The government decreased already insufficient protection efforts. The government reported identifying and referring to services at least 57 forced child labor victims, compared with identifying and referring 92 child forced begging victims and 33 potential child trafficking victims during the previous reporting period. The national guard reported intercepting 300 children at the border, which it believed included some trafficking victims. The government did not have formal procedures to identify trafficking victims but continued implementing its NRM and referred vulnerable children, including potential trafficking victims, to NGOs for care. High illiteracy rates, including among security services, hampered the government’s ability to finalize and implement written victim identification procedures; draft victim identification procedures, compiled in previous reporting periods with the assistance of an international organization, remained unfinished. One NGO reported the government referred 135 children to its shelter, including victims of sexual exploitation and abuse, child labor, forced marriage, and migrants, which may have included potential trafficking victims. An international organization repatriated 164 Bissau-Guinean boys exploited in begging in Senegal without government support. Protection actors reported some families returned their children to traffickers after they were removed from situations of forced begging and repatriated.
The National Institute for Women and Children (IMC) under the Ministry of Family Affairs was responsible for victim services and coordination of services among various entities; however, it lacked sufficient funding and resources. The government relied on international organizations and local NGOs to provide nearly all victim services, including reintegration support, shelter, medical services, and legal assistance; these NGOs subsequently relied on international donors for funding. The government did not provide financial or in-kind support to NGOs assisting trafficking victims for the fourth consecutive year. Three NGO shelters were accessible to child trafficking victims but were severely overcrowded and underfunded; one shelter provided specific services to trafficking victims. Children typically received short-term housing, followed by reintegration support. Adult trafficking victims could access NGO-operated shelters for vulnerable individuals, but neither the government nor civil society reported identifying or referring any adult victims to care. Foreign national victims had access to the same services as Bissau-Guinean victims. The government reported Bissau-Guinean and Senegalese border officials routinely cooperated to repatriate Bissau-Guinean child trafficking victims intercepted at the border, but it did not report the number of children repatriated.
The government did not have victim-witness assistance procedures to support victim participation in the criminal justice process. Victims could not obtain restitution or file civil suits against their traffickers. The government did not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution. Due to a lack of formal identification procedures, authorities may have detained some unidentified trafficking victims.