The government increased victim protection efforts. The government, in partnership with an international organization, identified eight trafficking victims—the first victims identified since 2013—and referred all victims and their dependents to care. Of the eight victims identified, traffickers exploited six in forced labor and two in both forced labor and sex trafficking; three were exploited in Comoros, and five were exploited abroad in Cote d’Ivoire, Oman, Tanzania, and on Mayotte; two were male, and six were female; six were adults, and two were children; and four victims were Comorian nationals, while the other four were foreign nationals from Burundi and Madagascar. The government, in partnership with an international organization, developed the country’s first SOPs for victim identification, which included a manual and questionnaire. The government disseminated the SOPs and provided training to law enforcement authorities and listening centers (Service d’ecoute) on all three islands in late 2021. Using the newly established SOPs, the government increased efforts to screen vulnerable populations, including foreign migrants and victims of abuse, for trafficking indicators; in previous years, the government regularly deported potential victims without screening for trafficking indicators. The government remained without an NRM to refer victims to protection services; however, officials, in partnership with an international organization, began drafting an NRM to complement the new victim identification SOPs.
The government partnered with international organizations and local NGOs to offer assistance to all eight identified victims, including temporary housing, medical care, counseling, job training, and voluntary repatriation for foreign victims; however, the services on Anjouan and Mohéli were limited compared with services available on Grand Comore. The government continued to provide financial support, including salaries for employees and office space, to the listening centers. For the first time, the government provided anti-trafficking training to listening center staff. The listening centers, with assistance from civil society, provided temporary housing to one trafficking victim and continued to offer medical care, psycho-social counseling, and legal assistance mostly to women and children who were victims of abuse and violence, including potential trafficking victims. The government continued operating listening centers in four locations—two on Grande Comore, one on Anjouan, and one on Mohéli. In 2021, the listening centers reported providing assistance to at least 186 women and children on Grande Comore, compared with at least 256 in 2020. The listening centers recorded these persons as victims of abuse; however, some of these victims may have been trafficking victims. There were no trafficking-specific shelters available to victims in the country. Due to the recent development of victim identification SOPs in late 2021, some victims may have remained unidentified within the law enforcement system during the reporting period. Comorian law allowed victims of crime, including trafficking, to receive restitution from the government or from traffickers through civil suits; however, there were no reports that trafficking victims received restitution. Despite requirements of the 2015 child labor law, the government did not establish a support fund for children vulnerable to trafficking.