The government decreased already insufficient efforts to identify and provide services to trafficking victims. Law enforcement, immigration, and social services personnel had formal written procedures to proactively identify trafficking victims among high-risk populations. The government, at times in collaboration with NGOs, identified and referred to services 1,358 potential child trafficking victims during the reporting period, including child forced begging victims. The government did not report identifying or referring to services any adult trafficking victims, compared with 1,559 potential child trafficking victims and nine adult trafficking victims identified and referred to services during the previous reporting period. The Ministry of Women, Family, Gender, and Child Protection (MWFGCP) referred 359 children to its shelter at the Ginddi Center during the reporting period. An NGO in Saint Louis identified and cared for an additional 204 child trafficking victims without government support. During the reporting period, the government began planning the third phase of its “Le retrait des enfants de la rue” campaign to remove vulnerable children, including forced begging victims, from the street in Dakar, Thies, and Saint Louis following similar operations in Dakar in 2016 and 2018; at the end of the reporting period, the program did not yet occur. However, in March 2020 the government began a separate operation to remove children from the street vulnerable to COVID-19, including forced begging victims, and place them in government and NGO shelters. Compared to past years, there were no reports identifying children who were exploited again in forced begging, nor were any alleged perpetrators reported to be repeat offenders.
In April 2019, the Ministry of Good Governance and Child Protection was incorporated into the new MWFGCP, which was the lead agency for victim protection. The Ginddi Center, under the aegis of the MWFGCP, provided temporary shelter and basic care to both foreign and domestic child victims. The government provided 150 million FCFA ($257,730) to the Ginddi Center in 2019, an increase compared with 90.6 million FCFA ($155,670) in 2018. The center provided meals, shelter, psycho-social care, clothing, medical care, and limited vocational training. The center lacked specialized training for social workers and volunteers, and it only had one volunteer doctor and a staff nurse to provide basic medical treatment. The center also lacked space to accommodate all victims identified, which limited the number of victims authorities could remove from exploitation and how long victims could remain at the center. In order to address the lack of space at the Ginddi Center, the government at times sent some victims to the center for immediate services and then to NGOs or to partner daaras—which the government had certified met capacity, hygiene, and security standards and did not engage in forced begging—that provided children with follow-on support until family reunification. The Ministry of Justice operated three shelters (CPAs) for child victims of crime, witnesses, and children in emergency situations, which trafficking victims could access. Several NGOs operated trafficking victim shelters throughout the country. Outside of Dakar, international observers reported NGOs sometimes had to provide critical shelter and trafficking victim services due to a lack of government resources and involvement.
Authorities inconsistently applied the victim referral system, and it was not available in all regions of the country. Authorities referred victims identified along Senegal’s borders to an international organization and government center for questioning before referring them to NGOs or government centers for protective services. In Dakar and rural areas, law enforcement, civil society, and community protection groups generally referred children to the government or NGOs for social services and repatriation; however, members were not always aware of the shelters and services available, especially for adults, which at times caused delays in the provision of services. The law provided alternatives to the removal of foreign victims who may face hardship or retribution upon return, including the option to apply for temporary or permanent residency; the government did not report how many victims received this relief during the reporting period. The 2005 anti-trafficking law has provisions for victim protection during prosecution including allowing videotaped testimony; the government did not report using these provisions during the reporting period. Victims could legally obtain restitution; the government did not report requesting restitution during the reporting period. Victims could file civil suits against their traffickers; however, no victims reportedly used this provision during the reporting period, and many victims were unaware of the option.