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The Government of Seychelles does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore Seychelles was upgraded to Tier 2. These efforts included initiating more prosecutions; convicting more traffickers; allocating more resources for victim care; increasing provision of protective services for foreign victims and victims cooperating with law enforcement; and establishing interagency committees to improve protections for victims of child sex trafficking. The government also achieved the country’s first sex trafficking conviction under the 2014 anti-trafficking law. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. The government did not implement its standard operating procedures (SOPs) for victim identification and referral or its victim assistance mechanism, and it did not have any shelters or care facilities that offered comprehensive services for trafficking victims. The government did not establish a secretariat to support the National Coordinating Committee against Trafficking in Persons (NCCTIP), hindering the committee’s ability to fulfill its mandate to direct anti-trafficking efforts across government agencies and drive national policy. The government remained without a national action plan for the sixth consecutive year.


Implement the official standard operating procedures for victim identification and referral and provide specialized training to government officials to proactively identify trafficking victims by screening vulnerable populations for trafficking indicators, including individuals involved in commercial sex, refugees, and foreign nationals, such as Bangladeshi and Cuban medical workers. • Refer all identified victims to rehabilitation and protection services, including child victims, Seychellois, and foreign nationals, such as Bangladeshi, Chinese, and Cuban workers. • Establish or designate a dedicated space for trafficking victims to receive specialized, comprehensive care, including short- and long-term shelter, medical assistance, and psycho-social counseling. • Vigorously investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers and sentence convicted traffickers, including complicit officials, to adequate penalties under the 2014 anti-trafficking law. • Finalize, adopt, and implement a national action plan to drive national efforts to combat all forms of trafficking. • Implement the requirements of the 2014 anti-trafficking act, including hiring personnel for the secretariat to support the National Coordinating Committee and allocating resources to the Trafficking in Persons Fund. • Train labor inspectors to identify potential forced labor victims during routine inspections, including in the international trade zone and migrant workers’ work sites, and to report potential trafficking violations to appropriate officials. • Remove the required fee for migrant workers to file a complaint with the Labor Tribunal. • Adopt a law prohibiting the retention of passports by employers of migrant workers. • Allocate adequate funding and resources for victim services and front-line officials. • Conduct anti-trafficking awareness campaigns to increase the understanding of the crime among the local population and the large number of foreign tourists and migrant workers entering the country. • Utilize the national centralized anti-trafficking data collection and reporting tool.


The government increased law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking. The Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons Act of 2014 criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking. The law prescribed penalties of up to 14 years’ imprisonment and a fine up to 500,000 Seychelles rupee ($23,910) for offenses involving adult victims, and a maximum of 25 years’ imprisonment and a fine up to 800,000 Seychelles rupee ($38,260) for those involving child victims; these penalties were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with those for other serious crimes, such as rape. Although the anti-trafficking law criminalized child sex trafficking, unclear and conflicting statutes in the penal code did not clearly define the ages of consent, causing confusion between the traditionally understood age of consent (15 years of age) and the legal age of majority (18 years of age). In 2017, the government, in collaboration with an international organization, began development of implementing regulations for the 2014 antitrafficking law to address protective measures for trafficking victims; however, the government did not finalize these regulations for the third consecutive year, hindering systematic victim protection efforts. In 2020, the Child Law Reform Committee (CLRC) drafted new legislation that reportedly expands protections for child sex trafficking victims and increases law enforcement’s obligation to investigate and prosecute cases of child sex crimes, including trafficking; the new legislation had not yet been presented to the National Assembly at the end of the reporting period.

The government investigated three cases — one for sex trafficking, one for forced labor, and one involving both sex and labor trafficking — in 2020, compared with 18 investigations of forced labor in the previous reporting period. The government arrested 11 suspected traffickers — 10 Seychellois nationals and one Nepali national — during the reporting period. The government reported initiating 12 prosecutions –including all 11 suspected traffickers arrested as part of investigations during the reporting period and one suspected trafficker in a case ongoing from previous years — compared with zero prosecutions in the previous reporting period. All 12 prosecutions remained ongoing at the end of the reporting period. The government continued to prosecute three defendants charged with sex trafficking in 2019 and reported new details revealing additional trafficking indicators. The government convicted two traffickers in 2020, compared with zero convictions in 2019. Courts sentenced a Seychellois national involved in a 2019 sex trafficking case to 25 years’ imprisonment in the first sex trafficking conviction under the 2014 anti-trafficking law. The government also reported convicting and sentencing a Seychellois national involved in a 2018 labor trafficking case to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 Seychelles rupee ($3,590). The government prosecuted a police officer involved in the aforementioned 2019 sex trafficking case; courts convicted the official but sentenced him to 12 years’ imprisonment under sexual assault charges, rather than trafficking. The government did not host trainings for law enforcement officials for the second consecutive year. With support from an international organization, the government had access to a national centralized anti-trafficking data collection and reporting tool in place since 2015, but did not use it, despite officials receiving training.


The government increased efforts to protect victims of human trafficking. The government reported identifying 14 victims of trafficking during the reporting period, compared with zero victims identified in 2019. Of the 14 victims identified, traffickers exploited nine victims in both forced labor and sex trafficking and four in forced labor. The government reported that all 14 victims were adults — ten male and four female — and all were foreign nationals from Kenya, Nepal, and India. As part of an ongoing sex trafficking case initiated in 2020, the government reported that up to 80 Seychellois female adults and children may have been exploited in sex trafficking or sexually abused; however, the government did not report formally identifying any of these individuals as trafficking victims during the reporting period. The government provided counseling and psycho-social services to an unspecified number of these potential victims. NCCTIP reported spending 498,480 rupees ($23,840) for victim care in 2020, compared with 360,020 Seychelles rupees ($17,220) in 2019. The government reported providing short-term shelter and basic needs to nine victims and repatriating all 14 identified victims. There were no trafficking-specific shelters to assist victims in the country. As in prior years, the Social Affairs Department of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs provided foreign victims who were waiting to give testimony in court with accommodation in private guesthouses, homeless shelters, or a facility previously used to hold suspected criminals, where they had freedom of movement; the government continued to provide this service to 10 Bangladeshi victims of forced labor identified in prior years. The government did not systematically implement its 2015 victim identification and referral tool, which continued to hinder protection efforts. The government did not proactively screen vulnerable populations, such as migrant workers or individuals in commercial sex, for trafficking indicators and relied on victims to self-report. The government did not train officials on implementing the victim identification and referral tool, and the police continued to use procedures independent from the national SOPs.

The 2014 anti-trafficking law allowed the government to place witnesses under protection and, if the court found it necessary, to hold trafficking trials in private for the sake of victim or witness confidentiality and privacy; the law also ensured victims could testify through closed circuit television and that courtroom accommodations could be made for the psychological comfort of the victim. The government reported offering these services in all prosecutions conducted during the reporting period. Additionally, the government provided the 14 repatriated victims the option to provide evidence via video-conferencing in the upcoming trials of their alleged traffickers. The 2014 anti-trafficking law allowed for limited legal alternatives to victim removal to countries in which they would face hardship; the law permitted the Minister of Home Affairs to decide whether to allow a foreign victim to stay in the country for 30 days, issue a permit letting the victim to stay in the country for a period until the completion of legal proceedings, or deport the foreign victim. During the reporting period, the government provided five victims of forced labor with new work permits, allowing them to begin working with a new employer, compared to zero in the previous reporting period. The anti-trafficking law allowed the government to provide restitution to victims from the fine imposed on the accused or from the Trafficking in Persons Fund; however, the government has never allotted resources to the Trafficking in Persons Fund and did not provide restitution to any victims during the reporting period. The law protected trafficking victims from detention or prosecution for illegal entry into Seychelles, but it did not protect victims from prosecution for other unlawful acts traffickers compelled them to commit. There were no reports that the government inappropriately detained or penalized trafficking victims for crimes traffickers compelled them to commit; however, because officials did not use standard victim identification procedures, victims may have remained unidentified in the law enforcement system.


The government maintained overall efforts to prevent trafficking, while increasing targeted efforts to prevent child sex trafficking. NCCTIP, established to direct anti-trafficking efforts across government agencies and drive national policy, met six times during the reporting period. The government allocated 1.18 million Seychelles rupees ($56,490) for committee operations and programming, such as victim assistance and prevention efforts, an increase compared with 784,020 rupees ($37,490) in 2019. During the reporting period, oversight of NCCTIP shifted from the Ministry of Social Affairs to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which reportedly provided more clarity on the committee’s responsibilities. For the fourth 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. In April 2020, the government established the HighLevel Committee to Address Child Protection Matters (CACPM) to evaluate existing child sexual exploitation prevention measures. Based on CACPM’s recommendation, the government established the CLRC in June 2020 to review existing laws and propose legal reforms to strengthen protections for child victims of various crimes, including child sex trafficking. The government did not have a national action plan (NAP) for the fifth consecutive year; NCCTIP reportedly drafted an updated 2021-2023 NAP, which was awaiting final approval by the Ministry of Internal Affairs at the end of the reporting period. For the first time since 2016, the government conducted various national public awareness campaigns to educate the public on human trafficking. The government distributed 1,500 pamphlets and leaflets on labor trafficking – in English and French – to the international airport, seaports, relevant government agencies, and employers of migrant workers, and NCCTIP organized media sensitization targeting frontline officials. The government maintained hotlines operated by the police, immigration, and social services departments for reporting crimes, including trafficking. The employment department maintained a hotline to address concerns about forced labor and reported 900 calls during the reporting period, compared with 64 calls in 2019. The government did not provide any hotline data specific to trafficking and did not report identifying any trafficking victims via hotline calls during the reporting period.

Trafficking vulnerabilities in labor recruitment and monitoring persisted throughout the country, especially in the Seychelles International Trade Zone (SITZ). The Ministry of Employment (MOE) reported inspecting 573 work sites for indications of trafficking, compared with 237 inspections by the MOE and 501 total in 2019; however, the government did not report identifying any potential forced labor victims or reporting any potential trafficking violations for law enforcement action as a result of the inspections. The MOE continued to lack jurisdiction in the SITZ; this limited its ability to protect migrant workers and screen for trafficking, as it was considered ex-territorial and managed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The FSA reportedly denied the MOE’s requests to conduct inspections in the SITZ during the reporting period, citing pandemic-related health precautions. The inter-ministerial Special Task Force, which had a mandate to address the living and working conditions of migrant workers, was inactive during the reporting period. 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. Seizure and retention of passports by employers remained legal under Seychellois law, unless proven it was specifically for the purpose of further trafficking a person; however, in the previous reporting period, the government drafted an amendment to the immigration bill that reportedly prohibits passport retention of foreign workers. The government did not report sending the bill to parliament for the second consecutive reporting period. The government continued to utilize the labor tribunal for laborrelated complaints and continued to require a fee for migrant workers to file a complaint. In 2019, the government began drafting a new immigration bill that would require the provision of work permit cards for all citizens and foreign workers that includes anti-trafficking information and contact information for assistance; the bill was awaiting approval by the National Assembly at the end of the reporting period. The government did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.


As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Seychelles. Traffickers exploit some Seychellois girls and, according to some sources, boys in child sex trafficking, particularly on the main island of Mahé; peers, family members, and pimps exploit them in bars, guest houses, hotels, brothels, private homes, and on the street. Traffickers may exploit young drug addicts in sex trafficking, and sex traffickers have exploited Eastern European women in hotels. In 2017, there were reports of possible high-level corruption, which allowed wealthy citizens from Gulf countries to coordinate the travel of young women aboard private planes, some of whom may have been trafficking victims. Traffickers exploit Malagasy women who transit Seychelles in forced labor, primarily in domestic servitude, and sex trafficking in the Middle East. Nearly 17,000 migrant workers — including individuals from Bangladesh, India, China, Kenya, Madagascar, and other countries in South Asia — make up approximately 20 percent of the working population in Seychelles and are primarily employed in fishing, farming, and construction; credible reports indicate traffickers subject migrant workers to forced labor in these sectors. NGOs report traffickers exploit migrant workers aboard foreign-flagged fishing vessels in Seychelles’ territorial waters and ports using abuses indicative of forced labor, including nonpayment of wages and physical abuse. Labor recruitment agents based in Seychelles exploit migrant workers in labor trafficking, often with the assistance of a local Seychellois accomplice. Migrant workers often sign their employment contracts upon arrival in the Seychelles and frequently cannot read the language, which traffickers exploit in fraudulent recruitment tactics. There were reports of employers routinely retaining migrant workers’ passports to prevent them from changing jobs prior to the expiration of their two-year contracts, increasing their vulnerability to forced labor. Cuban medical professionals working in Seychelles may have been forced to work by the Cuban government.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future