An official website of the United States Government Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


The Government of Mauritius 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, Mauritius remained on Tier 2. The government demonstrated increasing efforts by prosecuting a trafficking suspect under the anti-trafficking law for the first time and opening a new shelter for trafficking victims. The government increased efforts to identify and provide protective services for adult and child trafficking victims, including adult migrant workers, and increased investigations of employers who retained employee’s passports. The government continued to conduct public awareness campaigns and train front-line officers. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. Protection services for adults remained lacking, with neither specialized shelters nor systematic provision of medical, psychological, and financial assistance for adult victims. Coordination between law enforcement and prosecutors remained weak and the judicial process was slow, discouraging some victims from pursuing legal redress. There also was no clear government agency responsible for assisting adult sex trafficking victims.

Improve coordination between law enforcement and prosecutors to decrease the length of the judicial process; improve protection services for adult trafficking victims by implementing standardized procedures for victim identification and referral to protective services, including adequate assistance once identified; empower an inter-ministerial coordination committee to address all forms of trafficking, not just child trafficking; vigorously investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, and convict and punish traffickers under the anti-trafficking law, including cases involving forced labor or forced prostitution of adults; increase monitoring of employers of migrant workers to identify and investigate indicators of trafficking; establish procedures to guide officials in proactive victim identification and referral among at-risk populations, specifically for women in prostitution and migrant workers; continue to provide specific anti-trafficking training to law enforcement officials and labor inspectors, social workers, prosecutors, and magistrates to improve case investigation and victim identification and referral to appropriate care; finalize the national action plan to combat trafficking, allocate sufficient funding to its implementation, and ensure clear roles and responsibilities in its implementation; and conduct a national awareness campaign on all forms of trafficking.

The government slightly increased anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. The Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act of 2009 criminalizes all forms of trafficking of adults and children, prescribing penalties of up to 15 years imprisonment for convicted offenders. The law prohibits the recruitment of workers by using fraudulent or deceptive offers; however, it does not appear to reach foreign recruiters who operate outside Mauritius. In addition, the Child Protection Act of 2005 prohibits all forms of child trafficking and the Judicial Provisions Act of 2008 prescribes punishment for child trafficking offenses of up to 30 years imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape.

The government initiated three trafficking investigations and prosecution of one suspect in 2016, compared to six investigations and no prosecutions in 2015. For the first time, the government charged a suspect under the anti-trafficking law, initiating prosecution of the alleged trafficker for child sex trafficking. However, there were no convictions in 2016, similar to the previous reporting period, and the government has never convicted an offender under the anti-trafficking law. The judicial process is prohibitively long, frequently many years, which can dissuade victims from seeking legal redress; lack of coordination among law enforcement and prosecutors contributed to this and remained weak during the reporting period. Historically, the Ministry of Labor, Industrial Relations, Employment, and Training (MOL) has addressed potential labor trafficking cases through arbitration and mediation, rather than criminal investigation and prosecution, allowing traffickers to repeatedly commit trafficking offenses and face only administrative penalties. Despite the illegality of passport seizure, this practice remained widespread. However, beginning this reporting period, in collaboration with the Bangladeshi High Commission in Mauritius, the MOL identified and referred cases of passport retention to the passport and immigration authorities; nonetheless, the government did not report prosecution of employers for this crime.

During the reporting period, the Mauritius Police Training School provided anti-trafficking courses to 551 senior police officers, 26 fisheries officers, and 194 police recruits and the MOL conducted an in-house trafficking training for 102 labor officers and inspectors, including the Special Migrants Unit. The government led an anti-trafficking training at the University of Mauritius on the legal framework for combating trafficking, attended by 50 law students. The government trained an unknown number of officials from the Passport and Immigration Office (PIO) on victim identification measures. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking.

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.

The government increased prevention efforts. While the government did have an inter-ministerial coordination committee to address trafficking as a whole, the committee only met once during the reporting period and there was still confusion among agencies which department was responsible for addressing adult trafficking. The government conducted several awareness-raising campaigns during the report period. The police’s family protection unit and the minors brigade continued extensive public awareness campaigns on child abuse and child rights at schools and community centers that included information on the dangers and consequences of facilitating child sex trafficking, which reached an estimated 13,600 people. The police continued to hold the annual police security and safety day which included presentations on anti-trafficking, reaching 34,400 people. The Ministry of Tourism and External Communication continued to distribute pamphlets warning tourism industry operators of the consequences of engaging in or facilitating child sex trafficking. The crime prevention unit distributed anti-trafficking posters to police stations, high schools, and community centers. The government continued to run the drop-in center that promoted its services through bumper stickers, a toll-free number, and community outreach, and a social worker continued to promote the services in communities and schools.

The MOL conducted nearly 300 sessions to sensitize migrant workers of their rights, including producing relevant documents in the native language of the migrant worker. The government increased the number of inspectors within the MOL’s Special Migrant Workers Unit—responsible for monitoring and protecting all migrant workers and conducting routine inspections of their employment sites—from six to nine during the reporting period. The unit conducted 402 inspections, compared to 72 in the previous reporting period; however, this number of inspections remained inadequate relative to the approximately 37,000 migrant workers employed in Mauritius and the government did not report suspending any labor recruitment licenses for trafficking-related crimes during the reporting period. Although the MOL is required to approve all employment contracts before migrant laborers enter the country, some migrant laborers reportedly enter the country with contracts that are incomplete or have not been translated into languages the workers understand. The government did not make any discernable efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts or forced labor. The government provided anti-trafficking training for its diplomatic personnel.

As reported over the past five years, Mauritius is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Girls from all areas of the country are induced or sold into sex trafficking, often by their peers, family members, or by businessmen offering other forms of employment. Taxi drivers allegedly transport child sex traffickers to their victims with whom they engage in commercial sex acts. Girls and boys whose mothers engage in prostitution reportedly are vulnerable to sex trafficking at a young age. Small numbers of Mauritian adults have been identified as labor trafficking victims in the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Canada. Malagasy women transit Mauritius en route to employment as domestic workers in the Middle East, where many are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Mauritius’ manufacturing and construction sectors employ approximately 37,000 foreign migrant workers from India, China, Sri Lanka, and Madagascar, with the vast majority from Bangladesh, some of whom are subjected to forced labor.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future