As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Sudan, and traffickers exploit victims from Sudan. Traffickers exploit homeless children in Khartoum—including Sudanese and unaccompanied migrant children from West and Central Africa—in sex trafficking and in forced labor for begging, public transportation, large markets. Business owners, informal mining operators, community members, and farmers exploit children working in brick-making factories, gold mining, collecting medical waste, street vending, and agriculture; the aforementioned traffickers expose the children to threats, physical and sexual abuse, as well as to hazardous working conditions with limited access to education or health services. Criminal groups exploit Sudanese women and girls – particularly internally displaced persons (IDPs) or those from rural areas – in domestic work and in sex trafficking.
Due to regional instability and conflict, there are more than 2.5 million IDPs and 1 million refugees in Sudan—populations with increased susceptibility to forced labor or sex trafficking. For the second consecutive year, observers reported concerns that government officials from the Commission of Refugees and General Intelligence Service were potentially sexually exploiting refugees—including newly arrived Ethiopians—in Sudan. Additionally, due to the government’s refugee encampment policy which restricts refugees from moving freely within the country, some refugees utilized migrant smugglers inside Sudan which further increased their risk of exploitation. Additionally, reports alleged corrupt RSF officials financially benefited from their role as border guards and took a direct role in human trafficking. The non-governmental armed groups Justice Equality Movement and Sudan Liberation Movement/Transitional Council recruited and used child soldiers in Darfur during the reporting period.
Large populations of Eritrean, Ethiopian, and other African asylum seekers, as well as Syrians—populations vulnerable to trafficking due to their economic fragility and lack of access to justice—resided in Khartoum while planning to travel to Europe. Sudanese traffickers compel Ethiopian women to work in private homes in Khartoum and other urban centers. Well-organized and cross-border criminal syndicates force some Ethiopian women into commercial sex in Khartoum by manipulating debts and other forms of coercion. Attempting to escape conflict and poverty, many East African victims of trafficking initially seek out the services of migrant smugglers, who coerce the migrants into forced labor or sex trafficking.
Due to the years of conflict in South Sudan, the South Sudanese refugee population in Sudan was more than 700,000 in 2020; many of these refugees remain vulnerable to forced labor and sex trafficking in Sudan. In 2018, an international organization documented cases of traffickers exploiting West and Central African nationals—primarily from Chad, Mali, and Niger—arriving in Sudan via irregular migratory routes.
Darfuri armed groups exploit some migrants in forced labor or sex trafficking. Smugglers linked to the Rashaida and Tabo tribes abduct Eritrean nationals at border crossings, extort them for ransom, and subject them to abuse, including trafficking. Other cross-border tribes also force abductees to perform domestic or manual labor, and abuse them in other ways, including exploiting them in forced labor or sex trafficking.