Mongolia is a source and destination country for men, women, and children who are subjected to forced labor, and is a source country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking. Mongolian men, women, and children are subjected to forced labor and women and children are subjected to forced prostitution abroad, including in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Macau, and Singapore. China was the primary source of repatriated Mongolian trafficking victims in 2013. Mongolian men are also subjected to forced labor abroad, reportedly in Turkey, Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, and the Czech Republic. Mongolian women and girls are also subjected to forced prostitution in Sweden. Mongolian women—including some who have been handicapped—are subjected to involuntary domestic servitude or forced prostitution after entering into commercially brokered marriages, often to South Korean or Chinese men. Mongolian girls, trained and employed as contortionists under contracts signed by their parents, are subjected to forced labor and sometimes forced into begging in Mongolia, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, and Turkey.
In Mongolia, women and girls are also subjected to forced prostitution in massage parlors, and girls are vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation in hotels, bars, and karaoke clubs. Perpetrators sometimes use drugs to lure Mongolian victims into forced prostitution. Traffickers increasingly use social networking sites and online advertisements of job opportunities and English language programs to attract victims. Anecdotal accounts of South Korean and Japanese tourists engaging in child sex tourism in Mongolia have been reported. Mongolian children are forced—often by their parents—to beg, steal, or work in the informal construction, horse races, animal husbandry, mining, agriculture, and industrial sectors.
The number of undocumented Filipina domestic workers in Mongolia, some of whom may be vulnerable to trafficking, has increased in recent years. Approximately 2,500 North Koreans are employed in Mongolia as contract laborers to work in construction, production, agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, factory, wholesale and retail trade, automobile maintenance, and mining. North Korean laborers, present in Mongolia through a memorandum of understanding, reportedly do not have freedom of movement or choice of employment, and received sub-minimum wages while being subjected to harsh working and living conditions.
The Government of Mongolia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In 2013, the government prosecuted four sex trafficking cases involving five defendants and initiated two forced labor trafficking investigations. The government also established an interagency Anti-Trafficking Sub-Council under the Ministry of Justice. The government did not fully implement the 2012 anti-trafficking law for the second consecutive year; the government allocated minimal trafficking-specific funding to conduct anti-trafficking training and provided limited victim assistance and protection. This hindered efforts of law enforcement officers and judicial authorities to successfully prosecute trafficking cases and assist victims.
Recommendations for Mongolia:
Fully implement the 2012 anti-trafficking law; commence serious efforts to investigate and prosecute labor trafficking cases, including those involving foreign workers; allocate more trafficking-specific government funds to support anti-trafficking activities, including law enforcement and judicial training, and victim assistance and protection; establish formal procedures to guide government officials in victim identification and referral of victims to protective services; train law enforcement officials, judges, and other government officials on how to effectively implement the 2012 anti-trafficking law, including by prosecuting internal trafficking and child (boys and girls) prostitution cases using Article 113; complete drafting and implement the new national plan of action on trafficking in persons; cease penalizing trafficking victims for offenses committed as a result of being trafficked; ensure that North Korean workers employed in Mongolia are not subjected to forced labor; reduce demand for commercial sex acts through proactive awareness campaigns in bus depots and other major transportation hubs; and investigate allegations of child sex tourism in Mongolia.
The Government of Mongolia maintained its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. Mongolia prohibits all forms of human trafficking through Article 113 of its criminal code. Article 113, which defines trafficking in accordance with international law, prescribes up to 15 years’ imprisonment for trafficking offenses, penalties which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious offenses, such as rape. A more commonly used statute which does not describe trafficking in persons offenses but is used to prosecute sex trafficking cases, is Article 124 (inducing others to engage in prostitution and organizing of prostitution). It prohibits offenses such as setting up, running, or financing brothels or providing transportation or premises for prostitution, as well as “induced” prostitution, and prescribes up to five years’ imprisonment. Inducing a child into prostitution is a trafficking offense, but with regard to adults, it is only the use of force, fraud, or coercion that renders the crime of sex trafficking. Due to a general misconception that only girls can be victims of sexual exploitation, Article 113 is rarely used to prosecute sex trafficking cases involving boys; those cases that have reached trial have been charged under Article 125 (unnatural sexual gratification), which prescribes up to five years’ imprisonment and carries no aggravating penalties.
In 2013, the government investigated seven sex trafficking cases, prosecuted four cases involving five defendants, and convicted five offenders as compared to six convictions obtained in 2012. Four traffickers received sentences between three and five years’ imprisonment; one trafficker received a sentence of eight to 10 years’ imprisonment. The government obtained no forced labor convictions under Article 113 for four consecutive years; an investigation alleging forced labor remained pending at the end of the year. The State Investigative Agency (SIA) reported that China deported nine Mongolian citizens to Mongolia on trafficking charges. The SIA referred these cases for investigation.
The government did not issue all of the implementing regulations needed to guide law enforcement and judicial authorities on the anti-trafficking law enacted in early 2012. In 2013, the Criminal Police Department’s Organized Crime Division and SIA held regular training programs on trafficking investigations for 250 provincial and district law enforcement officers. In early 2014, the Sub-Council held three separate training events for law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and a range of other government and NGO representatives. However, frequent turnover among prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement officers undercut these training efforts and prevented government officials from gaining anti-trafficking expertise. In January 2014, the Law on the Police Service transferred some current responsibilities, including human trafficking, of the National Police Agency to the National Investigative Service (NIS). However, the law to establish the NIS has not yet passed, and the officers responsible for trafficking remained in an organizational limbo. Corruption among prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement personnel remained a significant problem in the country and a barrier to anti-trafficking progress. The Mongolian government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government employees complicit in trafficking.
The Government of Mongolia made limited efforts to protect victims of trafficking. It did not employ systematic procedures for the proactive identification of trafficking victims, though authorities reported identifying 45 victims of forced prostitution in 2013, compared to 56 in 2012. The Mongolian government identified only two victims of forced labor. The Mongolian government provided the Gender Equality Center, an NGO that provided protective services to victims, the equivalent of approximately $4,000; this represents a decrease from the equivalent of approximately $5,000 to $8,000 the government provided two NGOs working on victim protection in 2012. The National Center against Violence (NCAV) reported receiving the equivalent of approximately $42,500 from the Ministry of Population Development and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Justice to renovate one of the NCAV’s domestic violence shelters, which could be used for trafficking victims. During the reporting period, NGOs provided protective services to 82 trafficking victims, including shelter for 14 victims. The government did not provide long-term resources to victims of trafficking.
In January 2014, the Law on Victim and Witness Protection went into effect. This law requires the government to provide for the safety and psychological well-being of victims and witnesses during the investigation and prosecution of a crime. It further mandates that victim protection measures be put in place—including physical protection, use of safe houses, protection of victims’ identity, and psychological counseling. In 2013, the Ministry of Justice, with an international NGO, administered a legal assistance fund for victims as an interim measure until the Law on Victim and Witness Protection is fully implemented. Several additional pending regulations will mandate the provision of psychological counseling, job assistance, and rehabilitation to victims in Mongolia, and shelter and repatriation funds for Mongolian victims identified abroad. The government reported that the relevant agencies will implement and fund the regulations for the new law; however, Mongolia’s 2013 budget did not include any funding to assist trafficking victims support shelters. The law does not provide foreign victims with legal alternatives to repatriation where it would constitute a significant risk of hardship, torture, or death. Victims continued to be punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked, including Mongolian children in prostitution who were arrested and detained without screening to determine if third-party adults benefited from their prostitution. Foreign trafficking victims in Mongolia, especially Chinese laborers, were sometimes fined for violating their visa terms and expelled from Mongolia. Mongolian law does not provide incentives for victims to assist in trafficking investigations and prosecutions.
The Government of Mongolia demonstrated moderate efforts to prevent trafficking. The Anti-Trafficking Sub-Council, the government’s coordinating body for anti-trafficking efforts, was reconstituted in January 2013 and worked on revising the national action plan to account for the 2012 anti-trafficking law and judicial sector restructuring. The council, with financial assistance from an international NGO, organized a human trafficking training for journalists. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) posted a message warning Mongolian citizens of fraudulent job or educational offers abroad on the MFA website. The National Police Agency, in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice, created an awareness poster and disseminated copies to police departments in all Mongolian provinces and Ulaanbaatar districts. Several ministries partnered to develop 300,000 passport inserts providing travelers the name and contact information of the Criminal Police; these were distributed at major transportation hubs. All 1,300 deployed Mongolian Armed Forces peacekeepers received anti-trafficking training. However, the government made no discernible efforts to prosecute recruiters and brokers, or to investigate the living standards or labor conditions of North Korean contract laborers working in Mongolia. The government did not take any measures to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts or to address child sex tourism in the country.