ANGOLA: Tier 2
Angola is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Angolans, including minors, endure forced labor in the brick-making, domestic service, construction, agricultural, and artisanal diamond mining sectors within the country. Angolan girls as young as 13 years old are victims of sex trafficking. Angolan adults use children younger than age 12 for forced criminal activity, because children cannot be criminally prosecuted. The provinces of Luanda, Benguela, and the border provinces of Cunene, Namibe, Zaire, and Uige are the most vulnerable to trafficking activities. Some Angolan boys are taken to Namibia for forced labor in cattle herding, while others are forced to serve as couriers to transport illicit goods, as part of a scheme to skirt import fees in cross-border trade with Namibia. Angolan women and children are subjected to domestic servitude and sex trafficking in South Africa, Namibia, and European countries, including the Netherlands and Portugal.
Women from Vietnam and Brazil engaged in prostitution in Angola may be victims of sex trafficking. Some Chinese women are recruited by Chinese gangs and construction companies with promises of work, but later are deprived of their passports, kept in walled compounds with armed guards, and forced into prostitution to pay back the costs of their travel. Chinese, Southeast Asian, Brazilian, Namibian, Kenyan, and possibly Congolese migrants are subjected to forced labor in Angola’s construction industry; they may be subject to withholding of passports, threats of violence, denial of food, and confinement. At times, workers are coerced to continue work in unsafe conditions, which at times reportedly resulted in death. Chinese workers are brought to Angola by Chinese companies that have large construction or mining contracts; some companies do not disclose the terms and conditions of the work at the time of recruitment. Undocumented Congolese migrants, including children, enter Angola for work in diamond-mining districts, where some endure forced labor or sex trafficking in mining camps. Trafficking networks recruit and transport Congolese girls as young as 12 years old from Kasai Occidental in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Angola for labor and sex trafficking.
The Government of Angola does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The Inter-ministerial Commission to Combat Trafficking in Persons (the commission) worked to improve efforts to combat trafficking in Angola by beginning to standardize the collection of data on anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts and establishing five ad hoc provincial commissions in Benguela, Huila, Namibe, Uige, and Zaire provinces. The government trained approximately 350 officials on the 2014 money laundering law that includes provisions prohibiting trafficking. Additionally, it raised awareness of its anti-trafficking efforts to more than 1,000 private citizens and NGO leaders. During the year, the government investigated 10 potential trafficking cases, two of which were referred for prosecution. The government increased protection efforts, identifying 55 potential child trafficking victims during the year; however, it made inadequate efforts to identify and provide protective services to adult victims. The government has never convicted a trafficking offender using the 2014 money laundering law.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ANGOLA:
Use provisions in the 2014 money laundering law to investigate and prosecute forced labor and sex trafficking offenses; train law enforcement officials on these provisions; systematically investigate labor trafficking in the Angolan construction sector; develop systematic procedures for identifying trafficking victims, and train officials on such procedures; develop uniform and systematic referral procedures for all provinces; undertake efforts to provide shelter, counseling, and medical care to both child and adult victims, either directly or in partnership with NGOs; collect and analyze anti-trafficking law enforcement data; and continue to organize nationwide anti-trafficking public awareness campaigns.
The government maintained its minimal law enforcement efforts in 2015. The 2014 money laundering law prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons and prescribes penalties of eight to 12 years’ imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes. Trafficking is criminalized in chapter III, articles 19, 20, and 23. Article 19 criminalizes the act of delivering, enticing, accepting, transporting, housing, or keeping of persons for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labor, or trafficking of organs, including by force, fraud, or coercion. Article 19 also makes the enticement, transport, or housing of a child for such purposes by any means a trafficking offense; in keeping with international law, it does not require the use of fraud, force, or coercion to prove a trafficking case when a child is the victim. This provision appears to overlap with article 22, pimping of minors, which provides a lower penalty of two to 10 years’ imprisonment for promoting, encouraging, or facilitating the exercise of the prostitution of children, with enhanced penalties for the use of force, threat, or fraud of five to 12 years’ imprisonment; these penalties are not commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Slavery and servitude are separately criminalized in article 18, with sentences of seven to 12 years’ imprisonment. The Law on the Protection and Integral Development of Children of August 2012 prohibits the exploitation of children under article 7, and article 33 prohibits the kidnapping, sale, trafficking, or prostitution of children; however, this law fails to define and prescribe penalties for these crimes, limiting its utility.
In 2015, the government reported on law enforcement efforts to address trafficking crimes, including its investigation of 12 potential trafficking cases, compared with 18 in the previous reporting period. Of these, the government initiated prosecutions in two cases, compared with five in 2014. Although a few of these cases involved domestic trafficking, these anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts appeared to focus on investigating potential child trafficking crimes involving transnational movement. The government did not report on progress to initiate prosecutions and convict suspected trafficking offenders from investigations during previous reporting periods. It has never convicted a trafficking offender. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking offenses. Due to a culture of corruption, law enforcement efforts were stymied in many areas, including anti-human trafficking. Many Angolan judges were not familiar with the 2014 money laundering law provisions as Angolan courts have been prosecuting trafficking crimes by enforcing provisions of the penal code (written in 1886) to prosecute crimes like kidnapping, forced labor, or abuse of minors rather than the more recently defined crime of trafficking with enhanced sentencing requirements. The government did not convict a trafficking offender using the 2014 money laundering law in the current reporting period.
Resistance from the national police to share information in their national crime database has slowed down the commission’s analysis of trafficking in Angola. The government, at times in partnership with international organizations, trained more than 350 officials during the year. National police academy training continued to include human trafficking provisions. In August 2015, the government hosted a workshop for 101 law enforcement and social service officials on human trafficking, including indicators of trafficking and the consequences traffickers should face. The government maintained a labor agreement with the Government of China, which requires Chinese companies to follow Angolan labor laws; however, Angolan authorities have not prosecuted construction companies and employers, including Chinese-run operations, for alleged forced labor abuses.
The government increased its efforts to protect victims. The government identified and referred 55 trafficking victims to services, 51 of whom were forced labor victims, including 40 minors, compared with 17 potential trafficking victims identified the previous year. The national police, the Office of the Attorney General, and the commission demonstrated efficient coordination after police identified a minor victim allegedly subjected to sex trafficking and held captive in Kilamba city. Although multinational construction company Odebrecht was found guilty in Sao Paulo, Brazil, of subjecting Brazilian nationals to trafficking in Angola between 2012 and 2013, the government did not identify any trafficking victims in Angola after a series of site visits.
The National Institute of Children (INAC) received referrals of child victims and managed child support centers in all 18 provinces, which provide food, shelter, basic education, and family reunification for crime victims younger than age 18; however, it was unclear how many children were assisted at such centers during the year. The Ministry of Social Assistance and Reinsertion (MINARS) and the Ministry of Family and Women’s Affairs (MINFAMU) received referrals of female victims, as they manage a national network of safe houses for women. Both networks of shelters provide legal and psychological assistance to victims. MINARS, MINFAMU, and the Organization of Angolan Women (the women’s wing of the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola political party) operated 30 counseling centers, seven multipurpose shelters, and 52 children’s shelters, which trafficking victims could access. The commission developed guidelines for referring possible trafficking victims to the provincial attorney general’s office and representative for the Directorate for Human Rights, and for liaising with INAC and MINFAMU.
Law enforcement and social services officials lacked a mechanism for screening vulnerable populations, including persons in prostitution. Neither documented nor undocumented foreign workers were screened for trafficking victimization and may have been arrested and deported for unlawful acts committed as a result of having been subjected to trafficking, including immigration and employment violations. For example, authorities who found workers without work permits during labor inspections fined the employers and arrested and deported the workers. On previous occasions when authorities identified trafficking victims among foreign laborers, the Angolan government routinely repatriated them to the source countries without providing care or ensuring proper treatment upon their arrival. Angolan law does not provide foreign trafficking victims with legal alternatives to their removal to a country where they may face hardship or retribution. The national police, with the assistance of social workers and psychologists as appropriate, reportedly used victim testimonies for their investigation and prosecution of traffickers.
The government increased its efforts to prevent human trafficking. The commission—established in 2014 under the direction of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights and the Ministry of Social Assistance and Reintegration—was instrumental in encouraging increased collaboration between national police and provincial government officials. The commission established provincial commissions to combat trafficking in Benguela, Huila, Namibe, Uige, and Zaire that shared information with the national commission. It also convened government officials from all the provinces for a series of meetings to examine the extent of trafficking in the country. Preliminary findings from a government-funded report assessing the nature of trafficking revealed children were working on farms in the southern provinces, as well as in the construction sector, and highlighted the vulnerabilities of migrants in search of work along the Angola-DRC border. The commission also established formal partnerships with the National Council for Youth, the Pastoral Group on Immigration of the Catholic Church, and several Protestant community associations. In November, the commission started a bilateral working group with Mozambique’s national coordinating body to discuss regional trafficking concerns and share best practices.
During the reporting period, the government funded six public information radio campaigns to raise awareness of trafficking. Additionally, in May 2015 commission members participated in a series of discussions on trafficking issues on two popular televisions shows. At a young women’s empowerment event, the national police commander spoke to 125 female high school students on the dangers of trafficking, how to identify traffickers and methods for reporting suspected trafficking cases. INAC launched a campaign called “Cata-Vento” (“Pin Wheel”) to promote awareness and educate the public about the consequences of child labor. The government provided anti-trafficking training for its diplomatic personnel.