The government modestly increased anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. The 2007 Trafficking in Persons Act, as amended in 2010, criminalizes all forms of trafficking and prescribes penalties of 50 years to life imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The 2005 Children’s Act also prohibits child trafficking—although it does not include forced labor in its definition of trafficking—and prescribes a penalty of life imprisonment. Other articles of the 2005 Children’s Act also criminalize child sex trafficking offenses with penalties of 10 years imprisonment. The 2003 Tourism Offenses Act criminalizes child sex trafficking, prescribing a penalty of 10 years imprisonment. The penalties in both the 2005 and 2003 acts are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties for other serious crimes, such as rape.
The government investigated, prosecuted, and convicted one trafficker under the 2005 Children’s Act and continued, from previous reporting periods, three labor trafficking investigations under the 2007 trafficking act, compared with one investigation, one prosecution, and zero convictions for trafficking offenses the previous reporting period. A judge sentenced one convicted trafficker to life imprisonment for rape under the 2005 Children’s Act. The trafficker, a Scandinavian child sex tourist, sexually exploited two Gambian girls in exchange for paying their schooling fees. A judge adjourned indefinitely the prosecution of four defendants charged with exploiting 59 women in Lebanon and Kuwait initiated in a previous reporting period because three of the suspects remained at large. Despite identifying 40 children as potential forced begging victims, officials did not report investigating any suspects in connection with those cases.
NAATIP trained 60 security personnel, including police and immigration officers, on the 2007 trafficking act and how to report suspected trafficking cases to NAATIP for investigation; however, authorities acknowledged law enforcement and judicial personnel continued to lack adequate training to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses. NGOs reported alleged child sex traffickers and child sex tourists to law enforcement but claimed police would not provide updates on the cases, calling into question if law enforcement were investigating such cases. Due to a lack of training on human trafficking, authorities investigated and prosecuted some potential sex trafficking cases as rape. Despite reports of official complicity, the government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government employees complicit in human trafficking offenses.
Additionally, law enforcement officials acted with impunity, and corruption remained a problem. The government collaborated with two foreign governments on transnational trafficking investigations during the reporting period.