The government increased efforts to identify and protect victims of sex and labor trafficking, but the availability of services for adult trafficking victims remained lacking. The government identified three child sex trafficking victims and eight adult forced labor victims during the reporting period, compared to 10 victims identified in total in 2015. The Child Development Unit (CDU) of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development, and Family Welfare continued to employ the standard referral procedure after identifying child trafficking victims. In May 2016, the government opened and initiated management of a new shelter for child trafficking victims that assisted 24 girls exploited in sex trafficking, including the three it identified. Child victims could leave the shelter to attend school and received shelter as well as medical and psychological assistance. The government provided funding for several anti-trafficking NGOs in the amount of approximately 11,000 rupees ($307) per month per child, and also funded several NGO-run daycare centers for trafficking victims.
There were no standard referral procedures for adult sex or labor trafficking victims, nor was there a clear government agency responsible for assisting adult sex trafficking victims. There was neither specialized shelter, nor systematic provision of medical, psychological, or financial assistance for adult trafficking victims. In February of 2017, the PIO of the Mauritius Police Force conducted a raid to identify foreign persons with expired visas, during which officials identified eight men from Nepal as potential forced labor victims, who reported having paid recruiters in Nepal and India for work in Mauritius. The government provided assistance to two victims that remained in Mauritius as prosecution witnesses; however, it is unclear whether the remaining victims received assistance before the government facilitated their repatriation.
There were no reports the government arrested or punished trafficking victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking. However, due to the lack of identification measures and gaps in understanding of human trafficking among some law enforcement officers, some adult victims of forced prostitution and forced labor may have been penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to trafficking. For example, law enforcement officers generally did not screen women in prostitution for trafficking indicators. During the reporting period, immigration officials continued to regularly turn back single Malagasy women, traveling on their own, with less than 4,200 rupees ($117) who attempted to enter the country on tourist visas on the grounds that they might be coming to Mauritius to engage in prostitution. The 2009 anti-trafficking law provides legal alternatives, including temporary residency, to removal to countries in which trafficking victims would face retribution or hardship; however, in the past, the government sometimes deported trafficking victims. The law allows for victims to file civil suits against their alleged traffickers for restitution; however, civil suits can be prohibitively expensive and lengthy. There were no reports trafficking victims filed any civil suits during the reporting period. The government generally encourages, but does not require, victim cooperation in investigations and prosecutions. In an effort to encourage cooperation, victims and witnesses could request police protection by contacting their local police.