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GUINEA (Tier 2)

The Government of Guinea does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.  The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, considering the impact of COVID-19, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore Guinea was upgraded to Tier 2.  These efforts included initiating prosecutions, referring all identified victims and potential victims to services, and opening two new shelters dedicated to trafficking victims.  The government updated its SOPs on victim identification and referral to care and, in partnership with an international organization, began screening undocumented migrants for trafficking indicators.  However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas.  The government did not amend its penal code to remove sentencing provisions that allow fines in lieu of imprisonment for trafficking crimes or increase penalties prescribed for forced begging.

  • Increase efforts to investigate and prosecute suspected traffickers and complicit officials, and seek adequate penalties for convicted traffickers, which should involve significant prison terms. 
  • Amend the penal code to remove sentencing provisions that allow fines in lieu of imprisonment and ensure penalties prescribed for forced begging are sufficiently stringent. 
  • Significantly increase efforts to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, including children exploited in forced begging, workers in artisanal mining sites, women traveling to the Middle East in potential fraudulent recruitment schemes, and Cuban medical professionals, and refer trafficking victims to appropriate services. 
  • Draft and implement an anti-trafficking National Action Plan. 
  • Increase funding and in-kind support for NGOs to ensure all identified trafficking victims receive services. 
  • Train law enforcement and service providers on standard procedures to identify trafficking victims and refer them to services. 
  • Develop a formal witness assistance program for victims participating in judicial proceedings. 
  • Provide the Office for the Protection of Gender, Children, and Morals (OPROGEM) and labor inspectors the resources and training necessary to monitor recruitment agencies and investigate forced labor cases. 
  • Establish a uniform and comprehensive data collection system on anti-trafficking efforts, distinguishing human trafficking from other crimes. 
  • Increase efforts to raise public awareness of trafficking, including child forced labor. 
  • Strengthen the National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Similar Practices’ (CNLTPPA) authority to implement anti-trafficking policy and coordinate activities and information sharing among agencies conducting anti-trafficking work. 
  • Develop mechanisms for formalizing law enforcement collaboration with countries in Africa and the Middle East, including through bilateral agreements. 
  • Screen any North Korean workers for signs of trafficking and refer them to appropriate services, in a manner consistent with obligations under United Nations Security Council resolution 2397.

The government marginally increased 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 ($5,850-$11,690); 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 anti-trafficking data consistently from year to year, making it difficult to assess its law enforcement efforts.  The government reported initiating investigations of 127 suspects in an unknown number of cases, including 67 for sex trafficking, seven for forced labor, and 53 for unspecified forms of trafficking, compared with 46 case investigations of an unknown number of suspects in 2021, and continued investigations of 16 trafficking cases initiated in the previous reporting period.  The government reported prosecuting 42 suspects, including three for sex trafficking, four for labor trafficking, and 35 for unspecified forms of trafficking, and continued prosecution of 19 suspects initiated in previous reporting periods.  This compared with no reported prosecutions in the previous reporting period.  Courts convicted 10 traffickers, two for sex trafficking, three for labor trafficking, and five under other statutes, compared with 24 convictions during the previous reporting period.  The 10 convicted traffickers received sentences of two years or less, fines, and were ordered to pay restitution, 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.  The government continued to dedicate a budget to OPROGEM and completed construction of its new headquarters building.  Designated magistrates in the Ministry of Justice prosecuted trafficking cases.  Despite a December 2022 public report indicating observers’ continued concerns of Guinean children exploited in forced labor in Quranic schools, the government has not prosecuted perpetrators of this form of forced child labor.

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.  The lack of extradition agreements with countries in Africa and the Middle East impeded prosecutions of alleged traffickers from those countries.  The government partnered with the Government of Tunisia and other regional governments to share best practices for combating trafficking.  Observers reported in some instances the Government of Guinea required foreign government officials to first prove Guinean children’s nationality before assisting with their repatriation.

Observers reported a lack of general knowledge about trafficking and trafficking provisions under the 2016 penal code 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 border police on anti-trafficking investigations and identifying and interviewing victims.  The government trained judges on trafficking and trafficking networks.  The government, in conjunction with an international organization, held capacity building workshops to improve data collection on human trafficking cases.

The government increased protection efforts.  For the first time, the government provided disaggregated protection data.  The government reported identifying 81 trafficking victims – 71 forced labor victims, including 65 children and six adults, and 10 sex trafficking victims, all children.  The government reported identifying an additional 237 potential trafficking victims.  This compared with the government reporting identification of 291 trafficking victims in the previous reporting period (225 forced labor victims and 66 sex trafficking victims), which may have included victims of other crimes.  The government referred all 81 identified victims and 237 potential victims to services, compared with referring 220 victims to care in the previous year.  The government reported NGOs identified an additional 945 trafficking victims, including 32 sex trafficking victims (28 children and 4 adults), 274 forced labor victims (93 children and 181 adults, including three victims with disabilities), and 639 victims of other exploitation, which may have included crimes other than trafficking.  Lack of training and coordination between ministries, as well as inconsistent and sometimes unavailable government services, continued to inhibit victim identification and assistance efforts.

The government had SOPs for victim identification and referral to services and, in collaboration with an international organization, updated its SOPs, including by mapping relevant stakeholders and their collaboration methods.  The government also had a standardized victim referral manual for vulnerable populations, including trafficking victims, seeking legal and judicial assistance.  For the first time, the government, in collaboration with an international organization, began screening undocumented migrants for trafficking indicators.  The government reported offering trafficking victims psychosocial assistance, legal services, and economic support for income generating activities; however, the government continued to rely on NGOs and foreign donors to provide and fund the majority of victim care.  Observers reported LGBTQI+ persons and individuals in commercial sex faced challenges in accessing services.

The government opened two new shelters specifically for trafficking victims, the first of their kind in Guinea.  The Ministry of Women’s Promotion, Childhood, and Vulnerable People (MoWP), the lead ministry on combatting trafficking in persons, established one shelter in Conakry with capacity for 66 people, including women and children.  The second shelter, also located in Conakry, had capacity for 24 women, men, and children.  During the first quarter of 2023 the shelters accommodated over 100 victims of trafficking, including 12 children.  NGOs operated three shelters that could assist trafficking victims and a transit center funded by an international organization for returning migrants and child trafficking victims, which could provide emergency and short-term services and referrals for children to long-term care.  Government health facilities and social workers could provide medical and psycho-social services.  NGOs reported law enforcement referred child trafficking victims to NGOs on an ad hoc basis.  If NGO shelters were unavailable, the MoWP could place child victims with host families.

Reports indicated victims and their parents were reluctant to file claims against traffickers due to a lack of confidence in the judicial system.  Judges could allow victims to provide testimony via video or written statements; however, no victims reportedly did so during the reporting period.  While the government did not have a formal victim-witness assistance program, it provided food and transportation to court hearings for 56 trafficking victims.  NGO-operated legal clinics and the national human rights association provided advice and support to victims of crime, including trafficking.  The 2016 penal code allowed NGOs to become plaintiffs on behalf of victims; the government did not report if NGOs utilized this provision during the reporting period.  Victims could legally obtain restitution from the government; and courts did order restitution during the reporting period.  Victims could file civil suits against their traffickers; however, no victims pursued this option, largely due to lack of awareness.  The government did not have formal policies to provide temporary or permanent residency to victims from countries where they would face hardship or retribution if repatriated, but it could provide work and residency permits to victims on an ad hoc basis; due to long standing freedom of movement policy with the Regional Economic Community, ECOWAS nationals did not require special status to remain in Guinea.  The government did not report any victims requesting these services during the reporting period.  Due to inconsistent use of formal identification procedures, authorities may have detained or otherwise inappropriately penalized some unidentified trafficking victims.

The government maintained efforts to prevent trafficking.  The CNLTPPA, the government’s anti-trafficking coordinating body, met regularly.  The MoWP led the committee, which included the ministries of Justice, Security, Labor, Foreign Affairs, and Defense.  The government continued to allocate funds for equipment, supplies, and a dedicated communications budget to the CNLTPPA to support anti-trafficking efforts.  However, observers noted the CNLTPPA lacked authority to effectively implement anti-trafficking policy and coordinate government activities.

The CNLTPPA, in partnership with civil society and foreign donors, organized several awareness campaigns on trafficking prevention and organized a national network of 22 NGOs working on human trafficking issues.  The government operated a hotline for calls concerning victims of crime, including human trafficking, and labor violations.  The government did not report statistics for how many calls the hotline received.  A separate, NGO-run hotline for victims of GBV fielded 1,869 calls in 2022.  The government prohibited recruitment agencies from assessing recruitment fees and had policies to regulate foreign labor recruiters and hold them civilly and criminally liable for fraudulent recruitment; however, neither OPROGEM nor the Ministry of Labor had the resources or the trained personnel to monitor and enforce these policies consistently and did not report referring any potential cases for investigation.  Despite the prevalence of child forced labor, labor inspectors conducted 411 inspections and did not report finding any child labor violations.  The government did not report providing training on child labor laws to labor inspectors.  The MoWP continued coordinating interagency border control units to ensure children crossing international borders were traveling with their families.  The government did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex.

The government did not report providing anti-trafficking training to its diplomatic personnel.  The government provided human rights training, including on topics related to human trafficking, to its troops prior to their deployment as peacekeepers.  Although not explicitly reported as human trafficking, there was one open case of alleged sexual exploitation with trafficking indicators by a Guinean peacekeeper deployed to the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2019; the UN substantiated the allegations and repatriated the offender.  The government had not yet reported the accountability measures taken, if any, by the end of the reporting period.

As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Guinea, and traffickers exploit victims from Guinea abroad.  Populations vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking in Guinea include individuals in commercial sex, including those from ECOWAS and other nations, adults and children working in the informal labor sector, homeless and orphaned children, artisanal miners, children and adults with albinism, and persons with mental disabilities.  Traffickers exploit boys in forced labor in begging, street vending, shoe shining, mining for gold and diamonds, herding, fishing, and agriculture, including farming and on coffee, cashew, and cocoa plantations.  Some government entities and NGOs allege that within Guinea, forced labor is most prevalent in the mining sector and in domestic work.  Traffickers exploit adults and children in forced labor in agriculture.  Reports indicate children are sent to the coastal region of Boke for forced labor on farms.  Children from villages in Middle and Upper Guinea may be more vulnerable to trafficking due to the region’s lack of schools and economic opportunities.  Government officials recognize the town of Koundara in northwestern Guinea as a transit point for traffickers.

Traffickers, often distant relatives, promise to care for or provide an education to low-income relatives’ children and instead exploit them in domestic servitude or forced begging.  A public report from December 2022 and prior media reporting have indicated some teachers in Quranic schools force or coerce children to beg or work in agriculture, sometimes with their parents’ knowledge.  Some traffickers fraudulently recruit children under the pretext of educational opportunities and instead exploit them in forced begging in Quranic schools in Senegal – via the town of Koundara, Guinea.  Students are trafficked along routes through Mali and Guinea-Bissau.  Traffickers exploit Guinean children in forced labor in Cote d’Ivoire.  Guinea is a transit country for West African children subjected to forced labor in artisanal gold mining throughout the region.  A small number of girls from West African countries migrate to Guinea, where traffickers exploit them in domestic service, street vending, and – to a lesser extent – sex trafficking.  Child sex trafficking is prevalent in Conakry and in mining towns and camps in Lower and Upper Guinea.  North Korean nationals working in Guinea may be operating under exploitative working conditions and display multiple indicators of forced labor.  Cuban medical professionals working in Guinea may have been forced to work by the Cuban government.  Guinean authorities alleged traffickers coerce People’s Republic of China (PRC) women into commercial sex in PRC national-owned bars and restaurants in Conakry.

Traffickers exploit Guinean women and girls in forced labor for domestic service and sex trafficking in West Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as the United States.  During a previous reporting period, there were reports Guinean-Egyptian trafficking networks fraudulently recruit women for domestic work in Egypt and exploit them in commercial sex.  Irregular migrants traveling to Europe are vulnerable to trafficking networks facilitating travel by land from Guinea to North Africa, and subsequently exploiting migrants in forced labor or sex trafficking.  In a previous reporting period, an international organization reported an increase in fraudulent recruitment for forced labor in domestic service in the Middle East, especially Egypt and Kuwait.  There have been reports some Guinean men marry Guinean girls, take them to Angola, and sell the girls to local brothels while the men work in diamond mines.

U.S. Department of State

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