Country Narratives -- Countries S through Z
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. Despite strict labor laws and entry visa requirements, men and women from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Kenya, Nigeria, and Ethiopia voluntarily travel to Saudi Arabia as domestic servants or other low-skilled laborers, but subsequently face conditions of involuntary servitude, including restrictions on movement, withholding of passports, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and non-payment of wages. Women from Yemen, Morocco, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tajikistan, and Thailand 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 street vendors. Some Saudi nationals travel to destinations including Morocco, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh to engage in commercial sexual exploitation.
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. The government continues to lack adequate anti-trafficking laws, and, despite evidence of widespread trafficking abuses, did not report any criminal prosecutions, convictions, or prison sentences for trafficking 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. The Saudi government also made no discernable effort to employ procedures to identify and refer victims to protective services.
Recommendations for Saudi Arabia: Enact a comprehensive anti-trafficking law that criminalizes all forms of trafficking in persons and assigns criminal penalties that are sufficiently stringent to deter the crime and adequately reflect the heinous nature of the crime; significantly increase criminal prosecutions and punishments of abusive employers and those culpable of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation; ensure that trafficking victims are not detained or punished for acts committed as a result of being trafficked; institute a formal victim identification mechanism to distinguish trafficking victims among the thousands of workers it deports each year for immigration violations and other crimes; and extend protection to victims of sex trafficking, as well as ensure that their traffickers are criminally prosecuted.
Saudi Arabia did not demonstrate efforts to criminally punish trafficking crimes over the reporting period. The government does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, but penalizes forced labor through Articles 229-242 of its Labor Law. Penalties prescribed under these forced labor statutes, however, are limited to fines or bans on future hiring, and are not sufficiently stringent. These laws also do not apply to domestic servants, the primary victims of forced labor in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia does not have a law specifically prohibiting trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. There have been some cases of assault against foreign workers resulting in physical injuries or death, reports of widespread worker abuse, and anecdotal evidence of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. The Saudi government, however, reported no criminal investigations, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences for trafficking offenses. The government does not enforce fines or bans on hiring workers imposed upon abusive employers or recruitment agencies, and police are criticized for being unresponsive to requests for help from foreign workers.
Saudi Arabia took inadequate measures to protect victims of trafficking and sometimes punished victims. The government claims it makes available to trafficking victims services including shelter, legal aid, and medical and psychological care. However, many victims are not always provided such assistance; they must seek shelter at their embassies, negotiate settlements with their employers, and independently obtain funds to return home. 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 or automatically deported without being offered protection. Women arrested for prostitution are not interviewed for evidence of trafficking and may be subjected to stringent corporal punishment for adultery under Saudi law. Although Saudi Arabia offers temporary relief from deportation to some victims who identify themselves to authorities, those who have run away from their employers, overstayed their visas, or otherwise violated the legal terms of their visas may be jailed or detained. Saudi officials do not encourage victims to assist in investigations against their traffickers, and often discourage this by persuading victims to take monetary compensation in lieu of filing criminal charges against their employer. Of particular concern are reports that, in some cases, victims are returned to their employers by police officers after making a trafficking complaint. Legal recourse is available to victims in theory, but the lack of translation assistance and lengthy and costly delays often discourage victims. The government does not offer legal alternatives to the removal of foreign trafficking victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution.
Saudi Arabia made minimal efforts to prevent trafficking in persons. The government provides trafficking awareness and technical training for officials with trafficking prevention responsibilities. In November 2007, media sources reported that Saudi Arabia signed agreements to offer financial assistance to Yemen —a key source country for child beggars—to establish educational, technical, vocational, health, and infrastructure projects to prevent child trafficking. The government, however, did not dtake any reported measures during the reporting period to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. Similarly, Saudi Arabia failed to undertake any public awareness campaigns targeting citizens traveling to known child sex tourism destinations abroad.
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 and the majority of victims are children. Within Senegal, religious teachers traffic boys, called talibe, by promising to educate them, but subjecting them instead to forced begging and physical abuse. A 2007 study done by UNICEF, the ILO, and the World Bank found that 6,480 talibe were forced to beg in Dakar alone. Women and girls are trafficked for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation, including for sex tourism, within Senegal. 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. Women and girls from other West African countries, particularly Liberia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria may be trafficked to Senegal for sexual exploitation, including for sex tourism.
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. Senegal maintained a steady commitment to rescuing and caring for victims, though law enforcement efforts remained modest.
Recommendations for Senegal: Increase efforts to prosecute and convict traffickers; activate the Ministry of Interior’s Special Commissariat Against Sex Tourism and the Tourism Ministry’s sex tourism police unit to arrest sex tourists and rescue their victims; and increase efforts to raise awareness about trafficking.
The Government of Senegal demonstrated modest law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking 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 law’s prescribed penalties of five to 10 years’ imprisonment for all forms of trafficking are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for rape. In December 2007, nine individuals, two of whom were truck drivers from Guinea-Bissau and one of whom was Senegalese, were arrested at the southern border for attempting to traffic 34 boys. The suspects are in jail awaiting trial. In 2007, a religious leader was prosecuted and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for beating a talibe to death. The Ministry of Tourism activated a police unit to combat sex tourism in Dakar, though a similar unit established in Mbour is not yet operational. During the year, the Ministry of the Interior activated the Special Commissariat Against Sex Tourism—which it had established in 2005—in Dakar and Mbour. The Ministry of the Interior, through its Bureau of Investigations, works closely with Interpol to monitor immigration and emigration patterns for evidence of trafficking. Senegalese police continued to work closely with Bissau-Guinean authorities to repatriate children trafficked for forced begging back to Guinea-Bissau.
The Government of Senegal demonstrated solid efforts to protect trafficking victims over the last year. Senegal continued to operate the Ginndi Center, its shelter for destitute children, including trafficking victims. In its record keeping, the Center does not specifically track the number of trafficking victims it receives. However, the Family Ministry, which funds and operates the Center with help from international donors, has recently begun using an NGO-funded computerized database to track trafficking victims. Last year, the center received 917 destitute children, including trafficking victims. With international organization assistance, all of these children were reunited with their families in Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and The Gambia. The government provided 77 of these children with vocational training and 329 with medical care. The government also continued to operate its free child protection hotline out of the Ginndi Center. The hotline received 66,823 calls last year. The government also sometimes refers victims to NGOs for care on an ad hoc basis. The government encourages victims to assist in trafficking investigations or prosecutions by permitting closed-door victim testimonies during trafficking prosecutions and by interviewing victims to gather evidence to prosecute traffickers. The government provides legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution. Trafficking victims have the option of remaining temporarily or permanently in Senegal under the status of resident or refugee. Victims are not inappropriately incarcerated or fined for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked.
The Government of Senegal made minimal efforts to raise awareness about trafficking during the reporting period. As part of its program against the worst forms of child labor, the Family Ministry conducted donor-funded workshops and roundtables in Mbour, Dakar, and other areas of the country to raise awareness about forced child begging, child domestic servitude, and prostitution of children. A magistrate at the High Commissary of Human Rights, the government’s focal point agency to combat trafficking, holds monthly meetings with representatives from the Ministries of Justice, Tourism, Interior, Women, and Education to better disseminate and enforce the law prohibiting trafficking. The government took measures to reduce demand for commercial sex acts in Senegal by activating a tourism police unit and a special police commissariat to combat child sex tourism. The government did not take measures to ensure that its nationals who are deployed abroad as part of peacekeeping missions do not engage in or facilitate trafficking. The Family Ministry is working with a foreign donor to develop a new national action plan against trafficking.
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 are trafficked to Serbia from Macedonia, Ukraine, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Albania, and the People’s Republic of China. Serbia continued to serve as a transit country for victims trafficked from Bosnia, Croatia, and Slovenia and destined for Italy and other countries in Western Europe. Internal sex trafficking of Serbian women and girls continued to increase, comprising more than three-fourths of trafficking cases in 2007. Some children continued to be trafficked into forced labor or forced street begging. According to NGOs and law enforcement, efforts to shut down known brothels continued to prompt traffickers to better conceal victims of trafficking.
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 increased national funding for combating trafficking in persons, actively investigated trafficking, prosecuted high-level cases, and took a step in addressing trafficking-related corruption by investigating and charging a state prosecutor for complicity. During the reporting period, the government improved its capacity to assist trafficking victims via the establishment of 11 new municipal teams made up of government officials and NGO representatives. An inefficient judicial system resulted in trials that lasted months or years, and convicted traffickers continued to delay serving their sentences, sometimes by several years, by filing multiple appeals. This sometimes resulted in convicted traffickers remaining free and possibly continuing to exploit victims. Sentences continued to be light in many cases, and did not serve to deter trafficking in Serbia. Although the government expanded its training program to educate law enforcement how to identify victims, concerns remained about victims sometimes not correctly identified and punished as a result of being trafficked.
Recommendations for Serbia: Pass implementing legislation as part of the national judicial reform plan, which will streamline the judicial process and ensure convicted traffickers serve their sentences soon after sentencing; continue to address trafficking- related corruption by vigorously prosecuting and punishing officials who facilitate trafficking; amend the penal code to raise minimum penalties for trafficking; provide evidence of vigorous prosecution, conviction, and sentencing of traffickers via comprehensive law enforcement data; implement measures in the National Strategy to Combat Trafficking in Persons, such as the protocol for victim identification and referral; include NGOs in the initial identification phase for potential victims; develop programs to assist the increasingly growing problem of children who are victims of trafficking; and improve prevention efforts, including efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex.
The Government of Serbia continued its efforts to actively investigate trafficking cases, though its court often imposed insufficient sentences on convicted trafficking offenders. The criminal code for Serbia criminally prohibits sex and labor trafficking in article 388 and prescribes penalties that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave offenses, such as rape. In 2007, the government investigated and charged 62 persons with trafficking. The government reported at least 23 trafficking convictions during the reporting period. In December 2007, in a high-profile case in Novi Sad, the judge sentenced 11 defendants, including one police officer, to a total of 42 years’ imprisonment, and the defendants are reportedly serving their sentences. In another high profile case, the government investigated and indicted seven traffickers, including the Deputy Public Prosecutor, in Novi Pazar in December 2007. The prosecutor sexually exploited some of the victims and was aware of trafficking abuses they had suffered, including the death of one victim. In 2007, the government investigated a police officer for his role in facilitating the trafficking of a forced labor victim. This trial is scheduled to begin in May 2008. In March 2007, a Belgrade court convicted 12 suspects to a total of 42 years’ imprisonment for trafficking Chinese nationals through Serbia. Most convicted traffickers in Serbia continue to be freed pending appeal and there was at least one case of a convicted trafficker who remained free and continued his trafficking activities. Due to vacancies in the office of the National Coordinator, the government did not provide comprehensive law enforcement data on trafficking prosecutions, convictions, and sentences.
The government continued to cooperate with NGOs on victim assistance, but did not provide any funding for NGOs providing victims of trafficking with services such as counseling, legal assistance, and reintegration programs. The Agency for the Coordination of Protection of Victims of Trafficking reported the identification of 60 victims in 2007, including 26 minors; 48 of the 60 were Serbian victims. The government encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers, according to NGOs in Serbia; 90 percent of victims reportedly participated in the investigation of their traffickers. However, many victims refuse to testify in court, out of fear of reprisals by their traffickers. The government used its 2006 Witness Protection Law to protect only one trafficking victim during the year. According to NGOs, trafficking victims were often directly or indirectly forced to testify against traffickers and some courts continue to demonstrate insensitivity to trafficking victims by scheduling victims and their accused traffickers to appear in court together, despite victims’ objections. Serbian law allows victims to file civil suits against traffickers for compensation, but as of March 2008 no trafficking victim had been awarded compensation. Victims pursuing criminal or civil suits are entitled to temporary residence permits and may obtain employment or leave the country pending trial proceedings. The government awarded temporary residence status to a total of six victims in 2007. Identified victims are not detained, jailed, prosecuted, or otherwise penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked. However, one NGO reported that authorities failed to identify some trafficking victims in 2007, resulting in their arrest, detainment, and subsequent deportation. To address this issue, the government expanded its training program for law enforcement. In 2007, thirty-seven trafficking victims were accommodated in two NGO shelters, 21 in a short-term shelter and 16 in transition housing (including two babies). Reintegration services were provided to 47 women and four men (including 22 children). During the reporting period, 11 new municipalities established social assistance teams composed of social workers, police, and NGO staff to provide assistance to potential victims of family violence and trafficking.
The Government of Serbia demonstrated mixed efforts in its prevention activities in 2007. The government has yet to begin implementation of its December 2006 National Strategy to Combat Trafficking in Persons. Furthermore, the government’s anti-trafficking team charged with leading Serbia’s anti-trafficking efforts met only once during the year. However, the government increased its educational prevention programs during the year, and in 2007, launched a fund-raising drive for the Agency for Coordination. It also sponsored a month of anti-trafficking programs on national television during October 2007. Although the government finalized scripts for a project to which it earmarked $100,000 for a 13-episode television series entitled “Modern Slavery,” NGOs expressed concerns about the series being completed. The government did not conduct any awareness campaigns aimed to reduce demand for commercial sex acts.
SIERRA LEONE (Tier 2)
Sierra Leone 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. Within the country, women and children are trafficked from rural provinces to towns and mining areas for domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, and forced labor in diamond mines, petty trading, petty crime, and for forced 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. Sierra Leone is a destination country for children trafficked from Nigeria and possibly from Liberia and Guinea for forced begging, forced labor in mines and as porters, and for sexual exploitation. There have also been cases of children trafficked from refugee communities in Sierra Leone. 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. The government reported that it prosecuted five traffickers, but was unable to provide data on trafficking convictions. While Sierra Leone reported that it referred victims to an international organization’s shelter, the number of victims referred was low.
Recommendations for Sierra Leone: Strengthen efforts to prosecute and convict trafficking offenders; educate law enforcement officials on the distinction between trafficking and smuggling; allocate increased funding to transporting victims from the interior to Freetown for care; increase the number of government victim referrals to IOM; and develop procedures for identifying trafficking victims among females in prostitution.
The Government of Sierra Leone made modest law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking in the last year. Sierra Leone prohibits all forms of trafficking through its 2005 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, which prescribes a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment. This penalty is sufficiently stringent, but not commensurate with penalties for rape, which carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Between January and December 2007, the government reported that it conducted 14 trafficking investigations. Five of these cases are being prosecuted—as compared with seven cases prosecuted in 2006. Although an international NGO reported that Sierra Leone convicted three traffickers, the government was unable to corroborate this information. In January 2008, the Sierra Leonean Embassy in Conakry received from the Guinean government four Sierra Leonean women whom Guinean authorities suspected of trafficking children to Sierra Leone, and transported them back to Sierra Leone. Rather than prosecuting them, the government and IOM determined that they were actually trafficking victims and returned them to their communities.
The Sierra Leonean government demonstrated limited efforts to protect trafficking victims during the last year. The government does not operate its own shelter, but refers victims to the nation’s only trafficking victim shelter, which is located in Freetown and operated by IOM. The Family Support Units (FSU) of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) turned over intercepted trafficking victims to the Ministry of Social Welfare (MOSW), which then referred the victims to IOM for assistance. Some victims outside Freetown were not referred for care, however, due to lack of transport to the capital or the difficulty of travel during the rainy season. The government reported that it referred 14 trafficking victims to IOM for assistance in the 2007 calendar year. In January 2007, the Sierra Leonean Embassy in Conakry received from the Guinean government and protected 10 suspected child trafficking victims and returned them to Sierra Leone. The MOSW and IOM determined that the children were in fact not trafficking victims, but were related to the aforementioned four Sierra Leonean women whom Guinean authorities had suspected were trafficking these children into Sierra Leone. The children were reunited with their parents under the supervision of the MOSW. In March 2008, the government donated shelter space to IOM in order to replace the facility IOM currently rents. Although the government permits victims to participate in investigations and prosecutions, cases take so long to go to court that many victims are no longer available at the time of trial. As a result, some cases are dropped, since many cannot be successfully tried without a victim witness. The government does not actively encourage victims to participate in investigations and prosecutions. Sierra Leone does not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution. There were no known cases during the year of trafficking victims inappropriately incarcerated or fined for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked. However, authorities’ conflation of trafficking and smuggling has probably led to some trafficking victims being penalized as illegal immigrants. Also, NGOs report that police raid brothels and arrest females in prostitution without following procedures to identify trafficking victims among them.
The Government of Sierra Leone made inadequate efforts to raise awareness about trafficking during the reporting period. The government failed to conduct trafficking information or education campaigns. While the National Anti-Trafficking Task Force, which is composed of government officials, NGOs, and international organizations, met monthly for half the year, meetings were less frequent in the year’s second half and government authorities from some key ministries rarely attended. While the 2005 anti-trafficking law mandates the creation of a Trafficking Secretariat to coordinate national anti-trafficking activities, it has yet to be established. Sierra Leone does not monitor immigration and emigration patters for trafficking activity. Border officials continue to lack a full understanding of the distinction between smuggling and trafficking. The government took some measures to reduce demand for commercial sex acts by raiding brothels, but did not follow procedures to identify trafficking victims among females in prostitution. 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 labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Some women from India, Thailand, the Philippines, and the People’s Republic of China who travel to Singapore voluntarily for prostitution or work are subsequently deceived or coerced into sexual servitude. A significant number of foreign domestic workers in Singapore faces the unlawful confiscation of their travel documents, restrictions on their movement, confinement, and/or physical or sexual abuse. 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. In February, 2008 the government enacted amendments to the Penal Code that criminalize prostitution involving a minor under the age of 18, thereby ensuring that Singaporean law criminalizes all severe forms of trafficking in persons. The police adopted new training programs and procedures to familiarize officers with the new Penal Code offenses and to provide them with the skills to identify potential trafficking victims. Notably, the recent Penal Code amendments also extend extra-territorial jurisdiction over Singaporean citizens and permanent residents who sexually exploit children in other countries, and make organizing or promoting child sex tourism a criminal offense. At the same time, however, the government did not prosecute or convict any trafficking offenders during the reporting period, and did not take adequate measures to protect victims of trafficking, particularly foreign domestic workers subjected to forced labor conditions.
Recommendations for Singapore: Vigorously investigate and prosecute both labor and sex trafficking cases, and ensure that trafficking offenders are convicted and receive appropriate criminal punishments ; increase efforts to proactively identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable groups such as foreign women and children arrested for prostitution; institute procedures to ensure that victims are not arrested, incarcerated or otherwise punished for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; and conduct public awareness campaigns to inform citizens and residents of the amendments to the Penal Code and penalties for involvement in trafficking for sexual exploitation or labor.
The Government of Singapore demonstrated some law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking in persons during the reporting year. Singapore expanded its anti-trafficking legal framework with the February 1, 2008 entry into force of the Penal Code (Amendment) Act of 2007 to criminalize all forms of trafficking, including the commercial sexual exploitation of sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds. 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, as are penalties prescribed for labor trafficking. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) received and investigated 28 reports of human trafficking during the reporting period; one case remains under investigation, while the others were closed due to lack of substantiating evidence. There were no reported criminal prosecutions or convictions for labor or sex trafficking offenses during the reporting period. In 2007 the authorities arrested 130 pimps and “vice abettors” (e.g., brothel operators). Fifteen pimps and thirty vice abettors were prosecuted; however, it is unclear how many, if any, of these cases involved trafficking. There were no reports of government officials’ complicity in trafficking crimes during the reporting period.
The government did not show appreciable progress in protecting trafficking victims, particularly foreign domestic workers subjected to forced labor conditions, over the reporting period. The government does not operate victim shelters, but instead referred potential victims of trafficking to NGO shelters or foreign embassies over the reporting period. In 2007, one NGO reported offering protection to over 900 foreign workers who ran away from their employers in Singapore after complaining of abusive conditions; the NGO estimates that as many as 70 percent of such workers has cited conditions that may potentially meet the definition of trafficking in persons. The Philippines Embassy separately reported receiving complaints from as many as 212 of its nationals that raise concerns about trafficking; however, only three of its nationals elected to file criminal complaints with Singaporean authorities. Law enforcement efforts aimed at curbing prostitution likely resulted in victims of sex trafficking being penalized for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. In 2007, the police arrested 5,402 foreign women for prostitution, who were generally incarcerated then deported. The number of trafficking victims among this group is unknown; however, government measures to proactively identify potential trafficking victims among this vulnerable population, if any, appear to have been limited during the majority of the reporting period. At least 60 of those reportedly arrested and deported without being formally identified and provided with appropriate protective services were minors. The government encourages identified victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenders, and makes available to all foreign victims of crime temporary immigration relief that allows them to reside in Singapore pending conclusion of their criminal case. Singapore does not otherwise provide trafficking victims with a legal alternative to removal to countries where they may face hardship or retribution.
The Singaporean government demonstrated some increased efforts to prevent trafficking in persons during the year. The Government expanded its information campaign that aims to raise awareness among foreign workers of their rights and resources available, in an effort to prevent incidents of trafficking. It prints information on employees’ rights and police hotline numbers for domestics on prepaid phone cards. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has a bi-annual newsletter, published in multiple languages, that it mails directly to all 170,000 foreign domestic workers. All foreign domestic workers working in Singapore for the first time attend a compulsory course on domestic safety and their employment rights and responsibilities. The government undertook some administrative actions for violations of labor laws potentially related to trafficking, including employer fines and license suspensions for several employment agencies. In August 2007 one employer was sentenced to one year in jail for physically abusing her maid. The government did not undertake specific measures to reduce demand for commercial sex acts involving adults in the legalized commercial sex industry in Singapore. As noted above, however, the government took measures to curb participation by its nationals and others in child sex tourism by establishing extra-territorial jurisdiction over Singaporean citizens and permanent residents who sexually exploit children in other countries, and criminalizing organization or promotion of child sex tourism activities. Singapore has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
SLOVAK REPUBLIC (Tier 2)
The Slovak Republic is a source, transit, and limited destination country for women and girls from Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria, the Balkans, the Baltics, and China trafficked to Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Spain, Croatia, and Slovenia for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Men from Vietnam were trafficked to Slovakia for the purpose of forced labor. Roma women and girls from Slovakia are trafficked internally for sexual exploitation.
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. The government allocated $91,000 for anti-trafficking efforts in 2007, an increase from $60,000 in 2006. In February 2008, police began investigating the country’s first identified labor trafficking case involving eight Vietnamese nationals forced to work in a cigarette factory in Bratislava. The government also made efforts to improve victim identification and assistance referral. However, the number of victims assisted by government- funded programs decreased in 2007.
Recommendations for the Slovak Republic: Increase the number of victims assisted by government- funded NGO programs; continue to improve communication between government ministries responsible for anti-trafficking initiatives; increase collaboration with NGOs by soliciting their advice and expertise on anti-trafficking projects and future efforts; provide additional trafficking-specific training for border police, customs officials, and social workers at refugee camps and asylum centers to increase the number of victims identified and referred for assistance by government officials; continue collaboration with NGOs in identifying victims among persons in police detention centers and immigration facilities; and increase domestic public awareness and trafficking prevention efforts.
The Government of the Slovak Republic demonstrated adequate 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 under the criminal code 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 14 trafficking investigations in 2007, including one labor trafficking investigation, compared to 20 investigations in 2006. The government prosecuted 16 defendants in four cases, compared to 32 trafficking cases in 2006. Seven trafficking offenders were convicted during the reporting period, down from 18 convicted in 2006. Most convicted traffickers were given sentences of up to two years’ imprisonment; one trafficker was sentenced to seven months’ imprisonment. There were no official cases of high-level government officials involved in trafficking during the reporting period. The government extradited one person to Austria to face trafficking charges during the reporting period.
The government demonstrated modest efforts to assist and protect victims in 2007. The Ministry of the Interior funded a new NGO program which provided shelter and assistance to four victims. In 2006, government funding to NGOs aided 10 victims; an additional 43 victims were assisted by nongovernmental-funded programs. The Ministry of Interior published a training manual and provided victim identification, referral, and sensitivity training for 490 police officers. Police identified and referred 15 victims to NGOs for assistance during the reporting period. Victims are encouraged to participate in investigations and prosecutions; foreign victims who cooperate with law enforcement are permitted to remain in Slovakia and work for the duration of the investigation or trial.
Slovakia demonstrated limited efforts to prevent trafficking during the reporting period. The Border and Alien Police monitored the border for evidence of trafficking. The government continued to operate a 38-bed shelter for unaccompanied minors who enter the country illegally, thus helping to prevent the trafficking of this vulnerable population. In 2007, the government allocated $22,000 to develop and implement future awareness campaigns to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. The Ministry of Education approved the use of NGO-produced anti-trafficking materials in schools in 2007, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs cooperated with NGOs in a series of training and trafficking awareness activities aimed at vulnerable population groups, including Roma populations. During the reporting period, the government published a brochure educating its nationals traveling to other EU countries for employment opportunities about the dangers of trafficking. Slovakia did not provide trafficking awareness training for deployed peacekeeping officials during the reporting period.
SLOVENIA (Tier 1)
Slovenia is a transit, destination, and to a lesser extent a source country for men, women, and children trafficked from Ukraine, Slovakia, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Turkey, Albania, and Montenegro for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor, including in the construction industry. In 2007, disabled men from Slovakia were trafficked to Slovenia for the purpose of forced begging. Slovenian women are trafficked within the country or to countries in Western Europe for commercial sexual exploitation.
The Government of Slovenia fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government sustained its strong law enforcement efforts and generous victim assistance funding during the reporting period. In 2007, Slovenia increased funding for victim assistance from $85,000 to $105,000. The government also increased and diversified its public awareness efforts.
Recommendations for Slovenia: Continue vigorous investigations and prosecutions of trafficking offenses; provide trafficking awareness training for judges; continue to ensure that a majority of convicted traffickers serve some time in prison; increase the number of victims referred for assistance; and conduct a domestic demand reduction campaign for commercial sex acts.
The government demonstrated adequate law enforcement efforts in 2007. 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 10 years’ imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. Authorities conducted six trafficking investigations in 2007, up from three in 2006. Courts prosecuted three cases and convicted five traffickers in 2007, down from six cases prosecuted and seven traffickers convicted in 2006. Four traffickers were given sentences ranging from 15 to 57 months’ imprisonment and one convicted trafficker served no time in prison. The Slovenian Police Directorate provided eight training sessions for 165 police officers during the reporting period.
The Government of Slovenia provided quality victim assistance and protection during the reporting period, although the number of victims assisted and referred by government officials declined in 2007. The government provided $105,000 to two NGOs to provide both short-term and extended victim assistance including shelter, rehabilitative counseling, medical assistance, vocational training, and legal assistance. In 2007, these NGOs assisted 26 victims or potential victims compared to 43 victims assisted in 2006. The government continued to implement its formalized victim identification and referral mechanism during the reporting period; however, during the year, police referred only four victims to NGOs for assistance, down from 21 victims referred in 2006. After identification, victims were granted a 90-day reflection period, and were encouraged to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions; foreign victims who assist law enforcement are eligible to stay in Slovenia for the duration of the trial. Eight victims assisted law enforcement officials with trafficking investigations and prosecutions in 2007. Victims were not punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
The government increased its prevention efforts during the reporting period. Slovenia continued to fund an NGO to provide trafficking awareness classes for students in elementary and secondary schools, reaching 400 students, parents, and teachers nationwide in 2007. With government funding, one NGO conducted a radio campaign simulating a trafficking victim’s call to the NGO’s hotline to encourage victims to seek assistance. In September 2007, the Ministry of Education introduced the theme of human trafficking into the standard Slovenian primary school curriculum. Slovenia continued to monitor its borders for evidence of trafficking. The government continued to provide Slovenian troops assigned to peacekeeping missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan with trafficking awareness training. The government has not taken any measures to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.
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 within their country for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic servitude, while boys are trafficked internally for use in street vending, food service, and agriculture. Anecdotal evidence suggests that South African children are forced to provide unpaid labor for landowners in return for their family occupying land or accommodation, or maintaining labor tenancy rights. Child sex tourism is prevalent in a number of South Africa’s cities. South African women are trafficked transnationally to Ireland, the Middle East, and the United States for domestic servitude. Women and girls from other African countries are trafficked to South Africa for commercial sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and other jobs in the service sector; occasionally, these women are trafficked onward to Europe for sexual exploitation. Thai, Chinese, and Eastern European women are trafficked to South Africa for debt-bonded commercial sexual exploitation. Young men and boys from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi are trafficked to South Africa for farm work, often laboring for months in South Africa without pay before “employers” have them arrested and deported as illegal immigrants. Organized criminal groups—including Nigerian, Chinese, and Eastern European syndicates— 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 fourth consecutive year for its failure to show increasing efforts to address trafficking over the last year. The government provided inadequate data on trafficking crimes investigated or prosecuted or on resulting convictions or sentences. In addition, it did not provide information on its efforts to protect victims of trafficking and continued to deport and/or prosecute suspected foreign victims without providing appropriate protective services.
Recommendations for South Africa: Fully implement the trafficking provisions of the Sexual Offenses and Children’s Acts and raise awareness among all levels of relevant government officials as to their responsibilities under these provisions; develop and employ national procedures for victim protection, including the identification of trafficking victims among undocumented immigrants; and regularly compile national statistics on the number of trafficking cases prosecuted and victims assisted, as is done for other crimes.
The South African government did not provide information on anti-trafficking investigations that resulted in the punishment of any traffickers in 2007. For the majority of the reporting period, South Africa did not have laws that specifically prohibited trafficking in persons, though a variety of other criminal statutes, such as the Prevention of Organized Crime Act, were used to prosecute trafficking crimes. Law enforcement authorities could also use existing laws prohibiting involuntary servitude, child labor, and forced labor to prosecute labor trafficking cases, but do not appear to have done so. The lack of specific anti-trafficking statutes and explicit penalties for trafficking crimes continued to hamper South African law enforcement efforts in 2007, 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, in December 2007, several sections of the Sexual Offenses Amendment Act came into force, including Chapter 7 Part 6 which contains broad provisions against sex trafficking, but makes no provision for victim protection. Implementing regulations for the Children’s Act of 2005 remained unfinished, preventing use of the law’s provisions on child trafficking. The comment period on a draft comprehensive human trafficking bill closed in June 2007 and the South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) staff finalized the text to be recommended to the Department of Justice in early 2008. Although the government initiated a number of significant investigations during the reporting period, it made little progress in prosecuting or convicting suspected traffickers. In November 2007, new racketeering charges were filed against the suspected trafficker in a December 2006 sex trafficking case involving Thai women. Four cooperating Thai witnesses remain in protective custody and are expected to testify when the case comes to trial in May 2008. In July 2007, ten Thai women were arrested, along with their two Indian and Thai traffickers, at a brothel in Durban. Three women agreed to testify for the state and remain under government protection; seven women and their alleged traffickers await prosecution. After receiving a tip from Zimbabwean police in June 2007, the South African Police Service (SAPS) arrested a South African man for allegedly trafficking a Zimbabwean woman to South Africa with promises of a job. While he was initially taken into custody under charges of violating migration laws and the Sexual Offenses Act, the status of this case is unknown. Because some parents had given consent for the initial travel, the Cape Town magistrate’s court dismissed, in December 2007, charges against a man accused of trafficking boys to the city for street vending and detaining them against their will without pay. In March 2008, the SAPS arrested 27 prostituted Chinese women, as well as the seven men accused of transporting them to South Africa and selling them into the sex trade; a police spokesman indicated that the women entered the country illegally and would be deported. The status of the Department of Labor’s investigations, if any, into cases involving child labor trafficking is unknown; also unknown are any prosecutions of child labor trafficking. In early 2007, Labor Department officials conducted a week of surprise visits to homes employing adult domestic workers to inspect working conditions; the results of these inspections are unknown. The government did not provide information on the status of pending cases reported in 2006. The South African Police Service has a Human Trafficking Desk within its Organized Crime Unit; the government did not provide information related to actions or investigations taken by the Desk during the reporting period. The government did not document or track anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts or provide specialized anti-trafficking training to law enforcement, prosecutorial, or judicial personnel. During 2007, there was little cross-border cooperation on human trafficking between the government and its neighbors. Some local law enforcement officials are believed to be connected with organized criminal elements that engage in human trafficking.
Government protection for trafficking victims during the reporting period remained inadequate, and formal protocols to identify and care for trafficking victims were lacking. Police referred an unknown number of internal child trafficking victims to local NGO-run shelters during the reporting period. As part of its ongoing program to assist organizations that shelter vulnerable populations, the government granted funding to some facilities that provided housing for trafficking victims, though not in a consistent or timely fashion. In 2007, the Department of Home Affairs referred one foreign child victim of trafficking to IOM for assistance. The Department of Social Development (DSD) provided the victim with shelter accommodation, schooling, and basic needs. However, DSD did not refer any children to IOM for assistance during the reporting period. It is unknown whether law enforcement or social service officials referred foreign victims directly to other organizations in 2007. Organizations working to help trafficked children continued to lament South Africa’s shortage of social workers, a situation resulting in inadequate case monitoring and follow-up, and failure in some cases to accompany children to court. The government actively encouraged victims’ assistance in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers; South Africa’s witness protection program safeguarded at least seven Thai trafficking victims during the year to enable their involvement. The government provided these witnesses shelter and modest food stipends. Despite this positive development, the government continued to arrest and, at times, prosecute suspected trafficking victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked, as noted in the aforementioned case of the 27 Chinese women. In addition, extensive delays in scheduling court appearances have resulted in some alleged victims choosing not to testify during the trial of their traffickers. However, the new Sexual Offenses Act states that sex trafficking victims are not liable to stand trial for any criminal offense, including any migration-related offense, which was committed as a direct result of being trafficked. No similar provision exists for victims of labor trafficking. The lack of national coordination and procedures for victim protection continued to lead to deportation of most foreign victims before they were provided protective services or were able to give evidence in court. Immigration officials did not attempt to identify trafficking victims among the thousands of undocumented foreigners they detained—notably Zimbabweans and Mozambicans—before deporting them.
The government demonstrated minimal progress in combating human trafficking through prevention efforts. It conducted no anti-trafficking information or education campaigns during the reporting period. The Sexual Offenses and Community Affairs Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA/SOCA) serves as the de facto lead of the government’s anti-trafficking effort and chairs the Trafficking in Persons Inter-sectoral Task Team made up of government departments, IOM, UNODC, and a local NGO. The Task Team produced no significant outcomes in 2007. In January 2008, NPA/SOCA established an internal Human Trafficking Unit comprised of a national trafficking coordinator and a program manager. This Unit is tasked with reviving the Intersectoral Task Team and undertaking data gathering and public awareness raising activities, as outlined in the government’s 2006 anti-trafficking plan of action. NPA/SOCA launched a website in December 2007 outlining its proposed strategy for responding to human trafficking. The website also provides the public with information on the nature of human trafficking and instructions for reporting a case or obtaining victim assistance. The government made no progress in investigating the cross-border trafficking of Mozambican, Malawian, and Zimbabwean children for agricultural labor. In January 2008, however, the government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Zimbabwean government to conduct a joint project to regularize the status of illegal Zimbabwean migrant farm workers in South Africa’s Limpopo Province and ensure them proper employment conditions. The government did not undertake efforts to reduce domestic demand for commercial sex acts or to combat child sex tourism during the reporting period. All South African troops destined for peacekeeping missions abroad are provided training on sexual exploitation issues prior to their deployment.
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, although victims are also trafficked from other areas of Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa. In smaller numbers, Chinese victims are trafficked to Spain primarily for labor exploitation.
The Government of Spain fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Spain undertook sustained measures to assist trafficking victims, prosecute traffickers, provide anti-trafficking law enforcement statistics, prevent trafficking, and reduce the demand for commercial sex.
Recommendations for Spain: Establish a formal referral mechanism and procedures for victim identification; implement a national action plan to combat trafficking; expand commercial sex and child sex tourism demand reduction campaigns; and continue to seek active participation from NGOs on anti-trafficking efforts, including policy initiatives.
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. The prescribed penalties for sex trafficking is five to 15 years’ imprisonment, and the penalty for labor trafficking is four to 12 years in prison. These are sufficiently stringent, and the penalties prescribed for sex trafficking are commensurate with the prescribed penalties for rape. The government implemented new legislation in 2007 that increased prescribed penalties for trafficking by two to six years in prison if the offender is found to be part of a criminal organization, and passed additional legislation in 2007 that allows Spanish courts to prosecute cases of trafficking that have occurred outside Spain’s borders. During the reporting period, police arrested 530 individuals for sex trafficking and 161 for labor trafficking. Government officials prosecuted 102 trafficking cases, convicted 142 trafficking offenders, and imposed an average prison sentence of 4.6 years on those convicted. Over 67 percent of these sentences were greater than four years, and approximately 25 percent of the convictions resulted in a fine and/ or suspended sentence. Spain announced in early 2008 that it would allot $8.6 million to fund an anti-trafficking cooperation agreement with several Central American countries.
The government sustained impressive efforts to provide care for trafficking victims during the reporting period. In 2007, Spain increased funding to anti-trafficking NGOs providing care to victims. Spain does not have a formal mechanism for referring victims to service providers; however, Spanish police continued informally to refer rescued victims to NGOs providing temporary shelter and rehabilitation services. Victims receive medical assistance, including emergency care, through the national health care system. The police identified 1,035 sex trafficking victims and 445 labor trafficking victims in 2007. The government encourages foreign 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. There is no indication that victims are inappropriately incarcerated, fined, or penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. Spain does not employ formal procedures for identifying victims among vulnerable groups, such as women in prostitution.
Spain sustained efforts to raise awareness about trafficking over the past year. The Spanish government instituted a toll-free hotline that offers trafficking victims and potential victims information. Regional offices of the national police conduct quarterly reviews to set goals for combating trafficking and to assess progress. Spain has not yet, however, enacted its National Integral Plan Against Trafficking in Persons which was expected to be finalized in 2007. The plan includes a government pledge of almost $45 million per year and the dedication of over 200 new police and civil guards to its enforcement. Local governments continued demand-reduction campaigns. The city of Madrid targeted potential sex solicitors with the slogan, “Do not contribute to the perpetuation of 21st Century Slavery.” Spanish military troops deploying abroad as international peacekeepers received anti-trafficking training through participation in multilateral training efforts. Under the motto “There Are No Excuses,” the Spanish government warned travelers against child sex tourism. In January 2008, the Ministries of Labor and Social Affairs and Foreign Affairs teamed up with Save the Children to host an international conference on child trafficking, which addressed child sex tourism.
SRI LANKA (Tier 2 Watch List)
Sri Lanka is a source and destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of involuntary servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. Sri Lankan men and women migrate willingly to Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and South Korea to work as construction workers, domestic servants, or garment factory workers. However, some find themselves in situations of involuntary servitude when faced with restrictions on movement, withholding of passports, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and debt bondage that is, in some instances, facilitated by large pre-departure fees imposed by recruitment agents. Children are trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation and, less frequently, for forced labor. The designated Foreign Terrorist Organization Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued to recruit, sometimes forcibly, children for use as soldiers in areas outside of the Sri Lankan government’s control. Government security forces may also be complicit in letting a pro-government paramilitary organization recruit, sometimes forcibly, child soldiers. Reports also indicate that a small number of women from Thailand, China, Russia, and other countries of the Newly Independent States are trafficked into Sri Lanka for commercial sexual exploitation. In November 2007, over 100 Sri Lankan peacekeeping soldiers were repatriated based on accusations that they engaged in sexual misconduct, some cases involving minors, in Haiti.
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 failing to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons over the previous year, particularly in the area of law enforcement. The government failed to arrest, prosecute, or convict any person for trafficking offenses and continued to punish some victims of trafficking for crimes committed as a result of being trafficked. At the same time, Sri Lanka protected some victims of trafficking, including Sri Lankan nationals trafficked abroad. The government appointed a focal point on trafficking in persons in July, who convenes a monthly anti-trafficking working group to develop and coordinate anti-trafficking policy.
Recommendations for Sri Lanka: Significantly improve record of prosecutions, convictions, and sentences; institute a formal procedure to identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable groups, such as women arrested for prostitution; ensure that victims of trafficking are not arrested, punished or automatically deported for acts committed as a result of being trafficked; and further train law enforcement officers on victim identification and protection.
Sri Lanka made little 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. Trafficking offenses are punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment; these penalties are commensurate with those assigned for other grave crimes. While the government took administrative action against 350 labor recruiters engaging in fraudulent recruitment practices, it did not criminally prosecute, convict, or sentence recruiters for practices that amounted to trafficking. The government initiated one investigation of a recruitment agent involved in a case where three females were to be trafficked to Saudi Arabia as domestic servants. Sri Lanka similarly failed to report any prosecutions or convictions for trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, including trafficking of children. Sri Lanka, in cooperation with the UN, launched an investigation into allegations of the complicity in sexual misconduct of Sri Lankan peacekeepers in Haiti, including sexual exploitation of minors. The government investigated 47 cases of child abduction for forced labor as child soldiers, resulting in 37 being returned home. No arrests, prosecutions, or convictions were made in relation to these cases, however. There were no public officials arrested for facilitating trafficking, nor were there substantiated reports that any officials were involved in trafficking.
The Sri Lankan government’s efforts to provide protection for trafficking victims improved nominally, but remained limited. The government did not provide foreign trafficking victims with legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they would suffer retribution or hardship. Sri Lanka also failed to ensure that victims of trafficking were not punished for acts committed as a result of being trafficked. Of particular concern are ongoing reports that women arrested on suspicion of being trafficked into Sri Lanka for the purpose of sexual exploitation were asked to pay fines in exchange for release from prison and were usually deported thereafter. Law enforcement officers continue to lack a formal system to identify potential victims of trafficking. The government does not provide specialized training for victim identification, though law enforcement officers participated in NGO-provided training. For Sri Lankan victims, the government relies primarily on NGOs to provide victim protection services due to resource constraints. Police encourage these victims to assist in investigations against their traffickers, but do not undertake any specific measures to ensure victim or witness safety. For Sri Lankan victims trafficked overseas, the government operates shelters in diplomatic missions, offers repatriation assistance, and provides compensation to some who have registered with the government before leaving. In early 2008, the government paid for the repatriation of over 200 Sri Lankan domestic workers from safe houses in the Middle East. For repatriated Sri Lankan victims, however, there is little government effort to investigate the crimes committed against them. Limited aid is offered in terms of shelter, counseling, and medical care upon return. The government opened two temporary shelters for women who are victims of violence, and these were made available to trafficking victims. The government established an inter-ministerial committee to address the issue of child soldiers. Sri Lanka provides two rehabilitation centers specifically for children conscripted as soldiers; since their establishment in 2005, the rehabilitation centers have assisted 52 children.
Sri Lanka made modest efforts to prevent trafficking in persons during the reporting period. In August 2007, the Bureau of Foreign Employment (BFE) began requiring that all overseas employment contracts be signed in the presence a BFE official to ensure that migrant workers understand the contracts’ terms. The government conducted 26 awareness campaigns on child sexual exploitation among teachers, students, hotel staff, taxi and rikshaw drivers, and others employed in the tourism industry. In February 2008, the government established a hotline for complaints about child labor, sexual exploitation, and other abuses. 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 women trafficked abroad for domestic servitude. Sudanese women and girls are trafficked within the country, as well as possibly to Middle Eastern countries such as Qatar, for domestic servitude. In 2007, Greek law enforcement authorities identified a female sex trafficking victim from Sudan. 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. In March 2007, six Sudanese girls were abducted by the LRA near Maridi, Western Equatoria. Sudanese children are unlawfully conscripted, at times through abduction, and utilized by armed rebel groups—including all SLA factions, the Popular Defense Forces, Janjaweed militia, and Chadian opposition forces—in Sudan’s ongoing conflict in Darfur; the Sudanese Armed Forces and associated militias also continue to exploit young children in this region. There were confirmed reports of unlawful child recruitment in mid-2007 by the JEM/Peace Wing among communities of internally displaced persons in Dereig, South Darfur. 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. 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 few years, inter-tribal abductions continue in southern Sudan, especially in Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria states.
The Government of National Unity of Sudan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. While the government did take limited steps to demobilize child soldiers, combating human trafficking through law enforcement or prevention measures was not a priority for the government in 2007.
Recommendations for Sudan: Demobilize all remaining child soldiers from the ranks of the armed forces, as well as those of aligned militias; take steps to identify and provide protective services to all types of trafficking victims found within the country; and make a much stronger effort, through a comprehensive policy approach that involves all vested parties, to identify, retrieve, and reintegrate abductees who still remain in situations of enslavement.
The government’s anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts were negligible during the reporting period; it did not investigate or prosecute any suspected trafficking cases. 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, 163, and 164, criminalize abduction, luring, and forced labor, respectively. The Interim National Constitution prohibits slavery and forced labor. No trafficker has ever been prosecuted under these articles. In 2007, the Council of Ministers approved the Child Protection Act, which prohibits the recruitment or enlistment of soldiers under the age of 18; the act must be approved by the parliament before it can be implemented. The draft Sudan Armed Forces Act, which was expected to be debated in the National Assembly in October 2006, was returned to the Council of Ministers for review. The bill prescribes criminal penalties for persons who recruit children under 18 years of age, as well as for a range of human rights violations, including abduction and enslavement. In June 2007, Southern Sudan’s Child Protection Act of 2006, which prohibits the recruitment of children, passed its first reading in the Southern Sudan Assembly and is now in its second reading. The government does not document or track anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts; nor does it provide specialized anti-trafficking training to law enforcement, prosecutorial, and judicial personnel.
Sudan’s Government of National Unity (GNU) made only minimal efforts to protect victims of trafficking and focused primarily on the demobilization of child soldiers during the last year. The government continued to have funding and capacity gaps in its own entities involved in combating trafficking, and the GNU continued to demonstrate extremely low levels of cooperation with humanitarian workers in the Darfur region on a broad spectrum of issues, including human trafficking. In 2006, the GNU and the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) passed legislation formally establishing the National Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) Commission, and its Northern and Southern components—the Northern Sudan DDR Commission (NSDDRC), and the Southern Sudan DDR Commission (SSDDRC), respectively. During the period, disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration commissions were established in the northern cities of Nyala, Geneina, and El Fasher, and provided with staff. However, while the training of staff in child protection and the demobilization and reintegration of children began, the work of these commissions cannot commence in the absence of a clear agreement between the GNU and armed groups as to how to proceed. In 2007, the NSDDRC demobilized 283 children serving with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in South Kordofan. The NSDDRC also facilitated cross-border return to Bentiu of child soldiers demobilized from the SPLA. The staff of the SSDDRC grew to 225 people in 2007 and representatives were posted to all southern states. In contrast to the previous reporting period, SSDDRC staff received salaries and training on child protection, demobilization, reintegration, and family tracing. The SSDDRC, with the coordination of and assistance from UNICEF, demobilized approximately 1,000 child soldiers, including girls, between 2006 and 2007, with 1,500 remaining, including 227 at an SPLA camp in Southern Blue Nile. The SSDDRC continued to register child soldiers throughout the year and coordinated with the NSDDRC to trace and reunify them with their families. 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 majority of the reporting period. Before March 2008, 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. However, in early March 2008, the GoSS provided CEAWC with $1 million to resume its program; soon after, CEAWC negotiated the release of 95 individuals in the Nyala region and 71 individuals in the Ed Daein region of South Darfur from their abductors, and transported them to transit centers. However, the return process was fraught with serious protection concerns. Reports indicate that CEAWC’s community workers regularly denied social workers from the State Ministries of Social Welfare access to those arriving at the transit centers, and prevented UN staff from interviewing new arrivals, visiting the transit centers, and viewing convoy departure manifests. CEAWC arranged convoys to transport released abductees to the south, but failed to provide access to sufficient food and water. In addition, CEAWC made no preparation to provide for the basic needs or shelter of the former abductees after their arrival in southern Sudan; lacks a mechanism to conduct family tracing or reintegrate abductees into their former communities; and does not follow up with the abductees after their return to assess their well being or the success of their integration. In April 2007, the Governments of Sudan and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish claims facilities to compensate Sudanese children who worked as camel jockeys in the U.A.E. for their injuries. In June 2007, three child camel jockeys were repatriated from the U.A.E and received by their extended families. In January 2007, the Khartoum State Police established a child and family protection unit with the support of UNICEF. The unit, which offers various services such as legal aid and psychosocial support, assisted more than 400 child victims of abuse and sexual violence and could potentially provide these services to trafficking victims. Similar units are slated to open in Western Darfur, Ghedaref, and Kassala States.
The government made limited efforts to prevent future incidences of trafficking during the reporting period. The National Council on Child Welfare collaborated with UNICEF to launch a comprehensive child protection awareness campaign in North Kordofan as part of the celebration of the June 2007 Day of the African Child. Aiming to create a greater community response to grave child rights violations, the campaign was also launched in Darfur, Eastern Sudan, Khartoum, and the three areas, and consists of messages on a number of child protection issues, including unlawful child recruitment and sexual and gender-based violence. Sudan has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
SURINAME (Tier 2)
Suriname is principally a destination and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked transnationally for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. It is also a source country for underage Surinamese girls, and increasingly boys, trafficked internally for sexual exploitation. Some of these children are trafficked into the sex trade surrounding gold mining camps in the country’s interior. Foreign girls and women from Guyana, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia are trafficked into Suriname for commercial sexual exploitation; some transit Suriname en route to Europe. Chinese men are subjected to possible debt bondage in Suriname, and are subject to forced labor in supermarkets and the construction sector. Chinese women reportedly are exploited sexually in massage parlors and brothels. Haitian migrants, typically en route to French Guiana, sometimes are forced to work in Surinamese agriculture.
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 sustained a moderate level of law enforcement action against trafficking crimes, and modestly improved victim assistance and prevention efforts. However, official complicity with suspected trafficking activity is an area for concern.
Recommendations for Suriname: Intensify efforts to identify, prosecute, and adequately punish trafficking offenders; commence criminal prosecutions of corrupt public officials who may facilitate trafficking activity; investigate reports of forced labor; dedicate more resources for victim assistance; and amend anti-trafficking laws to better protect foreign trafficking victims.
The Surinamese government sustained moderate anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the last year. Suriname prohibits all forms of human trafficking through its criminal code, prescribing punishment from five to 20 years’ imprisonment. These punishments are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. An interagency anti-trafficking in persons working group leads government efforts to investigate and prosecute traffickers. During the reporting period, the government convicted a defendant charged with trafficking Brazilian women into prostitution, and sentenced him to 2.5 years in prison. A trial against four brothel owners charged with trafficking women from the Dominican Republic for sexual exploitation continued. In February 2008, police arrested two brothel owners for trafficking Brazilian women into the country; these cases are pending. An anti-trafficking police unit randomly checked brothels for children as well as adults in forced or coerced conditions. Police cooperated with authorities in Guyana and the Dominican Republic on transnational trafficking cases, and sought improved cooperation with Colombia, the Netherlands Antilles, and French Guiana. There were reports that some Surinamese immigration and customs officials facilitated trafficking into the country by accepting bribes. No prosecutions of such trafficking complicity have been initiated, although investigations of these allegations continue.
The government made modest improvements to protect victims of trafficking during the year. Police and prosecutors relied chiefly on civil society partners, particularly a recently established NGO, the Trafficking-in-Persons Foundation, to shelter and assist victims. The government assisted these NGOs with finding safe houses to shelter victims, and worked closely with consular representatives from other countries on repatriation efforts. The government also extended services provided to domestic violence victims to trafficking victims, and widely distributed among key personnel an operations manual on how to identify and treat trafficking victims. Surinamese authorities encourage victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers. There were reports that some foreign victims were incarcerated and deported for immigration violations. Suriname does not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution. The government’s anti-trafficking in persons working group is finalizing draft legislation to provide trafficking victims with temporary residency status. Suriname continued discussions with governments in neighboring Guyana, French Guiana, and Brazil on modalities for repatriating trafficking victims.
The government improved prevention efforts during the reporting period. Senior officials continued to condemn and draw public attention to the problem of human trafficking in Suriname. The government’s anti-trafficking in persons working group worked with IOM to implement awareness-raising campaigns across the country, reaching approximately 40,000 people. Outreach activities also were directed to the nation’s border area with Guyana, where many trafficking victims enter the country. Military police, who man ports of entry in this area, were trained on identifying potential trafficking victims. The anti-trafficking in persons working group also issued widespread media warnings about potential trafficking activity after suspicious advertisements were placed in local newspapers recruiting young people to work abroad. However, no discernable government campaigns to reduce demand for commercial sex acts took place during the reporting period. Suriname has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
SWEDEN (Tier 1)
Sweden is a destination, and, to a lesser extent, a transit country for women and children trafficked from Estonia, Russia, Poland, Albania, Slovakia, Nigeria, Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Venezuela, and Thailand for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Some of these women and children are trafficked on to Norway, Denmark, Germany, and the United Kingdom. In 2007, police noted an increase in women and children under the age of 15 trafficked from Romania and Bulgaria for the purposes of forced begging and petty theft. Authorities also observed a renewed influx of unaccompanied Chinese children, 23 of whom disappeared from Swedish asylum centers in June 2007; authorities believe these children were eventually trafficked to the United Kingdom for forced labor. Boys and young men from the United Kingdom were trafficked to Sweden for the purpose of forced labor; these victims were forced to work on construction sites, lay asphalt, do yard work, and perform other odd jobs.
The Government of Sweden fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Beginning in July 2007, all foreign victims of trafficking were granted temporary residence permits for a minimum 30-day reflection period to consider whether to cooperate with law enforcement. In December 2007, the government adopted a national action plan on child sexual exploitation, improved awareness on trafficking issues, and increased internal and international cooperation to combat child sex tourism. The government continued to fund both awareness and victim assistance programs in trafficking source countries.
Recommendations for Sweden: Develop action plans in larger cities to encourage greater victim participation in investigations and prosecutions; consider clarifying the 2002 anti-trafficking law to increase the number of successful prosecutions; continue training for judges on the application of the anti-trafficking law to ensure more convicted traffickers are prescribed sentences that are commensurate with available trafficking penalties; strongly increase efforts to address labor trafficking; and continue efforts to better identify, address, and prevent child trafficking to Sweden.
Over the last year, the Government of Sweden sustained strong law enforcement efforts to fight sex trafficking, but made limited efforts to address labor trafficking. Sweden’s 2002 anti-trafficking law prohibits trafficking for both sexual exploitation and forced labor, which prescribes penalties of two to 10 years’ imprisonment, which are commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes. Prosecutors continued, however, to rely on a prostitution procurement law with weaker penalties to prosecute and convict a number of sex traffickers. In 2007, police conducted 15 trafficking investigations, a decrease from 28 investigations in 2006. Authorities prosecuted and convicted two sex traffickers using the anti-trafficking law and 11 using the procurement statute, down from 21 prosecutions and convictions in 2006. One trafficker was sentenced to up to eight years’ imprisonment, one trafficker was sentenced to 14 months’ imprisonment, and 11 traffickers were sentenced to up to two years’ imprisonment; no trafficking sentences were suspended. Authorities reported 34 cases of labor trafficking in 2007, though the government failed to prosecute or convict any labor traffickers. Authorities did work with British and Irish counterparts, however, on several labor trafficking investigations over the reporting period.
Sweden continued to provide adequate victim assistance both domestically and in source countries during the reporting period. The government continued to fund NGOs in Sweden and abroad to provide victim rehabilitation, health care, vocational training, and legal assistance. Swedish authorities encourage victims to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions; identified foreign victims are granted a minimum 30-day temporary residency permit that provides victims with access to health care and social services. Over the reporting period, 11 female victims stayed in state-funded shelters and 10 received temporary residency permits. Victims who decline to participate in investigations are subject to deportation. The Swedish government does not offer legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution. In 2007, authorities deported one victim to Nigeria. There are no government programs for assistance to repatriated victims; however, some state-funded NGOs have programs to ensure victims from specific source countries are provided with safe repatriation. The government ensures that victims are not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a result of their being trafficked.
The Government of Sweden continued its trafficking prevention efforts. In 2007, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) continued funding awareness-building projects in the former Yugoslavia, Romania, Albania, and Bulgaria. SIDA also contributed $42,000 to a UNODC project based in Brazil to counter trafficking and migrant smuggling. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs eliminated the position of Swedish Ambassador for International Cooperation against Trafficking in Human Beings. Sweden adequately monitored immigration patterns for evidence of trafficking and continued its annual report, assessing trafficking trends and government efforts. In March 2007, the Swedish National Defense Ministry adopted new regulations, organized an education campaign, and distributed anti-trafficking awareness material to Swedish troops being deployed as international peacekeepers.
SWITZERLAND (Tier 1)
Switzerland is primarily a destination and, to a lesser extent, a transit country for women trafficked from Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Ukraine, Moldova, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Thailand, Cambodia, Nigeria, and Cameroon for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Swiss authorities noted an increase in the number of women trafficked from Eastern Europe, specifically Romania, for sexual exploitation. Limited cases of trafficking for the purpose of domestic servitude and labor exploitation also were reported.
The Government of Switzerland fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In January 2008, a new Swiss federal law entered into force granting trafficking victims a stay of deportation proceedings and strengthening the legal status of trafficking victims and witnesses. The Swiss Police Academy also held two anti-trafficking training classes for police officers from around the country. The government provided $1.4 million to international organizations and NGOs to provide victim assistance and conduct awareness efforts in source countries.
Recommendations forSwitzerland: Increase the number of convicted traffickers serving time in prison; continue to provide training for Border Guard officials to improve identification of potential victims; continue to improve the collection of trafficking law enforcement data; and sustain efforts after the 2008 European Soccer Cup to reduce the domestic demand for commercial sex acts.
The Government of Switzerland demonstrated anti-trafficking 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, which prescribes penalties of up to 20 years’ imprisonment and are commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. During the reporting period, authorities conducted at least 28 investigations, down from 39 in 2006. Authorities reported preliminary data of at least nine prosecutions in 2007, compared to 20 prosecutions reported in 2006. Courts reported convicting nine traffickers in 2007, compared to 20 reported convictions in 2006. Of those reported convicted, one trafficker was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment and one trafficker was sentenced to 2.5 years’ imprisonment; the remaining seven traffickers received suspended sentences or a fine and served no time in prison. In comparison, six of 20 trafficking offenders convicted in 2006 were reportedly given imposed sentences of between two to four years’ imprisonment while 13 traffickers reportedly served no time in prison. During the reporting period, the Swiss Federal Office of Police reorganized and hired new staff to increase efforts to fight trafficking in persons.
The government continued to improve its victim protection efforts during the reporting period. In January 2008, a new Swiss federal law entered into force, formalizing a 30-day reflection period for victims of trafficking and authorizing the Swiss federal government to assist victims logistically and financially with repatriation to their countries of origin. In 2007, cantonal immigration authorities offered 33 trafficking victims 30-day reflection periods, compared to 39 victims in 2006. Six victims were offered short-term residency permits to stay in Switzerland for the duration of the legal proceedings against their traffickers, compared to three in 2006. Four victims were granted long-term residency permits on the grounds of personal hardship, compared to three in 2006. The Swiss government continued funding for NGOs to provide victim assistance services and shelter for victims. In 2006, the most recent year for which information was available, 80 victims received government-funded assistance compared to 126 victims reported from the previous year. In 2006, at least 65 victims assisted law enforcement by testifying against their traffickers. Ten out of 26 cantons have a formal procedure for victim identification and referral. Victims were not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a result of their being trafficked.
Switzerland continued its prevention efforts in 2007. The government again funded NGOs to carry out prevention campaigns in various countries including Cambodia, Mongolia, Burma, Moldova, Russia, and Lebanon. The Government of Switzerland provided anti-trafficking training to its troops being deployed abroad as international peacekeepers and maintained its zero-tolerance policy regarding any acts of sexual exploitation committed by these military personnel. Although the Swiss Border Guard monitored migration patterns for evidence of trafficking, authorities reported difficulty with identifying potential victims at border check-points. The government partially funded an NGO-run public awareness campaign targeting male clients of commercial sex leading up to the European Soccer Cup in Summer 2008. During the reporting period, one Swiss national was charged with traveling to Madagascar for the purpose of child sex tourism. In another case, Swiss authorities assisted Cambodian officials with the investigation of a Swiss national who was later convicted of child sexual exploitation in Cambodia and sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment.
SYRIA (Tier 3)
Syria is a destination and transit country for women and children trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. A significant number of women and children in the large and expanding Iraqi refugee community in Syria are reportedly forced into commercial sexual exploitation by Iraqi gangs or, in some cases, their families. Similarly, women from Somalia and Eastern Europe are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation. 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. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Syria may be a destination for sex tourism from other countries in the region. In addition, 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, restrictions on movement, threats, and physical or sexual abuse. Syria may also be a transit point for Iraqi women and girls trafficked to Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (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. Syria again failed to report any law enforcement efforts to punish trafficking offenses over the last 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.
Recommendations for Syria: Significantly increase law enforcement against trafficking offenders by prosecuting and punishing them with prison sentences; improve protection for victims by providing shelter, medical, and psychological services or institute a formal referral system to ensure that victims receive such care from NGOs; provide funding or in-kind assistance to NGOs offering protection services to victims of trafficking; and institute and apply a formal procedure to identify trafficking victims among individuals arrested for consensual prostitution or illegal immigration. It is particularly important that the government cease housing minor victims of commercial sexual exploitation in detention centers.
The Government of Syria made no discernible efforts to criminally punish trafficking crimes during the reporting period. Syria does not specifically prohibit any form of trafficking in persons, but its government could use statutes against kidnapping, pimping, and sexual assault to prosecute some trafficking cases. In addition, Article 3 of Law 10 of 1961 prohibits prostituting a minor less than 16 years old, with a prescribed penalty of one to seven years’ imprisonment. This penalty is sufficiently stringent and commensurate with the penalty for other grave crimes, such as rape. Decree 81 sets guidelines for conditions of domestic workers; prescribed penalties for violation are imprisonment for an unspecified length of time or fines of only $2,which are not sufficiently stringent to deter the offense of forced labor. During this reporting period, Syria did not report any investigations, arrests, prosecutions, convictions, or punishments of trafficking offenses. In addition, despite reports that many police officials take bribes to ignore prostitution, the government reported no law enforcement efforts to combat government complicity in trafficking.
During the year, the Syrian government made limited progress in protecting trafficking victims. The government does not have a shelter to protect victims of trafficking, but in December, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor approved the opening of an IOM-operated shelter. The government also approved the creation of a formal system for police, immigration officers, judges, and other government officials to refer victims of trafficking to the planned IOM shelter; to date, no one has been referred by the government to an existing shelter run by international NGO Caritas. The government continues to lack formal victim identification procedures to identify potential trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as illegal migrants or women arrested for prostitution. As a result, victims of trafficking were arrested and charged with prostitution or violating immigration laws. Anecdotal reports also suggest that some foreign women in prison on prostitution charges have been beaten by prison officials. Another source reported that Syrian authorities will often release incarcerated Iraqi women and minors in prostitution to their traffickers. Child victims of commercial sexual exploitation are housed in juvenile detention facilities, rather than referred to protective services offered by NGOs. Syria does not actively encourage victims to assist in investigations or prosecutions of their traffickers and does not provide foreign victims with legal alternatives to their removal to countries in which they may face hardship or retribution. The government does not fund anti-trafficking training for law enforcement officers, but officials from the Ministry of Interior received training organized and funded by IOM on victim sensitivity.
Syria took minimal steps to prevent trafficking over the year. In January 2008, the Ministry of Interior co-sponsored with IOM a three-day conference designed to raise awareness among parliamentarians and journalists on trafficking. In addition, Syria did not conduct any public awareness campaigns to educate employers and workers on the rights of domestic workers. Syria also did not take any measures to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. Similarly, the government did not undertake any public awareness campaigns targeting citizens traveling to known child sex tourism destinations abroad. 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. It is also a source of women trafficked to Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Women and girls from the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) and Southeast Asian countries are trafficked to Taiwan through fraudulent marriages, deceptive employment offers, and illegal smuggling for sexual exploitation and forced labor. Many trafficking victims are workers from rural areas of Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, employed through recruitment agencies and brokers to perform low skilled work in Taiwan’s construction, fishing, and manufacturing industries, or to work as domestic servants. Such workers are often charged high job placement and service fees, up to $14,000, resulting in substantial debt that labor brokers or employers use as a tool for involuntary servitude. Many foreign workers remain vulnerable to trafficking because legal protections, oversight by authorities and enforcement efforts are inadequate. Taiwan authorities reported that traffickers continued to use fraudulent marriages to facilitate labor and sex trafficking, despite increased efforts by the authorities to prevent this practice. Some women who are smuggled onto Taiwan to seek illegal work were sometimes sold in auctions to sex traffickers, and subsequently forced to work in the commercial sex industry. NGOs reported a sharp increase during the reporting period in the number of boys rescued from prostitution, mainly discovered during police investigations of online social networking sites suspected of being front operations for prostitution rings.
Taiwan authorities do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, they are making significant efforts to do so. Taiwan authorities made clear progress during the rating period by improving efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases, approving amendments to Taiwan’s Immigration Act that will significantly enhance legal protections for trafficking victims, and approving a budget plan of $12.6 million for victim protection measures.
Recommendations for Taiwan: Pass and implement a comprehensive anti-trafficking law prohibiting and punishing all severe forms of trafficking; extend full Labor Standards Law protections to all categories of foreign workers, including domestic helpers and nursing caregivers; fully implement the immigration law amendment to extend its protections to trafficking victims; ensure that law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, and judges consistently follow formal trafficking victim identification procedures to prevent the prosecution of trafficking victims; establish procedures for referring victims to shelters; improve incentives for victims to assist in the prosecution of traffickers; increase police efforts to investigate trafficking crimes and to identify trafficking victims; launch a campaign to discourage child sex tourism, both domestically and abroad, by people from Taiwan; and improve cooperation with labor source-country governments.
The authorities on Taiwan made significant efforts in investigating and prosecuting trafficking crimes over the last year, particularly involving labor exploitation. Taiwan does not have a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, but a number of its laws collectively criminalize most forms of trafficking. Section 296 and 296-1 of Taiwan’s criminal code prohibit slavery and the use of coercion or deception to exploit a victim, but existing legal definitions and proof burdens hamper prosecutors’ ability to obtain convictions in cases involving fraudulent recruitment, coercion, or deception. One convicted under Section 296 or 296-1 can face up to seven years in prison. The Labor Standards Law, which prohibits forced labor under Articles 5 and 75, ensures overtime rates, and sets limits on the work-day and work-week. However, this law does not apply to the 160,000 foreign workers employed as private nursing caregivers or domestic helpers on Taiwan, who are especially vulnerable to labor exploitation. Typical punishments imposed on offenders convicted of forced labor under the Labor Standards Law are fines or imprisonment of less than one year—punishments that are not sufficient. All employers of foreign laborers are covered by the Employment Service Act, which punishes labor trafficking offenses with fines, jail time, or both. The Ministry of Justice took commendable steps during the reporting period to standardize data on trafficking to obtain more precise statistics on sex and labor trafficking cases. The Ministry of Interior reports that authorities commenced prosecutions against 423 individuals for suspected trafficking in 2007, most of which were sex trafficking cases. Also in 2007, 74 individuals were convicted, including 16 for sexual exploitation of a minor, 53 individuals for sexual exploitation, and five for labor exploitation. However, most individuals convicted of sexual and labor exploitation of adults received a sentence of less than one year. During the reporting period, there were confirmed incidents of several local authorities accepting bribes and sexual services in return for ignoring illegal sex and labor trafficking activities. Of the nine local authorities charged with aiding or abetting trafficking activities in 2007, one was sentenced to 12 years in prison and the remaining eight cases are still pending. The Taiwan Criminal Investigation Bureau continued to assist U.S. law enforcement authorities in investigations of Taiwan-based smuggling networks involved in trafficking women to the United States.
Protection efforts by Taiwan authorities have improved modestly, but remained inadequate during the reporting period. The vast majority of trafficking victims in Taiwan continue to be undetected by law enforcement authorities. Although Taiwan has formal victim identification procedures and has provided training on these procedures, immigration officers, police, prosecutors, and other law enforcement personnel do not consistently follow the procedures. It is widely reported that authorities, particularly at the local level, fail to identify the vast majority of trafficking victims, classifying them instead as illegal immigrants or “runaway” foreign workers in illegal labor status. As a result, many trafficking victims are detained, prosecuted, fined, or jailed, and ultimately deported. The majority of victims are treated simply as illegal immigrants or illegal laborers, and housed in formal, long-term detention facilities, which are sometimes plagued by overcrowding and poor sanitation. While incarcerated, most detainees have no access to psychological or legal counseling, and only limited access to medical services. Only a small percentage of trafficking victims are properly identified and removed from detention facilities. Some trafficking victims who were formally identified as such were inappropriately incarcerated solely for unlawful acts that were a direct result of being trafficked. During the reporting period, some identified victims, the majority of whom were held in detention facilities, were prosecuted for immigration, labor, and criminal law violations. In most cases, only those victims who cooperated with prosecutors in cases where charges were actually filed against the trafficker or other defendants were excused from punishment. The treatment afforded to victims varies considerably from place to place. The Council for Labor Affairs (CLA) provides subsidies to 11 NGO-operated shelters for trafficking victims. Most of those sheltered in these facilities were referred by churches, NGOs, or other informal channels. In July 2007, the Executive Yuan approved the “Human Trafficking Implementation Plan,” setting aside $12.6 million for construction and improvement of shelter facilities, education, and training for authorities. During the reporting period, the National Immigration Agency solicited bids to operate a shelter for trafficking victims, but when no NGOs bid for the funds, which they deemed insufficient, the Legislative Yuan (LY) cut the funding allocation from the 2008 budget. Although the LY amended Taiwan’s immigration law to provide additional protections to trafficking victims in 2007, these amendments have not yet gone into effect.
The Taiwan authorities report that their efforts to combat trafficking abroad are hampered by a lack of formal diplomatic relations with source-country governments and an inability to join relevant international organizations. Domestically, the Taiwan authorities used broadcast and print media to sensitize the public to the plight of trafficked women forced to work in Taiwan’s commercial sex industry. The authorities also continued an outreach program to enhance foreign workers’ understanding of their rights and the resources available to them, which included the distribution of multilingual emergency contact cards, announcements in foreign-language publications, and radio and television advertisements. The CLA spent $2.1 million in 2007 on 24 Foreign Labor Consultant Service Centers, which provide counseling, legal aid, and labor dispute resolution services to foreign workers. As part of an ongoing campaign to combat child sex trafficking, authorities on Taiwan displayed public service announcements at 680 cinemas nationwide and broadcast announcements on television and on online chat rooms frequented by Taiwan’s youth. Taiwan continues to operate an island-wide toll-free hotline for foreign spouses and foreign workers seeking assistance. Taiwan has an extraterritorial law criminalizing the sexual exploitation of children by Taiwan residents traveling abroad; however, it did not take other steps during the reporting year to reduce demand for child sex tourism.
TAJIKISTAN (Tier 2 Watch List)
Tajikistan is a source country for women trafficked through Kyrgyzstan and Russia to the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Turkey, and Russia for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Women are also reportedly trafficked to Pakistan for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Men are trafficked to Russia and Kazakhstan for the purpose of forced labor, primarily in the construction and agricultural industries. Boys and girls are trafficked internally for various purposes, including forced labor and forced 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. Tajikistan is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence over the previous year of increasing efforts to combat human trafficking, especially efforts to investigate, prosecute, convict, and sentence traffickers. Despite endemic government corruption and evidence of individual low- and mid-level officials’ complicity in trafficking, the government did not punish any public officials for trafficking complicity during the reporting period. Lack of capacity and poor coordination between government institutions remained key obstacles to effective anti-trafficking efforts; corruption remained a contributing factor. Tajikistan made only some efforts to raise awareness about the dangers of trafficking among its estimated one million citizens who find permanent or seasonal work abroad, primarily in Russia and Kazakhstan. The government approved changes to its law defining trafficking. The government continued to improve cooperation with IOM and NGOs.
Recommendations for Tajikistan: Vigorously investigate and prosecute both sex and labor trafficking offenses, and convict and sentence to time in prison trafficking offenders; make efforts to improve trafficking data collection and analysis; investigate, prosecute, and convict government officials who participate in or facilitate trafficking in persons and ensure that they serve some time in prison; improve technical capacity to increase the use of trafficking-specific statutes; improve coordination between institutions responsible for investigating and prosecuting cases; improve public awareness efforts among permanent and seasonal workers abroad; and develop a victim identification and referral mechanism.
Tajikistan demonstrated decreased anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Article 130.1 of the criminal code prohibits both sexual exploitation and forced labor, and prescribes penalties of five to 15 years’ imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent, but not commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. To date, the government has not successfully prosecuted a single trafficking case using Article 130.1, and authorities report that they generally do not prosecute labor trafficking cases. In 2007, authorities reported 12 trafficking investigations, compared to 34 in 2006. The government reported 19 prosecutions, compared to 34 reported in 2006. Courts reported 11 convictions for 2007, compared to 52 convictions reported in 2006. The government did not provide specific information on convicted traffickers serving time in prison. Despite reports of some government officials assisting traffickers by providing false passports, birth certificates, and marriage certifi- cates, the government provided little information on efforts to investigate or punish corrupt officials. The government worked with some foreign governments on trafficking investigations; however, Tajik officials did not use such cooperation to gather evidence for prosecutions in Tajikistan. Justice officials developed legal commentaries on trafficking statutes for use in the criminal justice system, and modules on trafficking statutes have been integrated into the judicial training curriculum.
The government sustained modest efforts to assist trafficking victims during the reporting period. The Ministry of Health continued to provide some health and social services to victims, including those assisted in two foreign-funded shelters. The Ministry of Interior also continued to provide security and protection for these shelters. Forty-six victims were provided with shelter and assistance during the year. The government made no efforts to develop and implement systematic victim identifi- cation procedures or a domestic mechanism to refer victims to care providers. Although the government provided no special training for diplomatic staff in Tajikistan’s embassies and consulates abroad, Tajik embassy officials in the U.A.E. assisted in the repatriation of 35 victims in 2007. Border guards also assisted repatriated victims by expediting them through immigration and customs. Victims were encouraged to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions; however, social stigma and the lack of a witness protection program significantly hindered such participation.
Tajikistan demonstrated very limited prevention efforts during the reporting period. Some local government officials participated in trafficking prevention and awareness campaigns in cooperation with NGOs and international organizations. The government made some structural reforms to improve its ability to monitor emigration patterns for evidence of trafficking. The government continued to station 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 men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Boys are trafficked within the country for forced labor on farms, in mines, and in the informal business sector. Tanzanian girls from rural areas are trafficked to urban centers and the island of Zanzibar for domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation; some domestic workers fleeing abusive employers fall prey to forced prostitution. In some regions, unregistered employment agencies are involved in recruiting minors from rural areas to work as house girls in the capital, where they are subject to exploitation. Tanzanian men are reportedly trafficked to South Africa for forced labor, and girls are trafficked to Oman, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), and possibly other European or Middle Eastern countries for forced domestic labor and involvement in sexual exploitation. Small numbers of Somali children are trafficked to Tanzania for labor and sexual exploitation. 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.
Recommendations for Tanzania: Pass and enact comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation; develop national procedures for victim protection, including the identification of victims among undocumented migrants prior to deportation; institute trafficking specific data collection systems for use by the national police and courts; and provide training to law enforcement authorities on differentiating trafficking from smuggling and other crimes.
Tanzania’s anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts improved significantly last year as a result of new training of police, unprecedented government funding of the police’s Anti-Human Trafficking Unit, and increased awareness of trafficking among Tanzania’s law enforcement community. Tanzanian law 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. On Zanzibar, traffickers can be prosecuted under the Penal Act that criminalizes kidnapping, abduction, and slavery. Following a six-month period for Zanzibar to comment on draft national anti-trafficking legislation, Tanzania’s Cabinet approved the bill in mid-January 2008 and introduced it for a first reading to the Parliament two weeks later. The bill was then moved to a committee for discussion and editing, with a Parliamentary vote expected before the end of 2008. Using existing laws, the government actively investigated cases of trafficking during the reporting period; however, there were no known prosecutions or convictions. The Anti-Human Trafficking Unit investigated all trafficking leads reported to police by the public or other law enforcement authorities. For example, the unit arrested a Zanzibari businessman in Bagamoyo for allegedly attempting to traffic 42 boys and six adults from Somalia into situations of sexual exploitation and child labor in South Africa via Tanzania, Zambia, and Malawi; the accused was released on bail while the investigation continues. The unit is also continuing an investigation into a Zanzibari brothel marketing children via the Internet; this type of cyber-crime is new in Tanzania and police are seeking training in how to investigate these crimes. The Tanzanian police also collaborated with Interpol to locate a suspected Tanzanian trafficking victim in South Africa using newly acquired cell phone technology. An April 2007 foreign government-sponsored “training of trainers” program for 18 police and immigration officials in Zanzibar launched the Zanzibari Government’s specialized anti-trafficking training program. This resulted in the Zanzibari government’s June 2007 co-training, with a U.S. anti-trafficking expert, of 22 immigration officials. On the mainland, 332 law enforcement officials received specific anti-trafficking training in 2007. Involvement in, or tolerance of, trafficking by low-level immigration officials is suspected, but not proven.
The government’s efforts to protect victims of trafficking during the reporting period were notable, though it continued to suffer from a lack of resources. Government officials regularly relied on three NGOs to provide shelter, counseling, and rehabilitation for victims of trafficking. Government authorities referred trafficking victims to these NGOs in regions where victim assistance was available. For instance, in the second quarter of 2007, one NGO shelter received 23 female trafficking victims; 17 were referred by police and one by a social worker. In January 2008, the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit changed its policy of requiring trafficking victims to go to a police station to make a statement; now a plain-clothes female police officer visits shelters to obtain sex trafficking victims’ statements in a more private setting. The Unit also hired a female police sergeant to better facilitate its interactions with female victims. A 24-hour crime hotline staffed by Tanzania police officers is available for citizens to make anonymous reports about suspected trafficking victims. While still severely constrained by lack of funding, the Ministry of Labor budgeted approximately $60,000 to its Labor Administration and Inspection Services for child labor inspections. In 2007, the Ministry of Labor withdrew nearly 1,100 victims from forced child labor situations, most of whom were provided the opportunity to compensate for their missed education by enrolling in one the Ministry of Education’s 305 Community Learning Centers. The government generally 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. In a few cases, the lack of adequate shelter facilities forced Tanzanian officials to house potential trafficking victims in prisons.
Political will to address human trafficking in Tanzania increased significantly during the reporting period, resulting in additional concrete prevention efforts. President Kikwete’s personal commitment to combat trafficking accelerated the drafting of anti-trafficking legislation and law enforcement training. Staff of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit appeared in radio and TV spots and distributed booklets about human trafficking; these awareness raising efforts resulted in a significant increase in the number of leads received by the unit during the last six months of 2007. The Ministry of Health’s National AIDS Control Program conducted a half-day training of trainers session on human trafficking for 41 healthcare coordinators from 21 regions; these trainers then provided training to healthcare workers in their regions. Tanzanian nationals receive human rights training, including sessions on gender and women’s rights, the protection of civilians, and international humanitarian law, before their deployment as part of international peacekeeping missions.
THAILAND (Tier 2)
Thailand is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Thailand’s relative prosperity attracts migrants from neighboring countries who flee conditions of poverty and, in the case of Burma, military repression. Significant illegal migration to Thailand presents traffickers with opportunities to force, coerce, or defraud undocumented migrants into involuntary servitude or sexual exploitation. Women and children are trafficked from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.), Vietnam, Russia, and Uzbekistan for commercial sexual exploitation in Thailand. A number of women and girls from Burma, Cambodia, and Vietnam are trafficked through Thailand’s southern border to Malaysia for sexual exploitation. Ethnic minorities such as northern hill tribe peoples who have not received legal residency or citizenship are at high risk for trafficking internally and abroad, including to Bahrain, Australia, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, Europe, and the United States. Some Thai men who migrate for low-skilled contract work to Taiwan, South Korea, Israel, the United States, and Gulf states are subjected to conditions of forced labor and debt bondage after arrival. Following voluntary migration to Thailand, men, women, and children, primarily from Burma, are subjected to conditions of forced labor in agricultural work, factories, construction, commercial fisheries and fish processing, domestic work, and begging. Thai laborers working abroad in Taiwan, Malaysia, the United States, and the Middle East often pay large recruitment fees prior to departure, creating debt, which in some cases may be unlawfully exploited to coerce them into conditions of forced labor. Children from Burma, Laos, and Cambodia are trafficked into forced begging and exploitative labor in Thailand. Four key sectors of the Thai economy (fishing, construction, commercial agriculture, and domestic work) rely heavily on undocumented Burmese migrants, including children, as cheap and exploitable laborers.
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. In November, the Thai National Legislative Assembly passed a new comprehensive anti-trafficking in persons law, which the Thai government reports will take effect in June 2008. While there were no criminal prosecutions of forced labor cases during the reporting period, Thai authorities in March 2008 conducted a raid on a shrimp processing factory in Samut Sakhon province, rescuing 300 Burmese victims of forced labor. The Ministry of Labor subsequently released guidelines on how it will apply stronger measures to identified labor trafficking cases in the future. Nevertheless, the Thai government has yet to initiate prosecutions of the owners of a separate Samut Sakhon shrimp processing factory from which 800 Burmese men, women, and children were rescued from conditions of involuntary servitude, including physical and psychological abuse and confinement, in September 2006. The factory remains in operation.
Recommendations for Thailand: Enact and begin implementing the comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation throughout the country, particularly its provisions against trafficking for labor exploitation; train law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges on the new legislation; and increase criminal punishments of exploitative employers and recruitment agencies.
The Royal Thai Government demonstrated progress in its law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking in persons. Thailand passed new comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation in November 2007, which the Thai government reports will go into force in June 2008. The new law will criminally prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons—covering labor forms of trafficking and the trafficking of males for the first time—and prescribes penalties that are sufficiently stringent and that are commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. It will also make trafficking in persons a predicate crime for prosecution under the Anti-Money Laundering Act. Previous Thai anti-trafficking legislation that was used during the reporting period defined trafficking only in terms of sexual exploitation and allowed only females and children to be classified as victims eligible to receive shelter or social services from the government. The Royal Thai Police reported that 144 sex trafficking cases had been prosecuted in the two-year period ending in June 2007. In April 2007, a Thai employer was sentenced to more than 10 years’ imprisonment for forced child labor in the first-ever conviction under Thailand’s 1951 anti-slavery law. The victim, a female domestic worker, worked for the employer for four years without pay and was physically abused. In December, a Thai Criminal Court sentenced two traffickers to seven years’ imprisonment for luring a 15-year old girl to enter prostitution in Singapore under false pretenses. In May 2007, the Attorney General’s Office created a Center Against International Human Trafficking (CAHT) located within the Attorney General’s office. The CAHT has eight full-time attorneys devoted to coordinating the prosecution of all trafficking cases in Thailand. Corruption is still sometimes a problem with local police or immigration officials protecting brothels, seafood, and sweatshop facilities from raids and occasionally facilitating the movement of women into or through Thailand. Two police officials faced prosecution for trafficking Burmese migrant workers in Tak province in April 2007. In March 2008, a team of Labor Ministry, immigration, police, and NGO representatives raided a shrimp processing factory in Samut Sakhon and found 300 Burmese migrant workers confined to the premises and working in exploitative conditions. For the first time, the government included 20 males amongst the classified 74 trafficking victims and referred them to a government-run shelter. However, the government handcuffed and detained other illegal male Burmese migrant laborers at the factory and sent them to a holding cell to await deportation. Reportedly, these workers, who experienced the same exploitation as those deemed “victims” by the Thai government, were treated as criminals—detained, not allowed to retrieve personal belongings or identity papers left at the factories, and sent to a detention facility. Police filed criminal charges against the owners of the shrimp processing factory within 24 hours and are investigating the labor brokers who supplied the Burmese workers. The Ministry of Labor in April 2008 released new guidelines on how it will apply stronger measures in dealing with identified labor trafficking cases in the future. A Thai Labor Court awarded $106,000 in damages to 66 trafficking victims rescued in the September 2006 raid of a separate shrimp processing factory in Samut Sakhon. However, as of March 2008, the government has yet to initiate a criminal prosecution of the factory’s operators. In other cases involving possible trafficking for labor exploitation, law enforcement reported 41 cases of labor fraud and 16 of illegal labor recruitment. The Ministry of Labor’s Department of Employment reported that 28 labor recruiting firms were prosecuted in administrative labor courts in 2007 for violating regulations on labor recruitment rendering workers vulnerable to trafficking. These prosecutions mostly resulted in monetary fines, with only one license suspension. Department of Social Welfare officials and NGOs use the threat of punitive sanctions under the 1998 Labor Protection Act to negotiate settlements with abusive employers exploiting foreign trafficking victims in sweatshops and in domestic work. A total of 189 individual facilitators or brokers received fines and other administrative sanctions for violating labor recruiting regulations in 2007.
The Thai government continued to provide impressive protection to foreign victims of sex trafficking in Thailand and Thai citizens who have returned after facing labor or sex trafficking conditions abroad. However, protections offered to foreign victims of forced labor in Thailand were considerably weaker, as male victims of trafficking were not yet included under victim protection provisions of Thai law. The new comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation passed in November 2007 promises, when enacted and implemented in June 2008, to extend protections to male victims of trafficking and victims of labor trafficking. The government allows all female trafficking victims, Thai and foreign, to receive shelter and social services pending repatriation to their country of origin or hometown. It does not, however, offer legal alternatives to removal to countries where victims face hardship or retribution, such as the repressive conditions found in Burma. The government encourages female victims’ participation in the investigation and prosecution of sex trafficking crimes. In cases involving forced labor, the 1998 Labor Protection Act allows for compensatory damages from the employer, although the government offers no legal aid to encourage workers to avail themselves of this opportunity; in practice, few foreign laborers are able to pursue legal cases against their employers in Thai courts. Formidable legal costs and language, bureaucratic, and immigration barriers effectively prevent most of them from participating in the Thai legal process. Female victims of sex trafficking are generally not jailed or deported; foreign victims of labor trafficking and men may be deported as illegal migrants. The Thai government refers victims of sex trafficking and child victims of labor trafficking to one of seven regional shelters run by the government, where they receive psychological counseling, food, board, and medical care. In April 2008, the Ministry of Labor presented a series of operational guidelines for handling future labor trafficking cases. The guidelines include provisions that grant immunity to trafficking victims from prosecution arising from their possible involvement in immigration or prostitution crimes and provide migrant trafficking victims temporary residence in Thailand pending resolution of criminal or civil court cases. Thai embassies provide consular protection to Thai citizens who encounter difficulties overseas. The Department of Consular Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that 403 Thai nationals were classified as trafficking victims abroad and repatriated from a number of countries including Bahrain (368 victims), Singapore (14 victims) and Malaysia (12 victims). In 2007, the government’s shelters provided protection and social services for 179 repatriated Thai victims and 363 foreigners trafficked to Thailand. In 2007, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department of Consular Affairs conducted training in Thailand and abroad for community leaders, victims, and laborers. The MFA sent psychologists to provide training to Thai volunteers in Taiwan helping Thai trafficking victims; organized a workshop amongst Thai translators under the “Help Thais” program in Singapore; and coordinated translators to assist 36 Thai trafficking victims arrested in Durban, South Africa. A 2005 cabinet resolution established guidelines for the return of stateless residents abroad who have been determined to be trafficking victims and can prove prior residency in Thailand. These stateless residents can effectively be given residency status in Thailand on a case-by-case basis.
The Thai government continued to support prevention and public awareness activities on sex and labor trafficking as well as sex tourism during the year. Thai government law enforcement efforts to reduce domestic demand for illegal commercial sex acts and child sex tourism have been limited to occasional police raids to shut down operating brothels. At the same time, awareness-raising campaigns targeting tourists were conducted by the government to reduce the prevalence of child sex tourism and prostituted children. The Thai government also cooperated with numerous foreign law enforcement agencies in arresting and deporting foreign nationals found to have been engaging in child sex tourism. In 2007, the Thai government disseminated brochures and posts in popular tourist areas such as Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, Pattaya, and Phuket warning tourists of severe criminal charges for procurement of minors for sex. Thailand has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
TIMOR-LESTE (Tier 2)
Timor-Leste is a destination country for women from Indonesia, the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.), Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Timorese women and children are vulnerable to being trafficked from rural areas or from camps for internally displaced persons to Dili with lures of employment and then forced into commercial sexual exploitation. Following the re-establishment of international peacekeeping operations in 2006, several businesses suspected of involvement in sex trafficking have reopened. Widespread internal displacement, poverty, and lack of awareness of trafficking risks could lead Timor-Leste to become a source of vulnerable persons trafficked to other countries.
The Government of Timor-Leste does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In 2007, the government reconvened its interagency Human Trafficking Task Force and included representatives from international organizations and civil society. The January 2 and 17, 2008 raids against two brothels fronting as bars also reflect the new government’s commitment to increase its efforts to combat trafficking.
Recommendations for Timor Leste: Institute formal procedures for the identification of trafficking victims and ensure that victims are not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a result of their being trafficking victims; improve coordination among government ministries to ensure that victims are not repatriated or deported before they have an opportunity to assist with investigations or prosecutions; train law enforcement officers on victim identification and protection and increase collaboration with international peacekeeping forces in investigating potential trafficking cases.
The Government of Timor-Leste demonstrated limited anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the past year. Pending promulgation of a national penal code, Timor-Leste’s judicial system still relies significantly on the Indonesian penal code. The government similarly depends upon international assistance to process court cases, the backlog of which rose to over 4,000 by the end of 2007. The government also relies on international police officials for a significant share of its law enforcement effort. The Timorese police will only begin to assume independent law enforcement authority incrementally during the course of 2008. Timor-Leste prohibits all forms of sex and labor trafficking through its 2003 Immigration and Asylum Act, which prescribes penalties for sex trafficking that are sufficiently stringent, but are not commensurate with those prescribed for rape. While there were no reported prosecutions or convictions for trafficking for labor or sexual exploitation during the last year, law enforcement operations increased. In November 2007, the government intervened to prevent a group of minors from traveling to Malaysia under circumstances that suggested trafficking. In January 2008, the United Nations Police Force (UNPOL) and the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) conducted a joint raid at a Dili bar suspected of sex trafficking. They arrested 32 suspects, mainly women from the P.R.C., Indonesia, Malaysia, and Timor-Leste. The PNTL conducted a separate raid at another Dili bar, where they arrested over 87 suspects, mainly foreign women engaging in prostitution. While neither raid resulted in prosecution of traffickers, Timorese authorities also did not prosecute the victims. In both cases, the Timorese police detained and then released all suspects after 48 hours and after charging the foreign women with immigration violations because they had entered the country on tourist visas or without visas. The Office of the Prosecutor-General dismissed cases against suspected traffickers in both cases due to the lack of witnesses. There are allegations that some police officers in Dili have accepted bribes or sex in exchange for allowing brothels with suspected trafficking victims to continue operations. There has been no official confirmation of these allegations of low-level corruption from the government, international organizations, or NGOs.
A severe lack of resources and human resources capacity constraints continued to limit the Timorese government’s ability to provide assistance to victims of trafficking during the reporting period; the government continued to rely on international organizations and NGOs for victim protection. Its law enforcement, immigration, and social services personnel do not employ formal procedures to proactively identify trafficking victims among high-risk populations, such as foreign women engaging in prostitution. Therefore, victims of trafficking may be charged with immigration violations and either deported or repatriated through a process known as “voluntary abandonment.” Under this arrangement, foreigners found in Timor-Leste without valid documentation, but thought to be trafficking victims, are given 10 days to depart the country and are provided assistance with travel documents. There is no threat of prosecution involved in the voluntary abandonment process, and there were no reports of voluntary abandonment being forced or coerced. Several other victims were repatriated through the help of their embassies or an international organization. The Ministry of Labor assisted in arranging shelter and aid for victims of trafficking with local NGOs or international organizations when cases are brought to its attention. The government did not provide victims with legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they face hardship or retribution. Although the government encouraged victims to participate in investigations or prosecutions, it also penalized victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked.
The Government of Timor-Leste continued to rely on international organizations and NGOs for awareness raising efforts on trafficking in persons. The Human Trafficking Task Force, which includes representatives from the government, international organizations, and local NGOs, resumed meetings in August 2007, after a hiatus resulting from the 2006 crisis. A collaborative public awareness campaign by the government, international organizations, and local NGOs produced posters and leaflets targeting potential victims in Dili and throughout the districts. The leaflets provide emergency contact telephone numbers for the police and NGOs. Another campaign features senior government officials holding handcuffs and delivering an anti-trafficking message. A two-day anti-trafficking workshop held in Dili in March 2008 for law enforcement officers, civil servants, and NGOs, highlighted ministerial level commitment to raising Timorese awareness of the problem of trafficking in persons. At the opening ceremony, the Foreign Minister emphasized that the government views border security as crucial in the fight against human trafficking. He outlined efforts by the military and the police to improve border security, and reaffirmed the commitment of the government to strengthening cooperation both inter-agency and with international partners. While modest, these steps indicate a growing commitment by the government to overcome its limited resources and reliance on international organizations and NGOs to increase public awareness. Timor-Leste has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
TOGO (Tier 2)
Togo is a source, transit and, to a lesser extent, a destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Trafficking within Togo is more prevalent than transnational trafficking and the majority of victims are children. Togolese girls are trafficked primarily within the country for domestic servitude, as market vendors, produce porters, and for commercial sexual exploitation. To a lesser extent, girls are also trafficked to other African countries, primarily Benin, Nigeria, Ghana, and Niger for the same purposes listed above. Togolese boys are most commonly trafficked transnationally to work in agricultural labor in other African countries, primarily Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, and Benin, though some boys are also trafficked within the country for market labor. Beninese and Ghanaian children have also been trafficked to Togo. There have been reports of Togolese women and girls trafficked to Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, likely for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation. Togolese women may be trafficked to Europe, primarily to France and Germany, for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation. In the last year, 19 Togolese girls and young women were trafficked to the United States for forced labor in a hair salon.
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. Togo demonstrated solid law enforcement efforts by increasing the number of traffickers convicted. However, sentences imposed on convicted traffickers were inadequate and protection efforts were diminished over last year.
Recommendations for Togo: Increase efforts to prosecute and convict traffickers; continue to ensure that convicted traffickers receive adequate sentences involving jail time; pass a law prohibiting the trafficking of adults; provide care for male victims older than 15 years of age; and establish the National Committee to Combat Child Trafficking mandated in Togo’s 2005 law against child trafficking.
The Government of Togo demonstrated sustained law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking during the last year. Togo does not prohibit all forms of trafficking, though in July 2007, the government enacted a Child Code that criminalizes all forms of child trafficking. This law supplements Togo’s 2005 Law Related to Child Trafficking, which criminalizes the trafficking of children, but provides a weak definition of trafficking and fails to prohibit child sexual exploitation. Togo’s maximum prescribed penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment for child labor trafficking is sufficiently stringent. The prescribed penalties of one to five years’ imprisonment for sex trafficking of children 15 years and older and 10 years’ imprisonment for sex trafficking of children younger than 15 years are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for statutory rape. On June 15, 2007 five traffickers were convicted in the northern cities of Kara and Sokode. They were sentenced to penalties of one to two years’ imprisonment, and some also paid a fine of $2,000 each, five times Togo’s per capita income. In September 2007, Togolese and American officials worked together to expel an American accused of child sex tourism from Togo. In 2007, with support from UNICEF, the government organized four five-day workshops and provided some instructors to train 108 law enforcement officials, including magistrates, police, gendarmerie, military and customs officers, on strategies for enforcing laws against child trafficking. The government relies largely on ILO-funded local vigilance committees, usually composed of local government officials, community leaders, and youth, to report trafficking cases.
The Togolese government demonstrated modest efforts to protect trafficking victims over the last year. Togolese law enforcement officials regularly referred trafficking victims to government authorities or NGOs for care. The Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Child Protection, and The National Committee for the Reception and Reinsertion of Trafficked Children assisted victims primarily by alerting two NGOs in Lome that provide immediate victim care, and by working with these organizations to return victims to their home communities. In 2007, however, the Minister of Child Protection also established a vocational training center for destitute children where the government has placed some trafficking victims before returning them to their families. The government reported that it referred 224 trafficking victims to one NGO in Lome during the year and that 56 Togolese victims trafficked abroad were intercepted and repatriated in 2007. Neither the government nor NGOs provide any care for male victims older than 15 years. The government sometimes encourages victims to assist in trafficking investigations or prosecutions on an ad hoc basis. 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. Victims are not inappropriately incarcerated or fined for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked.
The Government of Togo made steady efforts to raise awareness about trafficking during the reporting period. With UNICEF support, in 2007 the government organized a trafficking training for journalists. With assistance from UNICEF, ILO, and local NGOs, the government also developed a national action plan to combat trafficking and a manual on trafficking victim protection procedures. Local government officials continued to play 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 language. Togolese troops deployed abroad as part of peacekeeping missions receive some trafficking awareness training prior to their deployment. Although the 2005 anti-trafficking law called for a National Committee to Combat Trafficking, this coordinating body has not yet been established. Togo did not take measures to reduce demand for commercial sex acts. Togo has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
TURKEY (Tier 2)
Turkey is a significant destination, and to a lesser extent, transit country for women and children trafficked primarily for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. This year, five men were reported trafficked from Turkmenistan for purposes of forced labor. Women and girls are trafficked from Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Romania for sexual exploitation. This year, three victims were reported trafficked to Turkey from outside of Eastern Europe and Eurasia—from Morocco, Tunisia, and Sri Lanka. Some victims are reportedly trafficked through Turkey to the area administered by Turkish Cypriots for the purpose of sexual exploitation. < /p>
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. The government significantly increased its law enforcement response in 2007 by convicting and punishing more traffickers. It further improved interagency and NGO cooperation and continued to institutionalize and implement comprehensive law enforcement training. In addition, the Government of Turkey made efforts to address trafficking-related official complicity among law enforcement. However, a lack of secure and consistent government support for Turkey’s trafficking shelters frustrated solid improvements in Turkey’s anti-trafficking efforts.
Recommendations for Turkey: Ensure consistent and sustained assistance for trafficking victims, including through sustained monetary assistance to shelters in Ankara and Istanbul; expand nondetention facilities for potential victims and other irregular migrants awaiting screening; strive to ensure that all potential victims are identified; address demand reduction and educate the clients of the commercial sex trade and forced labor in trafficking public awareness campaigns; vigorously investigate, prosecute, convict, and punish any official complicity in trafficking; and continue to improve the effectiveness of judicial cooperation with source countries.
The Government of Turkey demonstrated strong anti-trafficking law enforcement and prosecutorial efforts during the reporting period. Article 80 of the Penal Code prohibits trafficking for both sexual exploitation and forced labor, and prescribes penalties of eight to 12 years’ imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with prescribed penalties for other grave crimes, such as sexual assault. The government reported convicting four traffickers during 2007 under its recently amended Article 80, but most prosecutions— initiated before the Article 80 amendment— continued under Article 227, the previous primary anti-trafficking statute. In addition to the four Article 80 convictions, the government, in 2007, prosecuted 160 suspects and convicted 121 trafficking offenders, a dramatic increase from the 36 convicted in 2006. Penalties imposed on traffickers convicted under Article 227 averaged three years’ imprisonment and included fines, some of them substantial. Thirty-two convicted traffickers received jail sentences of over four years. Under Turkish law, a jail term of two years or less can be reduced to probation; out of the 121 convictions, 26 were sentenced to two years or less. Eighteen traffickers convicted under other criminal statutes received fines and prison terms ranging from 10 months to four years and two months. While some improvements have been made, the Government of Turkey should continue to expand law enforcement cooperation and seek opportunities to improve judicial cooperation with source countries. According to a few media reports in 2007, a limited number of public servants were arrested for crimes related to trafficking. The Government of Turkey reported that, between 2004 and 2007, 32 public officials were subject to judicial action for assisting traffickers, mediating prostitution, or accepting bribes. In 2007, the government relieved a Court of Appeals Judge of his duties for aiding traffickers; the prosecution is ongoing. The government continued an investigation involving a prison warden who was arrested and jailed in February 2007 for misuse of authority and accepting bribes that facilitated trafficking. A judicial committee recommended that she be expelled from public duty.
The government continued its victim assistance efforts; however international donors stepped in to help remedy a funding shortfall for one trafficking shelter during the reporting period. Although there was no interruption in core services, a funding shortfall forced one shelter to forego staff salaries and divert other resources in order to finance these core services. A lack of consistent and guaranteed funding for Turkey’s trafficking shelters weakened the government’s overall protection efforts in 2007. The government has reported that it is focused on finding a long-term financial solution to this problem. NGO-run shelters provided care to 109 trafficking victims in 2007. In 2007, the government identified a total of 148 trafficking victims; IOM assisted 118 of these victims. The remaining victims rejected the IOM referral mechanism and chose to return immediately to their countries, with their safe return guaranteed by the government. Four minor victims not formally referred to IOM for assistance were nonetheless assisted by the shelters and their welfare ensured by the Prime Ministry Social Services and Orphanages Directorate. The government encourages victims to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions, offers them free legal assistance, and offers legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they would face retribution or hardship. Foreign victims may apply for humanitarian visas and remain in Turkey up to six months with the option to extend for an additional six months; the government issued three humanitarian visas for victims in 2007. The government does not punish identified victims for crimes committed as a result of being trafficked. The government took steps to ensure the responsible and secure repatriation of trafficking victims by following specific exit procedures and contacting governments about their documentation and notifying them of subsequent repatriation. Turkey is an important destination for Armenian victims trafficked for sexual exploitation purposes, according to a 2007 joint OSCE-ILO-UNDP-ICMPD study, “Republic of Armenia Law Enforcement Anti-Trafficking Training Needs Assessment,” and a 2007 OSCE assessment, “Trafficking in Human Beings in the Republic of Armenia,” though comprehensive statistics are difficult to obtain. The Government of Turkey did not report identifying any victims from Armenia in 2007, but Armenian victims have been identified and assisted in previous reporting periods.
The government increased its prevention efforts in 2007. The government’s interagency task force met more frequently and developed a new National Action Plan, currently awaiting formal adoption. The government signaled that it will take over funding and operation of the “157” anti-trafficking hotline from IOM. This hotline became operational for international calls in 2007, and 28 victims were rescued through its use during the reporting period. The Jandarma (Gendarmerie) published a guidebook and distributed 3,280 copies to educate officers to identify trafficking, and national police distributed 1,000 copies of a similar guide to its units in 2007. Authorities continued to distribute small passport inserts to travelers entering the country at designated ports-of-entry and Turkish embassies provided trafficking awareness inserts to visa applicants in source countries, although the extent to which this method of alerting potential victims is effective is questionable, given that many source country nationals do not require a visa to enter Turkey. In 2007, the government published its first annual report on combating human trafficking in Turkey. Turkey’s NATO Partnership for Peace (PFP) training center hosted anti-trafficking training for Turkish and other NATO and PFP country personnel. The center also hosts annual anti-trafficking training for Turkish units assigned to peacekeeping operations. Thirty Turkish personnel received this training in 2007. The government did not report any measurable steps to reduce demand for commercial sex acts within Turkey’s legally regulated prostitution sectors during the year.
UGANDA (Tier 2)
Uganda is a source and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Ugandan children are trafficked within the country, as well as to Canada, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia for forced labor and 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. Security companies in Kampala recruit Ugandans to serve as security guards in Iraq where, at times, their travel documents and pay have reportedly been withheld as a means to prevent their departure; these cases may constitute trafficking. Pakistani, Indian, and Chinese workers are reportedly trafficked to Uganda, and Indian networks traffic Indian children to the country for sexual exploitation. Children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.), Rwanda, and Burundi are trafficked to Uganda for agricultural labor and commercial 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; while no further abductions of Ugandan children have been reported, at least 300 additional people, mostly children, were abducted during the reporting period in the Central African Republic and the D.R.C.
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.
Recommendations for Uganda: Prosecute, convict, and punish alleged trafficking offenders; pass and enact the draft comprehensive anti-trafficking law; and develop a mechanism for providing, in partnership with NGOs, protective services to all types of trafficking victims.
The government sustained its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the reporting period; however, the lack of a comprehensive anti-trafficking law meant that statistics on trafficking prosecutions and convictions were not separately kept. The government released crime statistics for 2007, which indicated that child trafficking crimes had increased over the previous year. The Inspector General of Police also announced that 54 children had been kidnapped, abducted, or stolen during the year; seven rescued children were believed to be potential trafficking victims who had not yet reached their destinations. Ugandan law does not prohibit trafficking, though existing Penal Code Act statutes against slavery, forced, and bonded labor, and procurement for prostitution could be used to prosecute trafficking offenses. In July 2007, Uganda’s female parliamentarians introduced the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons Bill in Parliament, a comprehensive draft anti-trafficking law, where it garnered unanimous support from the floor. It received its first reading in December and was referred to the Committee on Defense and Internal Affairs in February 2008. In January 2008, Mbarara police arrested three suspected traffickers and rescued 11 children who were allegedly being trafficked to Australia, Canada, and the United States. The suspects appeared in court in early February; a Rwandan pleaded guilty and was sentenced with a caution and released. A Burundian was charged with illegal entry into Uganda and was co-accused with a Ugandan woman of robbery; both were remanded tos jail. In 2007, the Commissioner for Labor and the Parliament began investigating companies alleged to be withholding the travel documents and pay of Ugandan security guards in Iraq; while a government report cleared three labor export agencies of fraud in February 2008, several other firms have been blacklisted for fraudulent recruitment for Iraq. The government’s 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. Eighty LRA combatants, many of whom had been abducted as children, applied for and received amnesty in 2007. Because of this process, the government has not arrested, prosecuted, or convicted LRA rebels for trafficking offenses. In April 2007, police officers, trained during the previous reporting period by the National Police’s Child and Family Protection Unit and ILO-IPEC, trained more than 150 additional police officers on child labor rights and worst forms of child labor.
The Ugandan government showed efforts to offer initial protection to children demobilized from the LRA, though it did far less to care for victims of other types of trafficking. The negotiated Final Peace Agreement between the Government of Uganda and the LRA, which includes provisions for the protection of children associated with the LRA, was not signed by the LRA’s leader, Joseph Kony. In 2007, the Ugandan military’s Child Protection Unit received and debriefed 28 surrendered children who had been abducted by the LRA; the children were processed at 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. Police transferred 11 rescued Rwandan, Burundian, and Congolese victims of child labor trafficking to UNHCR in Mbarara for care. The government continued to remove Karamojong children from the streets of Kampala and transferred them to shelters in Karamoja; the largest transfer took place in April and May 2007. National and local level officials, particularly district child labor committees, supported the efforts of ILO-IPEC by identifying 2,796 children for withdrawal from the worst forms of child labor. Local governments also convened child labor committees that monitored the working conditions of children. The government provided few protective services to children in prostitution; instead the Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development referred trafficked children to non-governmental organizations for care. Those rounded up with adults during police sweeps were generally released without charge. The Minister of Internal Affairs possesses the authority to allow foreign victims to remain in Uganda to assist with investigations; in 2007, the Minister granted two trafficking victims continued presence in Uganda. In most cases, however, victims are deported to their country of origin. The government encourages victims of sex trafficking cases to testify against their exploiters.
The government continued its efforts to increase public awareness of human trafficking. In mid-2007, the government used the annual Labor Day and Day of the African Child celebrations to raise public awareness about child trafficking and promote the new child labor laws. The police’s Child and Family Protection Unit used community meetings, school visits, and radio programs to raise awareness of trafficking. The governmentrun press, radio, and television stations ran public service announcements about trafficking. The Ugandan government, which currently chairs the Commonwealth, raised anti-trafficking issues as a priority for member states at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November 2007. Uganda’s Inspector General of Police co-hosted a UNODC conference on trafficking in Kampala in June 2007. Immigration officials monitored flights to Dubai, which have been used in the past to traffic children. The government began drafting regulations to prevent the trafficking of Ugandans abroad through fraudulent labor recruitment companies. Government efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts included a billboard campaign in Uganda’s major cities discouraging “sugar daddies,” arrests of men found procuring females in prostitution on disorderly conduct charges, and the prevention of a regional convention of women in prostitution from taking place in Kampala. Uganda has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
UKRAINE (Tier 2)
Ukraine is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked transnationally for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Ukrainian women are trafficked to Russia, Poland, Turkey, the Czech Republic, the United Arab Emirates, Austria, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Greece, Israel, Spain, Lebanon, Hungary, Slovak Republic, Cyprus, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Serbia, Argentina, Norway, and Bahrain. The majority of Ukrainian labor trafficking victims were men exploited in Russia, the Czech Republic and Poland, primarily forced to work as construction laborers, sailors, and factory and agriculture workers. There are indications Ukraine is a destination for people from neighboring countries trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. In addition, trafficking occurs within Ukraine; men and women are trafficked within the country for the purposes of labor exploitation in the agriculture and service sectors, commercial sexual exploitation, and forced begging. Ukrainian children are trafficked both internally and transnationally for commercial sexual exploitation, forced begging, and involuntary servitude in the agriculture industry. An IOM survey released in December 2006 concluded that since 1991, approximately 117,000 Ukrainians had been forced into exploitative situations in Europe, the Middle East, and Russia.
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. While there was little evidence of efforts to curb trafficking complicity of government officials and of concrete steps to protect and assist trafficking victims at the national level, local governments made some progress on victim assistance. The government also made modest, but tangible, progress in improving the punishment of convicted traffickers, prosecuting labor trafficking, training the judiciary, and carrying out prevention activities.
Recommendations for Ukraine: Continue efforts to ensure that convicted traffickers serve significant jail time; take steps to curb complicity by government officials; continue trafficking-specific training for prosecutors and judges; increase funding for victim protection and assistance; and take steps to discourage the demand for commercial sex acts.
In 2006, Ukraine made progress in prosecuting and punishing trafficking offenses. The government prohibits all forms of trafficking through Article 149 of its Criminal Code, which prescribes penalties that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. This year, the government completed 82 criminal investigations and arrested 56 people on trafficking charges. The Interior Ministry reported that the number of prosecutions for labor trafficking increased from 3 in 2006 to 23 in 2007. Overall, the government prosecuted 95 cases resulting in 83 convictions of trafficking offenders under Article 149. Of the total number of persons convicted, 59 were placed on probation and not subjected to imprisonment. In June 2007, the Prosecutor General ordered prosecutors to take a more aggressive posture with regard to sentencing convicted trafficking offenders and to appeal every case in which a judge ordered probation rather than jail time. As a result, during the second half of 2007, the share of convicted trafficking offenders receiving jail time rose to 44 percent, up from 36 percent during the first half of the year. Despite widespread reports of trafficking-related corruption, Ukraine failed to demonstrate any efforts to vigorously investigate, prosecute, convict, or sentence government officials complicit in trafficking this year. The government financed regular, formal training seminars for Interior Ministry anti-trafficking officers throughout Ukraine. The Ukrainian Academy of Judges and the Academy of Prosecutors, with sponsorship from the OSCE, participated in eight seminars for 203 judges and prosecutors from around the country on victim related issues and sensitivity training for trafficking-related cases. The government cooperates with other governments on anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts but acknowledged the need to simplify procedures for mutual legal assistance between Ukraine and trafficking destination countries.
Ukraine’s prevention efforts remained heavily reliant on international donor funding. Law enforcement agencies referred 456 victims to NGOs for assistance. Through donor-sponsored programs and some government services, foreign and domestic victims of trafficking in Ukraine receive shelter, medical, psychological, legal, and job placement assistance. The national government did not increase funding for victims, and there has been uneven support offered by local governments. The Kherson regional government allocated $20,170 to anti-trafficking activities including support of a reintegration center; however, the trafficking victim shelter in Lutsk is on the verge of being closed due to lack of government support. Ukraine does not punish victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, but sex trafficking victims’ rights are incorrectly characterized as “willing prostitutes” and denied confidentiality. Although more victims are reportedly willing to participate in investigations against their traffickers, a weak witness protection system and a bias against sex trafficking victims still discourage many from testifying in court. Courts in the Ivano-Frankivsk region are implementing a pilot program to develop a modern witness protection program. The government does not provide foreign victims with legal alternatives to removal to countries in which they may face hardship or retribution.
The government made progress in preventing trafficking in persons during the reporting period. In 2007, the government broadcasted a public service announcement on television entitled “Do not look at employment abroad through rose-colored glasses” throughout Ukraine and ran a parallel billboard campaign. The national government spent approximately $53,465 for printing and distributing materials for raising awareness, and local governments made additional contributions to prevention activities. The government did not undertake any prevention efforts directed at reducing demand for commercial sex acts. For the past three years, Ukraine’s National Academy of Defense has conducted, jointly with IOM, anti-trafficking classes for Ukrainian troops being deployed for international peacekeeping duties. During the reporting period, the Ministry of Interior worked with Interpol to prevent known child sex tourism offenders from entering Ukraine.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (Tier 2)
The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) is a destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Women from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the Philippines travel willingly to the U.A.E. to work as domestic servants, but some subsequently face conditions of involuntary servitude such as excessive work hours without pay, unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, and physical or sexual abuse. Similarly, men from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan are drawn to the U.A.E. to work in the construction industry, but are often subjected to similar conditions of coercive labor and to debt bondage as they work to pay off recruitment costs sometimes exceeding the equivalent of two years’ wages. Women from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Uganda, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, 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 or hotel workers by third country recruiters, but were coerced into prostitution or domestic servitude. The U.A.E. may also serve as a transit country for women trafficked into forced labor in Oman, and men deceived into working involuntarily in Iraq. During the last year, there were no new reports of children identified as trafficked for the purpose of camel jockeying, and the U.A.E. repatriated at least three former child camel jockeys from Sudan.
The Government of the United Arab Emirates does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but is making significant efforts to do so. An active anti-trafficking committee chaired by a cabinet-level official coordinated the U.A.E.’s anti-trafficking efforts. The government increased prosecutions, convictions, and sentences for sex trafficking offenders; trained law enforcement officers on anti-trafficking methods; opened a shelter for victims of trafficking; and continued its efforts to support former child camel jockeys and reached agreements to provide compensation to them. Nonetheless, the U.A.E. did not aggressively prosecute or punish acts of trafficking for forced labor, despite potential of a widespread problem among domestic and low skilled foreign workers.
Recommendations for the U.A.E.: Continue to increase law enforcement efforts to identify, prosecute and punish acts of sex trafficking; significantly increase law enforcement efforts against labor trafficking, including prosecuting and punishing employers and recruiters who defraud or abuse workers; significantly increase protection services available for victims of trafficking, particularly victims of forced labor; and institute a formal procedure to proactively identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable populations, such as foreigners arrested for prostitution or immigration violations.
The U.A.E. government made progress in prosecuting acts of sex trafficking over the last year, but showed limited efforts to punish forced labor. The U.A.E. prohibits all forms of trafficking through Federal Law No. 51, which prescribes penalties ranging from one year to life imprisonment. Prescribed penalties under this law are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those for other grave crimes, such as rape. The U.A.E.’s labor law, however, does not sufficiently protect workers in domestic service, making them vulnerable to forced labor. During this reporting period, the U.A.E. prosecuted and convicted 15 individuals for sex trafficking; their sentences ranged from nine months’ to 10 years’ imprisonment. The U.A.E. government also reported investigating an additional seven trafficking suspects and filing charges against six others for sex trafficking. Nonetheless, criminal law enforcement efforts against trafficking for forced labor remain severely inadequate; despite continuing reports of widespread and prevalent conditions of labor exploitation, the government referred only one recruitment agent for prosecution, but reported no convictions or punishments for such crimes. To improve their capacity and technical skills, the government trained law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges on anti-trafficking investigation and prosecution techniques. The government also hired over 200 new labor inspectors, bringing the total to approximately 425 inspectors to enforce labor laws; these inspectors went through three-month training courses in labor law and other key skills in identifying and addressing labor violations, including trafficking-related offenses.
During the reporting period, the Government of the U.A.E. made noticeable, but uneven, efforts to protect victims of trafficking. In July, Dubai authorities opened a government shelter for victims of abuse, including victims of trafficking. Between October 2007 and March 2008, this shelter provided rehabilitation services to 28 trafficking victims, four of whom were minors. Government officials and NGOs may refer victims to this shelter. Although the government trained law enforcement officers on victim sensitivity, the U.A.E. continues to lack a formal and comprehensive procedure to proactively identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable populations, such as foreign women detained and charged for prostitution violations and those arrested for immigration violations. As a result, some victims of trafficking who do not identify themselves to authorities are detained and automatically deported for unlawful acts as a result of being trafficked. Women who formally identify themselves as trafficking victims may access governmentprovided temporary housing in hotels, counseling, medical care, and repatriation aid in Dubai. Until the opening of the government shelter, the Dubai government also referred self-identified victims to an NGO-sponsored shelter. Because the U.A.E. does not offer victims long-term legal alternatives to removal to source countries where they may face retribution, however, many victims are reluctant to report being trafficked. Officers in police stations reportedly encourage victims to assist in trafficking investigations, but many victims still fear arrest, deportation, or retribution from their traffickers. Importantly, victims who agree to testify against their traffickers receive incentives that encourage them to stay in the U.A.E. and cooperate, such as shelter and alternative employment pending a trial. In practice, government authorities continue to interpret the anti-trafficking law to exclude some who have been forced into commercial sexual exploitation or labor. For instance, victims who willingly come to the U.A.E. with the intent of entering into prostitution may be treated as criminals and deported regardless of any victimization that may occur after their arrival. Similarly, the U.A.E. generally does not recognize males forced into labor as trafficking victims, particularly if they are over the age of 18 and entered the country voluntarily. As such, victims of forced labor who run away from their sponsors may be arrested and automatically deported for immigration violations.
The U.A.E. has made impressive efforts to prevent trafficking this year. To address the issue of non-payment of wages, which contributes to the debt bondage of some workers, the Ministry of Labor announced in October 2007 that salaries of foreign workers must be paid through an electronic system that can be monitored; this nascent system is increasing, but is not yet uniform. To support child camel jockeys and prevent re-trafficking, the U.A.E. committed approximately $8 million to UNICEF to aid repatriated camel jockeys; separately, the U.A.E. signed Memoranda of Understanding with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sudan, and Mauritania to establish claims facilities to compensate former child camel jockeys for their injuries. The Emirati government provided $15 million in financial assistance to a global UN conference on trafficking. The government did not make significant efforts to raise public awareness of trafficking issues domestically, such as among Emirati employers of foreign workers. Similarly, the government did not initiate a significant public awareness campaign to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. Dubai authorities shut down two nightclubs notorious for prostitution of foreign nationals. The government did not institute an awareness program targeted for nationals traveling to known child sex tourism destinations abroad. The U.A.E. has not yet ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
UNITED KINGDOM (Tier 1)
The United Kingdom (U.K.) is a destination and, to a lesser extent, transit country for women, children, and men trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Some victims, including minors from the U.K., are also trafficked within the country. Migrant workers are trafficked to the U.K. for forced labor in agriculture, construction, food processing, domestic servitude, and food service. Source countries for trafficking victims in the U.K. include Lithuania, Russia, Albania, Ukraine, Malaysia, Thailand, the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.), Nigeria, and Ghana. According to some NGO sources, in 2007 there was an increase in women identified as trafficked from both Nigeria and the P.R.C. for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Unaccompanied minors, including girls from the P.R.C., were trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. British police estimate that up to 4,000 trafficked persons, primarily women, are being exploited in the U.K. at any given time. Law enforcement operations increasingly reveal a large percentage of the trafficking problem in the U.K. occurs hidden in residential areas throughout the country.
The Government of the United Kingdom fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Over the last year, U.K. authorities continued to launch aggressive anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts to uncover trafficking and identify victims.
Recommendations for the U.K.: Adopt and implement formal procedures for identifying victims among vulnerable populations, including unaccompanied minors, women arrested for prostitution and immigration violations, and undocumented migrants; provide systematic and specialized care for child trafficking victims; continue to expand shelter and assistance capacity to meet the needs of all victims found; and establish a mechanism to systematically collect and analyze comprehensive law enforcement data, including data on victims.
The U.K. Government continued its proactive law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking though its conviction rate for trafficking offenders decreased significantly during the reporting period. The U.K. prohibits all forms of trafficking through its 2004 Sexual Offenses Act and its 2004 Asylum and Immigration Act, which prescribe penalties of a maximum of 14 years’ imprisonment, although the specific punishments prescribed for sex trafficking are less severe than those prescribed for rape. In 2007, the government launched Pentameter II, a large scale operation aimed at rescuing victims, disrupting trafficking networks, developing intelligence and raising public awareness. In 2007, the government reported it initiated prosecutions involving at least 52 suspected trafficking offenders Although the government reported 75 ongoing prosecutions during the previous reporting period, it convicted only 10 trafficking offenders in 2007, a significant decrease from 28 convictions obtained in 2006. Sentences imposed on convicted trafficking offenders in 2007 ranged from 20 months’ to 10 years’ imprisonment, with an average sentence of four years. In January 2008, police arrested 25 members of Romanian organized crime organizations using Romanian children, including a baby less than a year old, as pickpockets and in begging schemes.
The government demonstrated sustained efforts, but mixed results in its protection efforts in 2007. U.K. police referred 259 trafficking victims to one service-providing organization for shelter and assistance. The government began piloting a national referral mechanism as part of Pentameter II to improve identification for all potential trafficking victims in the U.K. While it continued to provide care for adult women trafficked for sexual exploitation, not all identified trafficking victims received necessary care and protection. Out of 888 adult women victims referred to its specialized trafficking shelter, only 181 victims were accommodated by the limited-capacity facilities, with an additional 141 assisted on a non-resident basis only. Some of the remaining 566 victims who were not accommodated at the shelter did not meet all of the government’s criteria for admission. Victims must be over 18; involved in prostitution within 3 months of referral; willing to cooperate in the prosecution of their traffickers; and must have been trafficked into the U.K. from abroad. Victims who did not meet these criteria were reportedly referred to other social service agencies, NGOs, or to their respective embassies. The government continued to provide significant funding for its specialized shelter and in 2007 provided an additional $200,000 to the $4.8 million grant it awarded in 2006. The government continued to encourage victims to assist in trafficking investigations and prosecutions. Police rescued a number of children from exploitation during the reporting period; however, NGOs and international organizations continue to express serious concerns regarding the government’s ability to protect children from traffickers in the U.K. In a limited 2007 study that revealed 80 reported cases of known or suspected child trafficking to the U.K. in the previous three years, some 60 percent of victims were found to have disappeared from social services centers. Another study conducted by the government in 2007 identified a minimum of 330 individual cases of children trafficked into the U.K. While the U.K. government stipulates that victims are not inappropriately incarcerated, fined or penalized for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked, some victims reportedly were charged and prosecuted for immigration offenses in 2007. One victim who managed to escape from her trafficker during the reporting period was repeatedly imprisoned on immigration violations, according to media sources. 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 legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they face hardship or retribution. According to NGOs, however, this process continues to be cumbersome and inconsistent for victims seeking such alternatives. By filing asylum, humanitarian protection or extraordinary relief claims on a case-by-case basis, such victims may obtain residency.
The government continued to demonstrate strong leadership to prevent trafficking during the reporting period. In December 2007, it launched a “Blue Blindfold” public awareness campaign in 12 major cities, including posters, a public service TV advertisement and notices on buses in high-risk areas. In 2007, the government finalized a national action plan on trafficking, including projects to reduce demand. The government awarded a grant to one NGO to develop training on child trafficking in 2007 and provided funding for the development of an advice line on child trafficking for front-line care-givers. To combat demand for commercial sex acts, police conducted outreach to “clients” of the sex trade and provided information on how to report possible victims of trafficking, and some localities implemented a “name and shame” program for those vehicles seen trolling such areas. Police and immigration officials distributed brochures about trafficking during the reporting period, including information on where victims can go for assistance. The Ministry of Defense provided anti-trafficking training to U.K. nationals deployed abroad for international peacekeeping missions in 2007. To combat child sex tourism, the government retained a registry of known pedophiles that required them to report any planned foreign travel before departure. The government sustained cooperation with Interpol in sharing intelligence with other countries in order to intercept known sex offenders; several cases are pending.
URUGUAY (Tier 2)
Uruguay is a source and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Most victims are women, girls, and some boys trafficked within the country to border and tourist areas for sexual exploitation. A government agency found that families had facilitated the exploitation of many children in prostitution. Impoverished parents reportedly turned over their children for domestic and agricultural servitude in rural areas. Some Uruguayan women have been trafficked to Spain and Italy for sexual exploitation.
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. During the reporting period, the government enacted much-needed anti-trafficking legislation and increased efforts to convict and punish trafficking-related crimes, but its assistance to trafficking victims remained lacking.
Recommendations for Uruguay: Continue to increase law enforcement efforts against trafficking offenders; identify locations where suspected trafficking activity takes place, and conduct raids or other operations to rescue victims from such situations; increase victim services and protection efforts; and expand anti-trafficking training for judges and law enforcement personnel across the country.
The Government of Uruguay increased anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the last year. In December 2007, Uruguay enacted an anti-trafficking statute as part of a comprehensive immigration reform package. Article 78 of this new law prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons, and prescribes penalties of four to 16 years’ imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and exceed penalties prescribed for rape. Uruguayan law also criminalizes trafficking of minors and child pornography, prescribing penalties ranging from six months’ to 12 years’ imprisonment—penalties which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those for other grave crimes. Forced labor is prohibited under Section 1 of Title XI of the Uruguayan penal code, and punishable by six to 12 years’ imprisonment, penalties which are sufficiently stringent. During the reporting period, the government secured three criminal convictions for child pornography. The government inspects legal brothels and other locations for the presence of minors. No victim rescues have been reported. The government cooperates with foreign authorities on international trafficking cases. There is no evidence of official complicity with human trafficking.
Due to limited resources, the Uruguayan government’s efforts to protect trafficking victims remained inadequate during the year. While the government provided some assistance to NGOs working in the area of trafficking, the availability of victim services remained uneven across the country, especially outside the capital. The government does not have a formal system for identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as women in prostitution or undocumented migrants. 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. The government assisted IOM with the repatriation of three Uruguayans trafficked abroad last year.
The government modestly improved its efforts to raise public awareness about the dangers of human trafficking, and collaborated with IOM to combat trafficking in tourist and border areas. The Ministry of Education continued to produce anti-trafficking commercials for national television, and maintained its program of including anti-trafficking segments in its sex education curriculum. The government also sponsored two anti-trafficking workshops with participants from the region. Uruguayan troops deployed on international peacekeeping missions received anti-trafficking training at UN-certified training centers. Last year, there were no reported government efforts to reduce consumer demand for commercial sex acts.
UZBEKISTAN (Tier 2 Watch List)
Uzbekistan is a source country for women and girls trafficked to the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Kazakhstan, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, India, Israel, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, and Costa Rica for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Men are trafficked to 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, forced labor in the agricultural and construction industries, and for commercial sexual exploitation. Many school-age children are forced to work in the cotton harvest each year.
The Government of Uzbekistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Uzbekistan is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking over the previous year. Specifically, the government did not amend its criminal code to increase penalties for convicted traffickers and did not provide financial or in-kind assistance to NGOs providing assistance to victims during the reporting period. The government also did not take steps to end forced child labor during the annual cotton harvest. However, in March 2008 Uzbekistan adopted ILO Conventions 138 (on minimum age of employment) and 182 (on elimination of the worst forms of child labor) and is working with ILO on implementation. The Government of Uzbekistan also demonstrated its increasing commitment to combat trafficking in March 2008 by adopting a comprehensive anti-trafficking law. The new law establishes a coordination mechanism for government ministries responsible for various anti-trafficking efforts, promises state funding will be used to provide victim protection and assistance, and ensures that victims will not be punished for acts committed as a result of being trafficked.
Recommendations for Uzbekistan: Continue to work with ILO and UNICEF on implementation of adopted conventions to reduce the use of child labor in the cotton harvest; provide financial or in-kind support to the country’s two anti-trafficking shelters; increase protection for vulnerable labor migrants; and take steps to improve the collection of law enforcement trafficking data. The government should also implement the new comprehensive anti-trafficking law by: establishing a National Interagency Commission on Combating Trafficking; organizing public awareness campaigns; providing medical and psychological help to victims; and establishing specialized agencies for support and protection of trafficking victims.
Uzbekistan reported improved law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking; however, many traffickers served no time in prison 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, convicted persons who are given sentences of less than 10 years are often amnestied and may not serve time in prison. This practice is commensurate with punishments prescribed for others grave crimes, such as rape. Also, first-time female traffickers are more likely to be amnestied than male traffickers due to Uzbek cultural beliefs. Many trafficking offenders are therefore not adequately punished. In 2007, the police reported 273 trafficking investigations involving 303 suspects, compared with 250 investigations involving 268 suspects reported in 2005, the most recent year available for trafficking data. Authorities prosecuted and convicted 185 suspects for trafficking in 2007, compared to 148 convictions in 2005. As of January 2008, at least 66 traffickers were serving sentences of six months’ to three years’ imprisonment. There were 272 police officers dedicated to combat trafficking in persons, including 118 that worked exclusively on the issue. Anti-trafficking training was added to the curriculum for young officers at the Ministry of Interior training academy in 2007. There were unconfirmed reports of government officials involved in trafficking-related bribery and fraud. In March 2008, a member of the lower house of parliament resigned over sex trafficking allegations; there was no government investigation into the allegations at the time of this report.
The government demonstrated modest improvement in its victim assistance and protection efforts during the reporting period. NGOs reported growing trafficking awareness and sensitivity towards victims among law enforcement officials. Police, consular officials, and border guards referred women returning from abroad who appeared to be trafficking victims to IOM for assistance. NGOs reported a need for additional victims’ shelters in two other regions of the country. The two existing trafficking shelters in Uzbekistan were funded by foreign donors and received no financial or in-kind assistance from the government during the reporting period. In 2007, NGOs reported assisting 497 victims trafficked for sexual and labor exploitation, compared to 681 reported victims in 2006. While 40 victims assisted law enforcement in trafficking investigations in 2007, many victims remain afraid to provide testimony or information for fear of retribution by their traffickers, and the government provided no victim-witness protection. The new comprehensive anti-trafficking law requires increased protection for victims who are cooperating with investigations. Repatriated victims are asked to sign documentation confessing to their illegal departure from Uzbekistan; however, NGOs reported that identified victims of trafficking were not punished for acts committed as a result of being trafficked.
The government continued its prevention efforts during the reporting period. In 2007, the government provided free office space to an anti-trafficking NGO in Jizzakh. More than 200 Uzbek law enforcement officials in all 12 provinces received anti-trafficking training conducted by NGOs in 2007, increasing awareness about the issue among lower-level officers. The government’s inter-agency working group on trafficking met five times in 2007 and drafted comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, which was adopted by Parliament in March 2008 and signed into law by the President. In 2007, the government reported that there were 360 anti-trafficking articles printed in newspapers and magazines, police officers participated in 184 radio speeches, and 793 television segments on trafficking were aired throughout the country. Most items in the media addressed trafficking for sexual exploitation, although there was limited coverage of labor trafficking as well. The government gave extra scrutiny to unaccompanied young women traveling to recognized trafficking destination countries. Uzbekistan has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
VENEZUELA (Tier 2 Watch List)
Venezuela is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Venezuelan women and girls are trafficked within the country for sexual exploitation, lured from poor regions in the nation’s interior to urban and tourist areas. Victims are recruited through false job offers, and subsequently forced into prostitution or conditions of labor exploitation. Child prostitution in urban areas and child sex tourism in resort destinations such as Margarita Island appear to be growing. Venezuelan women and girls are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation to Western Europe and Mexico, in addition to Caribbean destinations such as Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, and the Dominican Republic. Men, women, and children from Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) are trafficked to and through Venezuela and may be subjected to commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor.
The Government of Venezuela does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting period, the Government of Venezuela showed greater resolve to address trafficking through law enforcement measures and prevention efforts, though stringent punishment of offenders and victim assistance remain lacking. Nevertheless, the Government of Venezuela is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for failing to provide evidence of increasing efforts to protect and assist trafficking victims.
Recommendations for Venezuela: amend laws to prohibit and adequately punish all forms of trafficking in persons; intensify efforts to investigate, prosecute, convict, and sentence trafficking offenders; confront trafficking complicity by public officials; provide greater assistance to trafficking victims; and increase training for law enforcement officials.
The Government of Venezuela made limited, but improved, anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the last year. Venezuelan law prohibits most forms of trafficking in persons. In March 2007, the government enacted the Organic Law on the Right of Women to a Violence-Free Life. Article 56 of the new law prohibits the trafficking of women, girls, and adolescents for purposes of sexual exploitation, prostitution, forced labor, or slavery, and prescribes punishments of 15 to 20 years’ imprisonment. Articles 46 and 47 of the new law prohibit forced prostitution and sexual slavery, and carry penalties of 15 to 20 years’ imprisonment. This legislation closed a gap in Venezuelan law, in which the internal trafficking of adults was not prohibited. These new anti-trafficking provisions, however, do not address the trafficking of adult males or boys. Article 16 of the Organic Law Against Organized Crime, enacted in 2005, prohibits trafficking across international borders for labor or sexual exploitation, 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, prescribing punishments of four to 10 years imprisonment. The above penalties are sufficiently stringent, and commensurate with those for other grave crimes. The Child Protection Act and various articles of Venezuela’s penal code can be used to prosecute internal trafficking of minors, but many of these statutes carry extremely low penalties, mostly fines. Instituting more stringent penalties would improve deterrence of trafficking crimes against children, particularly boys. During the reporting period, the government opened two criminal investigations against three trafficking suspects in Caracas; these cases are pending. Government officials reported that an additional 12 trafficking-related investigations remain open from previous years. However, the actual number of trafficking investigations is difficult to determine since the government may not be distinguishing between human trafficking and alien smuggling crimes. No convictions or sentences against trafficking offenders are reported. Police indicate that some trafficking victims are reluctant to press charges due to long court delays and fear of reprisals from their traffickers. Additional training for police and prosecutors on victim interviewing, in addition to providing victims with greater government or NGO support during court proceedings, should assist with encouraging victims to confront and prosecute their traffickers. International organizations indicate that the government cooperates with Interpol on some transnational trafficking cases, and has increased screening for potential trafficking situations at airports and border checkpoints after receiving UNHCR-sponsored training last year. The government is investigating an immigration official for trafficking-related complicity. Corruption among other public officials, particularly related to the issuance of false identity documents, appeared to be widespread.
The Venezuelan government’s efforts to assist trafficking victims remained inadequate during the reporting period. The government did not operate shelters dedicated for trafficking victims, and relied on NGOs to provide the bulk of victim assistance without government funding. Government-provided psychological and medical examinations were available for trafficking victims, but comprehensive victim services such as counseling, follow-up medical assistance, job training, and reintegration assistance remained lacking. The government operates a national hotline through which it receives trafficking complaints, and refers trafficking victims to NGOs for care. The government reported assisting 22 trafficking victims last year, in addition to collaborating with IOM to repatriate two Venezuelan victims who had been trafficked to Switzerland and Mexico. The lack of a secure witness protection program discouraged some victims from assisting with the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers. According to NGOs, the government does not have a formal mechanism for identifying trafficking victims among prostituted persons in the nation’s commercial sex trade. Additional anti-trafficking training for public officials would assist the government’s efforts, particularly on identifying minors in prostitution as trafficking victims. There were no reports of victims being jailed or penalized for crimes committed as a result of being trafficked. The government provides some legal protection for the resettlement of foreign victims to third countries if it appears they may face hardship or retribution if returned to their country of origin.
The government acknowledges that human trafficking is a problem in Venezuela, but views the country as principally a transit point. It has not yet recognized its role as a source country for women and children trafficked within the country and internationally for sexual exploitation. Nonetheless, the government increased efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex acts and to raise public awareness about the dangers of human trafficking by airing public service announcements and widely distributing posters and pamphlets against commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, and child sex tourism, and advertising the government’s hotline number. The government also reported shutting down a hotel on Margarita Island which had been advertised in the United Kingdom as a destination for sex tourism. It also sponsored a large number of nationwide anti-trafficking workshops and training programs for police officers and other government officials. The government partnered with UNICEF to continue to draft a national anti-trafficking action plan, and collaborated with NGOs and international organizations on other anti-trafficking efforts, but relations with these organizations are reported to be uneven. Moreover, high turnover in official personnel appears to have hampered some of the government’s overall anti-trafficking progress. Dedicated personnel would assist the government’s efforts, in addition to training on application of Venezuela’s different anti-trafficking laws and distinctions between alien smuggling and human trafficking offenses.
VIETNAM (Tier 2)
Vietnam is primarily a source country for women and children trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Women and children are trafficked to the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C), Cambodia, Thailand, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Macau for sexual exploitation. Vietnamese women are trafficked to the P.R.C., Taiwan, and the Republic of Korea via fraudulent or misrepresented marriages for commercial exploitation or forced labor. Vietnam is also a source country for men and women who migrate willingly and legally for work in the construction, fishing, or manufacturing sectors in Malaysia, Taiwan, P.R.C., Thailand, and the Middle East but subsequently face conditions of forced labor or debt bondage. Vietnam is a destination country for Cambodian children trafficked to urban centers for forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation. Vietnam has an internal trafficking problem with women and children from rural areas trafficked to urban centers for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Vietnam is increasingly a destination for child sex tourism, with perpetrators from Japan, the Republic of Korea, the P.R.C., Taiwan, the UK, Australia, Europe, and the U.S. In 2007, an Australian NGO uncovered 80 cases of commercial sexual exploitation of children by foreign tourists in the Sapa tourist area of Vietnam alone.
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. The government stepped up prosecutions and strengthened cross-border cooperation on sex trafficking with Cambodia, China, and Thailand to rescue victims and arrest traffickers. At the same time, there were some cases in which Vietnamese workers on contracts brokered by recruiters linked to state-licensed companies were exploited and, in its intervention, the government may have focused on upholding its image of Vietnam as an attractive source of guest workers, to the detriment of investigating complaints of trafficking. Vietnam collaborated with law enforcement from Cambodia, the P.R.C, and Laos to rescue victims and arrest traffickers suspected of sex trafficking. VIETNAM
Recommendations for Vietnam: Implement Vietnam’s 2006 Export Labor Law and Decisions issued in 2007 to apply stringent criminal penalties to those involved in fraudulent labor recruitment or exploitation of labor; take steps in state-affiliated labor contracts to protect Vietnamese migrant workers from being subjected to practices that contribute to forced labor, such as the withholding of travel documents; ensure that state-licensed labor recruitment agencies do not engage in fraud or charge illegal “commissions” for overseas employment; extend proactive procedures to identify victims of labor trafficking among vulnerable groups such as repatriated Vietnamese migrant laborers; take measures to ensure that victims of labor trafficking are not threatened or otherwise punished for protesting or leaving an exploitative labor situation in Vietnam or abroad; and implement and support a visible anti-trafficking awareness campaign directed at clients of the sex trade.
The Vietnamese government demonstrated increased law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation and uneven efforts to combat labor trafficking. Existing laws do not comprehensively cover trafficking in persons; however, various statutes in the Penal Code allow for all forms to be prosecuted. The government’s July 2007 Prime Ministerial Directive 16 directed to the Ministry of Justice to propose draft legislation to the National Assembly on a comprehensive new anti-TIP law and broadened the definition of trafficking in Vietnam to include men, not just women and children. The Directive also imposed a level of accountability on all provincial People’s Committee chairmen for combating trafficking in persons. Penalties prescribed for trafficking both for sexual and labor exploitation are sufficiently stringent and those for sexual exploitation are commensurate with those for other grave crimes, such as rape. The majority of traffickers are prosecuted under Articles 119, 120, and 275 of the Penal Code, which deal with trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. The government did not report any prosecutions or convictions for crimes of labor trafficking such as forced labor or debt bondage. According to Vietnam’s National Steering Committee on trafficking in persons, in 2007, police investigated 369 cases of sex trafficking involving 930 women and children victims. Police arrested 606 suspected traffickers and prosecuted 178 cases, obtaining 339 individual convictions of trafficking offenders. Nineteen traffickers were sentenced to 15-20 years in prison. The remaining 320 received convictions with sentencing of less than 15 years. The level of involvement by officials in facilitating trafficking appears to be low. There are occasional reports of border guards taking bribes to look the other way. In April 2007 in Ho Chi Minh City, police disrupted a Korean trafficking ring that fraudulently recruited Vietnamese for marriages, rescuing 118 women. Three separate traffickers were convicted and sentenced from 6-12 years for trafficking women to Macau to allegedly work as masseuses and then forced them into prostitution. Police from Vietnam and Laos cooperated in rescuing eleven women and breaking up a sex trafficking ring that moved women and girls to Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. In July, the Ho Chi Minh People’s Court convicted six Vietnamese with sentences ranging from 5-12 years for trafficking 126 women to Malaysia under the guise of a matchmaking agency.
The Vietnamese government demonstrated growing efforts at protecting victims in 2007, especially for victims of sex trafficking. A number of victim assistance and assessment centers were established in particular border areas. Sex trafficking victims were encouraged to assist in the investigation and prosecution process, as well as file civil suit against sex traffickers. There were no reports of sex trafficking victims being punished or otherwise penalized for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. The government still has no formal system of identifying victims of any type of trafficking, but the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU) and international organizations, including IOM and UNICEF, continue training the Border Guard Command and local Vietnamese authorities to identify, process, and treat victims. In 2007, the Government issued Decision No. 17, on receiving and providing assistance to sex trafficking victims returning from abroad. There were reports in February 2008 of a group of over 200 Vietnamese men and women recruited by Vietnamese state-run labor agencies for work in apparel factories in Jordan, who were allegedly subjected to conditions of fraudulent recruitment, debt bondage, unlawful confiscation of travel documents, confinement, and manipulation of employment terms for the purpose of forced labor at their worksite. These conditions led to a worker strike and, subsequently, altercations among workers and with the Jordanian police. Some reports stated that the workers faced threats of retaliation by Vietnamese government officials and employment agency representatives if they did not return to work. The Vietnamese government repatriated the group, after labor negotiations with the Taiwanese employer and Jordanian authorities on behalf of the workers. None of the workers who returned to Vietnam has been detained by the Vietnamese government, which has stated that the workers will not be prosecuted criminally, although they could be subject to civil financial penalties from the recruitment firms due to the breaking of their contracts. There were no reported efforts by the Vietnamese government to consider any of the repatriated workers as possible victims of trafficking. In March 2007, the VWU opened the national “Center for Women and Development” in Hanoi to provide shelter, counseling, financial and vocational support to sex trafficking and domestic violence victims. The Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA) reported that 422 women and child victims of sex trafficking were repatriated. Officials assigned to Taiwan and the Republic of Korea received briefings on assisting Vietnamese brides. Under the Prime Minister’s Decree 69, steps to protect Vietnamese women from sham or trafficked situations as a result of brokered marriages included heightened due diligence in issuing marriage certificates and steps to ensure that the marriage is voluntary. The Vietnam Women’s Union began a program with its counterpart in South Korea to set up pre-marriage counseling centers and hotlines in key source areas of Vietnam.
The Vietnamese government continued to demonstrate progress in efforts to prevent trafficking through public awareness. International organizations and NGOs continued collaboration with the government to provide training and technical assistance to various ministry officials as well as partnering in public awareness campaigns. The VWU and the Vietnam Youth Union conducted events including advertisements, radio and television campaigns as well as targeted events at schools in high-risk areas. The VWU collaborated with its counterpart in the Republic of Korea to conduct awareness campaigns and establish a hotline for Vietnamese brides. It sponsored a television documentary for women planning to marry foreigners that depicted positive and negative outcomes. Vietnam Television occasionally addresses trafficking in a popular home economics program by featuring returnees who discuss their experiences and how to avoid trafficking. In 2007, Vietnam television worked with MTV to broadcast a U.S. Government-funded anti-trafficking documentary and awareness campaign. There were no visible measures undertaken by the government to reduce demand for commercial sex acts. In late 2007, Vietnam established a child sex tourism investigative unit within its Ministry of Public Security. Vietnam actively worked with the USG on a successful prosecution of an American citizen who was a promoter of child sex tourism in Vietnam. A requirement that all tourists staying in hotels register their passports could assist in keeping child sex tourists away from Vietnam; however, many short-stay hotels geared towards prostitution and typically do not require registration. Vietnam has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
YEMEN (Tier 2)
Yemen is a country of origin for children, mostly boys, trafficked for forced begging, forced unskilled labor, or forced street vending. Yemeni children are trafficked across the northern border into Saudi Arabia or to the Yemeni cities of Aden and Sana’a for forced work, primarily as beggars. Unconfirmed estimates suggest that 10 Yemeni children are trafficked into Saudi Arabia per day, according to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. Some of these children may be sexually exploited in transit or once they arrive in Saudi Arabia. To a lesser extent, Yemen is also a source country for women and girls 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, Somalia, and the Philippines. Yemeni girls are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation; one study by ILO-IPEC indicates that girls as young as 15-yearsold are exploited for commercial sex in hotels, casinos, and bars in the governorates of Mahweet, Aden, and Taiz. In addition, street children are vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation.
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. Yemen opened a shelter for child victims in Sana’a and continued to provide protection and reintegration services to victims repatriated from Saudi Arabia. Nonetheless, Yemen reported fewer trafficking convictions this year, and reported no significant efforts to address trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.
Recommendations for Yemen: Significantly increase prosecutions of trafficking crimes, particularly of repeat trafficking offenders and of crimes that constitute sex trafficking; improve protection services available to victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation; prevent the incarceration of trafficking victims; and 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 reporting period. Article 248 of the penal code prescribes 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.” This prescribed penalty is commensurate with that for other grave crimes, such as rape. Article 161 of Yemen’s Child Rights Law specifically criminalizes the prostitution of children. Despite the availability of these statutes, Yemen reported only 14 arrests and six convictions for child labor trafficking; the government did not provide information regarding the sentences assigned to the convicted traffickers. The government did not report law enforcement efforts against trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. Moreover, despite indications of government officials’ complicity in trafficking, Yemen did not prosecute any officials for such complicity.
Yemen made limited progress in protecting victims of trafficking over the last year. In July 2007, the Yemeni government provided 80 female police officers with training on how to deal with trafficked children. It opened a shelter in Sana’a in February to receive trafficked children returning from Saudi Arabia; this shelter has protected 10 boys since its opening. The government also received 622 children in its reception center during the reporting period, providing child victims repatriated from Saudi Arabia with social services, limited medical care, and family reuni- fication services. Nonetheless, the government continues to lack protection services for victims of sex trafficking. The government did not employ procedures for proactively identifying victims of sex trafficking among high-risk groups; as a result, victims, including minors, were arrested and jailed for crimes committed as a result of being trafficked, such as prostitution. The government may encourage child victims to assist in investigations against their traffickers, but does not offer legal alternatives to removal to countries in which they may face hardship or retribution.
Yemen made modest progress in preventing trafficking in persons during the reporting period. The government produced an anti-trafficking public awareness campaign against child labor trafficking. In addition, the Ministry of Human Rights distributed brochures on the threat of child trafficking in cooperation with UNICEF, and provided logistical support to this project. The government, however, did not take any known measures during the reporting period to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. The government also did not undertake any public awareness efforts targeting citizens traveling to known child sex tourism destinations abroad. Yemen has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
ZAMBIA (Tier 2 Watch List)
Zambia is a source, transit, and destination 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 or acquaintances of the victim. Many Zambian child laborers, particularly those in the agriculture, domestic service, and fishing sectors, are also victims of human trafficking. Zambian women, lured by false employment or marriage offers, are trafficked to South Africa via Zimbabwe for sexual exploitation, and to Europe via Malawi. Zambia is a transit point for regional trafficking of women and children, particularly from Angola to Namibia for agricultural labor and from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to South Africa. Malawian and Mozambican adults and children are occasionally trafficked to Zambia for forced agricultural labor.
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. Zambia is placed on Tier 2 Watch List due to a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking over the last year, particularly in regard to its inability to bring alleged traffickers to justice through prosecutions and convictions.
Recommendations for Zambia: Pass and enact the draft comprehensive anti-trafficking law; formalize and implement victim identification and referral procedures; and increase anti-human trafficking public awareness, particularly among government officials.
The Government of Zambia’s anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts failed to achieve concrete results over the reporting period; prosecutions of trafficking crimes were not developed as police and immigration officials remained stymied by the lack of a functional human trafficking statute. Unlike the previous year, there were no new prosecutions or convictions of alleged traffickers in 2007. Zambia prohibits human trafficking through a 2005 amendment to its penal code, which prescribes penalties of 20 years’ to life imprisonment—penalties that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. The statute does not, however, define trafficking or set out the elements of the offense, and has been interpreted thus far as applying narrowly to only the explicit sale of a person. In 2007, the government’s interagency committee on trafficking finalized a draft comprehensive anti-trafficking law and national policy before transferring the documents to the Zambian Law Development Commission for review. During the reporting period, police and immigration authorities investigated at least 38 suspected cases of trafficking, the majority of which were detected at border crossings and, thus, were difficult to distinguish from smuggling. Relevant diplomatic missions, particularly the Congolese Embassy, assisted with the investigations. When violations of child labor laws were discovered, labor inspectors resolved these cases through mediation and counseling with the employers and families, rather than pursuing criminal charges against the exploiters. In the absence of a usable law against human trafficking, the majority of the suspected victims and traffickers were summarily deported to their country of origin. None of the cases investigated during the reporting period resulted in prosecutions. The trial of two men accused of selling an eight-year-old boy in June 2006 continues; the defendants remain in prison pending the outcome. The government seconded two officers, one from the National Police Service and one from the Department of Immigration, to IOM for four months in 2007 to receive training as Master Trainers. These officers then provided anti-trafficking training to 400 police, immigration officials, prosecutors, and judges.
The government’s efforts to protect victims of trafficking remained extremely limited throughout the year. While there are no formal victim identification or referral procedures in Zambia, government officials informally referred victims of trafficking to IOM, which provided shelter and case management. During the reporting period, police and immigration authorities referred four trafficking victims—two Congolese and two Zambian—to IOM for assistance. In 2007, the government allocated $184,000 to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security’s Child Labor Unit, a 23 percent increase over its 2006 budget. During 2007, the Ministry’s Labor Inspections Unit undertook targeted inspections of child labor in Eastern, Central, and Lusaka Provinces. Some child victims of forced labor were referred to NGOs for assistance or enrolled in school feeding programs. The government encourages victims’ assistance in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers. Identified victims were not detained or jailed for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
While Zambia lacks a comprehensive public awareness campaign on human trafficking, the government sustained efforts to prevent vulnerable children from being trafficked during the reporting period. It continued operation of two youth camps that provided counseling, rehabilitation, and enrolment in schools or vocational training to street children vulnerable to trafficking, including girls removed from prostitution; 210 children graduated from the camps in 2007. Immigration and law enforcement officials at border posts distributed IOM-produced literature on trafficking to local communities and the government-owned radio station broadcast anti-trafficking messages. The government worked with NGOs on an ongoing basis to publicize the dangers of prostitution through radio announcements and the distribution of pamphlets and posters. With the support of ILO/ IPEC, the Child Labor Unit formed seven District Child Labor Committees, comprised of traditional chiefs, parents, health workers, and religious leaders to increase awareness of child labor laws and the worst forms of child labor. These committees provided information on exploitative child labor to 8,600 persons during the year. Standardized training in police and military academies includes a module that addresses reducing the demand for commercial sex acts as well as the dangers of commercial sexual exploitation.
ZIMBABWE (Tier 2 Watch List)
Zimbabwe is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Large scale migration of Zimbabweans to surrounding countries—as they flee a progressively more desperate situation at home—has increased, and NGOs, international organizations, and governments in neighboring countries are reporting an upsurge in these Zimbabweans facing conditions of exploitation, including human trafficking. Rural Zimbabwean men, women, and children are trafficked internally to farms for agricultural labor and domestic servitude and to cities for domestic labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Women and children are trafficked for domestic labor and sexual exploitation, including in brothels, along both sides of the borders with Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia. Young men and boys are trafficked to South Africa for farm work, often laboring for months in South Africa without pay before “employers” have them arrested and deported as illegal immigrants. Young women and girls are lured to South Africa, the People’s Republic of China, Egypt, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada with false employment offers that result in involuntary domestic servitude or commercial sexual exploitation. Men, 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 domestic servitude.
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. Zimbabwe is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking over the last year, and because the absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is significantly increasing. The government’s efforts to address trafficking at home somewhat diminished during the reporting period, particularly in regard to law enforcement efforts. In addition, the trafficking situation in the country is worsening as more of the population is made vulnerable by declining socio-economic conditions.
Recommendations for Zimbabwe: Increase measures aimed at preventing trafficking; 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.
The government’s anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts diminished during the year, particularly in regard to prosecutions and convictions of traffickers. Zimbabwe does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, though existing statutes outlaw forced labor and numerous forms of sexual exploitation. The government reported in 2007 that it was drafting comprehensive trafficking legislation; however, the draft has neither been made available for review nor introduced in Parliament. Unlike the previous year, the government did not prosecute any human traffickers during the reporting period; however, police launched investigations into three new cases of international trafficking involving four victims. None of the investigations or cases reported in 2006 came to completion. While it is not unusual for a detainee to remain in custody for prolonged periods—in some cases several years—before the case is heard in court, a three-month strike by magistrates, prosecutors, and court staff worsened the backlog of cases awaiting trial. 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 and referred for counseling. In 2007, Zimbabwe’s Interpol Office’s Human Trafficking Desk, staffed by Zimbabwean police detectives, took part in international trafficking investigations with Interpol offices in Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Zambia. The government did not provide specialized anti-trafficking training; however, government officials attended 10 IOM training workshops that focused on trafficking and the recognition of victims.
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 returnees. The Department of Immigration required all deportees returning from South Africa via the Beitbridge border crossing to attend an IOM-led briefing on safe migration, which includes a discussion on human trafficking and IOM’s assistance services. The District Council of Beitbridge employs a child protection officer and convenes a child protection committee. During the reporting period, the government allocated land to IOM to establish a second reception center in Plumtree for Zimbabweans deported from Botswana. Although the government has an established process for referring victims to international organizations and NGOs that provide shelter and other services, in 2007 the government primarily depended on these organizations to identify trafficking victims and alert the authorities. Zimbabwe’s Interpol Office, the Department of Immigration, and the Department of Social Welfare coordinated victim assistance with South African authorities in ongoing cases during the reporting period. 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.
The government sustained its previous level of anti-trafficking awareness raising efforts. There is a general lack of understanding about trafficking across government agencies, especially at the local level. However, senior government officials frequently spoke about the dangers of trafficking and illegal migration, and the state-run media printed and aired warnings about false employment scams and exploitative labor conditions. During the year, all four government-controlled radio stations aired an IOM public service announcement eight times each day in five languages during peak migration periods. In January 2008, the government signed a memorandum of understanding with the South African government for a joint project to regularize the status of illegal Zimbabwean migrant farm workers in South Africa’s Limpopo Province and ensure them proper employment conditions. The inter-ministerial anti-trafficking taskforce took no concrete action during the year. Information was unavailable regarding measures adopted by the government to ensure its nationals deployed to peacekeeping missions do not facilitate or engage in human trafficking. Zimbabwe has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.