As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Sudan, and traffickers exploit victims from Sudan at home and abroad. Traffickers exploit children experiencing homelessness in Khartoum—including Sudanese and unaccompanied migrant children from West and Central Africa—in forced labor for begging, public transportation, and large markets and in sex trafficking. 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 traffickers expose the children to threats, physical and sexual abuse, and 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 three million IDPs and 1.1 million refugees in Sudan—populations with increased vulnerability to forced labor or sex trafficking. 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 that 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. In past years, the non-governmental armed groups Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) al-Hilu and SPLM-N Malak Aga conscripted child soldiers from refugee camps in South Sudan and brought them into Sudan. The Sudanese Alliance recruited and used child soldiers in Darfur. An international organization reported there were at least 300 child soldiers in Darfur being used by unidentified armed groups.
Sudan is a primary transit point for irregular migrants and refugees from the Horn of Africa seeking to reach Europe. Large populations of Eritrean, Ethiopian, and other African asylum-seekers, as well as some Syrians—all 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. Egyptian government forces allegedly exploit some Sudanese migrants in forced labor in Egypt. Sudanese transiting the Sinai on their way to Israel are at risk of kidnapping and exploitation by Bedouins and at further risk of trafficking when they arrive in Israel.
Due to the years of conflict in South Sudan, the South Sudanese refugee population in Sudan was more than 800,000 in 2021; many of these refugees remain vulnerable to forced labor and sex trafficking. 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.