Guinea is a source, transit, and, to a lesser extent, a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The majority of Guinea’s identified trafficking victims are children, and incidents of trafficking are more prevalent among Guinean citizens than foreign migrants residing in Guinea. Girls are often subjected to domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation, while boys are forced to beg on the streets, work as street vendors or shoe shiners, or labor in gold and diamond mines. Some Guinean women and men are subjected to forced labor in agriculture. Children are sent to the coastal region of Boke for forced labor on farms and to Senegal for education in Koranic schools, some of which exploit students through forced begging. Some Guinean boys and girls are subjected to forced labor in gold mining in Senegal, Mali, and possibly other West African countries. Guinean women and girls are subjected to domestic servitude and sex trafficking in Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Senegal, Greece, and Spain. Reports indicate that Chinese and Vietnamese women are subjected to forced prostitution in Guinea and some Guinean women who migrate to the Middle East and Europe are subjected to forced prostitution and domestic servitude. Children from Mauritania, Costa Rica, Cape Verde, Mali, Gabon, Senegal, and Ghana have been identified as child trafficking victims within Guinea. A small number of girls from Mali, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Guinea-Bissau migrate to Guinea, where they are subjected to domestic servitude and likely also to commercial sexual exploitation.
The Government of Guinea does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In August 2012, the government created a new police unit with 30 officers focused solely on the fight against trafficking in persons and child labor, which investigated five cases of alleged trafficking during the reporting period. Despite the creation of a 30-officer anti-trafficking police unit, the government did not demonstrate evidence of overall increasing efforts to address human trafficking over the previous year; therefore, Guinea is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. The government did not prosecute trafficking offenses or convict trafficking offenders and did not provide comprehensive data on its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. Additionally, the government failed to provide adequate protection to trafficking victims, and its overall prevention efforts remained weak.
Recommendations for Guinea: Increase efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, and convict and punish trafficking offenders; work towards gaining capacity for the criminal courts to operate; educate prosecutors on trafficking-related statutes that can be pursued through the lower courts until the criminal courts are operating; train law enforcement officials and magistrates on anti-trafficking statues in the child code and the existing penal code; increase prescribed penalties for the sex trafficking of adults; provide specialized training to border officials to recognize both adult and child trafficking victims and to refer them to protective services; investigate allegations of corruption among border officials; appoint a new president of the National Committee to Fight Against Trafficking in Persons and provide adequate resources and training to committee members; implement the 2012-2013 national action plan; develop stronger partnerships with NGOs and international organizations, where possible, care for victims and develop systemic referral practices for victim care; enhance partnership and information-sharing mechanisms among government agencies involved in combating trafficking; and increase efforts to raise public awareness about trafficking, including the trafficking of adults.
The Government of Guinea did not demonstrate sufficient anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Guinean law does not prohibit all forms of trafficking, excluding, for example, forced prostitution of adults and debt bondage, which are not criminalized. Article 337 of the 1998 penal code prohibits individuals from entering into agreements that deprive third parties of their liberty, prescribing penalties of five to 10 years’ imprisonment and confiscation of any proceeds from the crime. Articles 385-396 of the 2009 Child Code prohibit all forms of child trafficking and prescribe penalties of five to 10 years’ imprisonment and the confiscation of any proceeds from the crime. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The government initiated five new trafficking investigations, but failed to prosecute or convict any trafficking offenders during the reporting period, representing a decrease compared to the significant anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts demonstrated in 2011. In August 2012, the Office for the Protection of Gender, Children, and Morals (OProGEM) within the Guinean police was restructured, creating a new unit focused solely on the fight against trafficking in persons and child labor. Thirty police officers were assigned to this unit, which purportedly conducted investigations across the country. However, the OProGEM reported that it lacks an adequate headquarters building, working vehicles, and other resources necessary to function effectively. In conjunction with IOM, the government trained 75 police and gendarmes on the identification and investigation of human trafficking. The Government of Guinea did not report any investigations or prosecutions of officials for alleged complicity in trafficking-related offenses during the reporting period; however, generalized corruption within border guard units and the judiciary continued to be a significant problem.
The government’s protection of trafficking victims remained limited and difficult to assess during the reporting period. The government identified an unknown number of child victims of trafficking during the reporting period and no adult victims. The government failed to provide trafficking victims with direct access to legal, medical, or psychological services, and did not provide direct or in-kind support to international or local NGOs that assisted victims. However, the government continued to refer child victims to NGOs on an ad hoc basis and worked with NGOs to reunite victims with their families. The number of victims referred by government officials for assistance is unknown. During the reporting period, OProGEM selected a site in the Kipe neighborhood of Conakry for the construction of the first government-funded transition center for the treatment and protection of women and children who are victims of crimes, including child labor, forced labor, and sex trafficking; however, the government did not allocate funds to the construction of this facility.
Although it is legally available, the government did not provide temporary or permanent residence status to any victims from countries where they would face retribution or hardship. The child code contains provisions allowing NGOs to bring cases to court on behalf of victims, and the government reported that a victim could file a civil suit against a trafficking offender provided the victim is older than 12 years of age; however, this did not happen during the reporting period. There was no evidence that the government encouraged trafficking victims to participate in the investigation or prosecution of their traffickers during the year. It is not known whether any trafficking victims were prosecuted or otherwise punished for violations of Guinean laws.
The Government of Guinea made minimal efforts to prevent trafficking of children during the reporting period, though it failed to make any efforts to prevent adult trafficking. The National Committee to Fight Against Trafficking in Persons (CNLTP) failed to hold meetings for the majority of the reporting period, as the president of the committee passed away and the CNLTP failed to name a successor; as a result, the government did not conduct any trafficking prevention campaigns. However, it hosted its first joint National Forum on Children with the Government of Mali as part of the implementation of their bilateral accord of cooperation in the fight against child trafficking. The government also relaunched its Steering Committee for Vulnerable Children and Orphans in October 2012, which coordinates government efforts to protect vulnerable and exploited children; this steering committee had been discontinued due to political turmoil in 2008-2009. Despite Guinea’s widespread child labor problem, the government did not implement any social programs to prevent children from entering exploitative work situations and, according to NGOs, labor inspectors lacked the capacity to adequately conduct child labor investigations. The government did not take steps to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.