The government maintained mixed anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. Article 323 and 324 of the penal code criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking and prescribed penalties of three to seven years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both for trafficking offenses involving an adult victim, and five to 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both for those involving a child victim. These penalties were sufficiently stringent; however, by allowing for a fine in lieu of imprisonment, the penalties for sex trafficking were not commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Under Article 893 and 894 of the children’s code, child trafficking crimes were prescribed penalties of five to 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 50 million to 100 million Guinean francs ($5,410-$10,830); these penalties were commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. Article 343 of the penal code separately criminalized forced begging and prescribed penalties of one to three years’ imprisonment and a fine; these penalties were not sufficiently stringent.
Insecurity across the country hindered the government’s collection of law enforcement statistics. The government did not report comprehensive law enforcement data, and due to poor record keeping and the conflation of trafficking with other crimes, law enforcement data on trafficking likely included migrant smuggling or child labor cases. In 2021, the government reported initiating investigations into 46 trafficking cases, compared with one investigation in 2020, and continued investigations of 11 trafficking cases initiated in the previous reporting period. The government reported investigating trafficking cases during the reporting period but did not provide details on the cases investigated, compared with prosecuting 45 alleged traffickers the previous year. Courts convicted 24 traffickers and acquitted one trafficker, compared with 20 convictions during the previous reporting period. Of the 24 convictions, 23 traffickers received a sentence of one year or less, and one trafficker received a fine, which did not serve to deter the crime or adequately reflect the nature of the offense. The Special Brigade for the Protection of Vulnerable Persons (BSPPV) and OPROGEM were the lead government entities responsible for investigating trafficking cases, and the General Secretary for Special Services, Counter-Narcotics, and Combating Organized Crime could investigate transnational trafficking cases. Designated magistrates in the Ministry of Justice prosecuted trafficking cases. Despite the prevalence of Guinean children exploited in forced begging in Quranic schools in Guinea and surrounding countries, the government has never prosecuted a Quranic teacher for forced child begging.
The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government employees complicit in human trafficking crimes; however, corruption and official complicity in trafficking crimes remained significant concerns, inhibiting law enforcement action during the year. The lack of extradition agreements with countries in Africa and the Middle East impeded prosecutions of traffickers from those countries. The government cooperated with Sierra Leonean officials on the arrest and prosecution of a Sierra Leonean woman arrested for trafficking 11 children in Guinea.
The government dedicated a budget to OPROGEM for the first time since 2016 and also dedicated land and funding to construct a new headquarters location for the agency. Police resources normally dedicated to anti-trafficking efforts were diverted to pandemic safety protocols enforcement. Officials reported that a lack of general knowledge about trafficking and trafficking provisions under the 2016 penal code persisted among government officials, especially judges and prosecutors in lower courts. The government, in partnership with a foreign government and NGOs, trained police cadets, gendarmes, and judicial police on anti- trafficking enforcement procedures, victim referral, and investigative techniques related to human trafficking. The government reported one training for prosecutors and judges on trafficking and trafficking networks, compared with no trainings the previous year. The government provided anti-trafficking training manuals to both the police and gendarme academy staff.