The government maintained victim protection efforts. The government identified six trafficking victims and referred all victims to care, compared with identifying and referring to care five victims during the previous reporting period. Of those victims identified, three were male adult labor trafficking victims from Bangladesh and three were female victims of unknown exploitation type. The government coordinated with Taiwan to repatriate Swati students who were potential trafficking victims. After providing food, clothing, toiletries, psycho-social support, and medical care for all victims at government facilities, the government reunified the Swati victims with their families. Foreign victims were either repatriated or remained in the country, in accordance with their preferences. The government owned one facility that provided short-term care for trafficking victims; however, it was reportedly inadequate for the extended period of time some victims spent there. Furthermore, the NGO the government previously partnered with to provide long-term, comprehensive care no longer accepted trafficking victims. The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister’s offices, the anti-trafficking secretariat, and the Catholic Church collaborated during the reporting period with a foreign government to explore the establishment of a trafficking shelter in order to improve the quality of care available to victims. In February 2020, the government agreed to a multilateral approach whereby the Catholic Church donated a shelter building, a foreign government partner developed shelter guidelines and created training programs for shelter staff, and the government committed to staff the shelter and cover its daily operating expenses.
During the reporting period, the government’s primary protection officer allegedly threatened and assaulted three foreign national trafficking victims while they were residing in the temporary shelter facility provided by the government. The government filed nine criminal counts against the officer under both the anti-trafficking law and the penal code and accommodated the survivors’ requests to be released. The government also provided the victims the legal right to remain in Eswatini and permitted them to work, despite the fact they were in possession of work permits procured through fraudulent means by their trafficker. The government prohibited the officer from further contact with the trafficking victims, pending the outcome of the criminal trial, which began in February 2020 and was ongoing at the close of the reporting period. The government allocated 80,000 emalangeni ($5,690) for the third consecutive year to a victim assistance fund for protective services. In coordination with an international organization, the government launched a program to review and improve its victim identification, referral, and protection procedures and services. The government trained front-line responders on the victim identification guidelines and national referral mechanism. The government encouraged victims to assist in investigations by providing witness protection services, as well as transportation and accommodation as needed.