As reported over the past five years, Sudan is a transit, source, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and, to a lesser extent, sex trafficking and child soldiering. During the reporting period, an international organization documented an increase in male migrants in forced labor or situations indicative of trafficking who were lured to Sudan under pretenses of employment. Street children in Khartoum—including Sudanese and unaccompanied migrant children—who beg in the streets and work in public transportation and large markets are particularly susceptible to forced labor; some experience sexual abuse and extortion. Human rights groups observe children working in brick-making factories, gold mining, and agriculture; these children are exposed to threats, physical and sexual abuse, and hazardous working conditions, with limited access to education or health services, making them highly vulnerable to trafficking. Sudanese women and girls, particularly internally displaced persons or those from rural areas, and refugee women are vulnerable to domestic servitude; Sudanese girls are also vulnerable to sex trafficking in restaurants and brothels. Some Sudanese officials are reportedly involved in and profit from child sex trafficking rings. Sudanese law prohibits the recruitment of children as combatants and provides criminal penalties for perpetrators; however, children remained vulnerable to recruitment and use as combatants and in support roles by Sudanese non-governmental armed groups and militias. The Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi and JEM actively recruit children from displacement camps in Darfur to fight in Libya. The Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid faction uses child soldiers in the conflict zones around Jebel Marra.
Migrants, including unaccompanied children, refugees, and asylum-seekers, predominantly from East and West Africa, are highly vulnerable to sex trafficking and forced labor in Sudan. During the reporting period, Eritreans represented the highest proportion of trafficking victims in Sudan—mainly in the east—due to their influx as refugees and asylum-seekers and their youth demographic. Ethiopian women are particularly vulnerable to domestic servitude in private homes in Khartoum and other urban centers; some Ethiopian women are forced into prostitution in Khartoum and experience debt bondage. Somalis represent a significant portion of smuggled individuals who become, or are at risk of becoming victims of trafficking. Anecdotal reports indicate Syrian refugees, including children, are increasingly observed begging on the streets in Khartoum and are vulnerable to exploitation. Analogous to Syrian nationals, some Yemenis fleeing conflict in their homeland sought refugee status in Sudan during the reporting period, and their economic vulnerabilities upon arrival likely motivate their onward migration to Europe. Due to the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, during the reporting period there was an uptick in South Sudanese refugees across Sudan, many of whom remained vulnerable to exploitation in Sudan and onward destinations. An international organization continued to document cases of West African nationals—primarily from Niger, Mali, and Chad—who arrived in Sudan via irregular migratory routes and were subsequently vulnerable to trafficking. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that Chinese women working for small-scale Chinese companies, such as restaurants and hotels, may be subjected to forced labor or prostitution. Bangladeshi adults migrating to Sudan for work have previously been reported to be victims of trafficking.
During the reporting year, Darfur became a favored route to Libya, as the porous border and sustained insecurity allow traffickers to operate with impunity across the region. The previously defunct Egyptian route is now being used again in connection with the migration influx to Europe; Sudanese citizens and other African nationalities are allegedly utilizing this course. In past years, some Sudanese citizens en route to Europe via Egypt were detained in the Sinai Peninsula where they were highly vulnerable to exploitation and severe physical and sexual abuse. Some refugee and asylum-seekers from Eritrea and Ethiopia are abducted from Sudan-based refugee camps, eastern border regions, and Khartoum and transported to other countries for exploitative purposes. Eritrean nationals are abducted from refugee camps or at border crossings, extorted for ransom, and brutalized by smugglers primarily linked to the Rashaida and Tabo tribes; some of those abducted are forced to perform domestic or manual labor and experience various types of abuse, indicative of trafficking. Sudanese police and border guards allegedly facilitate abductions of Eritrean nationals, some of whom are trafficking victims, and allow potential victims to be transported across security checkpoints or international borders without intervention.
Sudanese citizens are subjected to forced labor, domestic servitude, and sex trafficking abroad. Some Sudanese men who voluntarily migrate to the Middle East as low-skilled laborers are subjected to forced labor. The government reported Sudanese children are exploited in forced begging and street vending in Saudi Arabia, especially during the Hajj season. Sudanese criminal gangs deceptively promise Sudanese nationals employment in Libya, but instead sell them to Libyans who subject them to forced labor in agriculture.