Angola is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Angolans are forced to labor in the agriculture, fishing, construction, domestic service, and artisanal diamond mining sectors within the country. Chinese nationals in Angola exploit Angolan children in brick-making factories, construction, and rice farming. Girls as young as 13-years-old are prostituted. Angolan adults use children under the age of 12 for forced criminal activity, as children cannot be criminally prosecuted. Some Angolan boys are taken to Namibia for forced labor in cattle herding. Angolan women and children are subjected to domestic servitude and sex slavery in South Africa, Namibia, and European countries, including the Netherlands and Portugal. During the year, two Zimbabwean child sex trafficking victims were identified in Luanda.
Vietnamese and Brazilian women in prostitution in Angola may be victims of sex trafficking. Chinese women are recruited by Chinese gangs and construction companies with promises of work, but later are deprived of their passports, kept in walled compounds with armed guards, and forced to pay back the costs of their travel by engaging in prostitution. Chinese, Southeast Asian, Namibian, and possibly Congolese migrants are subjected to forced labor in Angola’s construction industry; conditions include the withholding of passports, threats of violence, denial of food, and confinement. Chinese workers are brought to Angola by Chinese companies that have large construction or mining contracts; the companies do not disclose the terms and conditions of the work at the time of their recruitment. Undocumented Congolese migrants, including children, enter Angola for work in diamond-mining districts, where some experience conditions of forced labor or forced prostitution in mining camps. Trafficking networks recruit and transport Congolese girls as young as 12-years-old from the Kasai Occidental province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Angola for various forms of exploitation.
The Government of Angola does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The Government of Angola has not shown increasing efforts to address human trafficking compared to the previous year; therefore, Angola is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for a fourth consecutive year. Angola was granted a waiver from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because its government has a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and it has committed to devoting sufficient resources to implement that plan. During the reporting period, the government amended its penal code to include anti-trafficking prohibitions—a noteworthy accomplishment—and investigated two suspected trafficking cases. Nonetheless, the government failed to vigorously prosecute trafficking offenses in 2013, including those identified in previous reporting periods involving allegedly complicit government officials. The Angolan government has never convicted a trafficking offender. It failed to systematically investigate abuses in the Angolan construction sector or prosecute and hold accountable companies allegedly responsible for forced labor of both Angolan and foreign nationals, despite years of ongoing reports of construction companies engaged in forced labor. During the reporting period, the government developed a manual to assist law enforcement officials in identifying victims of trafficking among vulnerable populations; however, victim identification efforts remain inadequate, and the government failed to provide victims with protective services.
Recommendations for Angola:
Use the revised penal code provisions to investigate and prosecute forced labor and sex trafficking offenses; train law enforcement officials on the new penal code provisions; systematically investigate labor trafficking in the Angolan construction sector; train law enforcement, social services, and immigration officials in identification and referral procedures; ensure provision of shelter, counseling, and medical care to all victims either directly or in partnership with NGOs; establish broad-based institutional capacity to coordinate and guide national efforts by forming an anti-trafficking inter-ministerial committee; collect and analyze anti-trafficking law enforcement data; organize nationwide anti-trafficking public awareness campaigns; and accede to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
The Government of Angola continued to make minimal law enforcement efforts during the year. Although the government amended its penal code to include anti-trafficking provisions and arrested one alleged offender, it failed to initiate any prosecutions of suspected offenders and has never convicted a trafficker. In February 2014, the government amended the 1886 penal code to prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, proscribing penalties of eight to 12 years’ imprisonment—penalties that are both sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those proscribed for other serious crimes. Article 19 criminalizes the act of delivering, enticing, accepting, transporting, housing, or keeping of persons for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labor, or trafficking of organs, including by force, fraud, or coercion. Article 19 also makes the enticement, transport, or housing of a child for such purposes by any means a trafficking offense; in keeping with international law, it does not require the use of fraud, force, or coercion to prove a trafficking case when a child is the victim. This provision would appear, however, to overlap with Article 22, pimping of minors, which provides a lower penalty of two to 10 years’ imprisonment for promoting, encouraging, or facilitating the exercise of the prostitution of children, with enhanced penalties for the use of force, threat, or fraud of five to 12 years’ imprisonment. Slavery and servitude are separately criminalized in Article 18 with sentences of seven to 12 years’ imprisonment. In August 2012, the government adopted the Law on the Protection and Integral Development of Children; Article 7 prohibits the exploitation of children and Article 33 prohibits the kidnapping, sale, trafficking, or prostitution of children. This 2012 law fails to define and prescribe penalties for these crimes, limiting its utility.
The Angolan government investigated two suspected trafficking cases during the reporting period, leading to the arrest of one labor recruiter. In May 2013, the criminal investigative police arrested a Chinese national suspected of fraudulently recruiting children and young adults, ages 15 to 25, from Huila with promises of good wages for construction work in Zaire province. A Chinese construction company exploited these children and young adults in forced labor without pay and in poor conditions for three months. The government did not initiate prosecutions in this case and provided no information on progress to prosecute cases against alleged offenders from previous reporting periods, including the January 2013 case of 54 children intercepted en route from Huila to Namibe province, allegedly for work on tomato farms. One suspected labor trafficking offender, arrested and charged with organized crime after a raid on a Chinese construction site in Luanda in April 2011, remained in jail pending trial. The government maintained a labor agreement with the Government of China that requires Chinese companies to follow Angolan labor laws. However, Angolan authorities have not sought to criminally prosecute Chinese construction companies and employers for alleged forced labor abuses.
The government took no action to address allegations of official complicity in trafficking from this or previous reporting periods. For example, the government did not report on its efforts to independently investigate allegations against a prominent member of the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) suspected of running an international prostitution ring that brought Brazilian women in prostitution to Angola, South Africa, Austria, and Portugal; some of these women reported being detained and denied payment. Due to a culture of corruption, law enforcement efforts were stymied in many areas, including counter-trafficking. In February 2013, IOM instructed 60 government officials on best practices to identify and protect trafficking victims as part of training on migration issues held in government facilities in Zaire province. Separately, in partnership with IOM, the government provided anti-trafficking training to 248 officials in Luanda and Uige. National police academy trainings included human trafficking provisions; 513 officials received this training in 2013.
The government made minimal efforts to protect victims during the year. The government identified and rescued 21 potential trafficking victims in 2013, but did not provide them with protective services. In one case, after an official with the local child protection network identified 10 children in forced labor with a Chinese construction firm, police worked alongside the National Institute of Children (INAC) to rescue the children and reunite them with their families in May 2013; however, the government did not refer the victims for additional protective services. The government failed to identify any Chinese trafficking victims among the large number of Chinese laborers in the Angolan construction sector where labor exploitation is rife.
INAC oversaw child protection networks in all 18 provinces that offered health care, legal and social assistance, and family reunification for crime victims under the age of 18. The Ministry of Social Assistance and Reintegration, the Ministry of Family and Women’s Promotion, and the Organization of Angolan Women operated 27 counseling centers, seven multi-purpose shelters, and 51 children’s shelters that trafficking victims could access. However, it is unclear whether any trafficking victims received government-provided services—including even basic counseling and medical care—through these centers in 2013. Although the government may coordinate with NGOs or international organizations to provide care, it failed to provide them support for such services. For example, in June 2013 the government identified a potential Tanzanian victim abandoned by her Congolese recruiter; the government temporarily placed her in a detention facility, but did not charge her with immigration violations. Government officials subsequently referred her to IOM, which supported her return to Tanzania.
During the reporting period, in partnership with an international organization, the Ministry of Interior finalized manuals and standard operating procedures for responding to trafficking crimes, including guidance on victim identification. Law enforcement, immigration, and social services personnel generally did not make systematic efforts to identify victims and lacked a mechanism for screening individuals in prostitution or undocumented migrants. Neither documented nor undocumented foreign workers, including among the Chinese population, were screened for trafficking victimization and may have been arrested and deported for unlawful acts committed as a result of having been trafficked, including immigration and employment violations. For example, if during labor inspection workers were found to be without work permits, authorities fined employers and arrested and deported the workers. On occasions when authorities identified trafficking victims among Chinese laborers, the Angolan government routinely repatriated them to China without providing care or ensuring proper treatment upon their arrival in China. Angolan law does not provide foreign trafficking victims with legal alternatives to their removal to a country where they may face hardship or retribution. The government did not actively encourage victims to participate in trafficking investigations during the year.
The government modestly increased efforts to prevent human trafficking, though it largely relied on partnerships with international organizations to do so. In a change from previous years, the government launched anti-trafficking awareness events, including workshops in secondary schools to raise awareness of recruitment techniques used by traffickers. In late 2013, the government also constructed a maze in downtown Luanda to simulate what victims endure as they attempt to escape. In partnership with an international organization, the government placed Kikongo-language trafficking awareness posters along the border with the DRC. The government remained without an inter-ministerial body to coordinate national anti-trafficking efforts and failed to develop an updated national action for 2014. The national director of labor led an inter-ministerial commission, formed in May 2012, to examine Chinese labor in Angola and implement a labor accord with the Chinese government, which was signed into effect by the president in March 2012 and called for proper treatment of Chinese workers and compliance with Angolan labor law by Chinese employers and recruitment firms. The government did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts during the year. Angola is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.