The government maintained minimal national-level prevention efforts, while working to better address vulnerabilities among migrant workers. The National Coordinating Committee, established to direct anti-trafficking efforts across government agencies and drive national policy, continued to meet; the government allocated 784,020 Seychelles rupees ($57,560) for committee operations and programming. While the Coordinating Committee continued to develop the national action plan (NAP), it did not finalize and adopt the NAP, and its efforts to drive national anti-trafficking efforts remained limited overall. For the third consecutive year, the government did not hire personnel for a secretariat to support the Coordinating Committee as required under section IV of the 2014 anti-trafficking act; this continued to hinder the committee’s ability to fulfill its mandate. The government did not conduct national public awareness campaigns, but the Coordinating Committee organized media sensitization for a week before the international day against trafficking in persons. The employment department distributed pamphlets and leaflets with information on health and safety to employers and employees during labor inspections. The government maintained two hotlines, one with the police and one with immigration, for reporting crimes, including trafficking. The immigration hotline recorded 176 calls during the reporting period; the government did not report the number of calls to the police hotline. The employment department established its own hotline in 2019 to address concerns about forced labor and reported 64 calls during the reporting period; however, the government did not provide any hotline data specific to trafficking.
The inter-ministerial Special Task Force to address the living and working conditions of migrant workers established in 2018 continued to inspect working conditions at various sites. The MOE inspected 237 work sites for indications of trafficking, compared with 266 site in 2018; however, the government did not report the number of working sites inspected or how many inspections resulted in the identification of potential forced labor victims or law enforcement actions. In accordance with the Employment Act, MOE reviewed all contracts for migrant workers to ensure compliance with its provisions, including acceptable accommodations; however, the government did not have effective policies or laws regulating or providing oversight for labor recruiters. Trafficking vulnerabilities in labor recruitment and monitoring persisted throughout the country, especially in the Seychelles International Trade Zone (SITZ), during the reporting period. Seizure and retention of passports by employers remained legal under Seychellois law, unless proved it was specifically for the purpose of further trafficking a person; however, the government drafted an amendment to the immigration bill during the reporting period that reportedly prohibits passport retention of foreign workers. Parliament had not received the bill for approval at the end of the reporting period. MOE labor inspectors and the task force continued to conduct routine inspections and labor violation investigations, including one inspection in the SITZ; however, the government did not report whether any of these inspections resulted in identification of potential forced labor victims or law enforcement actions related to trafficking. Despite the task force’s coordinated efforts, the MOE continued to lack jurisdiction in the SITZ, which limited its ability to protect migrant workers and screen for trafficking, as it was considered ex-territorial and managed by the Financial Services Authority. The government did not report inspecting private homes to monitor employers of domestic workers, compared with four of these inspections in the previous reporting period. In June 2019, the government passed regulations outlining the conditions of employment for domestic workers. The government continued to utilize the labor tribunal for labor-related complaints and continued to require a fee for migrant workers to file a complaint. The government began developing work permit cards for all citizens and foreign workers that included anti-trafficking information and contact information for assistance.
The government signed a bilateral agreement with the Government of Bangladesh in November 2019 that created a framework for the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers for employment in various sectors in Seychelles. Following the signing, the government lifted the ban on the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers placed in October 2018. The agreement reportedly outlined procedures for employment and repatriation of such migrant workers, protections for and rights of migrant workers, and the prevention of trafficking of migrant workers; however, the government did not report any instances of its implementation. The government began negotiation of a similar agreement with the Government of India. The government did not provide anti-trafficking training to diplomats. The government did not make efforts to decrease the demand for commercial sex during the reporting period, despite the prevalence.