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ANGOLA: Tier 2 Watch List

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 significant efforts during the reporting period by investigating three potential forced labor cases, prosecuting six suspected traffickers, and coordinating with two foreign governments to investigate five potential trafficking cases. The government identified trafficking victims and referred them to care. The Inter-Ministerial Commission to Combat Trafficking in Persons continued to meet periodically during the reporting period. The government raised awareness of trafficking through radio campaigns and outreach seminars in schools, universities, and churches. However, the government did not demonstrate increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period. The government secured zero convictions during the reporting period. The government did not collect official statistics on the number of trafficking victims identified or referred to care during the reporting period. The government did not adequately fund victim protection mechanisms, including shelters and provision of basic aftercare services. Law enforcement and social services officials lacked a standardized mechanism for screening vulnerable populations. Border security guards forcibly detained and deported tens of thousands of illegal migrants without adequate screening procedures to identify potential trafficking victims. The inter-ministerial commission did not finalize or adopt a national action plan for the third consecutive year. Therefore Angola was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ANGOLA

Increase investigations and prosecution of forced labor and sex trafficking offenses, including by 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; collect and analyze anti-trafficking law enforcement and victim protection data; investigate labor trafficking in the construction sector; develop uniform and systematic referral procedures for all provinces; increase efforts to provide shelter, counseling, and medical care for adult trafficking victims, including men, either directly or in partnership with NGOs; and launch a nationwide anti-trafficking public awareness campaign.

PROSECUTION

The government made mixed law enforcement efforts. The 2014 Law about the Criminalization of Infractions Surrounding Money Laundering criminalized sex and labor trafficking and prescribed penalties of one to 15 years imprisonment, depending on the specific offense; these were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Trafficking was criminalized in Chapter III, articles 18 through 23. Article 18 criminalized slavery and servitude, as well as the buying and selling of a child under 14 years of age for adoption or for slavery, with a penalty of seven to 15 years imprisonment. Article 19 criminalized 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 made it a crime to receive services or organs that were provided by those means, subject to a lesser penalty. Article 20 made it a crime to entice or force a person to practice prostitution in a foreign country, with a penalty of two to 10 years imprisonment. Article 21 also appeared to make sex trafficking a crime; entitled “pimping,” article 22 made 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 was five to 12 years. Article 22 made 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 was three to 15 years imprisonment. These sentences were commensurate with the penalties for other serious crimes, such as rape.

The government investigated three potential forced labor cases, compared with two potential sex trafficking cases in the previous reporting period. The government prosecuted six potential traffickers in cases involving 25 victims compared with one prosecution in the previous reporting period. The government did not convict any traffickers compared with three convictions during the previous reporting period. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking offenses.

National police academy training continued to include human trafficking provisions. The government cooperated with Namibian and German authorities in the investigation of five potential trafficking crimes involving Angolan citizens abroad; these investigations remained ongoing at the close of the reporting period. The government maintained a labor agreement with the Government of China, which required Chinese companies to follow Angolan labor laws. Angolan authorities investigated construction companies and employers, including Chinese-run operations, for alleged forced labor abuses during the reporting period.

PROTECTION

The government decreased protection efforts. Although the government did not report official victim identification or referral data, it identified and referred to care 79 victims, including 17 children and 62 adults, compared with identifying 91 and referring 77 victims during the previous year. To stem the flow of illegal migrants crossing into Angola, particularly from the DRC, border security forces detained and deported tens of thousands of migrants without adequate screening to identify potential trafficking victims. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants expressed concern over reports that Angolan security forces harassed, detained, and denied legal services to irregular migrants, a population particularly vulnerable to trafficking. The government did not adequately fund victim protection mechanisms, including shelters and legal, medical, and psychological services. The government had formal guidelines in six of Angola’s 18 provinces to refer trafficking victims to care; however, it is unknown whether the government followed these guidelines during the reporting period.

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 if any children assisted during the year were trafficking victims. The Ministry of Social Action, Family and the Promotion of Women (MASFAMU) managed a national network of safe houses for women, counseling centers, and children’s centers, which trafficking victims could access.

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. During the previous year, 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.

PREVENTION

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—did not finalize or adopt a national action plan for the third consecutive year. The Inter-Ministerial Commission to Combat Trafficking in Persons continued to meet periodically during the reporting period. The government continued to work towards implementation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional data collection tool; however, it had not fully deployed the system. The government contributed information to UNODC and SADC’s first annual draft analysis report for the region. During the reporting period the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights created a page on its official website with information on human trafficking issues, providing the public with brochures on trafficking indicators, Angolan anti-trafficking legislation, and resources for victims. The government-funded several public information radio campaigns to raise awareness of trafficking and conducted outreach seminars to warn about the risks of trafficking at universities, secondary schools, and churches. The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights operated a hotline for potential victims and for the public to report suspected trafficking cases; it is unknown how many calls the hotline received. In June 2017, the government created an alert system to prevent kidnapping and crimes against children, including trafficking; however, the government did not comprehensively train authorities on the alert system’s use, and the extent to which it was utilized during the reporting period was unclear. 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. Resistance from the national police to share information in its national crime database has slowed the inter-ministerial commission’s analysis of trafficking in Angola. 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.

TRAFFICKING PROFILE

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, Lunda Norte, 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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