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GUINEA: Tier 2 Watch List

The Government of Guinea does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. These efforts included drafting a new anti-trafficking national action plan, providing some support to eight victims exploited in the Middle East, and integrating anti-trafficking modules into law enforcement academy curriculum. However, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period. The government significantly decreased efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes and did not convict any traffickers during the reporting period. Efforts to identify victims remained inadequate and the government did not support NGOs providing victim services. It did not allocate sufficient resources to the anti-trafficking committee (CNLTPPA) for the fourth consecutive year and did not provide sufficient funding to the Office for the Protection of Gender, Children, and Morals (OPROGEM), the police unit responsible for trafficking investigations. Despite the prevalence of child forced begging in Quranic schools, Guinean authorities have never prosecuted a corrupt Quranic teacher for forced begging. Therefore Guinea was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List.

PRIORITIZED RECOMMENDATIONS:

Increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict suspected traffickers, and sentence convicted traffickers to prison terms in line with the law.Increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict complicit officials and corrupt Quranic teachers.Amend the penal code to remove sentencing provisions that allow fines in lieu of imprisonment and increase penalties prescribed for forced begging.Approve and allocate resources to fully implement the draft national action plan.Significantly increase efforts to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, including children in Quranic schools, workers in artisanal mining sites, women traveling to the Middle East in potential fraudulent recruitment schemes, and North Korean workers and other foreign nationals, and refer them to appropriate services.Increase funding for OPROGEM and the CNLTPPA to allow them to fulfill their mandates.Expand victim care by increasing financial or in-kind support to NGOs that provide victim services.Train officials on systematic procedures to identify trafficking victims and refer them to services.Provide OPROGEM and labor inspectors the resources and training necessary to monitor and regulate recruitment agencies and investigate cases of forced labor.Increase efforts to raise public awareness of trafficking, including of internal child forced labor, forced begging in Quranic schools, and adult trafficking.Enhance collaboration and information sharing among all government agencies involved in combating trafficking.Develop and implement extradition agreements for traffickers with countries in Africa and the Middle East.Increase efforts to provide restitution and compensation to trafficking victims.Provide information to trafficking victims regarding procedures for compensation through civil suits against their traffickers.Improve data collection and analysis on human trafficking in Guinea.

PROSECUTION

The government decreased its law enforcement efforts. Articles 323 and 324 of the penal code criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking and prescribed penalties of three to seven years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both for trafficking offenses involving an adult victim, and five to 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both for those involving a child victim. These penalties were sufficiently stringent; however, by allowing for a fine in lieu of imprisonment, the penalties for sex trafficking were not commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Article 343 of the penal code separately criminalized forced begging and prescribed penalties of one to three years’ imprisonment and a fine; these penalties were not sufficiently stringent. The National Assembly approved revisions to the children’s code, which was pending promulgation by the president at the end of the reporting period. Two international organizations provided technical assistance for the drafting of the revised code.

The gendarmes and OPROGEM were the lead government entities responsible for investigating trafficking cases, and the General Secretary for Special Services, Counter-Narcotics, and Combating Organized Crime could investigate transnational trafficking cases. The government did not report comprehensive law enforcement data. In 2019, with data from five out of 34 prefectures, the government reported at least three investigations, three prosecutions, and zero convictions; this was a significant decrease from 62 investigations, 54 prosecutions, and 55 convictions it reported in 2018 with data from all 34 prefectures. Due to poor record keeping and the conflation of smuggling and trafficking crimes, it is possible 2018 law enforcement data included smuggling crimes. OPROGEM investigated 29 cases of child labor, 14 of which were referred to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution; however, it is not clear whether any of the child labor cases involved forced labor. Despite the prevalence of Guinean children exploited in forced begging in Quranic schools in Guinea and surrounding countries, the government has never prosecuted a corrupt Quranic teacher for child forced begging. An NGO reported magistrates, who did not understand the serious nature of trafficking, often refused to sentence convicted traffickers to prison. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of complicit officials; however, corruption among law enforcement and the judiciary—suspected to be especially prominent among labor inspectors, customs directors, and heads of police stations—remained a concern and impeded overall anti-trafficking efforts. The government made some efforts to address official corruption more broadly by sending 13 officials to donor-funded anti-corruption training. The government did not report whether it continued the investigation, initiated in 2017, of three airport officials who were reportedly complicit in the sex trafficking of Guinean women in transit to Kuwait.

The government did not sufficiently resource OPROGEM, which continued to inhibit its ability to consistently investigate potential trafficking crimes. The last time the government dedicated a budget to OPROGEM was in 2016 when it allocated 256 million Guinean francs ($27,290). The government reported a lack of general knowledge about trafficking, and the trafficking provisions of the 2016 penal code, persisted among government officials, especially judges and prosecutors in lower courts. To address low understanding of trafficking among magistrates, the CNLTPPA led efforts to train law enforcement and judicial officials on trafficking laws and their application. The CNLTPPA, in collaboration with an international organization and a foreign donor, organized two training workshops in Conakry for 60 law enforcement and judicial officials during the reporting period. The workshops trained officials from Guinea’s three law enforcement training academies, as well as officials from half of Guinea’s prosecutors’ offices. The Ministry of Security integrated course curriculum from the training into the core curriculum of Guinea‘s two national police academies. The lack of extradition agreements with countries in Africa and the Middle East impeded prosecutions of traffickers from those countries.

PROTECTION

The government maintained inadequate efforts to identify and protect trafficking victims. In collaboration with an international organization, the government developed standard operating procedures (SOPs) for victim identification and referral to services; however, the CNLTPPA was unable to approve the SOPs as a result of civil unrest which began in early 2020. Lack of training for and coordination between ministries’ government officials, as well as inconsistent and sometimes unavailable government services, continued to inhibit victim identification and assistance efforts. The government did not report comprehensive victim identification data, but reported identifying eight women who had returned from Kuwait and North Africa after being forced to work in domestic service; this compared with five potential child trafficking victims intercepted en route to exploitation in 2018. An international organization repatriated the eight women back to Guinea, and the government provided psychological and medical assistance to the victims. The government reported identifying 29 child labor victims in 2019, some of whom may have been forced labor victims. The government continued to rely on NGOs and foreign donors to provide and finance the majority of victim care. NGOs, however, did not have adequate resources for victim services; observers reported there was a lack of shelters overall. One of the few NGOs capable to provide shelter to child trafficking victims was forced to close their last two shelters during the reporting period due to lack of funding. An international organization-funded transit center for returning migrants was the only available shelter to host trafficking victims at the end of the reporting period. Government health facilities and social workers could at times provide medical and psycho-social services. Law enforcement referred child trafficking victims to NGOs on an ad hoc basis. When NGO shelters were unavailable, the Ministry of Social Action at times placed victims with host families.

The government did not encourage trafficking victims to participate in the investigations or prosecutions of their traffickers. Reports indicated victims and their parents were reluctant to file claims against traffickers due to a lack of confidence in the judicial system. The 2016 penal code allowed NGOs to become plaintiffs on behalf of victims; the government did not report if this provision had been utilized. Articles 392-396 of the child protection code provided child trafficking victims the right to legal representation and a ministry-appointed guardian, but due to the lack of financial and human resources, the government did not provide these services during the reporting period. The government collaborated with a law firm to provide legal assistance to women and child trafficking victims; NGOs operated general legal clinics to advise victims of crime, including trafficking. While victims could legally obtain restitution from the government, the government did not report requesting restitution during the reporting period. Victims could file civil suits against their traffickers; however, no victims pursued this option due to lack of awareness. Aside from general Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol on freedom of movement, the government did not have formal policies to provide temporary or permanent residency to victims from countries where, if repatriated, they would face hardship or retribution. However, it could provide work and residence permits to such victims on an ad hoc basis. The government did not report any victims requested these services during the reporting period. There were no reports the government penalized victims for unlawful acts traffickers forced them to commit; however, due to weak victim identification, authorities may have detained, prosecuted, or deported some trafficking victims during the year.

PREVENTION

The government maintained modest efforts to prevent trafficking but did not provide adequate and sustained resources to support anti-trafficking efforts. The CNLTPPA drafted a new 2020-2025 anti-trafficking national action plan; the plan was scheduled to be approved in March 2020, but civil unrest prevented the CNLTPPA from convening itself to vote on the new action plan. For the fourth year, the government did not provide resources for anti-trafficking activities for the CNLTPPA or its associated ministries. The lack of funding, personnel, coordination, social unrest, and training hindered the government’s national-level efforts to combat trafficking. The CNLTPPA organized discussion sessions with a national trade union to highlight labor unions’ role in combating trafficking. In addition, the CNLTPPA organized trainings for local leaders and religious, youth, and women’s groups in N’Zerekore and Kankan on identifying trafficking and services available for victims. The CNLTPPA also arranged a press conference to commemorate World Day against Trafficking in Persons in July 2019. The government had a toll-free hotline to report violence against women and children, which could include trafficking cases; however, it did not report if it received any trafficking-related calls. The government had policies to regulate foreign labor recruiters and hold them civilly and criminally liable for fraudulent recruitment; however, neither OPROGEM nor the Ministry of Labor had the resources or the trained personnel to monitor and enforce these policies consistently and did not report referring any potential cases for law enforcement investigations. In an effort to address forced begging of Guinean boys in Quranic schools in neighboring West African countries, the Ministry of Social Action coordinated interagency border control units to ensure children crossing international borders were traveling with family. The government did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex.

TRAFFICKING PROFILE

As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Guinea, and traffickers exploit victims from Guinea abroad. Women and children are the most vulnerable to trafficking. Parents send girls to intermediaries who subject them to forced labor in domestic service and sex trafficking. Traffickers exploit boys in forced labor in begging, street vending, shoe shining, mining for gold and diamonds, in herding, fishing, and agriculture, including farming and on coffee, cashew, and cocoa plantations. Some government entities and NGOs allege forced labor within Guinea is most prevalent in the mining sector. Traffickers exploit men, women, and children in forced labor in agriculture. Reports indicate children are sent to the coastal region of Boke for forced labor on farms. Children from villages in Middle and Upper Guinea may be more vulnerable to trafficking due to the region’s lack of schools and economic opportunities. Government officials recognize the town of Koundara in northwestern Guinea as a transit point for traffickers. Some traffickers take children with parents’ consent or under the false pretenses of providing an education and exploit them in forced begging in Quranic schools in Senegal—via Koundara—Mauritania, and Guinea-Bissau, or forced labor in West African gold mines. Some corrupt Quranic teachers force boys attending Quranic schools to beg. During the reporting period, NGOs alleged organized networks exploited children in forced begging. Traffickers submit Guinean children to forced labor in Cote d’Ivoire. Guinea is a transit country for West African children subjected to forced labor in gold mining throughout the region. A small number of girls from West African countries migrate to Guinea, where traffickers exploit them in domestic service, street vending, and—to a lesser extent—sex trafficking. Child sex trafficking is visible in Conakry and in mining cities such as Kamsar, Lero, and Siguiri. North Koreans working in Guinea may have been forced to work by the North Korean government. Guinean authorities alleged traffickers coerce Chinese women into commercial sex in Chinese-owned bars and restaurants in Conakry. Guinean women and girls are victims of forced labor for domestic service and sex trafficking in West Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as the United States. Guinean-Egyptian trafficking networks fraudulently recruit women for domestic work in Egypt and exploit them in commercial sex. Irregular migration towards Europe leads to the development of trafficking networks facilitating the travel and financing of trafficking by land from Guinea to North Africa. During the previous reporting period, an international organization estimated approximately 1,040 Guineas were victims of trafficking in North Africa. Reports indicate trafficking networks fraudulently recruit Guinean, Liberian, and Sierra Leonean women for work abroad, using the Conakry airport to transport victims to exploitative situations in Kuwait and Qatar; an international organization reported fraudulent recruitment for forced labor in domestic service in the Middle East, especially Egypt and Kuwait, increased during the reporting period. There have been reports some Guinean men marry Guinean girls, take them to Angola, and sell the girls to local brothels while the men work in diamond mines. In previous years, authorities have identified Guinean forced labor victims in Finland. Sex traffickers exploit Thai and Chinese women in Guinea.

U.S. Department of State

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