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ANGOLA: Tier 2

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 government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore, Angola remained on Tier 2. The government demonstrated increasing efforts by issuing its first convictions with stringent sentences for three sex traffickers. It identified an increased number of trafficking victims for the third consecutive year, and referred the majority of victims to protective services. The government cooperated with three foreign governments on investigations of Angolans exploited abroad and with international organizations to provide protective services and facilitate repatriation for foreign victims. The inter-ministerial commission met periodically throughout the year, undertook robust prevention efforts, and worked to identify best practices to improve its efforts to combat trafficking. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. The government did not adequately fund protection mechanisms, including shelters, legal, medical, and psychological services. It did not conduct any investigations of allegations of official complicity despite credible reports of some law enforcement officers’ involvement in trafficking. Border security guards forcibly detained and deported illegal migrants without adequate screening procedures to identify potential trafficking victims.

Increase investigations and prosecution of forced labor and sex trafficking offenses, including those involving allegedly complicit officials; train law enforcement officials on the 2014 money laundering law’s anti-trafficking provisions; implement procedures for identifying trafficking victims, and train officials on such procedures; investigate labor trafficking in the Angolan construction sector; develop uniform and systematic referral procedures for all provinces; increase efforts to provide shelter, counseling, and medical care for adult victims, including men, either directly or in partnership with NGOs; collect and analyze anti-trafficking law enforcement data; and tailor nationwide anti-trafficking public awareness campaigns to vulnerable populations.

The government increased law enforcement efforts. The 2014 money laundering law criminalizes all forms of trafficking in persons and prescribes penalties of one to 15 years imprisonment, depending on the specific offense; which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes. Trafficking is criminalized in chapter III, articles 18, through 23. Article 18 criminalizes slavery and servitude as well as the buying and selling of a child under 14 years of age for adoption or for slavery. Article 19 criminalizes the trafficking of adults and children for the purpose of sexual exploitation, forced labor or trafficking in organs by means of force, fraud or coercion, with a penalty of three to 12 years imprisonment. Article 19 makes it a crime to receive services or organs that are provided by those means, subject to a lesser penalty. Article 20 makes it a crime to entice or force a person to practice prostitution in a foreign country. Article 21 also appears to make sex trafficking a crime; entitled “pimping,” it makes it a crime to use violence, threats or fraud to promote the exercise of prostitution, subject to a prison sentence of one to 6 years. Article 22 makes it a crime to pimp children under the age of 18, without regard to means of force, fraud or coercion—which is the definition of sex trafficking of children in international law—with a penalty of two to 10 years imprisonment; for the use of force, fraud or coercion with a child less than 14 years old, the term of imprisonment is 5 to 12 years. Article 22 makes it a crime to entice children to engage in prostitution in a foreign country, with sentences of three to 12 years imprisonment; with force, fraud or coercion, the sentence is three to 15 years imprisonment. These sentences are generally commensurate with the penalties for other serious crimes, such as rape.

The government investigated two potential child sex trafficking cases, compared with 12 potential trafficking cases in the previous reporting period. The government initiated one prosecution of a suspected trafficker and continued the prosecution of three suspects initiated during the previous reporting period, which led to the government’s first conviction and sentencing of traffickers. The Luanda Provincial Court sentenced three Vietnamese citizens, two women and one man, to eight, nine, and 10 years imprisonment, respectively, for the sex trafficking of five Vietnamese women and for the indentured servitude of three Vietnamese and one Chinese man—the first trafficking convictions in Angola under the 2014 money laundering law. The government initiated prosecution of one Congolese woman for trafficking of four Congolese children, ages 11 to 14, in Zaire province. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking offenses despite credible reports of some law enforcement officers owning brothels in Luanda suspected of involvement in trafficking. Some law enforcement officials were also accused of trying to undermine anti-trafficking efforts by harassing anti-trafficking activists. There were allegations that corruption may have hindered law enforcement anti-trafficking efforts.

The government, at times in partnership with international organizations, trained 119 magistrates and local level officials from the justice, interior, and labor ministries on identifying and processing trafficking cases. The government trained labor inspectors on child labor laws. National police academy training continued to include human trafficking provisions. The government cooperated with French, Portuguese, and Brazilian authorities in the investigation of potential trafficking crimes involving Angolan citizens abroad; these investigations remained ongoing at the close of the reporting period. The government cooperated with the Vietnamese authorities in the investigation that led to the conviction of three Vietnamese citizens on trafficking charges in Angola, involving Vietnamese and Chinese victims. The government maintained a labor agreement with the Government of China, which requires Chinese companies to follow Angolan labor laws; and Angolan authorities investigated construction companies and employers, including Chinese-run operations, for alleged forced labor abuses during the reporting period.

The government increased its efforts to identify and protect victims. The government identified 91 trafficking victims, including 77 children, five women, and 15 men; this represents an increase for the third consecutive year compared to 55 in 2015 and 17 in 2014. The government referred all 77 children to either government shelters or private shelters recognized by the government for care. The government did not provide information regarding the care of nine adult sex trafficking victims, whose case resulted in Angola’s first trafficking convictions. In two recent cases involving victims from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Kenya, the government partnered with an international NGO to provide protective services and facilitate repatriation. The government did not adequately fund protection mechanisms, including shelters and legal, medical, and psychological services; however, the government drastically reduced its spending across all sectors, particularly the health and social services sector, due to an economic downturn.

The National Institute of Children (INAC) received referrals of child victims and managed child support centers in all 18 provinces, which provided food, shelter, basic education, and family reunification for crime victims younger than age 18; however, it was unclear how many children such centers assisted during the year. The Ministry of Social Assistance and Reinsertion (MINARS) and the Ministry of Family and Women’s Affairs (MINFAMU), which managed a national network of safe houses for women, received referrals of female victims. Both networks of shelters provided legal and psychological assistance to victims. MINARS, MINFAMU, and the Organization of Angolan Women operated 30 counseling centers, seven multipurpose shelters, and 52 children’s shelters, which trafficking victims could access. The inter-ministerial commission developed guidelines for referring potential 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 foreign workers and persons in prostitution. The government may have arrested and deported individuals for unlawful acts committed as a result of having been subjected to trafficking, including immigration and employment violations. To stem the flow of illegal migrants crossing into Angola, particularly from the DRC, border security forces detained and deported individuals without screening to identify any potential trafficking victims. Furthermore, a UN official expressed concern over allegations that Angolan security forces harassed, detained, and denied legal services to irregular migrants. 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, used victim testimony for investigation and prosecution of traffickers.

The government maintained its efforts to prevent human trafficking. The inter-ministerial 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 was comprised of provincial commissions to combat trafficking in Benguela, Huila, Namibe, Uige, and Zaire, which informed national level efforts by sharing information with the national commission in order to identify trafficking cases. Resistance from the national police to share information in their national crime database has slowed the inter-ministerial commission’s analysis of trafficking in Angola. During the reporting period, it produced and distributed 1,000 copies of a manual entitled “Trafficking in Persons: Prevention, Protection, and Assistance to Victims” and continued to meet periodically. In August 2016, the government issued Presidential Decree No. 155/16, the New Legal Framework on Domestic Work and Domestic Services Employees’ Social Protection, which entitles domestic workers to paid leave, eight-hour work days, the right to retirement, holidays and maternity leave. Decree 155/16 complements article 3 of the General Labor Law, Law No. 7/15, which prohibits minors to serve as domestic workers; however, government did not widely enforce the decree. The Office of the Attorney General organized a meeting with the Association of African Attorneys to discuss best practices to combat trafficking. The government-funded two public information radio campaigns to raise awareness of trafficking. The government sought technical assistance from two international organizations to review Angola’s anti-trafficking legislation, identify state and non-state actors that work on counter trafficking, and to provide recommendations to help develop a new national anti-trafficking policy. In November, the inter-ministerial commission started a bilateral working group with Mozambique’s national coordinating body to discuss regional trafficking concerns and share best practices. The commission continued to draft a formal national action plan; however, it did not finalize or adopt it for the second consecutive year. The government did not report any efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex or forced labor. The government did not provide anti-trafficking training for its diplomatic personnel.

As reported over the past five years, 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 high threat areas for 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 Namibia, the DRC, 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 the DRC to Angola for labor and sex trafficking.

U.S. Department of State

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