The government increased efforts to identify and provide services to trafficking victims. In 2021, the government identified and provided various services to 61 trafficking victims (15 were victims of sex trafficking, 36 of forced labor, and 10 of an unspecified form of trafficking), which was an increase compared with 25 identified victims in 2020. Of the 61 victims, 14 were male and 47 female; 58 were adults and 3 children; 45 were foreign citizens and 16 Jordanian. During the reporting period, the government collaborated with civil society to draft new victim identification standard operating procedures (SOPs) and a national referral mechanism (NRM). In November 2021, the Attorney General endorsed the SOPs and NRM, and they entered a three-month trial period; at the end of the reporting period, the inter-ministerial National Committee for Countering Human Trafficking (NCCT) compiled input from government stakeholders and civil society, updated the NRM, and sent it to the Minister of Justice for final approval. Although CTU was headquartered in Amman, it used specialized liaison officers in police stations across the country to identify trafficking victims outside of the capital. CTU also relied on additional liaison officers in Syrian refugee camps; in September 2021, CTU also assigned liaison officers with the Civil Aviation Regulatory Authority. During the reporting period, the Ministry of Social Development’s (MOSD) anti-vagrancy department continued a campaign (begun in October 2020) to remove vulnerable children, including forced begging victims, from the streets of Amman. Joint patrols by teams of MOSD social workers, PSD investigators, and female police officers screened children for trafficking indicators and referred potential trafficking victims to MOSD juvenile assistance centers to receive medical assistance and social services like family reintegration efforts. In 2021, authorities referred 1,000 vulnerable children, including potential trafficking victims, to MOSD shelters; in September 2021, authorities recognized three girls as forced begging victims and referred them to the government’s Dar Karama shelter, dedicated to protecting trafficking victims, for specialized services.
The government continued to refer identified victims to multiple care shelters, including shelters run by an NGO and MOSD, and referred cases to CTU for investigation. MOSD continued to operate and fund the Dar Karama shelter, which provided psycho-social care, medical treatment, legal assistance, vocational training, and specialized services for children. It also continued to offer computer classes, a book club, and religious services for both Muslim and Christian shelter residents. The shelter’s staff included lawyers and specialists in psychology, social work, nursing, and education. The PSD, including both gendarmerie and police officers, provided shelter security outside of the shelter. The provision of shelter services was not conditional upon a victim’s cooperation with law enforcement or judicial authorities, and victims could freely and willingly leave the shelter. Victims were allowed to stay at the shelter for as long as two months, but victims’ stay in the shelter could be extended through a process requiring MOSD approval; during the reporting period, MOSD drafted a shelter bylaw that would allow victims to stay the length of an investigation and prosecution without additional approvals. The shelter had the capacity to serve a total of 35 victims, both Jordanian citizens and foreign nationals, with space for 20 women, five children, and 10 men. The shelter had a separate wing and entrance for male victims, and it was the only shelter in the country available to men; the shelter assisted 13 male victims. In 2021, the shelter served a total of 37 victims, which represented an increase compared with 14 victims served in 2020. The government referred three identified victims to an NGO shelter, six identified victims to their respective embassies, and 11 victims (five Jordanians, two Egyptians, and eight Kuwaitis) declined shelter services. Shelter staff cooperated with the embassies of Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Sudan to provide assistance to their nationals. Although the Dar Karama shelter was authorized to admit self-referrals to the shelter pending a subsequent formal CTU referral, NGOs and other stakeholders reported this process was confusing and the shelter’s admittance rules needed clarification; in January 2022, the MOJ established a committee with relevant government stakeholders to amend the shelter’s bylaws and clarify admittance rules. The government reported the Dar Karama shelter lacked funds to purchase return flights for foreign trafficking victims who wished to voluntarily return to their home country and did not have regular access to interpretation services for languages other than English; the government reported relying at times on embassies, NGOs, and international organizations to provide repatriation and interpretation assistance. The amended anti-trafficking law requires the creation of a donations-based victims’ fund, which the government intends to use to finance protection services, plane tickets for voluntary repatriation, and other needs that are currently underfunded; the government was reviewing guidelines to permanently finance the fund at the end of the reporting period. Because the government shelter was located in Amman, victim services were difficult to access for victims outside of the capital.
The government encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers; PSD accompanied victims to court, and officials assigned all victims a lawyer throughout judicial proceedings to ensure protection of their rights. The 2009 anti-trafficking law, as amended, extended witness protections to trafficking victims, and trafficking victims were able to provide court statements electronically to prevent re-traumatization. Foreign victims also had the option to provide a deposition prior to being repatriated. The amended anti-trafficking law requires authorities to provide victims legitimate means to obtain compensation for damages through restitution or civil suits; however, these provisions were not implemented by the end of the reporting period. The government provided foreign victims with legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they faced retribution or hardship. In addition, the new NRM required the government to waive fees and assist foreign victims—who wished to remain in Jordan—with obtaining residency and finding employment. The amended anti-trafficking law also allowed foreign victims to seek temporary residence in Jordan until the completion of their cases’ investigation and prosecution; as a result of the amendments and NRM, NGOs observed an increase in judicial officials offering victims immigration relief, including waiving overstay fees and work permit violations during the reporting period. Authorities continued to punish some potential foreign trafficking victims for unlawful acts traffickers compelled them to commit—such as immigration violations—including through fines, arrest, detention, and deportation; an NGO reported working on cases of nine potential trafficking victims whom the government detained because of fraudulent theft charges, absconding from abusive employers, and visa overstay fees. Furthermore, bureaucratic and financial barriers and detention prevented some victims from repatriation, even if a worker left an employer because of exploitation. Some foreign workers, including potential trafficking victims, remained in Jordanian detention due to pending criminal charges against them or their inability to pay for overstay penalties or plane fare home. NGOs reported foreign labor trafficking victims were less likely to report abuses to the authorities because of fear of deportation or detention.