Country Narratives -- Countries Q through Z
Qatar is a destination for men and women trafficked for the purposes of involuntary servitude and, to a lesser extent, commercial sexual exploitation. Men and women from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Sudan, Thailand, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) travel to Qatar as laborers and domestic servants, but some subsequently face conditions of involuntary servitude. The most common forced labor offense is forcing workers to accept worse contract terms than those under which they were recruited. Other forced labor conditions in Qatar include instances of: bonded labor; job switching; visa swapping; visa selling; withholding of pay; charging for benefits for which the employer is responsible; restrictions on freedom of movement, including the confiscation of passports and travel documents and the withholding of exit permits; arbitrary detention; threats of legal action and deportation; false charges; and physical, mental, and sexual abuse. Workers are generally forced to accept worse contract terms than those under which they were recruited, and often suffer miserable working and living conditions. Nepalese men are reportedly recruited for work in Qatar as domestic servants, but are then coerced or forced into labor in Saudi Arabia as farm workers. Qatar is also a destination for women from P.R.C., Indonesia, the Philippines, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, India, Africa, and Eastern Europe trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, but it is unknown how many are trafficked.
The Government of Qatar does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Qatar continues to detain and deport victims rather than providing them with protection. The government also failed to meaningfully increase prosecutions for trafficking. Workers who complained about working conditions or non-payment of wages were sometimes penalized and prosecuted under false charges in retaliation. Qatar should develop a credible law enforcement effort against trafficking, and should take steps to ensure that victims are not punished for acts related to being trafficked.
The Government of Qatar made insufficient progress in prosecuting trafficking offenses during the reporting period. Qatar does not prohibit all acts of trafficking, but it criminalizes slavery, forced labor, and forced prostitution under sections 321, 322, and 297 of its Criminal Law, respectively. At the same time, provisions of the Sponsorship Law condone forced labor activities and slave-like conditions. The government banned the use of child camel jockeys in 2005. Qatar provided evidence of only two convictions in a trafficking case involving a domestic servant this year, despite reports that this practice is common; those convicted received five-year prison sentences. The government did not initiate prosecutions for any other trafficking crimes nor were any other persons convicted of trafficking offenses. A government committee trained police, prosecutors, judges, and legal educators on current anti-trafficking laws. Qatar should significantly improve its law enforcement response to trafficking crimes by increasing criminal prosecutions of trafficking offenses.
The Government of Qatar failed to adequately protect victims of trafficking during the reporting period. It does not systematically attempt to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable people, such as foreign workers awaiting deportation and women arrested for prostitution, and as a result, victims are often punished and deported without being offered protection. The Government of Qatar also commonly fines and detains trafficking victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, such as immigration violations and running away from their sponsors, without determining the underlying causes. Some victims remain in the deportation centers for years pending resolution of their cases, permission from their sponsors to leave the country, or in retaliation for seeking to recover unpaid wages or requesting a new sponsor. The government removed restrictions on victims' access to the government shelter and widely publicized the existence of the shelter and hotlines. In only a small percentage of cases, however, did the government encourage victims to assist in trafficking investigations or offer victims alternatives to deportation to countries in which they may face retribution. The shelter accommodated only 20 trafficking-related victims this year.
Qatar's efforts to prevent trafficking in some areas improved over the reporting period. A committee conducted visits to camel racing tracks to ensure compliance with the government's ban on the use of child camel jockeys. Qatar also held a workshop for 42 recruitment agencies to raise awareness of trafficking. The National Office for Combating Trafficking in Persons led a government training seminar on legal, social and security dimensions of trafficking for police officers, Internal Security service officers, and others. Anti-trafficking training has been incorporated into the basic training curriculum for police officers. A media campaign highlighted sponsors' responsibilities, and resources available to victims. Qatar has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
ROMANIA (Tier 2)
Romania is a source and transit country for men and women from Moldova, Ukraine, and Russia trafficked to Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece, and Austria for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Romanian children are trafficked within the country for sexual exploitation and forced begging. Roma women and girls are highly vulnerable to trafficking.
The Government of Romania does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In November 2006, the government implemented a new trafficking-specific victim-witness coordination program and assisted 26 victims of trafficking. The government improved cooperation with anti-trafficking NGOs and allocated $250,000 in 2006 to NGOs for use in anti-trafficking efforts in 2007. In December 2006, the government launched a national database to assist victim identification and referral efforts. In the coming year, Romania should increase efforts to develop a national victim referral system and standards, and to train police to ensure that victims are identified and not inappropriately fined or otherwise penalized. The government should conduct a demand-reduction public awareness campaign, targeting clients of the sex trade.
Romania continued its law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Romania prohibits trafficking for the purposes of both sexual and labor exploitation through Law no. 678/2001, which prescribes penalties of 3 to 13 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. In 2006, police conducted 61 investigations, down from 231 in 2005. During the reporting period, 780 persons were prosecuted, resulting in the conviction of 187 traffickers, down from 235 convictions in 2005. Romania demonstrated improved progress in the sentencing of traffickers during the reporting period. In 2006, 164 convicted traffickers served time in prison ranging from 6 months to 15 years, while 23 traffickers served no time in prison. This is a significant improvement from 2005 when more than 40 percent of convicted traffickers served no prison time.
Romania continued its efforts to improve victim protection. The government established 15 regional victim assistance centers in 2006, which identified 79 victims from September through December 2006; these centers are responsible for implementing the victim-witness coordination project and for identifying and referring victims to NGOs and government shelters. Although the government operated at least nine trafficking shelters at the state level, the quality and consistency varied from region to region; some shelters were temporarily closed during the reporting period due to a lack of funding and maintenance. The government identified a total of 2,285 victims throughout the year; 476 victims received assistance from either government agencies or NGOs, a significant increase from 175 victims assisted in 2005. According to law, NGOs that provide services to trafficking victims have government funding priority. Although some law enforcement agencies have victim identification procedures, there are no national victim identification or referral procedures to systematically transfer victims to NGOs or state-run shelters. Some law enforcement officers may refer victims based on personal relationships with local NGOs. In practice, victims were frequently not identified by authorities when detained for unlawful acts they committed as part of their being trafficked; they were penalized for these acts as a result. Victims were encouraged to assist in trafficking investigations, although a lack of faith in law enforcement and fear of retribution from traffickers sometimes limited victim cooperation. In 2006, the government made victim testimony easier by changing the law to permit trafficking victims to use video testimony.
The Government of Romania demonstrated increased efforts to prevent human trafficking during the reporting period. The government funded several NGOs to produce anti-trafficking campaigns at both national and local levels. From July through December 2006, the government conducted a labor migration campaign that warned of the dangers of trafficking. The government also conducted a campaign targeting the Roma, a highly vulnerable population to trafficking; the government translated the campaign materials into Romany. The government worked with an NGO to promote trafficking awareness leading up to and during the World Cup Soccer Championship in Germany in June 2006.
RUSSIA (Tier 2 Watch List)
Russia is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for various purposes. Russia is a source country for men and women trafficked to Germany, Turkey, Portugal, the People's Republic of China, Japan, and South Korea for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor, including agricultural and maritime work. Russian women continue to be trafficked to Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East for sexual exploitation. Moscow and St. Petersburg are destination centers for children trafficked internally within Russia and from Ukraine and Moldova for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced begging. Child sex tourism in Western Russia remains a problem. Moscow continues to be a significant destination for men and women trafficked within Russia and from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor, including work in the construction industry. Moscow is also a transit point for women trafficked from Uzbekistan and Armenia to the United Arab Emirates for purposes of sexual exploitation.
The Government of Russia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Russia is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for a fourth consecutive year for its continued failure to show evidence of increasing its overall efforts to combat trafficking, particularly in providing trafficking victims with protection. Specific trafficking victim assistance legislation, pending before the Duma, was neither passed nor enacted in 2006. Russia continued modest progress in its law enforcement efforts, particularly in its trafficking investigation efforts. In early 2007, the Ministry of Interior created the federal-level Counter Human Trafficking Unit to further strengthen anti-trafficking law enforcement coordination. In July 2006, the Duma passed asset forfeiture legislation that permits prosecutors to seek the forfeiture of the assets of convicted persons, including traffickers. In January, the Public Chamber of the national government provided grants to three anti-trafficking NGOs. Two local governments signed agreements with NGOs that establish a mechanism for victim referral. Although these are positive developments, Russia has yet to provide comprehensive human trafficking victim protections, covering the entire process from victim identification through reintegration and support. Overall, victim protection and assistance remains the weakest component of Russia's anti-trafficking efforts.
The national government should do more to develop a comprehensive national strategy that acknowledges the gravity of the problem and should allocate adequate resources to address remaining deficiencies in victim assistance and protection. The national government should establish a national action plan which designates ministerial responsibilities, designate specific funding from the national budget to carry out designated responsibilities, establish an official coordinating body with the authority to implement a national strategy, and evaluate ministerial efforts to combat trafficking. Special emphasis should be placed on improving national efforts to coordinate and enact victim assistance, protection, and rehabilitation. Russia should create a central repository for conviction and sentencing data for trafficking cases.
The Government of Russia demonstrated mixed progress in its law enforcement efforts over the last year. Article 127 of the criminal code prohibits both trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Other criminal statutes may be used to prosecute and convict traffickers. Article 127 provides punishments of up to five years' imprisonment for trafficking crimes; aggravating circumstances may extend penalties up to 10 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and are commensurate with punishments for other grave crimes, such as rape. In 2006, police conducted 125 trafficking investigations; 106 of these investigations were sexual exploitation cases and 19 were forced labor cases. This total is a significant increase from 80 investigations in 2005. It is difficult to ascertain the exact number of prosecutions and convictions in 2006 because the Government of Russia does not collect and maintain such statistics. Authorities conducted at least 26 prosecutions during the reporting period, compared to 53 prosecutions in 2005. At least 13 traffickers were convicted in 2006, compared to nine in 2005. At least 14 traffickers received prison sentences (some traffickers sentenced in 2006 were convicted during the previous reporting period and are reflected in the conviction statistics reported for 2005). Russia participated with other governments in several international investigations, resulting in the prosecution and conviction of traffickers both in Russia and abroad. Trafficking-related corruption remained a problem; however, Russia demonstrated its growing commitment to address this corruption by investigating and prosecuting a number of government officials involved in trafficking.
The unlawful forced labor of young conscripts within Russia's military remained a serious problem; at least 27 military officials, including army generals, were investigated or prosecuted for unlawful labor exploitation of soldiers under their command. One officer was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for forcing his soldiers to work for a third-party businessman. The Russian military is reported to be investigating claims that male army conscripts were forced into prostitution in St. Petersburg.
Russia demonstrated limited progress in its efforts to protect and assist victims. The federal government, through the Public Chamber, provided grants to three anti-trafficking NGOs in early 2007, including a grant of approximately $17,000 to one NGO that provides rehabilitation assistance to victims. Russia's Foreign Ministry reported assisting the return to Russia of some victims of trafficking from other countries. Although some local governments provided in-kind and financial support to some anti-trafficking NGOs, it appears the majority of aid to NGOs providing victim assistance was provided by international donors. Russia relies on regional and municipal-run domestic violence and homeless shelters as well as crisis centers and anti-trafficking NGOs to provide trafficking victims with shelter, and legal, medical, and psychological assistance. In the absence of available shelters some trafficking victims did not receive assistance. The comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, in development since 2003, would strengthen assistance to trafficking victims, better define the rights of trafficking victims, create a centralized authority to coordinate national anti-trafficking efforts, and allocate specified funding for anti-trafficking programs.
Police in various communities have increasingly encouraged victims to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions, partially attributed to specialized anti-trafficking training for police and prosecutors. The government permits victims to reside in Russia pending the investigation and prosecution of their trafficker.
Russia demonstrated progress in public awareness and prevention efforts during the reporting period. In January 2007, Russia enacted a new migration law that simplified the registration process for migrant workers in Russia and requires workers to register directly with the state; the previous law required employers to confiscate passports and other travel documents in order to register workers with the state, thereby making migrant workers more vulnerable to trafficking. In August, the Primorskiy Kray government sponsored a journalism competition, awarding a cash prize for the best new article on trafficking. Primorskiy Kray authorities also paid for the production of posters warning of the dangers of human trafficking and printed 30,000 pamphlets providing advice and information for Russians choosing to work abroad; these pamphlets were handed out at employment agencies and at ports-of-entry.
RWANDA (Tier 2)
Rwanda is a source country for children trafficked within the country for the purposes of domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. Small numbers of impoverished Rwandan girls, typically heads of households between the ages of 14 and 18, engage in prostitution as a means of survival; some are exploited by loosely organized networks of older girls and women. In 2006 and early 2007, troops loyal to a renegade Congolese general reportedly recruited an unknown number of children for forced labor and soldiering from refugee camps in Rwanda.
The Government of Rwanda does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Bureaucratic inefficiencies and severe resource constraints contributed to the government's lack of comprehensive data on victims and law enforcement action. To enhance its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should consider enacting and enforcing its draft anti-trafficking law, as well as taking additional steps to remove children from prostitution and domestic servitude and to provide for their care.
The government's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts were modest during the reporting period. Rwandan law does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, though existing statutes prohibit slavery, kidnapping, forced prostitution, and child prostitution, under which traffickers could be prosecuted. In March 2007, a draft law on suppressing, prosecuting, and punishing trafficking in persons was introduced in the Parliament's Chamber of Deputies. The status of a draft law intended to protect street children by criminalizing the actions of hotels and cinema halls that provide venues for child prostitution is unknown. The government did not investigate or prosecute any trafficking cases during the year. Police did, however, take measures to curb prostitution by detaining women and children in prostitution, issuing orders to contain them at home, and placing them on probation to monitor closely their activities. At numerous security checkpoints throughout the country, the National Police inspected vehicles' cargo and documentation, questioning men traveling with children but without an adult female. Trained police officers investigated suspected irregularities, including any possible indications of trafficking; such inspections yielded no reported cases of trafficking.
With the exception of its care for former child combatants, limited information is available on the government's efforts to provide protective services to trafficking victims. The Rwandan Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (RDRC) continued to broadcast a weekly radio program in both Rwanda and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.), reiterating the government's policy of accepting all returnees who disarm and renounce violence, and granting immunity from prosecution for war crimes to anyone who was under 14 years of age during the 1994 genocide. As a result, some Rwandan child combatants voluntarily fled the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, an armed rebel group operating in eastern D.R.C. and returned to Rwanda. The RDRC continued operation of a center for child ex-combatants, which provided three months of care and education to returning children; 42 children arrived at the center during the reporting period. The RDRC worked with local authorities and an NGO to locate the children's families, and social workers sensitized the families before their child's return; in 2006, 32 children were reunited with their families.
The Ministry of Education operated "catch-up" education centers that provided education for over 900 children who had missed all or part of their primary education due to working. The government did not encourage victims of trafficking to participate in investigations and prosecutions of trafficking, nor did it ensure that child victims of commercial sexual exploitation were not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked.
While the national government's efforts to prevent children from being trafficked were modest in 2006, sector governments implemented localized programs to prevent women and children from being exploited in prostitution. For example, officials from Kanombe Sector, located near Kigali's airport, reached out to those in commercial sexual exploitation by establishing and operating information centers, initiating income generation programs, and helping them to form small community organizations that can interact with the sector government; other sectors are attempting similar approaches. The Ministry of Labor, with input from UNICEF and the Ministries of Gender and Education, drafted a National Plan of Action on Child Labor in 2005 that is still awaiting approval by the Cabinet; the plan identifies children in prostitution and child domestic workers as two forms of child labor to be addressed. The National Unity and Reconciliation Commission began conducting a survey on the impact of genocide on gender-based violence, including prostitution. In partnership with UNICEF, the Ministry of Gender and Family Support - the government's agency for assisting children in distress - launched a radio-based public information campaign on caring for vulnerable children.
SAUDI ARABIA (Tier 3)
Saudi Arabia is a destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of involuntary servitude and, to a lesser extent, commercial sexual exploitation. Men and women from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Kenya, and Ethiopia voluntarily travel to Saudi Arabia as domestic servants or other low-skilled laborers, but subsequently face conditions of involuntary servitude, including withholding of passports and other restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse. Women from Yemen, Morocco, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Tajikistan were also trafficked into Saudi Arabia for commercial sexual exploitation; others were reportedly kidnapped and forced into prostitution after running away from abusive employers. In addition, Saudi Arabia is a destination country for Nigerian, Yemeni, Pakistani, Afghan, Chadian, and Sudanese children trafficked for involuntary servitude as forced beggars and as street vendors.
The Government of Saudi Arabia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Saudi Arabia is placed on Tier 3 for a third consecutive year. The government failed to enact a comprehensive criminal anti-trafficking law, and, despite evidence of widespread trafficking abuses, did not significantly increase the number of prosecutions of these crimes committed against foreign domestic workers. The government similarly did not take law enforcement action against trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation in Saudi Arabia, or take any steps to provide victims of sex trafficking with protection. Saudi Arabia also continues to lack a victim identification procedure to identify and refer victims to protective services.
Saudi Arabia should enact a comprehensive anti-trafficking law that criminalizes all forms of trafficking in persons and assigns penalties that are sufficiently stringent to deter the crime and adequately reflect the heinous nature of the crime. The government should also significantly increase criminal prosecutions of abusive employers, enforce existing criminal laws that punish employers who abuse foreign workers, and impose appropriate sentences for such crimes. In addition, the government should take steps to ensure that trafficking victims are not detained or punished, and should institute a formal victim identification mechanism to distinguish trafficking victims from among the thousands of workers it deports each year for immigration violations and other crimes. Saudi Arabia should similarly extend protection to victims of sex trafficking, and ensure that their traffickers are criminally prosecuted.
Saudi Arabia demonstrated insufficient efforts to punish trafficking crimes over the last year. The government does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, but penalizes forced labor through Articles 229-242 of its Labor Law. Penalties for forced labor, however, are limited to fines or bans on future hiring, and as such, are not sufficiently stringent to deter the crime. Saudi Arabia does not have a law specifically prohibiting trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. This year, the government reported no criminal investigations, prosecutions, convictions or sentences for trafficking offenses, despite reports of widespread abuse of foreign workers and anecdotal evidence of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. Saudi law states that employers may not retain the passports of their employees, but the government does not actively enforce this law. Source country embassies also report that the government does not seriously enforce fines or bans on hiring workers imposed upon abusive employers or recruitment agencies. Furthermore, police are often criticized for being unresponsive to requests for help from foreign workers. In December, the Government of Saudi Arabia funded an assessment by anti-trafficking experts for forthcoming law enforcement training session in the Kingdom. The government should take significant steps to criminally punish trafficking for involuntary servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. In particular, the government should ensure that traffickers receive adequate prison sentences for serious abuses rather than administrative penalties such as fines, bans on future recruitment, or orders to pay back-wages.
Saudi Arabia did not take adequate measures to protect victims of trafficking over the last year. However, the government does provide trafficking victims with shelter, access to legal, medical, and psychological services, and temporary residency, in some cases. Although the government operates three shelters for abused domestic workers and trafficked children, some victims report being further mistreated in these "remand homes." For instance, in November 2006, 25 Nepalese victims who ran away from their employers claiming physical and sexual abuse were confined to a room, given insufficient food and medical treatment, and were not allowed to contact their families. Some victims also claim difficulty receiving consular access, accessing national and international NGO assistance, or receiving legal or social counseling in their own language.
In addition, Saudi Arabia does not systematically attempt to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable people, such as foreign women detained for running away from their employers or women arrested for prostitution; as a result, victims of trafficking are often punished and deported without being offered protection. Saudi Arabia offers some victims limited legal alternatives to removal to countries in which they may face hardship or retribution. Additionally, the process for victims to make complaints is difficult for many poorly educated and vulnerable workers to use. Saudi officials also do not encourage victims to assist in investigations against their traffickers; often, victims are persuaded by the police to take monetary compensation in lieu of filing criminal charges against their employer, even in cases of extreme abuse. In some cases, victims are reportedly returned to their employers by police officers after making a complaint.
Saudi Arabia continued to work with UNICEF and the Government of Yemen to repatriate Yemeni children trafficked into the Kingdom. Once found, the child victim is brought to a shelter, given counseling and medical care, and repatriated. The government reports that it contributed funding to shelters in Yemen for children trafficked to Saudi Arabia for forced begging. Though the government does not provide medical assistance to victims detained in deportation centers, foreign workers are allowed access to public hospitals.
The Government of Saudi Arabia should institute a formal victim identification mechanism to identify and refer victims to protection services. The government should also ensure that victims are not mistreated in government shelters, and are not punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, such as absconding from their sponsors or prostitution. Furthermore, the government should provide protection services to victims of sex trafficking.
This year, Saudi Arabia made minimal efforts to prevent trafficking in persons. Though the government published brochures explaining workers' rights and available resources, neither the Saudi government nor source-country embassies distributed these efficiently to incoming workers. The government provides trafficking awareness and technical training for officials with trafficking prevention responsibilities. Saudi Arabia took steps to prevent trafficking by imposing fines and blacklisting some agents found to be misusing visas for the Hajj and Umrah to traffic women and children into the country. Saudi Arabia has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
SENEGAL (Tier 2)
Senegal is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Trafficking within the country is more prevalent than trans-border trafficking. Boys who are students (talibe) at Koranic schools are trafficked within the country for forced begging by their religious teachers (marabouts), and women and girls are trafficked for domestic servitude. Girls, and possibly adult women, are also trafficked internally for sexual exploitation. Transnationally, boys are trafficked to Senegal from The Gambia, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea for forced begging by religious teachers. Senegalese women and girls are trafficked to neighboring countries, the Middle East, and Europe for domestic servitude and possibly for sexual exploitation. Reports over the last year of large numbers of Senegalese and neighboring country nationals being transported from Senegal to Spain appear to be cases of smuggling and illegal migration rather than trafficking.
The Government of Senegal does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so, despite limited resources. The Senegalese government made modest progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the past year. To improve its response to trafficking, Senegal should: increase efforts to apply its 2005 law against trafficking; activate its special commissariat against sex tourism to rescue victims; arrest sex tourists; strengthen overall protection efforts, ensuring, in particular, that victims are not incarcerated; and increase awareness-raising initiatives.
The Government of Senegal continued to make progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the last year. Senegal prohibits all forms of trafficking through its 2005 Law to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Related Practices and to Protect Victims. The prescribed penalty of 5 to 10 years' imprisonment for all forms of trafficking is sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for rape. During the reporting period two religious teachers were convicted under the anti-trafficking law for trafficking children. The sentence of two years' imprisonment imposed on each convicted trafficker, however, was insufficient. Police arrested a Nigerian trafficker in December 2006 and an Ivorian trafficker in January 2007, both of whom are detained awaiting trial. The government continued to work with Guinean authorities to prosecute two Senegalese child traffickers arrested in Guinea in early 2006. During the last year, Senegalese officials worked with Spanish authorities to break up two trafficking rings, one of which was transporting Cape Verdeans through Senegal and The Gambia to Spain. Although at least four sex tourists were prosecuted for pedophilia during the year, the special commissariat set up by the Interior Ministry in 2005 to fight sex tourism has taken no definitive actions.
The Senegalese government demonstrated sustained efforts to provide care for trafficking victims during the year. The government's Ginddi Center for at-risk-children, including trafficking victims, received 373 children during the year, but failed to provide specific data on the number of trafficking victims aided. The Center's child protection hotline received 21,533 calls during the year, and the government provided training to Center personnel to help them address the needs of trafficking victims and street children. In October 2006, a Presidential Council on Street Children recommended the creation of a partnership between the government, NGOs, religious leaders, and donors to provide care for street children, many of whom may be escaped trafficking victims or vulnerable to being trafficked. The government does not encourage all victims to assist in trafficking investigations or prosecutions, though officials encourage boys trafficked by religious teachers to help identify and prosecute their teachers. The government does not provide trafficking-specific legal alternatives to the removal of victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution. Victims may file refugee asylum claims for temporary or permanent residency. Although the anti-trafficking law prohibits victims from being penalized for acts related to being trafficked, child victims of trafficking are arrested and prosecuted.
The Government of Senegal made modest efforts to raise awareness about trafficking during the reporting period. The President and the World Bank co-hosted a Presidential Council on street children in October 2006, with the President proposing that every Senegalese family take responsibility for one street child. The President and the Minister of Family also discussed trafficking with religious officials. In December 2006, the Family Ministry organized donor-funded workshops and roundtables in Mbour, Kolda, and Fatick to raise awareness among government officials and the general population about the dangers of child labor.
SERBIA (Tier 2)
Serbia is a source, transit, and destination country for women and girls trafficked transnationally and internally for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Foreign victims originated primarily from Macedonia, Ukraine, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, and Albania and some transited Serbia en route to Western Europe. Internal sex trafficking of Serbian women and girls increased over the past year with traffickers increasingly utilizing Internet chat rooms and SMS (short messaging service) to recruit young people. In some cases children were trafficked into forced labor or forced street begging.
The Government of Serbia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government passed a comprehensive national strategy, augmented prevention efforts, and continued training efforts at the national and local levels. The government should aggressively prosecute cases and ensure that traffickers receive jail sentences consistent with the heinous nature of the offense.
The Government of Serbia demonstrated continued efforts to actively investigate trafficking cases in the last year, though punishment for trafficking crimes remained weak. The criminal code for Serbia, which went into effect in January 2006, criminally prohibits sex and labor trafficking in article 388. Penalties for commercial sexual exploitation are commensurate with those for rape. The law prescribes penalties for trafficking that are sufficiently stringent; however, traffickers may receive imposed sentences that are light or suspended. Even after the Supreme Court confirms a verdict, inefficient administrative procedures cause delay, and it is not uncommon for convicted traffickers to remain free and able to continue trafficking for years. Of the three high-profile prosecutions from previous years, one trafficker originally sentenced in March 2004 still has not begun serving his sentence. In 2006, the government filed 37 criminal cases against 84 people for trafficking in persons, up from 34 individuals indicted last year. Eleven people were convicted for trafficking in persons; sentences ranged from three to eight years' imprisonment. The organized crime police force includes a full-time trafficking unit and the border police force has a full-time office to combat trafficking and smuggling. There were no reports of trafficking-related corruption; however, authorities did not respond to requests for information on alleged local police complicity in previous years in a prostitution ring in Novi Pazar.
The government demonstrated increased efforts to provide protection to victims and improved coordination with NGOs and international organizations over the past year. The government encouraged victims to assist in the prosecution of traffickers. Serbia allows victims to file civil suits against traffickers for compensation. Victims pursuing criminal or civil suits are entitled to temporary residence permits and may obtain employment or leave the country pending trial proceedings; however there are no other legal alternatives to removal to countries where they face hardship or retribution. Victims are not detained, jailed, prosecuted, or deported for violations of other laws. However, in one case in 2006, law enforcement returned a child victim to the family that originally trafficked her to a pedophile. The government relied on NGOs to provide services to victims of trafficking, including counseling, legal assistance, and reintegration programs. In 2006, 33 trafficking victims were accommodated in the two shelters, 16 victims received assistance in transition housing, and reintegration services were provided to 44 women.
The Government of Serbia demonstrated increased public awareness and prevention activities in 2006. The government aired four anti-trafficking public service announcements on national television throughout the soccer championship finals last year. The government earmarked approximately $100,000 for a 13-episode television series entitled "Modern Slavery," devoted to generating awareness on trafficking. The government's anti-trafficking team, under the leadership of the National Coordinator promoted interagency collaborations with four working groups.
Kosovo, while technically a part of Serbia, continued to be administered under the authority of the United Nations Interim Administrative Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999). Since June 1999, UNMIK has provided transitional administration for Kosovo, and retains ultimate authority over anti-trafficking roles such as police and justice, but is slowly transferring capacity to local institutions. UNMIK is aware of the trafficking problem in Kosovo and continued to conduct anti-trafficking efforts with the OSCE, the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG), and local and international NGOs. Responsibility for social support to victims of trafficking is shared by UNMIK, PISG, and international organizations.
Kosovo is a source, transit, and destination location for women and children trafficked transnationally and internally for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Foreign victims originated primarily from Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Albania, Russia, Montenegro, Slovakia, and Nigeria. Some victims transit Kosovo en route to Macedonia, Italy, and Albania. There was a significant increase in the number of Kosovars trafficked internally over the past year, and victims also came from other areas of Serbia. Traffickers shifted the commercial sex trade into private homes and escort services to avoid detection, a result of UNMIK's Trafficking in Human Beings Unit (THBS), and Kosovo Police increased checks on bars and restaurants.
In 2006 the PISG took on greater responsibility for anti-trafficking, with the police anti-trafficking unit transitioning from UNMIK Civilian Police to the Kosovo Police Service (KPS). Kosovo criminally prohibits sex and labor trafficking in the Provisional Criminal Code of Kosovo, which came into effect in 2004. Penalties for commercial sexual exploitation are commensurate with those for rape. The law prescribes penalties sufficiently stringent; however, traffickers may receive imposed sentences that are light. The KPS reported that 99 anti-trafficking operations were undertaken in 2006, 24 of which were undercover operations. The KPS arrested 28 people on trafficking charges, a slight decrease from 33 arrested last year, and identified 50 victims. Since the KPS gained full competency for counter-trafficking activities from UNMIK Police, the number of bar inspections increased dramatically and there was an increase in the number of bars closed. Over the past year, the KPS closed 14 premises suspected of being used to exploit victims of trafficking. The judiciary worked on 42 trafficking cases, 27 of which were resolved from previous years. During 2006, 14 cases were completed, resulting in 18 convictions. Fifteen convicts received prison terms ranging from four months to nine years and three convicts received suspended sentences. Although there were reports of official involvement in trafficking, there were no reported prosecutions or convictions of public officials complicit in trafficking.
There continues to be close cooperation on assisting victims of trafficking among PISG officials, NGOs, and international organizations in Kosovo. UNMIK regulations protect victims from being charged with prostitution or illegal activities committed as a result of being trafficked, although IOM reported that some victims were jailed or deported depending on which part of the penal code was used. Kosovo encourages victims to testify in trafficking investigations, but does not pressure them. Victims may file civil suits or seek legal action against their traffickers. Victims of trafficking do have a legal alternative to removal to countries where they face hardship or retribution through provision of refugee status and approval of residency permits, if appropriate. Victim advocates assist all trafficking victims with legal advice and support. All victims are provided shelter and access to legal, medical and psychological services. The PISG provides 24-hour protection to victims and allows anonymous testimony in cases where the victim's safety is at risk. In 2006, the Victims' Advocacy and Assistance Unit moved from the UNMIK Department of Justice to the new Ministry of Justice. The Ministry of Justice's Victims' Advocacy assisted 35 victims of trafficking in 2006 and IOM assisted 538 trafficking victims, of whom 51% were Moldovans. Funding for shelters remained inadequate. The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare provided some funding for a shelter for internal trafficking victims. The largest shelter for foreign trafficking victims received no government funding and relied on foreign donors; it closed due to insufficient funds.
Most anti-trafficking campaigns are run by international organizations and NGOs with the PISG's support. IOM and the Ministry of Justice sponsor anti-trafficking hotlines. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology circulated informational brochures in primary and secondary schools and introduced counter-trafficking information in school curricula. Kosovo named a national anti-trafficking coordinator and adopted a Kosovo Action Plan.
SIERRA LEONE (Tier 2)
Sierra Leone is a source and transit country, and may be a destination country, for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Within the country, women and children are trafficked from rural provinces to towns and mining areas for domestic servitude, sexual exploitation as well as forced labor in diamond mines, petty trading, petty crime and begging. Women and children may also be trafficked for forced labor in agriculture and the fishing industry. Transnationally, Sierra Leonean women and children are trafficked to other West African countries, notably Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau, and The Gambia, for the same purposes listed above and to North Africa, the Middle East, and Western Europe for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation. Women and children may also be trafficked from Liberia and Guinea for forced labor in mines and sexual exploitation.
The Government of Sierra Leone does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so, despite limited resources. To strengthen its response to trafficking, Sierra Leone should: continue to increase law enforcement efforts against traffickers; improve its data collection on the number of traffickers and victims identified; train government officials about trafficking, including officials at Sierra Leonean embassies and consulates in destination countries; and implement its 2007 national action plan to combat trafficking.
The Government of Sierra Leone demonstrated increased law enforcement efforts over the reporting period. Sierra Leone prohibits all forms of trafficking through its 2005 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, which prescribes a maximum punishment of 10 years' imprisonment. This punishment is sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties for rape. Between January 2006 and February 2007, the government reported 12 trafficking investigations and seven prosecutions. During the reporting period, Sierra Leone convicted its first trafficker under its 2005 law, imposing penalty of five years' imprisonment. The government has provided venues for NGO-sponsored law enforcement training on the 2005 law against trafficking. However, there is limited coordination between police and ministries responsible for combating trafficking. In 2006, the Sierra Leone Police Family Support Unit (FSU), which is responsible for combating trafficking, added fields for all forms of trafficking to its crime database, although data collected to date are not uniformly reliable.
The Government of Sierra Leone took limited steps to protect victims over the past year. Although the government does not operate shelters for trafficking victims, police identified and referred an unknown number of victims to the Ministry of Social Welfare (MOSW) for further referral to NGOs for care. The MOSW, in coordination with NGOs, has conducted training for social workers to provide trafficking victim assistance in FSU offices nationwide. The government has collaborated with UNICEF and NGOs to create a protection network for street children, many of whom are vulnerable to being trafficked or may be escaped trafficking victims. Sierra Leone does not train employees in its embassies and consulates in destination countries to provide care to victims or establish relationships with anti-trafficking NGOs in those countries. The government does not encourage victims, many of whom are children, to participate in trafficking investigations or prosecutions, focusing instead on returning child victims to home communities. The government does not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution, although all trafficking victims rescued to date have been Sierra Leonean nationals. The government does not penalize victims for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
The Government of Sierra Leone made increased efforts to prevent trafficking. Chaired by the Ministry of Justice and the MOSW, the National Anti-Trafficking Task Force, established in 2004, met regularly during the year. In November 2006, this body completed a one-year 2007 National Action Plan to Combat Trafficking, which was formally approved by the Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Trafficking. This plan mandates the creation of a government-financed anti-trafficking secretariat. In September 2006, the government contributed personnel, a venue and utilities for the launch of the project "Raising Awareness of Trafficking in Persons to Reduce its Prevalence." Sierra Leone has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
SINGAPORE (Tier 2)
Singapore is a destination country for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. A small number of foreign domestic workers in Singapore face seriously abusive labor conditions that amount to involuntary servitude. Some women from Thailand, the Philippines, the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.), and Indonesia who travel to Singapore voluntarily for prostitution or other work are deceived or coerced into sexual servitude. Some Singaporean men travel to countries in the region for child sex tourism.
The Government of Singapore does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Singapore demonstrated a clear commitment to combating trafficking, particularly in the area of law enforcement and in instituting new measures to address abuses of foreign domestic workers. With the exceptions noted below, its laws address all forms of trafficking. The Parliament should approve proposed amendments to the Penal Code that would criminalize prostitution involving a minor under the age of 18, extend extra-territorial jurisdiction over Singaporean citizens and permanent residents who purchase or solicit sexual services from minors overseas, and make organizing or promoting child sex tours a criminal offense.
The Government of Singapore continued its law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking in persons in 2006. Singapore does not have a specific anti-trafficking law, but its Penal Code criminalizes most forms of trafficking. The government does not criminalize the use of 16- and 17-year-old children in prostitution, but the proposed Penal Code amendments will eliminate this statutory gap. Labor trafficking is prohibited through multiple sections of the Penal Code, the Employment Agency Rules, and the Employment of Foreign Workers Act. Penalties prescribed for sex trafficking, including imprisonment, fines, and caning, are sufficiently stringent, though less than the statutory maximum for rape. In the first nine months of 2006, 23 employers were prosecuted and convicted for abusing their foreign domestic workers. In one case, an employer was sentenced to nine months in jail for scalding her maid and hitting her with a clothes hanger. In February 2007, an employer was sentenced to 21 months' imprisonment for physically abusing her domestic servant. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) investigates complaints by foreign workers about pay or working conditions, and first attempts to resolve problems through mediation and then enforcement action. In August 2006, a father and son were fined SGD 20,000 each after they pled guilty to failing to pay the salaries of workers at their now bankrupt construction firm. The government maintains effective border and immigration controls and there is no evidence that government officials are complicit in trafficking.
The Singaporean government demonstrated modest efforts to provide assistance and protection to trafficking victims. The Ministry of Community Development, Youth, and Sports (MCYS) funded the provision of shelter at local NGO facilities, and provided counseling, health care, physical security, and skills development programs for abused foreign domestic workers and victims of sexual exploitation. The government encourages victims of trafficking to participate in the investigation of traffickers, and provides foreign victims of serious crimes with temporary immigration status that allows them to stay until the need for testimony is over. Singapore does not otherwise provide a legal alternative to removal for victims who may face hardship or retribution in source countries. Victims are generally not jailed or prosecuted. The MOM has granted some victims of trafficking the right to seek employment and work permits. Singaporean authorities refer victims of trafficking to shelters run by NGOs or foreign embassies. The MCYS in 2006 encouraged one organization to submit a proposal to establish a shelter and agreed that the government would provide the facility. The MOM runs a hotline for domestic workers.
The Singaporean government increased efforts to raise awareness among foreign workers and employers in 2006. The MOM continued and expanded its information campaign that targets foreign workers, including domestics, to inform them of their rights and the resources available to them. The MOM prints information on employees' rights and police hotline numbers for domestic workers on prepaid phone cards and in October 2006 started a newsletter that is mailed directly to foreign domestic workers that includes information on rights and responsibilities. The MOM also distributes an information booklet to employers of foreign domestic workers that explains their rights and criminal penalties that may be and have been applied against employers who abuse their domestic servants. In November 2006, MOM launched a program of randomly interviewing foreign domestic workers working in Singapore for the first time. The interviews enable MOM to determine how well they have adjusted to their working conditions and to reinforce workers' knowledge of their rights, responsibilities, and work place safety. Singapore has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
SLOVAK REPUBLIC (Tier 2)
The Slovak Republic is a source country for women and girls trafficked to Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. It is also a transit country for women from Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria, the Balkans, the Baltics, and People's Republic of China trafficked to the Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain, Croatia, and Slovenia for sexual exploitation. Roma women and girls within Slovakia continue to be highly vulnerable to trafficking.
The Government of the Slovak Republic does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Although some efforts to implement Slovakia's National Action Plan were stalled in 2006 with the temporary vacancy and reorganization of the National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator's position, Slovakia demonstrated important progress. In December 2006, the Slovak parliament passed a law allowing for a renewable 40-day stay for foreign victims. The government also signed cooperation agreements with three NGOs for a one-year pilot project to identify and provide shelter to victims. The government should ensure that police, customs officials, prosecutors, and social workers at refugee camps and asylum centers receive trafficking-specific training. The government should also collaborate with NGOs in identifying victims among persons in police detention centers and immigration facilities.
The Government of the Slovak Republic demonstrated progress in its law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. The Slovak Republic prohibits all forms of trafficking through Sections 179-181 of its criminal code, which prescribes penalties ranging from four to 25 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and are commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. Police conducted 20 trafficking investigations in 2006. The government prosecuted 32 trafficking cases, compared to 30 cases in 2005. Convictions were obtained against 18 traffickers in 2006, a significant increase from four convictions in 2005. Most convicted traffickers were given sentences ranging from three to five years' imprisonment. However, two traffickers received suspended sentences and one trafficker was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment. There were no reported cases of government officials involved in trafficking. During the reporting period, police worked with NGOs to receive training on victim identification and assistance.
The government demonstrated modest progress in its victim protection efforts during the reporting period. The government provided money to several NGOs for victim services and it assisted NGOs and IOM to locate temporary shelter and provide health services for approximately 10 victims it identified. Approximately 50 additional victims were assisted by NGOs and IOM. Police provided information to potential victims about NGO-provided services and the police anti-trafficking unit implemented procedures to identify and refer victims to protection services. However, some authorities lack the training to identify victims and expect victims to identify themselves. Victims are encouraged to participate in investigations and prosecutions. There were reports that unidentified victims were penalized or deported; NGOs were rarely given access to identify potential victims among detained women held in police or immigration detention centers.
The Slovak Republic continued efforts to prevent trafficking during the reporting period. IOM provided sensitivity training for police officers. The Border and Alien Police monitored the border for evidence of trafficking. The government tripled the shelter capacity for unaccompanied minors who enter Slovakia illegally; such measures may help to prevent these vulnerable minors from being targeted by traffickers. The government continued to operate a phone line and website where inquirers can verify the legitimacy of Slovak employment recruiting agencies.
SLOVENIA (Tier 1)
Slovenia is primarily a transit and, to a lesser extent, a source and destination country for men and women from Ukraine, Slovakia, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Turkey, Albania, and Montenegro trafficked for purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Girls were trafficked to Slovenia from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
The Government of Slovenia fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government demonstrated a significant increase in law enforcement and victim assistance efforts during the reporting period. Slovenia successfully prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced traffickers for the first time since 2002. Slovenia also provided more than $50,000 in funding for victim assistance and took steps to guarantee consistent funding for designated NGO-run trafficking shelters. The government should continue to vigorously investigate, prosecute, convict, and sentence traffickers; take steps to ensure prosecutors and judges receive trafficking awareness training; ensure that a majority of convicted traffickers serve some time in prison; and consider conducting a domestic demand reduction campaign for commercial sex acts.
The government significantly increased its law enforcement efforts in 2006. The government prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through Article 387(a) of its criminal code, which prescribes penalties ranging from six months to ten years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes. Authorities conducted three investigations in 2006, compared to seven in 2005. Authorities conducted six prosecutions in 2006, up from two in 2005. Seven traffickers were convicted in 2006. Four were given sentences ranging from 18 months to five years' imprisonment and three served no time in prison. More than 800 police officers received training from a government-funded anti-trafficking NGO in 2006. Slovenia actively worked and shared data with other governments on trafficking investigations through EUROPOL and Interpol.
The Government of Slovenia increased its victim assistance and protection efforts during the reporting period. The government provided adequate funding for several anti-trafficking NGOs to provide shelter and rehabilitation programs for victims. In 2006, these NGOs assisted 43 victims or potential victims. The government continued to implement its formalized victim referral mechanism in cooperation with NGOs, referring 21 victims to NGOs in 2006. After identification, victims were granted a 90-day reflection period. Victims were encouraged to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions; victims who participate are eligible to stay in Slovenia for the duration of the trial. Victims were not punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
The Government of Slovenia continued its prevention efforts during the reporting period. It funded an NGO to provide trafficking awareness classes for students in elementary and secondary schools, reaching 545 students and parents in 2006. Slovenia continued to monitor its borders for evidence of trafficking. The government's inter-departmental working group published and disseminated a report detailing the government's anti-trafficking efforts. Slovenian troops assigned to peacekeeping missions in Kosovo continued to receive trafficking awareness training.
SOUTH AFRICA (Tier 2 Watch List)
South Africa is a source, transit, and destination country for trafficked men, women, and children. South African girls are trafficked internally for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. Women and girls from other African countries are trafficked to South Africa and, occasionally, onward to Europe for sexual exploitation. Thai, Chinese, and Eastern European women are trafficked to South Africa for debt-bonded commercial sexual exploitation. Mozambican and Malawian boys and young men are trafficked to South Africa for agricultural labor. Small numbers of Swazi girls are trafficked to South Africa's Mpumalanga Province for domestic servitude. Organized criminal groups and local gangs facilitate trafficking into and within South Africa, particularly for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.
The Government of South Africa does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. South Africa is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for a third consecutive year for its failure to show increasing efforts to address trafficking over the last year. The government did not provide comprehensive data on trafficking crimes investigated or prosecuted or on resulting convictions or sentences during the year. To enhance its ability to combat trafficking, the government should fully implement the provisions of the Children's Bill against child trafficking and raise awareness among all levels of relevant government officials as to their responsibilities under these provisions; develop national procedures for victim protection, including the screening of undocumented immigrants for signs of victimization before deportation; and ensure that the Human Trafficking Inter-Sectoral Task Team is granted the proper authority to carry out fully its coordination role. The government should also regularly compile national statistics on the number of trafficking cases prosecuted and victims assisted, as it does for other crimes.
The government's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts were increasingly visible during the year. South Africa does not have laws that prohibit trafficking in persons, though a variety of other criminal statutes are currently used to prosecute trafficking crimes. The lack of specific anti-trafficking statutes and explicit penalties for trafficking crimes continued to hamper South African law enforcement efforts, as many working level police, labor, and social welfare officials possessed little understanding of the crime or did not view it as part of their responsibilities. However, relevant bills continued to progress through the legislative process during the reporting period. In June 2006, President Mbeki signed the Children's Act, which specifically criminalizes child trafficking; this law cannot be enforced until the Department of Social Development releases the necessary implementing regulations. To raise awareness and elicit further feedback on its draft comprehensive anti-trafficking bill, the South African Law Reform Commission conducted six well-attended public workshops throughout the country for investigators, prosecutors, and civic organizations. In November 2006, the Sexual Offenses Bill, which prohibits the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation, was debated and released from parliamentary committee to the National Assembly for consideration. In August 2006, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) sponsored a two-day seminar on prosecuting human trafficking cases in the South African context for provincial prosecutors, as well as chief prosecutors from other African countries. Based on an agreement produced by the seminar, the government formed a Rapid Response Team to identify priority cases for prosecution, though no priority cases have yet been identified.
A number of significant trafficking cases were investigated and prosecuted during the year. A woman convicted in early 2006 of forcing young girls into prostitution was sentenced in June to five years in prison. A prosecution is underway against the head of a large criminal organization alleged to have recruited women and girls under the guise of employment and subsequently forced them into prostitution using threats, physical violence, and forced drug usage. In December, members of the South African Police Service's (SAPS) Organized Crime Unit raided and successfully withdrew 26 Thai women in prostitution from a Durban night club and arrested their three suspected traffickers. Four women agreed to assist with the prosecution of the club's owners and were placed in witness protection. The remaining women repeatedly denied being trafficked; their prosecution on prostitution and illegal immigration charges is underway, after which they face deportation. At the request of an airport immigration officer, police arrested two Congolese men after a 12-year old girl was unable to explain why she was traveling with them. The case of a South African man who promised a Swazi woman a job in his clothing shop but instead allegedly used her as a sex slave was thrown out of court for lack of evidence. In February 2007, police arrested and charged two men with statutory rape for allegedly running brothels in Soweto and luring at least 10 girls as young as 10 years of age into prostitution.
Thirty-one members of the SAPS Organized Crime Unit in Gauteng Province received IOM training on the role of organized criminal groups in the trafficking of women and children. Some local law enforcement officials are believed to be connected with organized criminal elements that engage in human trafficking as a side business. Investigation into at least one suspected case proved difficult during the year as witnesses refused to reveal the names of corrupt officials.
Government protection for trafficking victims during the reporting period remained inadequate and no department dedicated financial or staff resources specifically for trafficking victims. While the government operated facilities that provide an array of social services to its citizens, including 10 "Thuthuzela" reception centers that offer medical and psychological care to victims of sexual violence, it remains unclear whether trafficking victims utilized any of these services in 2006. However, police referred an unknown number of trafficking victims to local NGO-run shelters during the reporting period; the government provided financing to some of these facilities to assist in the care of victims. Police requested IOM's participation in joint interviews of suspected foreign victims and referred a number of victims to the organization for short-term care and repatriation. The government actively encouraged victims' assistance in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers; at least six trafficking victims were placed in South Africa's witness protection program during the year to enable their involvement. In December, however, photographs of four Thai women in witness protection appeared in a Durban newspaper, increasing threats against their lives and families in Thailand. One group of suspected foreign victims was detained in a jail cell with their alleged traffickers, seriously compromising their ability to assist in a prosecution. There are no legal alternatives to the removal of foreign trafficking victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution. While local law enforcement's ability to question migrants improved, the lack of national coordination and procedures for victim protection continued to lead to deportation of most foreign victims before they were able to give evidence in court. In addition, immigration officials did not attempt to identify trafficking victims among undocumented foreigners, notably Mozambicans, before deporting them.
While awareness of human trafficking has increased substantially within the country over the past year, government efforts in promoting awareness were minimal. The Sexual Offenses and Community Affairs Unit within the NPA remained responsible for coordination of the Human Trafficking Inter-Sectoral Task Team. This team's ability to function remained hampered by the lack of a specific mandate from the Department of Justice and poor coordination with other departments; it produced no substantial efforts during the year. Also due to the lack of a mandate, the preliminary National Plan of Action adopted in March 2006 was not implemented. In August, the Women's Parliament conducted a two-day meeting focusing on human trafficking.
SPAIN (Tier 1)
Spain is a transit and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. While most victims are women between the ages of 18 and 24 trafficked for sexual exploitation, females as young as 16 are also trafficked to Spain for the same purpose and men are trafficked for forced labor, usually in agriculture. Primary source countries for victims trafficked to Spain are Romania, Russia, Brazil, Colombia and Nigeria, though victims are trafficked from other areas of Latin America and Eastern Europe as well as from Sierra Leone. In smaller numbers, Chinese women are trafficked to Spain for sexual exploitation and Chinese men for labor exploitation.
The Government of Spain fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Spain aggressively investigated, arrested, and prosecuted trafficking crimes, closely monitoring these efforts through effective crime data collection. Spain's anti-trafficking legislation includes victim protection mechanisms, which are implemented largely through government cooperation with NGOs. To strengthen its response to trafficking, Spain should finalize its national action plan to combat trafficking and continue and expand its demand reduction efforts.
The Government of Spain demonstrated strong efforts to combat trafficking through law enforcement in the last year. Spain prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons though Article 318 of its Criminal and Penal Code, which was passed in 1995 and amended in 2003 to increase the sentence for sex trafficking to 5 to 15 years' imprisonment and the penalty for labor trafficking to 4 to 12 years in prison, both sufficiently stringent penalties. The penalty prescribed for sex trafficking is commensurate with the nation's 15-year maximum sentence for rape. In December 2006, the Council of Ministers approved increasing sentences for trafficking by two to six years in prison if the perpetrator belongs to a criminal organization. During the reporting period, Spanish police dismantled 177 sex trafficking networks and 63 labor trafficking rings. Police arrested 862 individuals for sex trafficking and 177 for labor trafficking. In 2006, police launched 272 investigations, prosecuted 113 trafficking cases and convicted 178 traffickers with an average prison sentence of 5.1 years. Approximately 75 percent of these sentences were greater than four years.
The government sustained impressive efforts to provide care for trafficking victims during the year. Spanish police continued to refer rescued victims to NGOs providing temporary shelter and rehabilitation services. In 2006, Spain increased funding by approximately five percent to anti-trafficking NGOs providing care to victims, providing one NGO with 177,432 euros. Victims receive medical assistance, including emergency care, through the national health care system. The police identified 1,832 sex trafficking victims and 456 labor trafficking victims in 2006. The government encourages victims to assist in trafficking investigations and prosecutions by providing work and residence permits to victims choosing to assist, giving them the option of either permanent residence status or funding to return to their own countries after the prosecution. Victims are not inappropriately incarcerated, fined or penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
Spain sustained strong efforts to raise awareness about trafficking. During the reporting period, Spain's inter-agency trafficking working group began drafting a National Integral Plan Against Trafficking in Persons expected to be finalized in 2007. A Congressional report on prostitution released in February 2007 called for strengthening the fight against sex trafficking networks and increasing assistance to victims, and will be included in the finalized plan. The Madrid city government focused efforts in the past year to reduce demand for prostitution - and by extension, trafficking - by targeting potential male clients with posters reading "Because you pay, prostitution exists."
SRI LANKA (Tier 2 Watch List)
Sri Lanka is a source and destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude. Sri Lankan men and women migrate legally to the Middle East, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and South Korea to work as construction workers, domestic servants, or garment factory workers. However, some have found themselves in situations of involuntary servitude when faced with restrictions on movement, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and debt bondage that is, in some instances, facilitated by large pre-departure fees imposed by recruitment agents. In one instance, Sri Lankan men were trafficked into involuntary servitude in Iraq. Children are trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation, as well as for forced labor. The U.S. government-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), recruited child soldiers in areas outside of the Sri Lankan government's control. The December 20, 2006 Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict in Sri Lanka to the United Nations Security Council noted allegations that government security forces were complicit in letting a paramilitary organization recruit child soldiers. Reports also indicate that women from Thailand, the People's Republic of China, and Russia and other countries of the Newly Independent States are trafficked into Sri Lanka for commercial sexual exploitation.
The Government of Sri Lanka does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Sri Lanka is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to address trafficking over the previous year, especially in its efforts to punish trafficking for involuntary servitude. Though the government began prosecuting two suspects under its April 2006 anti-trafficking statute, it did not convict anyone for trafficking crimes. Moreover, Sri Lanka did not demonstrate adequate efforts to monitor and take law enforcement action against labor recruiters believed to use deception to entice workers into involuntary servitude. Sri Lanka should significantly improve its record of prosecutions and convictions of sex and labor trafficking crimes, and should institute a formal procedure to identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable groups, such as women arrested for prostitution, to ensure that they are not punished.
Sri Lanka made minimal progress on its law enforcement efforts this reporting period. The Sri Lankan government prohibits all forms of trafficking through an April 2006 amendment to its penal code. The government reported initiating two prosecutions under its anti-trafficking law for trafficking for forced prostitution. The government, however, did not undertake any investigations or prosecutions of labor recruiters using deceptive practices to facilitate the trafficking of Sri Lankans into commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude abroad. The government did not undertake investigations of immigration officers who may have been complicit in trafficking. There were no public officials arrested for facilitating trafficking, nor were there substantiated reports that any officials were involved trafficking. Sri Lanka should take steps to increase law enforcement efforts to punish trafficking offenses under the new law, including adequately investigating and criminally prosecuting labor recruitment agents who facilitate the trafficking of men and women abroad.
The Sri Lankan government's efforts to provide protection for trafficking victims improved slightly. While the government relies primarily on NGOs to provide victim protection services, it actively refers victims to these organizations. The police also encourage victims to assist in investigations against their traffickers, and allow foreign victims to obtain employment pending their testimony. For Sri Lankan victims trafficked overseas, the government provides funding to operate shelters in diplomatic missions. For Sri Lankan female victims of trafficking who return to Sri Lanka, only minimal aid is offered in terms of shelter, counseling, and medical care. Sri Lanka does not have a formal procedure to identify victims of trafficking from among vulnerable groups such as women arrested for prostitution; as a result, some victims of sex trafficking may have been jailed or fined for prostitution. The government should take steps to ensure that victims are not punished for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, and should improve services offered to repatriated Sri Lankan trafficking victims.
Sri Lanka markedly improved its trafficking prevention efforts. The Tourist Board partnered with UNICEF to launch a National Action Plan Project to eradicate child sex tourism. The government broadcast the "zero tolerance" for child sex tourism policy through TV and radio ads, billboards, banners, car stickers, flyers, and in-flight magazines. Sri Lanka has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
SUDAN (Tier 3)
Sudan is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked internally for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Sudan is also a transit and destination country for Ethiopian, and possibly Filipina, women trafficked for domestic servitude. Sudanese women and girls are trafficked internally for domestic servitude. The terrorist rebel organization, Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), continues to harbor small numbers of Sudanese and Ugandan children in the southern part of the country for use as cooks, porters, and combatants; some of these children are also trafficked across borders into Uganda or the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Sudanese children are unlawfully conscripted, at times through abduction, and utilized by armed rebel groups - including SLA, Janjaweed militia, the camel police, and Chadian opposition forces - in Sudan's ongoing conflict in Darfur; the Sudanese Armed Forces and associated militias also continue to unlawfully conscript and exploit young children in this region. Militia groups in Darfur, some of which are linked to the government, abduct women for short periods of forced labor and to perpetrate sexual violence. Forcible recruitment of adults and particularly children by virtually all armed groups involved in Sudan's concluded north-south civil war was commonplace; thousands of children still associated with these forces await demobilization and reintegration into their communities of origin. There were confirmed reports of unlawful child recruitment by the SPLA, the Sudanese Armed Forces, and the White Army between May and July 2006 in the states of Khartoum, Jonglei, and Bahr al-Ghazal; some of these children were used in armed conflict.
In addition to the exploitation of children by armed groups during the two decades-long north-south civil war, thousands of Dinka women and children were abducted and subsequently enslaved by members of the Missiriya and Rezeigat tribes during this time. An unknown number of children from the Nuba tribe were similarly abducted and enslaved. A portion of those who were abducted and enslaved remained with their abductors in South Darfur and West Kordofan and experienced varying types of treatment; others were sold or given to third parties, including in other regions of the country; and some ultimately escaped from their captors. While there have been no known new abductions of Dinka by members of Baggara tribes in the last two years, inter-tribal abductions, as are historically common among East African tribes, continue in southern Sudan and warrant further investigation.
The Government of National Unity (GNU) does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Combating trafficking in persons through prevention efforts, victim assistance, and law enforcement measures was not a priority for the government in 2006. To improve its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should take steps to provide protective services to all types of trafficking victims found within the country; demobilize all child soldiers from its ranks, as well as those of aligned militias; and make a much stronger effort, through a comprehensive policy approach that involves all vested parties, to identify, retrieve, and reintegrate abductees.
The government's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts were negligible; it did not investigate or prosecute any suspected trafficking cases during the reporting period. Sudan is a large country with porous borders and destitute hinterlands; the national government has little ability to establish authority or a law enforcement presence in many regions. Sudan's criminal code does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, though its Articles 162 through 164 criminalize abduction, luring, and forced labor. The Interim National Constitution prohibits slavery and forced labor. No trafficker has ever been prosecuted under these articles. In 2006, the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) debated a comprehensive Children's Act that prohibits the sale or exchange of children, as well as the recruitment of child soldiers under the age of 18. Also in 2006, the National Assembly passed the Child Protection Act, which prohibits the recruitment or enlistment of soldiers under the age of 18; the act awaits approval by the Council of Ministers.
The government's efforts to protect victims of trafficking were minimal and focused only on the demobilization of child soldiers, excluding all other categories of trafficking victims. It also failed to address funding and capacity gaps in its own entities involved in combating trafficking. Over the past year, the GNU decreased its cooperation with humanitarian workers in the Darfur region on a broad spectrum of issues, including human trafficking. The Committee for the Eradication of Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWC), established in 1999 to facilitate the safe return of abducted women and children to their families, was not operational during the reporting period. Its most recent retrieval and transport missions took place in January-February 2006; since that time, neither the GNU nor the GoSS provided CEAWC with the necessary funding for the transport and reunification of previously identified abductees with their families. As a result, thousands of people continue to remain in prolonged situations of forced labor and sexual exploitation.
In May 2006, the GNU formally endorsed the interim national disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) program, nearly six months after the GoSS endorsed it. However, neither entity has passed required legislation formally establishing the National DDR Commission, or its Northern and Southern components - the Northern Sudan DDR Commission (NSDDRC), and the Southern Sudan DDR Commission (SSDDRC), respectively. The National DDR Commission met in December for the first time in 10 months. The Commissioner-General of the NSDDRC was formally appointed in December 2006; the commission posted representatives to all northern states soon after. According to the National Commission on Child Welfare, the NSDDRC demobilized 18 children serving in Northern Sudan, including Darfur, in 2006; this has yet to be confirmed by outside sources. In May, the President of Southern Sudan appointed the leadership of the SSDDRC; its membership, however, has not been constituted and it has not met. Because of delays in staff recruitment, there is no state-level representation. The SSDDRC, with the coordination of and assistance from UNICEF, demobilized 250 child soldiers, including girls, from the SPLA camp in Khorfulus in April; 211 child soldiers were demobilized in Julud in June, as well as some 242 child soldiers in Tonj in July. The SSDDRC continued to register child soldiers throughout the year and, at times, coordinated with the NSDDRC to trace and reunify them with their families.
The government made no efforts to prevent future incidences of trafficking during the reporting period. Sudan has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
SURINAME (Tier 2)
Suriname is principally a transit and destination country for women and children trafficked transnationally for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation; it is also a source country for underage Surinamese girls, and increasingly boys, trafficked internally for sexual exploitation. Foreign girls and women are trafficked from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Colombia to Suriname for commercial sexual exploitation; some transit Suriname en route to Europe. Chinese nationals transiting Suriname risk debt bondage to migrant smugglers; men are exploited in forced labor and women in commercial sexual exploitation. Haitians migrating illegally through Suriname are also vulnerable to forced labor exploitation in the country.
The Government of Suriname does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government investigated and prosecuted some suspected traffickers, and worked on improving victim assistance. The government should intensify its efforts to identify, convict, and punish traffickers, including any public officials connected to such activity. It also should consider legislative revisions to better protect foreign trafficking victims, and provide greater victim services.
The Surinamese government demonstrated solid anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the last year. The Parliament of Suriname amended the country's Criminal Code in April 2006 to prohibit all forms of human trafficking, prescribing punishment of up to 20 years in prison. These punishments are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes. An interagency trafficking-in-persons working group leads government efforts to investigate and prosecute traffickers. The government convicted two brothel owners of trafficking women for commercial sexual exploitation, sentencing one to six months and another to 18 months in prison. Police arrested another individual for trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation; his trial is underway. An anti-trafficking police unit randomly checked brothels for mistreatment, and to ensure that women in these establishments were not subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude. The country also initiated discussions with governments in neighboring Guyana, French Guyana, and Brazil on modalities for repatriating trafficking victims. There were reports that Surinamese immigration and customs officials facilitated some trafficking into the country; authorities indicate that they are investigating these allegations.
The government sustained modest but inadequate efforts to protect victims of trafficking. Due to a lack of resources, the government works closely with civil society to shelter and assist victims. Surinamese authorities encourage victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers. There were some reports of foreign victims being detained or deported by Surinamese authorities for immigration violations. Suriname does not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution. However, the government's trafficking-in-persons working group is drafting legislation to provide trafficking victims with temporary residency status. It is also working with civil society on solutions for providing better victim assistance.
High-level officials continued to condemn and draw attention to the problem of human trafficking in Suriname during the reporting period. The government's trafficking-in-persons working group initiated press events and education campaigns throughout 2006. Anti-trafficking posters and brochures were distributed. In early 2007, the working group launched a new awareness-raising campaign, and hosted informational meetings in the nation's border area with Guyana, where many victims are trafficked into the country. Suriname has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
SWEDEN (Tier 1)
Sweden is a destination and transit country for women from Nigeria, Estonia, Russia, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Venezuela, and Thailand trafficked to Sweden or through Sweden to Norway, Denmark, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Sweden is a transit country for children trafficked from China to countries in Western Europe. In 2006, police noted a new trend of children from Romania and Poland trafficked to Sweden for purposes of forced begging and petty theft.
The Government of Sweden fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons. The government continued to fund both awareness and victim assistance programs in source countries, spending approximately $2 million in 2006 in southeastern Europe. The government should continue its strong funding of law enforcement activities. Sweden should consider more training for judges and prosecutors on the application of the Anti-Trafficking Law to ensure a greater number of traffickers continue to be brought to justice.
Sweden demonstrated continued progress in its law enforcement efforts over the last year. Sweden's 2002 anti-trafficking law prohibits trafficking for both sexual exploitation and forced labor, although prosecutors continue to rely on a prostitution procurement law to prosecute and convict a number of sex traffickers. Sweden's anti-trafficking law provides penalties of two to 10 years' imprisonment, which are commensurate with penalties for other grave crimes, such as rape. In 2006, police conducted 28 trafficking investigations, a decrease from 44 in 2005. Authorities prosecuted and convicted 21 traffickers using the anti-trafficking law and procurement statute, up from 15 prosecutions and convictions in 2005. All 21 traffickers were sentenced to time in prison, with no suspended sentences. Sentences imposed on traffickers ranged from 10 months to 5 years' imprisonment. In 2006, the government conducted its first-ever trafficking in persons training for judges.
Sweden maintained its commitment to provide adequate victim assistance both domestically and in source countries during the reporting period. The government provides funding to NGOs in Sweden and abroad to provide support for victims. The Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) funded the building of shelters and funded police trainings in Ukraine and Turkey. Sweden encourages victims to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions; victims who cooperate in criminal trafficking investigations may obtain residency permits that provide victims access to health care and social services. Victims who decline to participate in investigations are subject to deportation. Police report that use of these residency permits has slowed deportations, eased the plight of some victims, and aided investigations. In 2006, one victim - a Russian - was granted permanent residency as a result of her status as a victim of trafficking.
The Government of Sweden continued to demonstrate strong trafficking prevention efforts. In 2006, the government partially funded an MTV awareness campaign in the Balkans focused on child trafficking and changing the attitudes of clients of the sex trade. SIDA funded awareness raising projects in the former Yugoslavia, Romania, Albania, and Bulgaria. The government also funded an awareness project in the northern territories of Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Russia focused on demand reduction for commercial sexual exploitation. Sweden adequately monitored immigration patterns for evidence of trafficking. The government publishes an annual report each spring, providing trafficking statistics and an assessment of government efforts to combat trafficking.
SWITZERLAND (Tier 1)
Switzerland is a destination and, to a lesser extent a transit country for women trafficked from Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Moldova, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Thailand, Cambodia, Nigeria, and Cameroon for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Limited cases of trafficking for the purposes of domestic servitude and labor exploitation were also reported.
The Government of Switzerland fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In January 2007, the Swiss government amended its penal code to provide for extraterritorial jurisdiction to prosecute traffickers; Swiss authorities are now able to prosecute any Swiss citizen, or foreign national present in Switzerland, for trafficking offenses committed abroad, regardless of whether trafficking is a crime in that country. The government continued to work well with NGOs and provided adequate funding for victim assistance and public awareness campaigns, both domestically and in source countries. The government should increase the number of convicted traffickers who serve time in prison.
The Government of Switzerland continued to make progress in its law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Switzerland prohibits both trafficking for sexual exploitation and trafficking for labor exploitation under the new Article 182 of the Swiss penal code. Penalties prescribed range up to 20 years' imprisonment and are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. During the reporting period, authorities conducted 39 investigations, up from 30 in 2005. At least 20 suspected traffickers were prosecuted, up from 16 in 2005. Convictions were obtained against 20 traffickers, compared to 22 convictions obtained in 2005. The majority of the convicted traffickers served no time in prison. Of the 20 traffickers convicted in 2006, only seven served time in prison, with sentences ranging from two to six years. The remaining 13 traffickers received suspended sentences and served no time in prison. This is compared to 2005, when 6 of 22 convicted traffickers served between 5 and 16 months in prison, while 16 traffickers served no time in prison. Swiss authorities cooperated with other governments in the investigation and prosecution of numerous trafficking cases.
The government continued to improve its victim protection efforts during the reporting period. In 2006, cantonal immigration authorities offered 39 trafficking victims 30-day stays of deportation, up from 30 victims in 2005. The government continued to encourage victims to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions. Three victims were offered short-term residency permits to stay in Switzerland for the duration of the legal proceedings against their traffickers, down from 18 in 2005. Three victims were granted long-term residency permits on the grounds of personal hardship, down from eight in 2005. The government provided funding to NGOs for trafficking assistance services and shelter; local victim assistance centers counseled 126 victims during the reporting period, up from 84 the previous year. In 2006, three cantons signed written agreements with NGOs that formalized victim referral processes. Federal authorities successfully raised awareness among cantonal immigration authorities in order to reduce the possibility of trafficking victim deportations. NGOs report that regulations staying deportations and improved coordination with law enforcement officials have led to a considerable increase in the number of victims participating in trafficking investigations and prosecutions. The government ensured that victims were not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked.
Switzerland continued its prevention efforts during the reporting period. The government again provided more than $1 million for victim assistance and trafficking prevention programs in multiple source countries, including Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Lebanon, and Iran. The government provided approximately $225,000 to support a trafficking hotline in Russia. In January 2007, the government appropriated funding for the launch of trafficking awareness prevention campaigns in preparation for the 2008 European Soccer Cup.
SYRIA (Tier 3)
Syria is a destination country for women from South and Southeast Asia and Africa trafficked for the purpose of domestic servitude, and from Eastern Europe and Iraq for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Women from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Ethiopia, and Sierra Leone are recruited for work in Syria as domestic servants, but some face conditions of involuntary servitude, including long hours, non-payment of wages, withholding of passports and other restrictions on movement, and physical or sexual abuse. Similarly, Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian women recruited for work in Syria as cabaret dancers are not permitted to leave their work premises without permission, and they have their passports withheld - indicators of involuntary servitude; some of these women may also be forced into prostitution. Women and children in the Iraqi refugee community in Syria are reportedly forced into commercial sexual exploitation. One anecdotal report suggested that Syria may also be a transit country for Iraqi women and girls trafficked to Kuwait, the U.A.E., and Lebanon for forced prostitution.
The Government of Syria does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and is not making significant efforts to do so.
Although the government began drafting a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, Syria reported no law enforcement efforts to punish trafficking offenses this year. In addition, the government did not offer protection services to victims of trafficking, and may have arrested, prosecuted, or deported some victims for prostitution or immigration violations. Syria should prosecute and punish more traffickers; improve protection for victims by providing shelter, medical, and psychological services; and cease the detention and deportation of victims.
Syria made negligible progress in punishing trafficking crimes this year. Syria does not specifically prohibit any form of trafficking in persons, but can use statutes against kidnapping and sexual assault to prosecute some trafficking cases. In November, the government issued Decree 81 that regulates recruitment agencies bringing domestic workers into the country. Though this decree sets guidelines for conditions of domestic workers and requires agencies to have a license to operate, penalties for violation, including imprisonment for an unspecified length of time or fines of only $2 or both, are not sufficiently stringent to deter the offense of forced labor. Furthermore, Syria did not report any investigations, arrests, prosecutions, or convictions of trafficking offenses this year. There was an anecdotal report that the government uncovered one case of corruption within the Ministry of Interior's Immigration Department and that this resulted in the firing of some high-level immigration officials. If true, it is not known whether this led to prosecutions for complicity in trafficking crimes. The government should follow through on steps to enact a comprehensive anti-trafficking law that criminalizes all forms of trafficking, and assigns penalties both sufficiently stringent to deter the offense and reflective of the heinous nature of the crime.
During the year, the Syrian government made no progress in protecting trafficking victims. Syria failed to provide protection services such as shelter, medical or psychological assistance for victims, or financially or materially support organizations that do. The government continues to lack a formal victim identification procedure to identify potential trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as illegal migrants or women arrested for prostitution. As a result, victims may be arrested, prosecuted, or deported for unlawful acts committed as a result of being trafficked. Child victims of commercial sexual exploitation are housed in juvenile detention facilities. Syria does not actively encourage victims to assist in investigations against their traffickers, and does not provide victims with legal alternatives to removal to countries in which they may face hardship or retribution.
Syria took minimal steps in preventing trafficking over the year. Syria's counter-trafficking committee met at least twice this year to draft a comprehensive anti-trafficking law. Nonetheless, the government did not draft a national action plan to combat trafficking in persons or conduct any public awareness campaigns to educate employers and workers on the rights of domestic workers. Syria has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
TAIWAN (Tier 2)
Taiwan is primarily a destination for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Women and girls from the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) and Southeast Asian countries are trafficked to Taiwan through the use of fraudulent marriages, deceptive employment offers, and illegal smuggling for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. A significant share of male and female foreign workers-primarily from Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines-are recruited legally for low-skilled jobs in Taiwan's construction, fishing and manufacturing industries, or as domestic servants, and are subjected to forced labor or involuntary servitude by labor agencies or employers upon arrival in Taiwan. Many of these contract migrant workers come from poor rural areas and are forced to pay up to $14,000 to recruitment agencies or brokers for a job in Taiwan, resulting in substantial debt that labor agencies or employers use as a tool for involuntary servitude.
The process for recruitment and placement of the 340,000 foreign workers in Taiwan-half of whom are domestic servants or nurses working in private residences and not protected by Taiwan's labor law-lacks regulation and oversight, and may therefore lead to situations of involuntary servitude. Traffickers continue to use the recruitment of foreign brides by legal international marriage brokers as a means to traffic Southeast Asian women to Taiwan for sexual exploitation or forced labor, despite efforts by Taiwan authorities to curb this channel of trafficking.
Taiwan authorities do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, they are making significant efforts to do so. While the island's trafficking problems remain daunting, Taiwan authorities over the last year showed clear progress in addressing trafficking for both sexual and labor exploitation. Taiwan formed its first national plan of action that covers all forms of trafficking and constituted an inter-ministerial committee to implement the plan in coordination with NGOs. After a March 2007 operation that rescued 35 Indonesian women who were trafficked to Taiwan through fraudulently brokered marriages, authorities began referring these and other victims to NGOs for appropriate care.
Nevertheless, much more remains to be done to bring Taiwan into compliance with the minimum standards. Taiwan authorities need to demonstrate greater political will in tackling the trafficking in persons problem on the island. Victims of trafficking should be granted formal protection, including access to justice in order to obtain compensation from their traffickers or exploitative employers and the right to work while awaiting court cases. The Council on Labor Affairs (CLA) should stop addressing acts of involuntary servitude with administrative penalties; instead these serious crimes should be referred to the appropriate law enforcement authorities for criminal investigation and, if warranted, prosecution. Taiwan authorities should do more to eliminate the ability of labor brokers and employers to deport workers involuntarily.
The Taiwan authorities made clear efforts to improve anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the reporting period. Taiwan does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, though it has a number of laws that criminalize some forms of trafficking, including laws against slavery-Section 296 and 296-1 of its criminal code-and exploiting children in prostitution, some provisions of which prescribe punishments of up to seven years' imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent. However, Taiwan does not criminalize trafficking for labor exploitation or debt bondage, and the anti-slavery statute does not appear to cover recruitment or the use of coercion or fraud in exploiting a victim. A comprehensive law covering all forms of trafficking is strongly advisable. Draft amendments to Taiwan's immigration law that would provide formal protection and status to trafficking victims continued to be discussed in the Legislative Yuan but were not passed.
In 2006, it was evident that the Taiwan authorities increased efforts to prosecute, convict and punish traffickers. However, the nature of the Taiwan criminal justice system makes the collection of data on final convictions and sentencing extremely difficult. Throughout the reporting period, Taiwan police and immigration officials conducted anti-trafficking operations, disrupting at least four trafficking rings-one of them involving trafficking for forced labor-and rescuing at least 40 victims of sex or labor trafficking. The Ministry of Justice and the police conducted several training events on trafficking in persons throughout the year.
Taiwan authorities made modest progress in protecting victims of trafficking, though overall protections remained inadequate. The government's provision of assistance to victims of trafficking, such as shelter, legal aid, psycho-social counseling, and medical care remained uneven, without a well-articulated or coordinated program of victim care. While formal procedures for the proactive identification of trafficking victims were developed by the police and immigration services in 2006, these have not yet been fully implemented. Victims continue to be misidentified as migrants out of immigration status or violators of Taiwan's prostitution laws and consequently punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked. Authorities continued to place victims of trafficking in detention facilities alongside accused criminals, though in April 2007, authorities of the newly formed National Immigration Agency took the unprecedented step of referring a group of Indonesian and Thai trafficking victims to an NGO shelter while police and immigration authorities investigated the trafficking crimes committed against them. Victims of trafficking from mainland China continued to be detained in the Ilan "P.R.C. citizen-only" detention center. Taiwan authorities showed progress, however, in encouraging more foreign victims to participate in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers, though the authorities could not offer legal alternatives to the removal of victims to countries in which they may face hardship or retribution. Some victims are granted temporary residency during a criminal investigation or first stage of a trial, but these are not offered uniformly and longer-term residency is not offered. Some labor brokers reportedly continued to forcibly deport foreign workers who sought to complain about abuses.
During 2006, 4,447 foreign workers sought refuge in the 13 NGO shelters subsidized by the Taiwan government-a significant number of these workers probably had experienced conditions of involuntary servitude. The CLA often attempts to respond to foreign workers who complain of exploitative work conditions or coerced labor by sitting them down with their labor broker or employer and negotiating a compromise instead of referring these cases to the police for criminal investigation. Workers who flee their employer for whatever reason, including physical abuse or forced labor conditions, run the risk of being identified as "runaways" who can be punished and deported under Taiwan's immigration law; however, for those recognized as workers with valid labor disputes, the CLA in January 2007 extended by one month the period in which they can remain in Taiwan to seek resolution of these disputes. Taiwan has no law to protect foreign workers from being forcibly repatriated.
Taiwan authorities greatly advanced efforts to prevent trafficking during the reporting period. In November 2006, the Ministry of Interior produced a national plan of action of trafficking in persons that covers all forms of trafficking. The action plan created a permanent Executive Yuan anti-trafficking committee consisting of representatives from 14 ministries and agencies and a number of local NGOs. The authorities also took steps to prevent the trafficking of foreign women through brokered international marriages by restricting eligibility and enhancing interview requirements for foreign brides and their Taiwan spouses; as a result, the number of spousal visas issued to brides in Vietnam-the leading source of foreign brides in Taiwan-dropped for a second straight year to 3,864 down from 7,062 in 2005 and 11,953 in 2004. In 2006, Taiwan authorities also banned the registration of new marriage brokering companies and announced that existing companies would be subjected to closer scrutiny.
TAJIKISTAN (Tier 2)
Tajikistan is a source country for women trafficked to the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iran for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation; men are trafficked to Russia for labor exploitation, primarily in the construction and agricultural industries. Tajik victims are often trafficked through Kyrgyzstan before reaching their final destination. Boys and girls are trafficked internally for the purpose of forced labor, including begging.
The Government of Tajikistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government enacted its national action plan in 2006 and improved cooperation with NGOs. However, the government failed to amend its current trafficking legislation to define trafficking and failed to demonstrate vigorous efforts to combat government complicity in trafficking; government corruption remained a significant problem and an obstacle to effective anti-trafficking efforts. The Government of Tajikistan should: vigorously investigate, prosecute, convict, and sentence government officials who participate in or facilitate trafficking in persons; amend its criminal code to define trafficking; and improve its public awareness efforts.
Tajikistan demonstrated mixed law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Article 130.1 of the criminal code prohibits both sexual exploitation and forced labor. Penalties prescribed under Article 130.1 range from 5 to 20 years' imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent but not commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. In 2006, authorities conducted 34 trafficking investigations, down from 81 conducted in 2005. The government prosecuted 34 trafficking cases, down from 57 cases prosecuted in 2005. Convictions were obtained against 52 traffickers in 2006, a significant increase from 28 convictions obtained in 2005. The government did not provide sentencing data for convicted traffickers. Trafficking-related government corruption remained a problem. Although some government officials assisted traffickers by providing false passports, birth certificates, and marriage certificates, the government provided no information on investigations, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences of government officials implicated in trafficking corruption. The government's special Trafficking in Persons and Organized Crime Unit investigated trafficking cases, and the government worked with some foreign governments on trafficking investigations.
The government demonstrated limited progress in its victim assistance efforts during the reporting period. The Ministries of Health and Labor and Social Protection provided some health and social services to victims assisted in foreign-funded shelters. The Ministry of Interior also provided security and protection for the shelter. The government does not have a formal victim referral mechanism. There was no special training for staff in Tajikistan's embassies and consulates abroad to identify and assist with the repatriation of Tajik victims. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs worked with foreign governments to repatriate 62 Tajik victims in 2006; the government paid all repatriation costs for at least 12 of these victims. The adoption of the national action plan improved communication with anti-trafficking NGOs, to which the government provided some in-kind support such as office space and utilities. Victims were encouraged to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions, and police made a point to interview victims at the trafficking shelter rather than at the police station. Some identified trafficking victims were penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked.
The government sustained some trafficking awareness efforts during the reporting period. The government helped fund some NGO- and IOM-produced public awareness campaigns, which included radio advertisements, film screenings, press briefings, the publication of brochures, and training of students and government officials. The government stationed border guards at Dushanbe's airports and along border checkpoints and trained them to identify potential traffickers and victims.
TANZANIA (Tier 2)
Tanzania is a source, transit, and destination country for women and girls trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation and, to a lesser extent, boys trafficked for the purpose of forced labor. Girls from rural areas are trafficked to urban centers for domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation; some domestics fleeing abusive employers fall prey to exploitation in prostitution. There are unconfirmed reports that Tanzanian girls are lured to resort towns by promises of hotel jobs or riches and trips abroad, but instead are given work in bars or are sexually exploited. Small numbers of people are trafficked to South Africa, Oman, the United Kingdom, and possibly other European or Middle Eastern countries for domestic servitude. Boys are trafficked within the country for forced labor on farms, in mines, and in the informal sector. Citizens of neighboring countries may be trafficked through Tanzania for forced domestic labor and sexual exploitation in South Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.
The Government of Tanzania does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. To further its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should pass and enact comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation; develop national procedures for victim protection, including the screening of undocumented aliens for victimization before deportation; and regularly compile national statistics on the number of victims assisted and trafficking cases investigated and prosecuted.
The government's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period focused on developing comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation applicable to both the mainland and Zanzibar. In May 2006, a working group comprised of officials from several ministries drafted legislation that was presented to the Cabinet Secretariat in July and, after revision, was approved in August. The Permanent Secretaries approved the draft in November and transmitted it to Zanzibar in February 2007 for review.
Tanzania does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, and Zanzibar has a separate legal code from the mainland of Tanzania. On the mainland, traffickers can be prosecuted under existing statutes criminalizing the sale of people, forced labor, child labor, and various sexual offenses. There were investigations, but no prosecutions or convictions of traffickers on the mainland in 2006. In mid-2006, the Ministry of Public Safety and Security established an anti-trafficking section in the Criminal Investigation Department, and in March 2007, moved the section into the Transnational Organized Crime Unit, responsible for addressing terrorism, narcotics, and money laundering. The Ministry requested a separate line item for anti-trafficking in the national 2007 budget and officers trained in anti-trafficking staffed a telephone hotline for reporting criminal activity. Involvement in, or tolerance of, trafficking by individual government officials is suspected but not proven.
On Zanzibar, traffickers can be prosecuted under existing law that criminalizes kidnapping, abduction, and slavery. In 2006, the Criminal Investigations Division of the Zanzibar police investigated at least five suspected cases, determined that one involved trafficking two women from the mainland, and negotiated the return of the two victims to Dar es Salaam. Immigration officials on Zanzibar monitored passport applications for cases of trafficking; one officer turned away three female applicants with fraudulent documents, but did not investigate the man accompanying them. During the reporting period, the government trained 170 of the 248 immigration officers and virtually all of Zanzibar's local administrators on how to recognize, investigate, and prosecute instances of trafficking.
The government's efforts to protect victims of trafficking continued to suffer from a lack of resources; government officials regularly relied on NGOs to provide shelter, counseling, and rehabilitation for victims of trafficking. Victim assistance is unavailable in some areas of the country. During the year, law enforcement personnel and government officials identified and referred at least 28 trafficking victims to NGOs for care, though authorities did not demonstrate use of formal victim identification and referral procedures. During the reporting period, a labor union assisted approximately 1,020 trafficking victims, some of whom were referred to the organization by local government officials, child labor committees, and police. The government encourages victims' assistance in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers, but the lack of national procedures for victim protection likely led to the deportation of most foreign victims before they were identified or able to give evidence in court. Foreign victims are not offered legal alternatives to their removal to countries in which they would face hardship or retribution.
Political will to address human trafficking in Tanzania increased significantly during the reporting period, resulting in concrete prevention efforts. The inter-ministerial human trafficking committee, which includes ministries of the Zanzibar government, coordinated communication between various ministries, NGOs and civil society. President Kikwete's personal commitment to combat trafficking accelerated the drafting of anti-trafficking legislation and law enforcement training. In support of IOM's awareness-raising campaign, government officials appeared on television and radio programs and immigration officers distributed brochures at 25 border posts. During the year, the government's Research Coordinator for Human Trafficking proactively moved anti-trafficking legislation through the inter-ministerial clearance process and appeared on television and radio programs. Information provided by a caller to a radio program led to an ongoing trafficking investigation. The Ministry of Education's 288 Community Learning Centers in 10 districts enabled 8,335 children, approximately 70 percent of whom were removed from child labor, to enroll in school.
THAILAND (Tier 2)
Thailand is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Regional economic disparities drive significant illegal migration into Thailand, presenting traffickers with opportunities to force, coerce or defraud these undocumented migrants into labor or sexual exploitation. Women and children are trafficked from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, People's Republic of China (P.R.C.), Russia, and Uzbekistan for commercial sexual exploitation in Thailand. A number of women and girls from Burma, Cambodia, and Vietnam transit through Thailand's southern border to Malaysia for sexual exploitation primarily in Johor Bahru, across from Singapore. Thai and hill tribe women and girls are trafficked internally and to Japan, Malaysia, South Africa, Bahrain, Australia, Singapore, Europe, Canada, and the United States for sexual exploitation. The denial of Thai residency to ethnic minority women and girls who reside in Thailand's northern hills makes them more susceptible to trafficking and delays repatriation due to lack of citizenship. Widespread sex tourism in Thailand encourages trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Following voluntary migration to Thailand, men, women, and children, primarily from Burma, are trafficked into involuntary servitude in agricultural work, factories, construction, commercial fisheries, domestic work, and begging. Thai laborers working abroad in Taiwan, Malaysia, the United States, and the Middle East often pay excessive recruitment fees prior to departure, which may facilitate debt bondage - a form of trafficking. Children from Burma, Laos, and Cambodia are trafficked to Thailand for begging and exploitative labor, including fishing and fish processing. A report published in late 2006 by the ILO and a government university found that significant percentages of undocumented migrant workers, including children, in four key sectors of the Thai economy (fishing, construction, commercial agriculture and domestic service) are victims of involuntary servitude at the hands of Thai employers.
The Government of Thailand does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however it is making significant efforts to do so. The government sustained impressive efforts to address trafficking for sexual exploitation but did not improve substantially in responding to incidents of labor trafficking. In September 2006, the Thai police raided a shrimp-processing factory and rescued 800 Burmese men, women, and children, many of whom were subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude, physical and psychological abuse, and confinement inside the premises through the use of barbed wire fences and document confiscation. Thai authorities classified 66 of the females as trafficking victims and provided them with appropriate shelter and psycho-social counseling services. However, an undisclosed number of the males were removed by police and deported to Burma without being interviewed to determine if they were victims of involuntary servitude. Five months later, all three factory owners were arrested and face criminal charges in addition to a civil suit and regulatory fines. The factory, which has in one past case exported shrimp to the United States, remains in operation. Current anti-trafficking legislation in Thailand only applies to trafficking resulting in sexual exploitation and fails to criminalize bonded labor or trafficking perpetuated against men. Thailand has drafted comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation that criminalizes all forms of trafficking and provides protection to men. It should pass and enact that legislation at the earliest opportunity. Thailand should show greater will to prosecute and convict exploitative employers and labor traffickers.
The Royal Thai Government demonstrated clear progress in its law enforcement efforts to combat sex trafficking and collaborate with civil society to investigate cases; however, the government has not yet demonstrated progress in law enforcement efforts to combat labor trafficking. Thailand criminally prohibits trafficking for sexual exploitation through its 1997 Prevention and Suppression of Trafficking in Women and Children Act, which prescribes penalties that are sufficiently stringent and that are commensurate with penalties prescribed for rape. Trafficking for labor exploitation is not criminally prohibited and penalties prescribed for forced labor violations tend to be administrative rather than criminal and, therefore, are not sufficiently stringent. A draft law was finalized during 2006 that will allow for prosecution of all forms of trafficking and provides greater protection, care, and compensation for victims; it awaits passage by the legislature. Government law enforcement resources are generally inadequate to cope with the magnitude of trafficking. Political uncertainty since the September 2006 military coup has further drawn financial and personnel resources away from Thai law enforcement anti-trafficking efforts.
In October, Thai police raided two karaoke bars in the southern province of Narathiwat, rescuing 34 women and child victims comprised of Thai hill tribe members and citizens of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. In March 2007, a criminal court sentenced a senior military official to life imprisonment for the detention and murder of a Burmese domestic worker who was considered a trafficking victim. The Government of Thailand reported 88 arrests in cases brought against traffickers in the period from September 2005 through February 2007, involving a total of 100 victims. Corruption is still sometimes a problem, with local police or immigration officials protecting brothels, fishing and sweatshop facilities from raids and occasionally facilitating the movement of Burmese, Cambodian, Lao, and P.R.C. women and children into or through Thailand. No public officials or law enforcement officials were arrested for trafficking-related crimes in 2006.
The Thai government continued to provide impressive protection to foreign victims of sex trafficking in Thailand and Thai citizens who have returned to Thailand after facing labor or sex trafficking conditions abroad. The government's collaboration with civil society organizations to protect victims of sex trafficking remained impressive. However, male victims of trafficking are not included in the victim protection provisions of Thai law. Moreover, out of a fund of 500 million baht (equivalent to $13 million) set up by the Thai government in 2005 to fund increased trafficking victim care, only 100 million baht has been authorized for expenditure. The Thai government refers women and child victims to one of six regional shelters run by the government, where they receive psychological counseling, food, board, and medical care. However, none of these shelters is in the area of Thailand north of Phitsanulok, where victims are referred to separate, often high-quality facilities run by NGOs.
The government encourages female victim participation in the investigation and prosecution of sex trafficking crimes. The government does not provide foreign victims with legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they may face hardship or retribution. Female victims of sex trafficking are generally not jailed or deported; foreign victims of labor trafficking and men may be deported as illegal migrants. In the September 2006 labor trafficking case, most Burmese male workers were deported as illegal migrants, without interviewing them to determine if they were victims, while 66 females from the same factory were sent to a shelter for trafficking victims. In 2006, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs repatriated 380 women primarily trafficked for sexual exploitation to Bahrain (256 victims), Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, and Italy. In May 2006, the government repatriated to Thailand nine Shan women who were not Thai citizens but who had been trafficked to Malaysia in 2004; their repatriation to Thailand was delayed due to their lack of Thai or any other citizenship. The government provided in-kind assistance in the form of technical support, personnel, and facilities to NGOs active in anti-trafficking. The government collaborates with IOM to set up transit facilities, shelters, and referral processes to improve victim protection. In 2006, IOM returned 343 people to their home countries, including 245 Laotians, 85 Cambodians, and 13 Burmese. The government's National Trafficking Action Plan for 2005-2007 identified $34.2 million for trafficking-related project initiatives.
The Thai government continued to support prevention and public awareness activities on sex and labor trafficking as well as sex tourism during the year. The Thai government has begun outreach programs to educate potential migrant workers about working conditions in Thailand, and to educate Thai workers about working conditions and recruitment practices abroad. In cooperation with the ILO, a migrant workers handbook was published in Lao, Burmese, Khmer, and Thai to advise migrant workers of their rights and avenues of recourse. The Ministry of Labor conducts regular seminars with all outgoing Thai workers to advise them on restrictions on labor broker fees and regulations governing foreign guest worker programs. Thailand has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
TOGO (Tier 2)
Togo is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Trafficking within the country is more prevalent than transnational trafficking and the majority of victims are children, primarily girls. Girls are trafficked within Togo for forced labor as produce porters, market vendors, maids, and for sexual exploitation. Transnationally, Togolese girls are trafficked primarily to Gabon, Benin, Nigeria, and Niger for domestic servitude, forced labor, and sexual exploitation. Girls are also trafficked to Togo from Benin, Nigeria, and Ghana for domestic servitude and possibly for sexual exploitation. Togolese boys are trafficked primarily to Nigeria, Benin and Cote d'Ivoire for agricultural labor. There have been reports of Togolese women and girls trafficked to Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, likely for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation. Togolese women were also trafficked to France and Germany for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation.
The Government of Togo does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so, despite limited resources. To improve its response to trafficking, Togo should increase efforts to enforce its 2005 law against child trafficking, develop an effective method for trafficking crime data collection, pass its Child Code with an improved definition of child trafficking, draft and pass a law against all forms of trafficking, strengthen efforts to provide social rehabilitation for victims, and raise public awareness about trafficking.
The Government of Togo took some increased steps to combat trafficking through law enforcement efforts during the last year. Togo does not prohibit all forms of trafficking, though its 2005 Law Related to Child Trafficking criminalizes the trafficking of children. This law, however, provides a weak definition of child trafficking and fails to specifically prohibit child sexual exploitation. Its maximum prescribed penalty of 10 years' imprisonment is sufficiently stringent and commensurate with prescribed penalties for statutory rape. A 2001 draft statute with an improved definition of trafficking remains stalled at the National Assembly. The government reported 23 trafficking arrests and prosecutions in 2006. In February 2007, a man was convicted in a Kara court for trafficking four children to Nigeria. The court, however, imposed only a two-year sentence. Government, NGO, and international organization officials reported that other traffickers had likely been arrested and prosecuted during the year, but these reports could not be confirmed due to the government's failure to systematically collect trafficking crime data. The government relies largely on donor-funded local vigilance committees to report trafficking cases.
The Togolese government demonstrated modest efforts to protect trafficking victims over the last year. The Ministry of Social Affairs and The National Committee for the Reception and Reinsertion of Trafficked Children assist victims by either referring them to two primary NGOs in Lome or by coordinating with law enforcement officials, NGOs, and international organizations to return them to their communities. The government referred 240 child victims to one NGO in Lome during the year. In 2006, the police helped coordinate the rescue of at least 637 victims who were subsequently returned to their families. The government lacks the resources, however, to provide victims with social rehabilitation or to monitor their progress after return. Neither the government nor NGOs provide any care for male victims between the ages of 15 and 18, or for adult victims. The government does not encourage victims to assist in trafficking investigations or prosecutions. The government does not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution, however, the majority of victims are Togolese nationals. Victims are not inappropriately incarcerated or fined for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked.
The Government of Togo made minimal efforts to raise awareness about trafficking during the reporting period. Local government officials played an active role as members of ILO-funded local anti-trafficking committees to raise awareness of trafficking by organizing skits and radio announcements in local languages. Although the 2005 anti-trafficking law called for a National Committee to Combat Trafficking, this coordinating body has not yet been established. Togo has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
TURKEY (Tier 2)
Turkey is a major destination and transit country for women and children trafficked primarily for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. A small number of men from Turkey were trafficked to the Netherlands for the purpose of forced labor in 2006. Women and girls are trafficked from Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, and other countries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. This year victims were also trafficked from Kenya, Nigeria, and the Philippines. Some of these victims are trafficked through Turkey to the area administered by Turkish Cypriots for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
The Government of Turkey does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In 2006, the government amended its law to increase penalties for trafficking offenses and to increase victims' rights and access to assistance. Turkey also increased its total number of trafficking investigations, prosecutions, and convictions over the last year. The Government of Turkey should continue to improve victim identification procedures, and collect and consolidate trafficking data. It should also vigorously investigate, prosecute, convict, and sentence government officials complicit in trafficking. Finally, the Government of Turkey should ensure judicial officials receive victim identification and sensitivity training.
The Government of Turkey significantly advanced its law enforcement efforts over this reporting period. Article 80 of the penal code prohibits trafficking for both sexual exploitation and forced labor. The penalties prescribed for trafficking have been increased to 8 to 12 years' imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with prescribed penalties for other grave crimes, such as sexual assault. Turkish authorities conducted 422 investigations, a significant increase from 241 investigations in 2005. The government prosecuted 192 suspects in 2006, up from 144 prosecuted in 2005. Convictions were obtained against 36 traffickers in 2006, up from 29 convictions in 2005. Twenty-nine traffickers received prison sentences ranging from one month to six years; six traffickers only received fines. One trafficker's sentence was unconfirmed. During the reporting period, the police continued an internal anti-trafficking training program, reaching 1,150 additional police officers. While the government arrested some low-level officials for trafficking, no officials were prosecuted or convicted over the reporting period.
Turkey continued to improve its victim assistance efforts over the reporting period. Turkish authorities successfully implemented procedures to identify trafficking victims among women in prostitution, although there were reports that the government continued to process some trafficking cases as voluntary prostitution and illegal migration. Although the government does not provide a government-run shelter, it provided rent, utilities, and administrative costs for two NGO-run trafficking shelters. Police work closely with IOM to identify and refer victims to trafficking shelters, ensuring that victims have access to protection services. Foreign victims identified by Turkish authorities may apply for humanitarian visas and remain in Turkey for up to seven months, although no visas were granted during the reporting period. The government encourages victims to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions; however, this does not seem to be systematically implemented. In July 2006, a judge ordered a police-identified victim to be deported because she had overstayed her visa. Turkey promoted and advertised a government-run trafficking hotline during the reporting period; 109 victims were assisted due to calls to the hotline during the reporting period, up from 52 victims in 2005.
The government demonstrated strong prevention efforts. In 2006, the government contributed $100,000 to an international public awareness campaign focused on the Black Sea region. Authorities continued to distribute small passport inserts to travelers entering the country at designated ports-of-entry, although there was concern about whether this method of informing potential victims was the most effective. Turkish embassies also continued to hand out trafficking awareness inserts to visa applicants in source countries.
UGANDA (Tier 2)
Uganda is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purpposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Until August 2006, the terrorist rebel organization, Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), abducted children and adults in northern Uganda to serve as soldiers, sex slaves, and porters. Ugandan children are trafficked internally, as well as to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, for commercial sexual exploitation. Karamojong women and children are sold in cattle markets or by intermediaries and forced into situations of domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, herding, and begging. Importers traffic Pakistani, Indian, and Chinese workers to Uganda and trafficking networks bring in Indian women for sexual exploitation.
The Government of Uganda does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. To improve its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should make a greater effort to convict and punish charged traffickers; pass and enact its comprehensive trafficking bill; and develop a mechanism for providing protective services to all types of trafficking victims.
The government's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts increased over the reporting period, particularly by apprehending suspected traffickers and investigating cases. Ugandan law does not prohibit trafficking; however, the government's anti-trafficking working group, with input from stakeholders, completed drafting a comprehensive law in 2006. Existing laws against slavery, forced and bonded labor, and procurement for prostitution could be used to prosecute trafficking offenses. In June, police arrested three Asians and two Ugandans at the Uganda-Rwanda border for forcing Indian girls into prostitution in Uganda; the Indian suspects were deported, while the Ugandans were charged with document fraud. In December, a Kampala court charged three Pakistanis and two Ugandans with unlawful confinement for harboring five Pakistani men promised jobs in Uganda. The Pakistanis were deported. Police also discovered Indian, Chinese, and Sri Lankan workers trafficked to the country for forced labor; the perpetrators were charged with kidnapping and deported. Immigration officials monitoring flights to Dubai uncovered the trafficking of children to the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia for sexual exploitation. At the airport, they also intercepted two Asians trafficking children; the children were rescued and the traffickers charged with document fraud. Beginning in July, police at checkpoints on roads leading out of Karamoja stopped vehicles transporting women and children for questioning; four girls were rescued from traffickers in July and police in Katakwi arrested three suspected traffickers in August. The Child and Family Protection Unit of the National Police, together with ILO-IPEC, trained 150 police, security, and local officials on labor exploitation of children, child labor laws, and related definitions; these police officers trained more than 60 additional police officers.
The government, through its Amnesty Commission, offered blanket amnesty to ex-combatants to induce defection or surrender of rebels and to recognize abductees as victims forced to commit atrocities. In 2006, 2,490 LRA combatants, many of whom were abducted as children, applied for and received amnesty. Because of this process, the government has not arrested, prosecuted, or convicted LRA rebels for trafficking offenses. In August, the Ugandan military killed Rasaka Lukwiya, one of five LRA leaders indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and sexual slavery.
While the government offered initial protection to children separated from the LRA, it did far less to care for other types of trafficking victims. In early 2006, the Ugandan military conducted operations against the LRA in northern Uganda and southern Sudan, from which its Child Protection Unit received and debriefed 546 surrendered or captured child soldiers; children were processed at four transit shelters before being transported to NGO-run rehabilitation centers for longer-term care. The Amnesty Commission provided each child with a mattress, blanket, oil, and approximately $75. The government provided no protective services to children in prostitution; those rounded up with adults during police sweeps were generally released without charge. From August 2006 to February 2007, a joint effort by city authorities, NGOs, and the Ministry of Labor removed 813 internally displaced Karamojong, some of whom were trafficking victims, from Kampala's streets and transferred them to transit shelters.
The government continued its efforts to increase public awareness of human trafficking. Radio networks, the primary source of information for Ugandans, carried several talk show programs about the scope and magnitude of child trafficking in the country. In northern Uganda, the government used a weekly local-language radio program to persuade abducted children and their captors to return from the bush. A government-run television station aired a widely watched special on child prostitution and the New Vision newspaper ran a victim's story with advice for children experiencing sexual exploitation. Local police child protection officers conducted sensitization workshops in communities to encourage citizens to report trafficking crimes. The police's Child and Family Protection Unit also used community meetings, school visits, and radio programs to raise awareness of trafficking. Uganda has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
UKRAINE (Tier 2 Watch List)
Ukraine is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women and children trafficked internationally for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Ukrainian women are trafficked to Russia, Poland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, the Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Cyprus, Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, Spain, Hungary, and Israel for commercial sexual exploitation. Women from Central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are trafficked through Ukraine to Europe for commercial sexual exploitation. Although reliable data is not available, Ukraine may also be a destination for people from former Soviet republics for forced labor and prostitution. In addition, internal trafficking occurs in Ukraine; men and women are trafficked within the country for the purposes of labor exploitation in the agriculture, service, and forced begging sectors, as well as for commercial sexual exploitation. Ukrainian children are trafficked both internally and transnationally for commercial sexual exploitation, forced begging, and involuntary servitude in the agriculture industry.
The Government of Ukraine does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Ukraine is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons over the last year, particularly in the area of punishing convicted traffickers. As with last year, many of the traffickers convicted in Ukrainian courts received probation. The government should take significant steps, to ensure that convicted traffickers are prosecuted and serve jail sentences.
The Ukrainian government should also improve its anti-trafficking efforts in other areas. Corruption is widespread in Ukraine, and there remain concerns about possible complicity in trafficking by government officials. The government should take steps to proactively investigate the nature and extent of complicity by government officials, and prosecute officials suspected of facilitating trafficking offenses. The March 2007 adoption of the National Anti-Trafficking in Persons program, which includes for the first time dedicated anti-trafficking funding, is a positive step, although higher levels of funding are necessary if the plan is to be effective. In particular, the government should improve its efforts to protect victims of trafficking by increasing funding to NGOs providing victims with comprehensive protection and rehabilitation services. Furthermore, the government should encourage victims' assistance in investigations by providing them with protection, ensuring their rights are protected in court, and providing guidance to courts on procedures for handling trafficking cases.
The Ukrainian government made insufficient progress in prosecuting and punishing trafficking offenses in 2006. The government prohibits all forms of trafficking through its Criminal Code's Article 149, which prescribes penalties that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes. This year, the law enforcement community completed 101 criminal investigations and arrested 66 people on trafficking charges. In 2006, the government obtained verdicts against 111 traffickers, 86 of whom did not appeal their conviction. Nonetheless, of these 86 cases, 47 traffickers received probation rather than jail sentences. Most of the others received sentences of two to eight years' imprisonment, and the assets of 18 were confiscated. Ukraine's President and Prime Minister have both publicly acknowledged that corruption is a major problem for Ukraine. Possible instances of complicity in trafficking by government officials, such as border guards and officials responsible for licensing employment agencies, may not have been punished. Ukraine should demonstrate efforts to proactively investigate and punish government officials suspected of trafficking complicity.
As part of efforts to implement recent changes to Ukraine's anti-trafficking law, the Supreme Court conducted a series of seminars for judges to educate them about the reformed code, and police and prosecutors also underwent training. In September 2006, the Ministry of Interior established a special unit within its Anti-Trafficking in Persons Department to combat trafficking for labor exploitation and to monitor businesses involved in the employment of Ukrainians abroad; 68 officers stationed throughout the country staff this new unit. The government, however, initiated only four investigations of labor trafficking between September 2006 and January 2007, and few employment agencies believed to be involved in trafficking had their licenses revoked.
Ukraine did not demonstrate increased efforts to protect victims of trafficking over the reporting period, but continues to cooperate with internationally funded NGOs to provide protection services. The government does not directly finance shelters, medical or psychological care, or repatriations for victims, but provided a few shelters with subsidized facilities and in-kind logistical support. The government did not demonstrate implementation of systematic procedures for the identification of victims and their referral to victim service providers. Ukrainian embassies actively assisted in the return of 272 of their nationals this year and referred them to reintegration centers run by NGOs. Ukraine does not penalize victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. Victims' rights, however, are often not respected, as some judges and prosecutors have demonstrated unsympathetic, negative, and sarcastic attitudes toward victims. Ukrainian law does not provide foreign victims with legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they may face hardship or retribution.
The government made some progress in preventing trafficking in persons during the reporting period. In 2006, the Border Guards closed nine channels of trafficking, prevented 43 women from being trafficked, and detained 29 traffickers. Border guards are tasked with screening for potential trafficking victims among people who cross the border. However, such screening provided few benefits since border guards had limited time to interview and little training to identify possible victims. Bribery and corruption continued to facilitate illegal migration. High-ranking government officials, including the Ministers of Interior and Family, Youth, and Sports, took part in events to raise awareness of trafficking. The government provided expertise and free advertising on radio and TV stations, and experts from the State Employment Service provided callers to the national anti-trafficking toll-free telephone hotline with information on legal employment overseas.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (Tier 2 Watch List)
The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) remains a destination country for men and women trafficked for the purpose of involuntary servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. Women from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Ethiopia, and the Philippines migrate willingly to the U.A.E. to work as domestic servants, but many face conditions of involuntary servitude such as excessive work hours without pay; verbal, mental, physical, and sexual abuse; and restrictions on movement. Similarly, men from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan come to the U.A.E. to work in the construction industry, but are often subjected to involuntary servitude and debt bondage as they work to pay off recruitment costs sometimes exceeding two years' wages. Women from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, India, Pakistan, the People's Republic of China, the Philippines, Iraq, Iran, and Morocco are reportedly trafficked to the U.A.E. for commercial sexual exploitation. Some foreign women were reportedly recruited to work as secretaries, but were trafficked into forced prostitution or domestic servitude. The U.A.E. may also serve as a transit country for women trafficked into forced labor in Oman and Sudan, and men deceived into working involuntarily in Iraq. Although children were previously trafficked from South Asia, Sudan, and Mauritania as child camel jockeys, all identified victims were repatriated at the U.A.E.'s expense.
The Government of the U.A.E. does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but is making significant efforts to do so. U.A.E. is placed on Tier 2 Watch list for a second consecutive year for failing to take meaningful steps to address the problem of foreign women trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and of foreign male and female workers subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude. The government did not demonstrate vigorous law enforcement or victim protection efforts. The U.A.E. should dedicate resources for the prosecution of trafficking crimes, while encouraging victims to testify against their traffickers, and giving them alternatives to detention and deportation.
Although in December 2006 the U.A.E. government passed a comprehensive anti-trafficking law prohibiting all forms of trafficking, with prescribed penalties ranging from one year to life imprisonment, no other progress was reported in prosecuting and punishing trafficking crimes. The government did not prosecute any cases under this law or any other available law, including statutes against withholding passports, false imprisonment, and kidnapping. Although the Ministry of Labor imposed fines on labor recruiters for fraudulent practices, the government did not pursue criminal prosecutions of those facilitating trafficking. The government also did not provide evidence that it prosecuted employers for intimidating employees to force them to work. Government officials, however, actively monitored camel races to ensure that children were not used as camel jockeys in violation of the country's 2005 ban. The Dubai police also organized a workshop on investigating trafficking. The U.A.E. should significantly increase criminal investigations of trafficking offenses, including involuntary servitude of foreign workers, and should stringently punish sex traffickers and abusive employers and labor recruiters who engage in labor trafficking through the use of force or fraud.
The U.A.E. government made limited progress in protecting trafficking victims this year. The government continues to detain and deport victims for unlawful acts committed as a result of being trafficked. Although some women are trafficked to the U.A.E. for commercial sexual exploitation, some are forced into prostitution after their arrival, and others enter prostitution willingly but encounter coercion or force afterwards. Victims who voluntarily enter the U.A.E. with the intent of entering the sex trade are treated as criminals regardless of any victimization that occurs after their arrival. Similarly, the U.A.E. does not consider laborers forced into involuntary servitude as trafficking victims if they are over the age of 18 and entered the country voluntarily. Many cases of forced labor are therefore not investigated. There are no formal mechanisms to identify women who are trafficked into domestic servitude or prostitution, or men who are trafficked into bonded laborers. Women who formally identify themselves as trafficking victims may access government provided temporary housing in hotels, counseling, medical care, and repatriation aid in Dubai. The Dubai government also refers self-identified victims to an NGO-sponsored shelter. However, the U.A.E. does not offer victims asylum, residence, or other legal alternatives to removal to source countries where they may face retribution. Thus, many victims are reluctant to report being trafficked. Victim Assistance Coordinators in police stations reportedly encourage victims to assist in trafficking investigations, but many victims still conceal the fact that they were trafficked for fear of arrest and deportation. In December 2006, the U.A.E. committed to funding a $9 million expansion of a U.A.E.-UNICEF project to provide assistance to children who had been forced to work as camel jockeys in the U.A.E. and were repatriated two years ago.
The U.A.E. made some progress in preventing trafficking this year. The Dubai police operated a Web site and 24-hour hotline for trafficking victims to lodge complaints. The U.A.E. also continued an awareness campaign including public advertisements and pamphlets distributed in airports, worksites, and embassies warning potential victims of their rights and resources. The U.A.E., however, still has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
UNITED KINGDOM (Tier 1)
The United Kingdom (U.K.) is primarily a destination country for women, children and men trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Some victims, however, are also trafficked within the country. The majority of victims are women trafficked internationally to the U.K. for sexual exploitation, though children are also trafficked to the U.K. for the same purpose. Migrant workers are trafficked to the U.K. for forced labor in agriculture, construction, food processing, domestic servitude, restaurants and possibly for illicit activities such as street theft. Children, particularly from West Africa, are also trafficked to the U.K. for forced labor in cannabis factories and Afghan minors may be trafficked for forced manual labor. Main sources of foreign trafficking victims found in the U.K. are Lithuania, Russia, Albania, Ukraine, Malaysia, Thailand, the People's Republic of China, East and Central Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana.
The Government of the United Kingdom fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Over the last year, U.K. authorities launched aggressive anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts and sustained significant measures to identify and provide specialized care to adult female sex trafficking victims. To strengthen its response to trafficking, the U.K. should rely more on its specific anti-trafficking laws and less on related laws to prosecute traffickers, and provide systematic and specialized care for child trafficking victims.
The U.K. government demonstrated strong efforts to combat trafficking through law enforcement in the last year. The U.K. prohibits all forms of trafficking through its 2004 Sexual Offenses Act and its 2004 Asylum and Immigration Act. Under these laws, any form of trafficking carries a sufficiently stringent maximum penalty of 14 years, although the punishment for sex trafficking is less severe than that prescribed for rape. In 2006, U.K. authorities prosecuted 109 individuals for trafficking offenses, 28 of whom were convicted and nine of whom were acquitted. The remaining 75 prosecutions are ongoing. Of the 28, 23 received prison sentences of four years or greater, while two traffickers received less severe sentences of 27 and 30 months, two received a caution, and one received an undisclosed sentence for managing a brothel. Although the government is developing best practices for enforcing its specific anti-trafficking laws, many trafficking cases are prosecuted using non-trafficking statutes, making accurate law enforcement data difficult to obtain. From March to May 2006, the government carried out Operation Pentameter, deploying 55 police units to conduct 515 raids of off-street prostitution sites in the UK. Police arrested 232 individuals, of whom 134 have been charged with sex trafficking or related crimes. In April 2006, the government established the Serious and Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) dedicated to dismantling organized crime, including trafficking. In October 2006, the government launched the U.K. Human Trafficking Center (UKHTC), an entity under the Association of Chief Police Officers that will share trafficking intelligence with SOCA and develop training modules to help attorneys to more effectively prosecute traffickers.
The government demonstrated solid efforts to provide care for adult women trafficked for sexual exploitation. It continued to encourage these victims to assist in trafficking investigations and prosecutions by funding two NGOs to provide rehabilitation services to victims who choose to assist law enforcement officials. During the year, the government provided care to 169 adult sex trafficking victims trafficking into the U.K. Through Operation Pentameter, police rescued 84 women and children trafficked for sexual exploitation. The government created a position within the UKHTC for a victim care coordinator who will develop best practices for first responders dealing with trafficking victims. NGOs published reports critical of the government's lack of systematic and specialized assistance for child trafficking victims. The government places child victims in the care of general social services, such as foster care. The U.K. government did not provide systematic and specialized victim care for adult victims of labor trafficking. The U.K. provides foreign victims with some legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they face hardship or retribution. By filing asylum, humanitarian protection or extraordinary relief claims on a case-by-case basis, such victims may obtain residency. Victims are not inappropriately incarcerated, fined, or penalized for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked.
The Government of the United Kingdom continued strong efforts to educate the public about trafficking during the reporting period. As 2007 marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in the former British Empire, the government has used this anniversary to raise awareness of modern forms of slavery as well. For example, a U.K. official gave a speech in Romania - a source country for victims trafficked to the U.K. - drawing a parallel between slavery and trafficking. He also made similar remarks in a speech to Parliament in April 2006. The government has put up anti-trafficking posters targeting brothel patrons, such as one captioned "male friend or trafficker?" The government is in the process of finalizing its draft national action plan to combat trafficking and has made an electronic version available for public viewing.
URUGUAY (Tier 2)
Uruguay is principally a source country for women and children trafficked within the country, particularly to border and tourist areas, for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Reports also indicated that some poor parents turned their children over for forced domestic or agricultural labor in rural areas.
The Government of Uruguay does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. While official reports of trafficking are few, the government has strengthened programs to educate and warn potential victims. The government should consider updating national laws to criminalize all forms of trafficking, increase efforts to train government personnel throughout the country to identify and investigate potential trafficking situations, and provide greater assistance to victims.
The Government of Uruguay showed limited progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the last year. Uruguay prohibits some forms of trafficking pursuant to a 2004 anti-trafficking law and a series of older statutes, which provide a range of penalties from 1 to 12 years in prison. However, Uruguay's anti-trafficking laws do not address trafficking of adults; most trafficking-related crimes fall under commercial sexual exploitation of children, fraud, or slavery laws. The government made limited progress in investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases during the reporting period. Police arrested two individuals in separate cases of exploiting children for pornography, and investigated three other cases of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. The government cooperates with neighboring and European authorities on international trafficking cases. There is no evidence of official facilitation of human trafficking.
The Government of Uruguay continued to lack the capacity to assist all possible trafficking victims during the reporting year. The government provided some assistance to NGOs working in the area of trafficking, but the availability of services remained uneven across the country. The government encourages but does not force victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers. Victims' rights are generally respected, and there were no reports of victims being jailed, deported, or otherwise penalized. Uruguayan law provides legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution.
Government efforts to raise public awareness, particularly among groups most vulnerable to trafficking, remained steady during the reporting period. The Ministry of Education continued to air hard-hitting anti-trafficking commercials on national television, and maintained its program
of including anti-trafficking segments in its sex education curriculum. The government relies on NGOs and other funding sources for additional anti-trafficking prevention efforts.
UZBEKISTAN (Tier 3)
Uzbekistan is a source country for women and girls trafficked to the U.A.E., Israel, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Japan, Thailand, and Turkey for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Some women from other Central Asian countries and the People's Republic of China are trafficked through Uzbekistan. Men are trafficked to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Russia for purposes of forced labor in the construction, cotton, and tobacco industries. Men and women are also trafficked internally for the purposes of domestic servitude and forced labor in the agricultural and construction industries. In 2005, IOM estimated that more than 500,000 Uzbeks are trafficked annually.
The Government of Uzbekistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Uzbekistan is placed on Tier 3 for a second consecutive year. Although the government demonstrated minimal prevention efforts and held inter-agency meetings in March 2007 to discuss trafficking, it again made no significant efforts to improve law enforcement and victim protection and failed to address key legal and infrastructure concerns cited in the previous Report. Uzbekistan made no progress in the adoption of comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation which has been pending since 2003; failed to amend its criminal code to increase trafficking penalties; and did not provide any tangible support - financial or in-kind - to the country's two anti-trafficking shelters. Uzbekistan also failed to approve its National Action Plan on trafficking. The government must address these deficiencies in order to improve overall anti-trafficking efforts in Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan did not demonstrate a pattern of vigorous law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking in persons during the reporting period. Uzbekistan's current laws do not criminalize all forms of trafficking in persons. Some articles of the government's criminal code are used to prosecute sex trafficking cases and some labor trafficking cases, though current laws do not adequately criminalize all forms of forced labor. Penalties prescribed under the trafficking-related statutes of the criminal code range from five to eight years; however, all convicted persons who are given sentences of less than 10 years are granted amnesty and thus serve no time in prison. Trafficking offenders are therefore not adquately punished. The penalties under the trafficking-related statutes are commensurate with punishments prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. Reports continued of government officials involved in trafficking-related bribery and fraud. In February 2007, a Ministry of Internal Affairs Lieutenant Colonel was sentenced to 10 years in prison for attempting to bribe and threaten a victim of trafficking.
The government failed to provide direct support to the majority of victims and demonstrated few substantive efforts to improve victim assistance and protection during the reporting period; one victim was provided with housing and assistance by government officials in October 2006, which is a notable and encouraging sign of increased awareness of victim assistance needs in Uzbekistan. Airport police continued to refer some identified female victims to the NGO-run trafficking shelters, although NGOs and international organizations provided the bulk of victim assistance. In 2006, NGOs reported assisting 681 victims. The government, however, provided no victim or witness protection. While the government encouraged victims to assist in investigations, many victims were afraid to provide testimony or information for fear of retribution by their traffickers. Because traffickers continued to serve no time in prison, some victims may be discouraged from participating in legal proceedings; however, the government acknowledges that voluntary cooperation of victims is critical to effective law enforcement efforts.
Uzbekistan demonstrated modest prevention efforts during the reporting period. State-controlled television and radio stations aired programs and NGO produced public service announcements that discussed human trafficking. State media also continued to advertise 10 regional hotlines run by NGOs. Although the government directed Border Guards at airports to give more scrutiny to unaccompanied young women traveling to recognized destination countries, Border Guards and Customs officials need more training in trafficking detection and prevention. Uzbekistan has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
VENEZUELA (Tier 3)
Venezuela is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Women and children from Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, and People's Republic of China are trafficked to and through Venezuela and subjected to commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor. Venezuelans are trafficked internally and to Western Europe, particularly Spain and the Netherlands, and to countries in the region such as Mexico, Aruba, and the Dominican Republic, for commercial sexual exploitation. Venezuela is a transit country for undocumented migrants from other countries in the region, particularly Peru and Colombia, and for Asian nationals; some may be trafficking victims.
The Government of Venezuela does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Nonetheless, the government made efforts to train public officials and undertake initiatives to raise public awareness during the reporting period. The government should amend its laws to prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, consistent with international standards, and show a credible effort to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses and to convict and sentence trafficking offenders.
The Government of Venezuela made no discernable anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the last year. Venezuela does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, though various provisions of its legal code criminalize some forms of sex and labor trafficking. Article 16 of the Organic Law Against Organized Crime, passed in 2005, prohibits human trafficking across international borders and prescribes penalties ranging from 10 to 18 years' imprisonment. Provisions of Venezuela's 2004 Naturalization and Immigration Law criminalize transnational trafficking for labor exploitation, for which prescribed punishment is 4 to 10 years' imprisonment. However, these laws do not address trafficking of adults within the country. The Child Protection Act and various articles of the penal code can be used to prosecute internal trafficking of minors, but many of these statutes carry low penalties. Despite existing prosecutorial tools for punishing many forms of trafficking, the Venezuelan government has not reported any trafficking prosecutions or convictions during the reporting period. The government operates a national hotline through which it receives trafficking complaints, though it is not known how many were received during the last year. The government also provided anti-trafficking training to public officials. There were no confirmed reports of government complicity with human trafficking in 2006.
The Venezuelan government's efforts to assist trafficking victims remained inadequate during the reporting period. The government does not operate shelters dedicated specifically for trafficking victims, and there are no witness protection or restitution programs. Moreover, the government showed no evidence of implementing procedures for identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as persons detained for prostitution or immigration violations. The lack of witness protection provisions in Venezuelan law discourages victims from filing charges or assisting in the investigation of their traffickers. The government provides some legal protection from foreign victims' removal to countries where they may face hardship or retribution. In cases where safe repatriation is not possible, the government refers victims to the UNHCR or the Red Cross for third country placement.
The government sustained efforts to raise public awareness about the dangers of human trafficking. In August 2006, the government launched a community-awareness campaign to encourage trafficking victims to press charges against traffickers, and to utilize victim services provided by the government. The government also provided modest support to anti-trafficking activities by NGOs and created an ad-hoc working group to draft a national plan of action to combat trafficking in persons.
VIETNAM (Tier 2)
Vietnam is a source and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Vietnamese women and girls are trafficked to Cambodia, the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.), Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic for commercial sexual exploitation. Traffickers sometimes disguise victims as tourists or workers under a labor export program and traffic them to Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Malaysia, or recruit girls through job service centers and then sell them to gangs based in the P.R.C. and Malaysia or use Internet chat rooms to lure prospective victims.
There continued to be credible reports that some Vietnamese women married through international brokers have been trafficked or abused. The number of fraudulent marriages to Taiwan nationals has decreased, due to more stringed immigration regulations by the Taiwanese authorities, while the number of South Korea-destined brides has more than doubled in the last five years. Vietnamese women and girls are lured with promises of employment and trafficked into sexual exploitation, forced labor, and forced marriage in the P.R.C. There were some reported cases of Vietnamese children trafficked to the United Kingdom to work in the drug trade. There are reports of Vietnamese women and men trafficked to Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and the Middle East for forced and bonded labor as domestics, factory workers, or in the construction industry. Some of Vietnam's licensed and unlicensed export migrant labor recruiting agencies have contributed to trafficking, in some cases charging clients upward of $7,000 for the opportunity to work abroad, and leading some men and women into debt bondage and abusive labor situations abroad. In 2006, the Government of Vietnam passed a new Export Labor Law to better regulate such export labor enterprises and make overseas work contracts and fees more transparent. The new law will take effect in late 2007. Vietnam is a destination country for trafficked Cambodian children who are taken to urban centers for forced labor or sexual exploitation. There is also significant internal trafficking of women and children from rural areas to urban centers and of street children for forced labor and sexual exploitation.
The Government of Vietnam does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Vietnam made progress in combating sex trafficking over the past year by improving funding and implementation of its 2004-2010 National Program of Action and by overall increasing its investigations, arrests, prosecutions, and convictions of traffickers. In addition, Vietnam has built key anti-trafficking partnerships with Cambodia and the P.R.C. Vietnam needs to take more steps to protect foreign workers from being trafficked and to protect those that are victims of involuntary servitude. Passage of the new Export Labor Law in late 2006 holds promise if adequately implemented and enforced. Vietnam should also make efforts to prosecute and convict any public officials who profit from or are involved in trafficking. The Vietnamese government should continue to step up efforts to vigorously prosecute and sentence foreign sex tourists.
The Vietnamese government demonstrated increased law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking in persons. Vietnam criminally prohibits all forms of sex trafficking through the 2003 Ordinance on Prevention of Prostitution. Articles 119, 120, and 275 of its 1999 penal code cover trafficking in women, children, and all persons for labor exploitation, respectively. Penalties prescribed for trafficking for sexual and labor exploitation are sufficiently stringent and those for sexual exploitation are commensurate with those for other grave crimes. Lack of standardized and comprehensive legislation impedes more effective punishment of trafficking offenders. The Supreme People's Court reported that in 2006, Vietnamese courts tried more than 700 trafficking cases nationwide, with a total of 1,700 victims of which more than 200 involved children. Vietnamese courts convicted more than 500 individuals on trafficking charges last year with several receiving the 20-year maximum sentence. The Supreme People's Court cited these statistics as a 60 percent increase in trafficking cases over the last five years. The Ministry of Public Security police broke up a trafficking ring, led by a Taiwanese couple, involved in taking Vietnamese women to Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore for forced labor or brokered marriages and arrested 73 individuals and assisted 266 victims.
In May 2006, the government signed an anti-trafficking law enforcement memorandum of understanding with the P.R.C. and began joint cross-border law enforcement training and public awareness campaigns. Vietnamese officials arrested former British pop star "Gary Glitter" (a.k.a. Paul Francis Gadd) in 2005 and convicted him in 2006 for committing sexual acts with two underage girls in southern Vietnam. He was sentenced to three years in prison, which was reduced by three months in early 2007. Glitter initially faced more serious charges, but the government pursued lesser charges after victims recanted their stories. The government assisted in the USG's prosecution and conviction of a U.S. child sex tourist. There are no indications that high-level government officials are involved in trafficking, but instances occur in which local officials at border crossings and checkpoints receive bribes to look the other way. In Hue, government security officials broke up a criminal ring involving a local government official trafficking children to Ho Chi Minh City to sell flowers. In January 2007, Ho Chi Minh City police broke up two criminal rings trafficking Vietnamese women to Malaysia for forced prostitution.
The Vietnamese government demonstrated progress in improving victim protection and assistance in 2006. Trafficking victims in Vietnam are encouraged to assist in the investigation and prosecution process, as well as file suit against traffickers. The government has no formal system of identifying victims of trafficking, but the Vietnam Women's Union and international organizations provided training to the Border Guard Command and local authorities on how to identify, process, and treat victims. Trafficking survivors returning to Vietnam are not detained, arrested or placed in protective custody against their will. Non-resident women in prostitution are more likely to be incarcerated than locals and there has not been a concerted effort by government authorities to screen females arrested for prostitution to determine if they were trafficked. The government began spending $4.86 million from the 2005-2010 State budgets to improve services and facilities for returned and at-risk women and children. During the reporting period, the government issued new regulations and specific government-wide protocols for the return and reintegration of trafficking victims. It also issued Decision No. 05/2007, which established maximum rates for labor export brokerage fees and stipulates that these fees be charged only once and are reflected in the workers contract, in an effort to protect workers from debt bondage. The government established a global fund that Vietnamese embassies and consulates can tap into to assist in the repatriation of trafficking victims.
The Vietnamese government continued to demonstrate progress in 2006 in efforts to prevent trafficking through public awareness. Vietnamese Women and Youth Unions developed numerous anti-trafficking information products and advertising, radio campaigns, and interventions at schools in high-risk areas. The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs' (MOLISA) Department of Social Evils Prevention conducted public awareness campaigns targeting victims and high-risk groups. A legal handbook has been developed for judges and prosecutors. International organizations and NGOs continued collaborating with the government to provide training and technical assistance to various government and law enforcement entities as well as partnering in public awareness campaigns. Vietnam has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
YEMEN (Tier 2)
Yemen is a source country for women trafficked internally and possibly to Saudi Arabia for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, as well as a possible destination country for women from Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia. Some Yemeni girls fleeing forced marriages or abusive families are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation. Yemen is also a country of origin for children, mostly boys, trafficked for forced begging, forced unskilled labor, or street vending. Yemeni children are trafficked over the northern border into Saudi Arabia or to the Yemeni cities of Aden and Sana'a to work primarily as beggars. Estimates reflect that the age of children trafficked for forced begging ranges from 7 to 16 years, with the majority being between 12 and 14 years of age.
The Government of Yemen does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In February, Yemen established a technical committee to combat child trafficking. The government also increased its public awareness campaigns to educate families, local councils, and teachers on the dangers of trafficking. Yemen should, however, significantly increase prosecutions of trafficking crimes, improve protection services available to victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, and should prevent the incarceration of trafficking victims. Yemen should also institute a formal victim identification mechanism to identify and refer victims to protection services.
The Government of Yemen did not improve its efforts to punish trafficking crimes over the past year. Yemeni law does not prohibit trafficking for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or involuntary servitude, but Article 248 of the penal code stipulates a 10-year prison sentence for anyone who "buys, sells, or gives as a present, or deals in human beings; and anyone who brings into the country or exports from it a human being with the intent of taking advantage of him." Article 161 of Yemen's Child Rights Law specifically protects children from prostitution. Yemen reported 12 convictions for trafficking of children for involuntary servitude abroad, with sentences ranging from six months' to three years' imprisonment. The government prosecuted only one trafficker for commercial sexual exploitation, sentencing her to three months' imprisonment for trafficking at least two minor girls into the sex trade. Moreover, despite reports of corruption among government officers, Yemen did not prosecute any officials for involvement in trafficking.
Yemen made limited progress in protecting victims of trafficking during the reporting period. The government continues to operate a reception center providing child victims repatriated from Saudi Arabia with social services, limited medical care, and family reunification services. In 2006, this center received 796 children, and reunited 758 of them with their parents. The government, however, did not provide any protection services to victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. There have been reports that some sex trafficking victims, including minors, may be arrested and jailed for prostitution; for example, in early 2007, two minor Yemeni sex trafficking victims were arrested and kept in a juvenile detention home for one to three months. The government does not encourage victims to assist in investigations against their traffickers, and does not offer legal alternatives to removal to countries in which they may face hardship or retribution. A hotline for trafficking victims to report abuse, established in 2005, is no longer operational. Yemen should do more to ensure that victims of sex trafficking are not punished, but are provided with protection services, including shelter, medical and psychological care, and repatriation assistance.
Yemen made modest progress in preventing trafficking in persons over the past year. The government sponsors a limited anti-trafficking public awareness campaign in targeted northern areas to educate families and local leaders on the dangers of child trafficking; according to UNICEF, this program reached as many as 4,000 families, local councils, religious leaders, and teachers in 2006. The government also cooperated with Saudi Arabia to prevent and address the cross-border trafficking of children for involuntary servitude through a bilateral governmental committee. The two governments agreed to conduct a joint study in order to tackle child trafficking in a cooperative and systematic manner, and to establish a mechanism to coordinate the return of trafficked children in order to prevent them from being re-trafficked. Yemen has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
ZAMBIA (Tier 2)
Zambia is a source and transit country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Child prostitution exists in Zambia's urban centers, often encouraged or facilitated by relatives and acquaintances of the victim. It is likely that many Zambian child laborers, particularly those in agriculture and domestic service, are also trafficking victims. Zambian women, lured by false employment or marriage offers, are trafficked to South Africa via Zimbabwe for sexual exploitation. Zambia is a transit point for regional trafficking of women and children, particularly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to South Africa.
The Government of Zambia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. To further its efforts to combat trafficking, the government should pass and enact comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, formalize a victim interviewing and referral process, and increase public awareness, including among government officials, of human trafficking.
Zambia's government sustained a weak anti-trafficking law enforcement effort over the reporting period. Zambia prohibits all forms of trafficking through a 2005 amendment to its penal code, which prescribes penalties of 20 years to life in prison - penalties that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those for rape. The statute does not, however, define trafficking or set out the elements of the offense, thus limiting its utility. The government obtained its first conviction under this statute during the reporting period, but it took minimal additional law enforcement action against traffickers exploiting Zambian children. During the year, the government, with outside technical help, began drafting a comprehensive anti-trafficking law and policy. In March, police in Serenje arrested a man for attempting to sell his 10-year old son for the equivalent of $215. In January 2007, the High Court found him guilty of trafficking under the 2005 penal code amendment, and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. In April 2006, immigration officials detained two Chinese women suspected to be trafficking victims as they attempted to board a flight to London using forged travel documents; their handler escaped before he could be taken into custody.
The government's efforts to protect victims of trafficking remained extremely limited. There are no formal victim identification or referral procedures in Zambia. In some cases, victims are placed in shelters operated by NGOs. During the year, Zambian authorities worked with IOM and an NGO to shelter and repatriate two trafficked Chinese women. The Ministries of Education and Labor worked with a local NGO to remove children from situations of forced labor, including girls in prostitution, and provide them with formal education and vocational training. In 2006, the government allocated $142,500 to the Ministry of Labor's Child Labor Unit, almost twice the amount given the previous year. This unit's 50 child labor inspectors, due to lack of transportation and other resources, conducted fewer than 50 inspections in 2006 and resolved most violations through mediation and counseling. The government encouraged victims to assist with the investigation and prosecution of traffickers. Identified victims are not detained, jailed, deported, or otherwise penalized for unlawful acts committed as a result of their being trafficked.
While Zambia lacks a comprehensive public awareness campaign, the government sustained efforts to prevent vulnerable children from being trafficked. It continued operation of two youth camps that provided 18 months of counseling and rehabilitation services to street children vulnerable to trafficking, including girls removed from prostitution; 204 children graduated from the camps in 2006. After graduation, some children opted to be placed in one of 16 Youth Resources Centers where they refined trade skills such as carpentry, tailoring, or poultry farming. The Child Labor Unit provided public education on the worst forms of child labor by staging public events to raise awareness, speaking in schools, and informally counseling families, children and employers. The government's inter-agency committee on trafficking made progress toward realizing the goals of its three-pronged anti-trafficking strategy that focuses on drafting a comprehensive law, conducting a baseline study, and raising public awareness. The government-owned radio station broadcasted IOM public service announcements on trafficking. The committee also facilitated the work of an outside expert who drafted a comprehensive national policy on human trafficking after consulting with NGOs and other stakeholders.
ZIMBABWE (Tier 2)
Zimbabwe is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Rural Zimbabwean children are trafficked into cities for agricultural labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sexual exploitation. Zimbabwean women and children are reportedly trafficked for sexual exploitation in towns along the borders with the four surrounding countries. Young women and girls are also lured to South Africa, People's Republic of China, Egypt, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Zambia with false employment offers that result in involuntary domestic servitude or commercial sexual exploitation. Women and children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia are trafficked through Zimbabwe en route to South Africa. Small numbers of South African girls are trafficked to Zimbabwe for forced domestic labor.
The Government of Zimbabwe does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Over the last year, the government displayed a more vigorous commitment to addressing trafficking in persons issues. To further its efforts to combat trafficking, the government should complete investigations of pending cases and prosecute suspected traffickers; advance comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation; and launch a broad awareness raising campaign that educates all levels of government officials, as well as the general public, on the nature of trafficking and the availability of assistance for victims.
Zimbabwe's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts significantly increased; during the year, the government investigated cases of trafficking and registered its first anti-trafficking conviction. Zimbabwe does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, though existing statutes outlaw forced labor and numerous forms of sexual exploitation. In June, a magistrate's court in Harare convicted a woman under the Criminal Law Act for, under the guise of providing legitimate employment, procuring a minor and forcing her into prostitution; she was sentenced to four years in prison. Nine other separate criminal cases against traffickers are currently being prosecuted in the magistrate's court or are under investigation by police. Zimbabwean police made concerted efforts to halt commercial sexual exploitation throughout the country, arresting both individuals in prostitution and their clients; apprehended minors were not detained, but instead were interviewed by the police's Victim Friendly Unit (VFU) and referred for counseling. In early 2006, Interpol's local office established a Human Trafficking Desk to coordinate Zimbabwe's involvement in international investigations; the government seconded two police officers to staff this desk. During the year, the officers worked on several human trafficking investigations, including an ongoing investigation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malawian police, and IOM to secure the return of a Zimbabwean trafficking victim and investigate the culprits.
Zimbabwe's protection of trafficking victims improved during the reporting period. In contrast to the previous reporting period, there were no reports of government harassment of NGOs working against trafficking last year. Although the government lacked resources to provide protective services, VFU and immigration officials utilized an established process for referring victims to international organizations and NGOs that provide shelter and other services. NGOs reported that, during the year, government officials interviewed and generally referred trafficking victims for counseling and assistance in an expeditious manner. For example, police and the Department of Social Welfare referred two trafficking victims to IOM's reception center for deportees at the Beitbridge border crossing. In 2006, the government identified at least 12 trafficking victims and Zimbabwe's embassy in South Africa referred two additional victims to IOM. The government encourages victims to assist in the prosecution of traffickers and offers foreign victims relief from deportation while they receive victim services and their cases are investigated. South African authorities deported 109,532 Zimbabweans in 2006; the growing number of illegal migrants deported from South Africa and Botswana, combined with a crippling lack of resources, severely impeded the government's ability to effectively identify victims of trafficking among the returnees.
Human trafficking received increasing attention during the year, though efforts remained modest. There is a general lack of understanding about trafficking across government agencies, especially at the local level. However, senior government officials frequently speak out about the dangers of trafficking and illegal migration, and the state-run media printed and aired warnings about false employment scams, prostitution, and exploitative labor conditions. In April 2006, the government established an inter-ministerial taskforce on trafficking, but the taskforce took no concrete action during the year. Zimbabwe has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.