of whom were prosecuted for forced labor offenses -- an increase from 10 in 2007. Sentences imposed on convicted trafficking offenders in 2008 ranged from 18 months’ to 14 years’ imprisonment, with an average sentence of five years. In one case, a court sentenced six trafficking offenders to a combined total of 52 years for the trafficking of a Slovakian teenager for the purpose of sexual exploitation from 2006 until her escape in January 2008.
The UK government demonstrated sustained efforts to protect victims of sex trafficking in 2008, but it did not provide comprehensive or systematic protections to trafficked children and victims of forced labor. The government provided significant funding for its specialized shelter for sex trafficking victims, allocating $1.95 million for its operation in 2008. Overall, the shelter received 293 referrals, with law enforcement referring the majority of potential victims. However, due to budget restraints and limited capacity, only 41 women were accommodated by the shelter; others were assisted on an outreach basis with counseling, subsistence allowances, medical treatment, education and training, and legal support. In addition, some of the victims who were not accommodated at the shelter did not meet all of the government’s criteria for admission: victims must be over 18; involved in prostitution within three months of referral; willing to cooperate in the prosecution of their traffickers; and must have been trafficked into the UK from abroad. The government provided training to front-line responders on victim identification and continued to develop nationwide and systematic referral system to improve identification for potential trafficking victims. NGOs and international organizations continue to express serious concerns regarding the government’s ability to protect children from traffickers in the UK; the government does not provide systematic and specialized victim care for children who have been trafficked. Many children who are trafficked into the UK from Vietnam and China for forced work on cannabis farms disappear after being placed into foster care by social services -- likely returning to their traffickers. Moreover, some of these children are prosecuted by the government for cannabis cultivation. While UK government policy is not to penalize victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, some victims continue to be charged and prosecuted for immigration offenses. The UK provides foreign victims with legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they face hardship or retribution. According to NGOs, however, this process continues to be cumbersome and inconsistent for victims seeking such alternatives. To remedy this, the government ratified the Council of Europe’s Convention against Trafficking in December 2008 and agreed to provide a 45-day reflection period and renewable one-year residence permits. The government encourages victims to assist in trafficking investigations and prosecutions.
The UK government continued to serve as a model in the region for its emphasis on progressive anti-trafficking prevention campaigns. It continued its “Blue Blindfold” awareness campaign, launched in January 2008 in 12 major cities in the UK. The government makes its campaign materials available to countries for replication and dissemination. In May 2008, it piloted an anti-demand poster campaign in Westminster and Nottingham to alert potential clients of prostitution about trafficking and off-street prostitution; the campaign also included online advertisements in local newspapers. In November 2008, it published the results of a six-month review which recommended steps to reduce demand for prostitution. In June 2008, the government revised its action plan to update progress and to reflect victim protection developments on ratifying the Council of Europe Convention. The government continued to fund targeted prevention projects in key source countries including Bulgaria, Romania, and many countries in Asia. It provided anti-trafficking training to UK nationals deployed abroad for international peacekeeping missions in 2008.
URUGUAY (Tier 2)
Uruguay is primarily a source and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Most victims are women and girls trafficked within the country to border and tourist areas for commercial sexual exploitation; some boys are also trafficked for the same purpose. Occasionally, parents facilitate the exploitation of their children in prostitution, and impoverished parents in rural areas have turned over their children for forced domestic and agricultural labor. Lured by false job offers, some Uruguayan women have been trafficked to Spain and Italy for commercial sexual exploitation.
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. During the reporting period, the government showed strong prevention efforts and sustained victim services, and opened one criminal investigation under its new anti-trafficking law. However, vigorous law enforcement efforts against trafficking offenders remained lacking.
Recommendations for Uruguay: Increase efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, and convict and punish trafficking offenders; increase efforts to implement the new anti-trafficking law; expand anti-trafficking training for judges and law enforcement personnel; and increase victim services and protection efforts.
The Government of Uruguay modestly improved its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the last year. In early 2008, the government enacted an anti-trafficking statute as part of a broader immigration reform package. Article 78 of this new law prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons, prescribing penalties of four to 16 years’ imprisonment. Article 78 supplements older Uruguayan laws that prohibit child trafficking, child pornography, and forced labor, which prescribe penalties ranging from six months’ to 12 years’ imprisonment. All the above penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with punishments prescribed for other serious crimes. During the reporting period, the government opened one case under its new anti-trafficking law; two defendants who allegedly trafficked nearly a dozen women into forced prostitution in Spain were in prison awaiting trial at the time of publication. Under older statutes, two female defendants were arrested and charged with pimping of minors in separate cases. In October 2008, the judiciary established two special courts to focus on organized crime cases, including trafficking in persons. The government increased anti-trafficking training for consular and immigration officials, though NGOs indicate that police and judges remain unfamiliar with Uruguayan anti-trafficking laws, particularly outside Montevideo. Uruguayan law enforcement officials cooperated with counterparts in neighboring Mercosur governments and other countries on international trafficking cases. There was no confirmed evidence of official complicity with human trafficking.
The Uruguayan government sustained basic victim services during the year. Child victims of trafficking are referred to government institutions for care; 14 child trafficking victims were offered assistance during the reporting period. The government operated shelters accessible to adult female victims of abuse, including trafficking victims, and endeavored to provide legal, medical, and psychological care. Adult male trafficking victims, however, were not eligible for services. While the government provided limited assistance to NGOs working in the area of trafficking, the availability of victim services remained uneven across the country, especially outside the capital. The government does not have a formal system for identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as adults in prostitution or undocumented migrants. The government encourages but does not force victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers. There were no reports of victims being jailed, deported, or otherwise penalized for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. Uruguayan law does not force the repatriation of any foreign trafficking victim, and allows trafficking victims to seek citizenship in Uruguay.
The Uruguayan government increased its efforts to raise public awareness of the dangers of human trafficking and child prostitution during the reporting period, launching a widespread week-long information campaign in October 2008. Government officials spoke publicly about human trafficking, conducted media interviews, and distributed 50,000 anti-trafficking leaflets and 5,000 posters in tourist areas. Government officials also conducted outreach to hotel workers and to others in the broader tourism sector to raise awareness about child sex tourism and the commercial sexual exploitation of minors. The government maintained good cooperation with NGOs, and supported a local organization’s efforts to conduct anti-trafficking outreach among prostituted women. The Ministry of Education continued to include anti-trafficking material in its high school sex education curriculum. Last year the government formed an informal interagency committee to direct its anti-trafficking efforts, in addition to maintaining a special committee focusing on the commercial and non-commercial sexual exploitation of children. The government provided anti-trafficking training to Uruguayan troops being deployed on international peacekeeping missions during the year. In an effort to reduce consumer demand for commercial sex acts, the government prosecuted a small number of “clients” for commercial sexual exploitation of minors. There were no known efforts to address demand for forced labor.
UZBEKISTAN (Tier 2 Watch List)
Uzbekistan is a source country for women and girls trafficked to the UAE, India, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and Israel for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Men are trafficked to Kazakhstan and Russia for the purpose of forced labor in the construction, cotton, and tobacco industries. Men and women are trafficked internally for the purposes of domestic servitude, forced labor, in the agricultural and construction industries, and for commercial sexual exploitation. Some girls are also trafficked internally for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Many school-age children, college students, and faculty are forced to pick cotton during the annual harvest.
The Government of Uzbekistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting period, Uzbekistan did not make significant efforts to eliminate the use of forced labor of adults and children in the cotton harvest and did not make efforts to investigate, prosecute, or convict government officials complicit in the use of forced labor during the harvest; therefore, Uzbekistan is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. In September 2008, the government amended its criminal code to prohibit forced labor and increased the maximum penalty for trafficking to 12 years’ imprisonment. Also, in September 2008, the government adopted a multi-year national action plan on combating child labor and the Prime Minister issued a formal ban prohibiting the use of child labor during the harvest; both addressed the use of forced child labor. The government also reported increased efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict trafficking offenders during the reporting period. While the government again did not provide financial or in-kind support to the country’s two NGO-run anti-trafficking shelters, it reported allocating $176,000 of state funds to establish a government-run shelter in Tashkent; construction of the new shelter reportedly began during the reporting period.
In 2008, the Government of Uzbekistan maintained its strict quota system in which each province in the country is required to produce a share of the designated national cotton yield. Provincial governors were held personally responsible for ensuring that the quota was met; this pressure was passed to local officials, some of whom organized and forced school children, university students, and faculty to pick cotton to ensure the national quota was met. Uzbek farmers were unable to pay higher wages to attract a consenting workforce because the government pays the farmers below-market value for their cotton.
Recommendations for Uzbekistan: Take substantive action to end the use of forced labor during the annual cotton harvest; implement the national anti-trafficking action plan; continue to work with UNICEF and improve cooperation with ILO to reduce the reliance on forced labor during the annual cotton harvest; allow international experts to conduct an independent assessment of the use of forced labor during the annual cotton harvest; investigate, prosecute, convict, and sentence government officials complicit in trafficking; provide financial or in-kind support to anti-trafficking NGOs to provide assistance and shelter for victims; take steps to establish additional shelters outside of Tashkent; and continue efforts to improve the collection of law enforcement trafficking data.
Uzbekistan reported improved law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking in 2008, although the government did not report efforts to address official complicity during the annual cotton harvest. The newly amended Article 135 of the criminal code now prohibits trafficking for both sexual exploitation and forced labor, and prescribes penalties of three to 12 years’ imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with punishments prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. In 2008, law enforcement agencies reported conducting 900 trafficking investigations involving 670 suspects, up from 273 investigations involving 303 suspects reported in 2007. Authorities reported securing the convictions of approximately 400 suspects for trafficking in 2008, up from 185 in 2007. Approximately 300 convicted traffickers were sentenced to some time in prison. During the last year, 177 convicted traffickers, including some convicted in previous years, were granted amnesty and served a reduced sentence in prison. The government did not effectively enforce the law prohibiting the use of forced labor or the formal ban issued by the Prime Minister prohibiting the use of child labor during the cotton harvest which also addressed forced child labor. The government also did not take steps to monitor attendance at schools during the harvest to ensure students were not forced to work in the fields.
Some reports of government officials involved in trafficking-related bribery and fraud continued; allegations included the fraudulent issuance of exit visas and individual police officers accepting bribes from traffickers. In 2008, the government reported that two high-level police officials were prosecuted, convicted, and each sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for trafficking Uzbek nationals to Russia. The government did not investigate or prosecute any government officials for their involvement in organizing and compelling many schoolchildren and university students as well as some faculty to work in the fields during the annual cotton harvest.
In accordance with new 2008 legislation, the government took steps to improve assistance and protection for victims of trafficking, though the Government of Uzbekistan did not provide financial or in-kind assistance to the two foreign-funded and NGO-run shelters in the country and all comprehensive victim assistance was provided by foreign-funded NGOs during the reporting period. In late 2008, the national government reportedly allocated funding from the state budget to establish an anti-trafficking shelter in Tashkent. Local observers described a need for additional trafficking shelters in Karakalpakstan and Ferghana Valley. The government identified 2,941 victims in 2008; NGOs assisted 342 victims during the reporting period. The 2008 comprehensive anti-trafficking law and the 2008 anti-trafficking national action plan both mandate that victims receive immediate and long-term assistance. In 2008, the government reported assisting victims through existing non-trafficking social service structures including medical assistance for 164 trafficking victims, psychological help for 123 victims, access to legal counsel for 149 victims, vocational retraining courses for 32 victims, direct employment for 47 victims, and other social assistance such as housing for 92 victims. The government did not employ formal procedures to identify or refer victims of trafficking for assistance.
Some victims assisted law enforcement in trafficking investigations in 2008; however, many victims were still afraid to provide testimony or information out of cultural shame or fear of retribution by their traffickers, and the government did not have a witness protection program for victims who assisted law enforcement. The government reported that identified repatriated victims of trafficking were not punished for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; however, victims were required to sign documentation confessing to their illegal departure from Uzbekistan.
The government demonstrated awareness efforts in 2008. State-run print, television, and radio media significantly increased its coverage of trafficking from the previous year; efforts included television broadcasts of trafficking-themed films, radio service announcements, billboards throughout the country, and a state-financed production of a theater show about trafficking. In July 2008, the government adopted its first anti-trafficking national action plan which established the national inter-agency trafficking commission. The government-run media also focused attention on the amendments and subsequent enforcement of the criminal code which strengthened penalties and criminalized forced labor. However, the Uzbek government made limited efforts to prevent the use of forced labor during the annual cotton harvest by some local officials.
VENEZUELA (Tier 2 Watch List)
Venezuela is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Venezuelan women and girls are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation, lured from poor interior regions to urban and tourist areas such as Caracas and Margarita Island. Victims are often recruited through false job offers, and subsequently coerced into prostitution. Some Venezuelan children are forced to work as street beggars or as domestic servants. Venezuelan women and girls are trafficked transnationally for commercial sexual exploitation to Mexico, in addition to Caribbean destinations such as Trinidad and Tobago, the Netherlands Antilles, and the Dominican Republic. A common trafficking route is for victims to transit Curacao en route to The Netherlands and other countries in Western Europe. Men, women, and children from Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and Asian nations such as the People’s Republic of China are trafficked to and through Venezuela, and may be subjected to commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. A more recent trend appears to be increased human trafficking activity in Venezuela’s Orinoco River Basin area and border regions of Tachira State, where political violence and infiltration by armed rebel groups are common.
The Government of Venezuela does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite these overall significant efforts, the government did not show evidence of progress in convicting and sentencing trafficking offenders and providing adequate assistance to victims; therefore, Venezuela is placed on Tier 2 Watch List.
Recommendations for Venezuela: Amend existing laws to prohibit and adequately punish all forms of trafficking in persons, particularly the internal trafficking of men and boys; intensify efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, and convict and punish trafficking offenders; investigate reports of trafficking complicity by public officials; provide greater assistance and services to trafficking victims; consider designating a coordinator to lead the government’s anti-trafficking efforts; and improve data collection for trafficking crimes.
The Government of Venezuela made limited anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the last year, though Venezuelan law prohibits most forms of human trafficking. In 2007, the government enacted the Organic Law on the Right of Women to a Violence-Free Life. Article 56 of this recently enacted law prohibits the trafficking of women and girls for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, irregular adoption, or organ extraction, prescribing punishments of 15 to 20 years’ imprisonment. Articles 46 and 47 prohibit forced prostitution and sexual slavery, and carry penalties of 15 to 20 years’ imprisonment. These anti-trafficking provisions, however, do not address the internal trafficking of adult males or boys. Article 16 of the Organic Law Against Organized Crime, enacted in 2005, prohibits trafficking across international borders for labor or sexual exploitation, and prescribes penalties of 10 to 18 years’ imprisonment. The above penalties are sufficiently stringent, and commensurate with those for other serious crimes, such as rape. Prosecutors also can use Venezuela’s Child Protection Act and various articles of the penal code to prosecute the internal trafficking of children, though many of these statutes carry extremely low penalties -- typically a maximum of three months in jail or fines. Despite existing legal tools for punishing many forms of human trafficking, the Venezuelan government did not report any convictions or sentences of trafficking offenders in 2008. However, the government opened six investigations of transnational sex trafficking, one investigation of transnational labor trafficking, and one investigation of suspected internal trafficking. International organizations indicated that the government cooperated with INTERPOL on transnational trafficking cases, and increased screening for potential trafficking crimes at airports and borders. There were no confirmed reports of government complicity with human trafficking in 2008, though corruption among public officials, particularly related to the issuance of false identity documents, appeared to be widespread. Moreover, many Venezuelan law enforcement officials reportedly did not distinguish between human trafficking and alien smuggling offenses.
The Venezuelan government increased its efforts to prevent human trafficking over the year by providing some funding to NGOs for education activities, conducting widespread public awareness campaigns about the dangers of human trafficking, and continuing anti-trafficking training for government officials. The government advertised its hotline number, aired public service announcements, and widely distributed materials against commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, and child sex tourism. The government collaborated with NGOs and international organizations on other anti-trafficking efforts, but relations with these organizations were reportedly mixed. Moreover, high turnover of government personnel, particularly lack of an anti-trafficking coordinator, appears to have hampered the government’s anti-trafficking progress. While many government officials acknowledge that human trafficking is a problem in the country, some tended to view the nation as principally a transit point, demonstrating less recognition of internal trafficking concerns, such as children trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. No specific activities to reduce demand for commercial sex acts or forced labor were reported.
VIETNAM (Tier 2)
Vietnam is a source and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Women and children are trafficked to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Cambodia, Thailand, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Macau for sexual exploitation. Vietnam is a source country for men and women who migrate for work through informal networks and through state-owned and private labor export companies in the construction, fishing, or manufacturing sectors in Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea, the PRC, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Western Europe, and the Middle East, but subsequently face conditions of forced labor or debt bondage. Labor export companies may charge workers as much as $10,000 for the opportunity to work abroad, making them highly vulnerable to debt bondage. There are reports of Vietnamese children trafficked to the UK by Vietnamese organized crime gangs for forced labor on cannabis farms, and Vietnamese boys trafficked to China for forced labor in agriculture and factory settings. Traffickers are often residents or former residents of the victims’ communities. Some Vietnamese women going to the PRC, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and increasingly to the Republic of Korea for arranged marriages were victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor. There were reports of women from Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta forced into prostitution after marrying overseas, as well as reports of ethnic Hmong girls and women lured to or abducted and transported to southern China and subsequently sold into marriage. Vietnam is a destination country for Cambodian children trafficked to urban centers for forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation. Vietnamese and Cambodian children from rural areas are trafficked to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi for forced begging or the selling of flowers and lottery tickets, often part of organized crime rings. Vietnam has a significant internal trafficking problem with women and children from rural areas trafficked to urban centers for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Vietnam is increasingly a destination for child sex tourism, with perpetrators from Japan, the Republic of Korea, the PRC, Taiwan, the UK, Australia, Europe, and the United States.
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. While the government continued to prosecute sex trafficking offenders and made some efforts to protect victims of trafficking, it did not make sufficient efforts to criminally prosecute offenders of labor trafficking, or to protect victims of labor trafficking. While recent laws provide some recourse to victims of labor trafficking, bureaucratic inertia and a lack of resources for victims make this recourse difficult for trafficking victims to pursue. Although it took steps to combat cross-border sex trafficking by expanding investigations and prosecutions of traffickers, the Vietnamese government has not yet focused adequately on internal trafficking and needs to make more progress in the areas of law enforcement, victim protection, and prevention of labor trafficking and internal trafficking. The government’s initiatives to increase labor exports have not been complemented by adequate efforts to prevent labor trafficking and protect workers going abroad.
Recommendations for Vietnam: Institute criminal penalties for recruitment agencies and others involved in labor trafficking; criminally prosecute those involved in fraudulent labor recruitment or exploitation of labor; take steps to protect Vietnamese migrant workers from being subjected to practices that contribute to forced labor, such as the withholding of travel documents; ensure that state-licensed recruitment agencies do not engage in fraud or charge illegal “commissions” for overseas employment; extend proactive procedures to identify victims of internal trafficking and labor trafficking among vulnerable groups, such as repatriated Vietnamese migrant laborers; take measures to ensure that victims of labor trafficking are not threatened or otherwise punished for protesting or leaving an exploitative labor situation in Vietnam or abroad; assist Vietnamese workers returning from abroad in the resolution of labor contract disputes; and implement and support a visible anti-trafficking awareness campaign directed as clients of the sex trade.
The Vietnamese government demonstrated increased law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking in persons for transnational sex trafficking, though it did not take adequate steps to combat labor trafficking. While statutes in the Penal Code prohibit trafficking, existing laws do not adequately cover all forms of trafficking, including labor trafficking and the recruiting and harboring of trafficking victims. The majority of traffickers are prosecuted under Articles 119 and 120 of the Penal Code, which can be used against some forms of trafficking for sexual and labor exploitation, but can also be used to prosecute a variety of related crimes. In October 2008, the government submitted proposed amendments to Articles 119 and 120 of the Penal Code to include the trafficking of men over the age of 16. Labor laws do not provide criminal penalties for labor trafficking. Contract disputes between workers and the Vietnam-based export labor recruiting company or the employing company overseas are left almost entirely to the export labor recruiting company. Workers must bring their cases to court if they feel they have been unjustly treated by the export labor recruiting company, though in practice, few have the resources to do so. Despite several reported cases of forced labor and debt bondage of Vietnamese workers abroad, the government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of offenders of labor trafficking during the reporting period. The Ministry of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA) reported that while some labor recruitment companies were fined or had activities restricted due to various violations, none had their licenses revoked for violations of the law. Vietnam’s National Steering Committee on trafficking in persons reported that in 2008, police investigated 330 cases and convicted 424 individuals for violations of Articles 119 and 120 of the Vietnamese Penal Code, which includes some forms of trafficking for sexual and labor exploitation, as well as a variety of related crimes. Trafficking-related corruption occurred at the local level, where officials at border crossings and checkpoints take bribes to look the other way, though the government did not report any investigations or prosecutions of officials for trafficking-related complicity.
The Vietnamese government demonstrated some efforts at protecting cross-border sex trafficking victims in 2008. While the government took action to further protect workers by implementing the labor export assistance fund and providing stricter regulations on brokerage fees for labor export it does not provide adequate legal protection or assistance to the estimated 500,000 Vietnamese workers abroad from conditions of forced labor and debt bondage. Agreements signed with governments of labor-demand countries did not appear to have adequate provisions to prevent human trafficking and protect victims of trafficking from conditions of forced labor and debt bondage. Although the government says the practice of passport confiscation is unacceptable, MOLISA authorized recruitment companies to illegally withhold workers’ travel documents during the reporting period; Vietnamese embassies abroad reportedly do issue travel documents when employers refuse to return them. The Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU), with the assistance of NGOs, continued to run four shelters which provide psycho-social counseling and vocational training for female victims of sex trafficking. There are no shelters designated specifically for victims of labor trafficking; however, these victims have access to the same “social protection centers” that many female sex trafficking victims can turn to for assistance. Sex trafficking victims were encouraged to assist in the investigation and prosecution process, but there was no data on the number of victims involved in prosecutions during the reporting period. Repatriated Vietnamese trafficking victims were not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. In March 2009, Vietnamese officials repatriated a Vietnamese minor identified in Laos as a sex trafficking victim before she could access necessary medical treatment in Laos. The government established some procedures to identify cross-border sex trafficking victims and trained 150 officials on the procedures with assistance from an international organization, but has not yet developed a comprehensive system to identify victims of internal trafficking or labor trafficking from among vulnerable groups. Since May 2008, the government reported that it officially identified 410 victims, compared to 450 for all of 2007. In May 2008, the government, with NGO assistance, established procedures for referring victims to appropriate care, and began to implement the referral system for women and girls identified as trafficking victims. The government does not exhibit adequate efforts to identify trafficking victims among women arrested for prostitution; as a result, sex trafficking victims may be vulnerable to being penalized for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
In February 2008, a group of 176 Vietnamese women recruited by Vietnamese state-owned labor agencies for work in Jordan were allegedly subjected to conditions of fraudulent recruitment, contract switching, debt bondage, unlawful confiscation of travel documents, confinement, and manipulation of employment terms – all indications of possible trafficking for forced labor. These conditions led to a worker strike and subsequently, altercations among workers and with the Jordanian police. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent an inter-ministerial team to Jordan to address the situation and attempt to convince the workers to go back to work. Several workers reported that officials attempted to intimidate them and refused workers’ requests to intervene to get their back pay and pressure the employer to honor their contracts. Some reports stated that the workers faced threats of retaliation by Vietnamese government officials and employment agency representatives if they did not return to work. After labor negotiations failed, the Vietnamese government repatriated 157 of the workers; the other 19 workers elected to stay in Jordan. Although the government fined the three state-owned labor companies involved and restricted them from sending workers to Jordan in the future, it did not criminally prosecute labor agency officials for trafficking-related offenses. The government does not consider the workers possible victims of trafficking and has not assisted the repatriated workers in retrieving their back pay or recruitment fees. In another reported case of labor trafficking, four Vietnamese women were recruited by a state-owned recruitment company to work as domestic workers in Malaysia. The workers report that their passports and contracts were confiscated upon arrival, and the women were imprisoned in their employers’ home where they were forced to work 18 hours a day with no pay. The women were able to escape and return to Vietnam, but the government reportedly did not assist the victims in obtaining compensation for their unpaid work in Malaysia and the high recruitment fees they reportedly paid.
The Vietnamese government continued efforts to prevent trafficking through public awareness. The VWU and the Vietnam Youth Union continued to conduct nationwide anti-trafficking public awareness campaigns. The VWU also continued to cooperate with its South Korean counterpart in a program of pre-marriage counseling centers in Vietnam, in an effort to prevent trafficking through international marriages of Vietnamese women. In March 2008, the Vietnamese government signed an anti-trafficking Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Thailand, though some NGOs question the feasibility of the agreement’s implementation. Despite Vietnam’s efforts to engage in dialogue and enhance law enforcement cooperation with Malaysia and other Asian destination countries for Vietnamese trafficking victims, regional cooperation remains a challenge. The government recognizes that Vietnam is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for international child sex tourism. Vietnam works with foreign governments where foreign pedophiles are wanted for child sex tourism, though it declined to share information on cases handled. There were no measures undertaken by the government to reduce demand for commercial sex acts. In April 2008, the Vietnamese government completed an investigation of a series of export labor-related fraud cases, 80 percent of which involved Vietnamese laborers recruited by unlicensed brokers to go to the Republic of Korea. Reports indicate that over 100 perpetrators were convicted for at least 70 cases of fraud involving 3,000 victims of fraud in the 2006-2007 timeframe. Vietnam has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
YEMEN (Tier 2 Watch List)
Yemen is a country of origin and, to a much lesser extent, transit and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Yemeni children, mostly boys, are trafficked across the northern border with Saudi Arabia or to the Yemeni cities of Aden and Sana’a for forced labor, primarily as beggars, but also for domestic servitude or work in small shops. Some of these children are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation in transit or once they arrive in Saudi Arabia. To a lesser extent, Yemen is also a source country for girls trafficked internally and to Saudi Arabia for commercial sexual exploitation. Girls as young as 15 years old are exploited for commercial sex in hotels, casinos, and bars in the governorates of Mahweet, Aden, and Taiz. The majority of child sex tourists in Yemen originate from Saudi Arabia, with a smaller number possibly coming from other Gulf nations. Yemeni girls who marry Saudi tourists often do not realize the temporary and exploitative nature of these agreements and some are forced into prostitution or abandoned on the streets after reaching Saudi Arabia. Yemen is a transit and destination country for women and children trafficked from Ethiopia and Somalia for the purpose of domestic servitude; female Somali refugees are reportedly trafficked by Somali men into prostitution in Aden and Lahj governorates and Yemeni gangs traffic African children to Saudi Arabia.
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. Despite these significant efforts, the Yemeni government did not show evidence of progress in prosecuting and punishing trafficking offenders or in preventing sex trafficking over the last year; therefore, Yemen is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. The government reported no trafficking investigations, prosecutions, or convictions during the reporting period, and took no steps to address trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. It continued, however, to provide protection and reunification services to child victims repatriated from Saudi Arabia and made notable strides in raising awareness of child labor trafficking.
Recommendations for Yemen: Take law enforcement action against human trafficking; improve protection services available to victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation; and institute a formal victim identification mechanism to identify and refer victims to protection services.
Though the provision of anti-trafficking training to law enforcement officials increased over the reporting period, the Government of Yemen made no discernable efforts to prosecute or punish trafficking offenders, in contrast to six trafficking convictions obtained during the preceding reporting period. Article 248 of the penal code prescribes 10 years’ imprisonment for anyone who “buys, sells, or gives as a present, or deals in human beings; and anyone who brings into the country or exports from it a human being with the intent of taking advantage of him.” This prescribed penalty is commensurate with that for other grave crimes, such as rape. Article 161 of the Child Rights Law specifically criminalizes the prostitution of children. Yemen’s Parliament considered draft legislation criminalizing child trafficking during the reporting period. Law enforcement officials reportedly tolerated internal trafficking in girls and women for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation, making no known attempts to intervene during 2008. In February 2009, however, Haradh police arrested a Yemeni man and a Saudi national in connection with an illegal marriage of a Yemeni girl to a Saudi tourist; this is the first penal action taken by the government against “temporary marriages,” which may constitute child trafficking. In the same month, a sting operation conducted by the Ministry of Interior resulted in the arrest of four individuals in Harath who were attempting to traffic 13 children to Saudi Arabia. In addition, in February 2009, the Ministry of Justice permanently removed a judge who approved a contract for the sale of a 26-year old slave. During the year, the Ministry of Interior trained 5,000 police officers and border guards in the northern governorates, where child trafficking is most prevalent, on recognition and prevention of trafficking.
The government made limited progress in protecting victims over the last year, but remained reluctant to acknowledge trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. In partnership with UNICEF and a local NGO, the government continued operation of two reception centers in Sana’a and Harath to rehabilitate child labor trafficking victims deported from Saudi Arabia. These facilities received 583 children during the reporting period – two of whom had been sexually exploited – and provided them with approximately two months of food, counseling, limited medical care, and family reunification services. Through contributions of facilities, buses, and educational materials, the government also supported three NGO-run rehabilitation centers for child laborers in Sana’a, Sayun, and Aden, which provided food, basic health services, and vocational training; the centers are jointly funded by the government and ILO-IPEC. The government-run al-Thawra Hospital in Sana’a provided free medical care for trafficked children and child laborers. The government, however, did not provide protection services for internal sex trafficking victims or adult victims of trafficking, and only assisted foreign victims by referring their cases to foreign missions in Yemen. For example, a Sudanese boy deported from Saudi Arabia to Sana’a in 2008 was turned over to the Embassy of Sudan for repatriation.
Child labor violations in Yemen, including forced child labor, were rarely reported, investigated, or prosecuted in major urban areas; investigations were nonexistent in more remote regions. Twenty child labor investigators under the authority of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MOSAL) Child Labor Unit each received only a $15 monthly allowance to conduct regional travel and inspect farms, fisheries, and factories in Aden, Sana’a, and Sayun, limiting their effectiveness in counteracting child labor trafficking. Child labor trafficking victims were not jailed in Yemen in 2008. However, the government did not differentiate between voluntary and forced prostitution, and punished persons engaged in the commercial sex trade, including children. The government did not employ procedures for proactively identifying victims of sex trafficking among high-risk groups and lacked a formalized victim referral process. It was not known whether the government encouraged victims to assist in investigations against their traffickers. There were no legal alternatives to the removal of foreign trafficking victims to countries in which they may face hardship or retribution.
Yemen made progress in preventing child labor trafficking during the reporting period, particularly by conducting far-reaching awareness campaigns and training programs, but did little to combat trafficking for sexual exploitation. MOSAL trained 1,560 local leaders – sheikhs, teachers, and government officials – in 2008 in the northern border governorates and other key areas with known child labor trafficking problems. Through lectures at taxi stands, MOSAL officials also trained 650 taxi and small bus drivers in Hudeidah, Hajja, Saada, and Sana’a to recognize signs of trafficking and identify children being trafficked for labor purposes. MOSAL also distributed 3,000 anti-trafficking posters and 5,000 stickers throughout the country. The Ministry of Information produced and broadcast public service announcements on child labor on 60 radio stations and five television stations in urban centers across Yemen in 2008. In cooperation with a local NGO, the government also organized a Children’s Parliament that met three times in 2008 to hear testimony from and question government officials on child labor and trafficking. In August 2008, the government approved a three-year National Action Plan to combat child labor and sex trafficking. A Technical Committee coordinates the government’s efforts to combat child trafficking and met quarterly in 2008. Throughout the year, government officials continued to press – without success – counterparts in Saudi Arabia to sign a memorandum of understanding to increase joint cooperation on human trafficking. The government, however, did not take any significant measures during the reporting period to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts or address the problem of child sex tourism. Information was unavailable regarding measures, if any, adopted by the government to ensure its nationals deployed to peacekeeping missions do not facilitate or engage in human trafficking. Yemen has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
ZAMBIA (Tier 2)
Zambia is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Child victims, primarily trafficked within the country for labor and sexual exploitation, tend to be female, adolescent, and orphaned. In exchange for money or gifts, relatives or acquaintances often facilitate the trafficking of a child to an urban center for prostitution. Children are sometimes trafficked as a consequence of soliciting help from strangers such as truck drivers. Many Zambian child laborers, particularly those in the agriculture, domestic service, and fishing sectors, are also victims of human trafficking. Traffickers most often operate through ad hoc, flexible networks of relatives, truck drivers, business people, cross-border traders, and religious leaders. Organized rings offer Zambian women false job or marriage offers, then traffic them to South Africa via Zimbabwe for sexual exploitation, or to Europe via Malawi. Zambia's geographic location, porous borders, and lax immigration enforcement make it a nexus for transnational trafficking from the Great Lakes region and Congo to South Africa for agricultural labor. Adults and children from Malawi and Mozambique are occasionally trafficked to Zambia for forced agricultural labor.
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. During the reporting period, the government made strong efforts to increase and improve law enforcement efforts against trafficking offenders, to raise public awareness of trafficking, and address demand. Services for victims, however, remained inadequate and the new anti-trafficking law has yet to be enforced.
Recommendations for Zambia: Continue to train police, immigration, and court officers on implementation of the new trafficking law; formalize and implement victim identification and referral procedures; improve government services for human trafficking victims as provided for in the new law; increase anti-human trafficking awareness, particularly among government labor officials; and monitor the employment and labor recruiting agencies and hold labor recruiters accountable for fraudulent recruitment practices that contribute to forced labor.
The Government of Zambia’s anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts produced concrete results over the reporting period. Zambia’s president signed the comprehensive “Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2008" into law on November 19, 2008. In the months since its entry into force, no investigations or prosecutions were started under its provisions. The new law criminalizes all forms of trafficking. The law prescribes sufficiently stringent penalties for trafficking that are commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape; penalties range from 25 years’ to life imprisonment, depending on various circumstances. Two trafficking offenders were prosecuted and convicted in 2008 under anti-trafficking provisions in earlier laws. In April, the Kasama High Court sentenced two men to 20 and 25 years’ imprisonment, respectively, for child trafficking. The men were caught in 2006 attempting to sell an eight year-old boy for forced labor. A lack of financial resources, trained personnel, and technical capability, coupled by petty corruption at borders, police stations, and other lower-level government offices, constrain the government's ability to combat trafficking. With NGO assistance, the Zambian Police Victims’ Support Unit is revising its data collection practices on trafficking to improve monitoring and reporting. The Zambia Law Development Commission published a manual on the new anti-trafficking law for police and prosecutors, and began training officials in February 2009. The government worked with NGOs to train police nationwide on human trafficking issues, and to develop a cadre of trainers within the Zambian Police Service (ZPS). One such trainer and an immigration official conducted four months of follow-on anti-trafficking training at border posts around Zambia. The ZPS also instituted a national hotline for police officers, to connect them directly with ZPS officers trained to identify and investigate trafficking.
The government made minimal efforts to protect victims of trafficking over the reporting period. Its close cooperation with IOM, UNICEF, and the YWCA has not resulted in the provision of adequate services for victims identified within Zambia or repatriated from destination countries. The government has not yet allocated funds for projects mandated by its anti-trafficking law, such as the establishment of government centers for victims of trafficking. During the year, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Gender in Development Division of the Cabinet Office provided limited financial support to NGOs which run shelters housing victims of trafficking along with victims of domestic violence or other crimes. The government did not have a formal mechanism for referring victims to NGOs for these services. Shelters offer some limited psychological counseling, medical treatment, and assistance dealing with the police; some also offer brief training in income-generating activities such as sewing or handicrafts. The new law prohibits the summary deportation of a trafficking victim and provides legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution. The government generally does not penalize victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. The government encourages victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers. Courts may order a convicted trafficking offender to pay reparations to victims for damage to property, physical, psychological or other injury, or loss of income and support.
The Zambian government demonstrated increasingly strong efforts to prevent trafficking over the reporting period. In January 2009, it formed an interagency committee on trafficking, and approved a national anti-trafficking policy and an accompanying communications strategy developed in association with NGOs and other stakeholders. IOM and a local NGO operate a 24-hour hotline for Zambians to report possible trafficking cases or ask about the bona fides of offers to work abroad. The media extensively covered Zambian police raids of suspected brothels in high-density neighborhoods; police officials were quoted in the press stressing that prostitution is illegal and dangerous for both the clients and the prostitutes. The Zambian government’s interagency committee on trafficking obtained weekly air time on ZNBC, the nation's largest television broadcaster, and on a national radio station to talk about trafficking issues. The government launched its "Break the Chain of Human Trafficking" trafficking prevention campaign with assistance from IOM. The government targeted both potential trafficking victims and those driving the demand for the services of human trafficking victims with its information campaign. It also worked with IOM to monitor movement patterns along the Zambia-Zimbabwe border for evidence of forced migration and human trafficking. The military has no specific measures in place to provide anti-trafficking training to troops currently participating in peacekeeping missions. New military personnel, however, will receive trafficking awareness training as part of a new anti-trafficking curriculum being developed for training academies.
ZIMBABWE (Tier 3)
Zimbabwe is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Large scale migration of Zimbabweans to surrounding countries has increased – as they flee a progressively more desperate situation at home – and NGOs, international organizations, and governments in neighboring countries report that some of these Zimbabweans face human trafficking. Rural Zimbabwean men, women, and children are trafficked within the country to farms for agricultural labor and to cities for forced domestic labor and commercial sexual exploitation. NGOs believe internal trafficking increased during the year, largely due to the closure of schools, worsening political violence, and a faltering economy. In 2008, Zimbabwean security forces consolidated their control of mining in the Marange region, forcing members of the local population to mine for diamonds. Between the March 2008 presidential election and the June 2008 run-off, youth militias controlled by Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF political party abducted and held an unknown number of women and girls, particularly opposition supporters, in sexual and domestic servitude at command bases.
Zimbabwean women and children are trafficked for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation, including in brothels, along both sides of the country’s borders with Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia. Young men and boys are trafficked to South Africa for farm work, often being forced to labor for months in South Africa without pay before “employers” have them arrested and deported as illegal immigrants. Small numbers of Zimbabwean men are trafficked for work in Mozambique’s construction industry. Young women and girls are lured to South Africa and potentially other countries with false employment offers that result in involuntary domestic servitude or forced prostitution. Men, women, and children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia are trafficked through Zimbabwe en route to South Africa.
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 made minimal progress in combating trafficking in 2008, and members of its military and the former ruling party’s youth militias perpetrated acts of trafficking on local populations. The government’s anti-trafficking efforts were further weakened as it failed to address Zimbabwe’s economic and social problems during the reporting period, thus increasing the population’s vulnerability to trafficking within and outside of the country.
Recommendations for Zimbabwe: Cease the use by members of security forces of local populations for forced diamond mining; prosecute, convict, and punish trafficking offenders; advance comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation; formalize procedures for interviewing victims and transferring them to the care of NGOs; and launch a broad awareness-raising campaign that educates all levels of government officials, as well as the general public, on the nature of trafficking and the availability of assistance for victims.
The government did not provide any data on its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the year, including any data on prosecutions and convictions of traffickers. Zimbabwe does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, though existing statutes outlaw forced labor and numerous forms of sexual exploitation. Forced labor offenses are punishable by a fine or two years’ imprisonment, or both; these penalties are not sufficiently stringent or commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes. The government reported in 2007 that it was drafting comprehensive trafficking legislation; however, the draft was neither publicly available nor introduced in Parliament during the last year. Parliament was not sworn in until August 2008 following March elections; the newly elected parliamentarians have not yet formed the committees that review and propose legislation. The government failed to provide information on anti-trafficking law enforcement activities conducted during the reporting period. The Ministry of Justice reported that none of the cases investigated in 2007 was brought to trial during 2008. The government did not provide specialized anti-trafficking training for law enforcement officials.
The growing number of illegal migrants deported from South Africa and Botswana, combined with a crippling lack of resources, severely impeded the government’s ability to effectively identify victims of trafficking among returnees. The Department of Immigration required all deportees returning from South Africa via the Beitbridge border crossing to attend an IOM-led briefing on safe migration, which includes a discussion on human trafficking and IOM and NGO assistance services. The reception center’s social workers – who are employed by the Department of Social Welfare, but funded and trained by IOM – screened the deportees and referred them to NGO shelters; one trafficking victim was identified through this process in 2008. The District Council of Beitbridge employed one child protection officer and convened a child protection committee to coordinate programs and resources on issues relating to children. In May 2008, IOM opened a second reception center at the Plumtree border crossing for Zimbabweans deported from Botswana. Although the government has an established process for referring victims to international organizations and NGOs that provide shelter and other services, in 2008 the government primarily depended on these organizations to identify trafficking victims and alert the authorities. However, the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s Victim Friendly Unit referred three victims to IOM during the reporting period. The government generally encourages victims to assist in the prosecution of traffickers, but is not believed to have prosecuted trafficking offenses during the year. Likewise, the government did not inappropriately incarcerate or otherwise penalize victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. It could have offered foreign victims relief from deportation while they receive victim services and their cases are investigated, though there were no cases of victims receiving such relief in 2008. With the exception of deportees from South Africa and Botswana, the government’s law enforcement, immigration, and social services do not have a formal system for proactively identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations.
The government did not conduct anti-trafficking information or education campaigns during the reporting period, and there remained a general lack of understanding of human trafficking across government agencies, especially at the local level. Senior government officials occasionally spoke, however, about the dangers of trafficking and illegal migration, and the state-run media printed and aired warnings about false employment scams and exploitative labor conditions. During the year, all four government-controlled radio stations aired an IOM public service announcement eight times each day in five languages during peak migration periods. The inter-ministerial anti-trafficking task force took no concrete action during the year. Anecdotal reports indicated that the worsening economy reduced the demand for commercial sex acts, though there were no known government efforts to reduce the demand for forced labor or the demand for commercial sex acts. Information was unavailable regarding measures adopted by the government to ensure its nationals deployed to peacekeeping missions do not facilitate or engage in human trafficking. Zimbabwe has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.