As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Angola, and traffickers exploit victims from Angola abroad. Traffickers exploit Angolans, including children as young as 12 years old, in forced labor in the brick making, domestic service, construction, agriculture, fisheries, and artisanal diamond mining sectors. Angolan girls as young as 13 years old are victims of sex trafficking, and girls in domestic work within private homes in Angola are vulnerable to labor trafficking. Angolan adults use children younger than 12 in forced criminal activity because children cannot be criminally prosecuted. As a result of the pandemic, “handlers” increasingly bring poor children to Luanda for street work, including begging, shoe shining, car washing, and parking assistance, where they are vulnerable to forced labor from their handlers and other traffickers. The provinces of Luanda, Benguela, and the border provinces of Cunene, Lunda Norte, Namibe, Uige, and Zaire are the most high-threat areas for trafficking activities. In response to widespread droughts in Cuene, some villages force children to drop out of school to gather water, dig wells, and herd cattle.
Transnational traffickers take advantage of Angola’s numerous unsecured, informal, and heavily used border crossings. Traffickers take some Angolan boys to Namibia for forced labor in cattle herding and force others to serve as couriers to transport illicit goods as part of a scheme to skirt import fees in cross-border trade with Namibia. Other recruiters take Angolan adults and children to Namibia for work in agriculture, construction, mineral extraction, and unlicensed street vending, where they may be in exploitative labor relationships. Traffickers exploit Angolan women and children in forced labor in domestic service and sex trafficking in South Africa, Namibia, and European countries, including the Netherlands and Portugal.
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. Undocumented Congolese migrants, including children, enter Angola for work in diamond mining districts, where traffickers exploit some in forced labor or sex trafficking in mining camps. Traffickers also exploit adult and child Congolese economic migrants in forced labor in construction. Women from Brazil, Cuba, DRC, Namibia, and Vietnam in commercial sex in Angola may be victims of sex trafficking, including in massage parlors. Due to the closure of businesses during the pandemic, commercial sex occurred more in clandestine settings, such as homes and hotel rooms. Chinese companies that have large construction or mining contracts bring Chinese workers to Angola; some companies do not disclose the terms and conditions of the work at the time of recruitment. There are reports that Chinese-owned and -operated construction companies exploit Brazilian, Chinese, Kenyan, Namibian, Southeast Asian, and possibly Congolese migrants in forced labor, including through withholding passports, threats of violence, denial of food, and confinement. These companies also, at times, coerce workers to operate in unsafe conditions, which sometimes reportedly resulted in death. The North Korean and Cuban governments may have forced their respective citizens to work in Angola, including at least 256 Cuban doctors sent to Angola to combat the pandemic.