Recommendations for Taiwan: Sustain and improve efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict trafficking offenders using the anti-trafficking law enacted in June 2009; ensure that convicted trafficking offenders receive sufficiently stringent sentences; adopt, implement, and socialize changes to the new, inclusive labor law; continue to train law enforcement personnel, officials in the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA), labor inspectors, prosecutors, and judges on victim identification measures and the anti-trafficking law; continue to raise awareness among victims of the option to assist in prosecutions and ensure that they understand the implications of their participation; continue funding foreign language translators for shelters and hotline staff; make greater efforts to investigate and prosecute child sex tourism offenses committed by Taiwan nationals; and continue efforts to increase public awareness about all forms of trafficking.
Taiwan authorities sustained significant progress in their anti-trafficking law enforcement measures during the reporting period. Taiwan's Human Trafficking Prevention and Control Act (HTPCA) of 2009, combined with portions of the criminal code, prohibits both forced prostitution and forced labor, and prescribes penalties of up to seven years' imprisonment; these penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The Labor Standards Law, which also prohibits forced labor, does not apply to workers employed as private nursing caregivers and domestic workers--which include an unknown number of Taiwan nationals and the nearly 200,000 foreign nationals--comprising approximately half of Taiwan's migrant workforce. During the reporting period, however, the authorities drafted new legislation that would extend legal protections to all categories of workers, including domestic workers and caregivers. In 2011, Taiwan authorities convicted 113 people for sex trafficking and 51 people for forced labor under the HTPCA, an increase from 44 sex trafficking convictions and 43 labor trafficking convictions achieved under the HTPCA in 2010. Sentences imposed on trafficking offenders are generally sufficiently stringent. In November 2011, the former director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Kansas City, Missouri pled guilty to labor fraud in the United States for subjecting her two domestic workers to conditions of forced labor, including withholding their passports and paying inadequate wages. She spent approximately four months in jail in the United States before being deported to Taiwan in February 2012, where she was impeached by Taiwan authorities in April 2012; however, a final decision regarding her punishment was pending at the close of the reporting period. She has not yet been sentenced as the investigation against her in Taiwan remained ongoing as of April 2012. With that exception, Taiwan authorities did not report any other investigations, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences of officials of the Taiwan authorities for complicity in trafficking offenses during the reporting period.
During the reporting period, authorities continued to make significant efforts to protect victims of trafficking. Taiwan authorities identified and assisted 319 trafficking victims in 2011, including 56 victims of sex trafficking and 263 victims of labor trafficking. In 2010, Taiwan authorities identified and assisted 324 trafficking victims, which included 45 victims of sex trafficking and 279 victims of labor trafficking. Authorities continued employing systematic procedures to proactively identify and assist victims of trafficking. The authorities distributed reference indicators with specific questions and a standardized evaluation form to law enforcement officials for use in interviewing potential victims of trafficking. The authorities maintained four shelters dedicated to victims of trafficking in Taiwan under the administration of various government agencies, some of which were run by NGOs with government funds. These shelters provided victims of trafficking--both men and women--with medical and psychological services, legal counseling, vocational training, small stipends, and repatriation assistance. Taiwan authorities also reported providing social workers and interpreters to accompany victims during court proceedings. Government and NGO legal counselors assisted foreign victims of trafficking in filing 229 civil cases for compensation during the reporting period. Taiwan authorities encouraged victims to participate in investigations against their traffickers by offering residency and temporary work permits; in 2011, authorities issued 175 new work permits and renewed existing work permits for victims of trafficking. Foreign trafficking victims facing retribution or hardship if they were returned to their country of origin were entitled to permanent residency in Taiwan, though to date Taiwan authorities have not granted such residency to any foreign victims. During the reporting period, Taiwan instituted communication processes between the judiciary and protective services to expedite trafficking cases that are taking longer than three months in the court system so that victims need not stay in Taiwan for an extended period of time to participate in prosecutions against their traffickers. While the HTPCA states that human trafficking victims can receive immunity for crimes committed as a result of being trafficked, NGO sources stated that there were instances when trafficking victims were detained or fined in 2011.
Taiwan authorities made progress in their efforts to prevent trafficking in persons during the reporting period. The National Immigration Agency (NIA) distributed anti-trafficking posters and pocket cards, the latter of which featured information in seven different languages. The CLA continued to operate 25 foreign worker service stations and international airport service counters around Taiwan to assist migrant workers and educate them about their rights. Authorities continued to distribute handbooks detailing relevant laws and regulations pertaining to foreign workers to more than 210,000 employers and aired television commercials highlighting the rights of migrant workers. In October 2011, the NIA held an international trafficking seminar, attended by 18 foreign government officials and 31 foreign representatives in Taiwan that focused on best practices in combating trafficking and featured speakers from other governments. Taiwan authorities continued to fund advertisements and public service announcements raising general awareness of human trafficking. Throughout the year, the Trafficking in Persons Interagency Task Force, a multi-agency initiative that researches human trafficking in Taiwan, published reports on the protection of foreign domestic workers and the prevention of child sex tourism. While Taiwan has a law with extraterritorial application criminalizing the sexual exploitation of children by Taiwan passport holders traveling abroad, authorities have not prosecuted any Taiwan resident for child sex tourism offenses committed abroad since 2006. Authorities did not take steps to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts within Taiwan; however, they did widely broadcast a television commercial aimed at increasing awareness on reducing participation in child sex tourism.
TAJIKISTAN (Tier 2)
Tajikistan is a source country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking and for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor. Women from Tajikistan are subjected to forced prostitution in the United Arab Emirates and Russia, and to a lesser extent, in Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, and within Tajikistan. These women often transit through Russia and Kyrgyzstan en route to their destination country. Increasingly, Tajik women and girls are forced into prostitution in Afghanistan, sometimes through forced marriages to Afghan men. IOM estimates that a significant percentage of Tajikistan's approximately one million voluntary labor migrants become victims of forced labor. Men from Tajikistan are subjected to forced labor in agriculture and construction in Russia and, to a lesser extent, in Kazakhstan and Afghanistan. In the reporting period, one Tajik victim was identified in Uzbekistan and another in the United States. There are reports of Tajik children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor, including forced begging, within Tajikistan and in Afghanistan. NGOs that monitored the 2011 cotton harvest reported that the overall use of forced labor was reduced compared to previous years. There were isolated reports, however, that some Tajik children and possibly some adults were exploited in agriculture--mainly during the annual cotton harvest. Traffickers have increasingly attempted to evade detection and prosecution in Tajikistan by basing their operations in other countries.
The Government of Tajikistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government continued to make progress in reducing the use of forced labor in the annual cotton harvest, and convicted more traffickers under its trafficking statute than the year before. The government did not, however, fund or operate shelters for trafficking victims, and identification of victims in Tajikistan and in foreign countries by Tajik embassies was lacking.
Recommendations for Tajikistan: Continue to enforce the prohibition against forced labor of children and adults in the annual cotton harvest by inspecting cotton fields during the harvest, in collaboration with local government officials and civil society organizations; continue to advertise Tajik laws against forced labor, and target this message to teachers and parents; vigorously investigate and prosecute suspected trafficking offenses, especially those involving forced labor, and convict and punish trafficking offenders; impose stricter, appropriate penalties on local officials who force individuals to participate in the cotton harvest; amend the existing counter-trafficking law to improve victim protection measures; develop a formal victim identification and referral mechanism; strengthen the capacity and awareness of Tajik embassies and consulates to proactively identify victims and refer them to protective services, including via repatriation; ensure that sex trafficking victims are not penalized for prostitution offenses; continue to build partnerships with foreign counterparts in order to conduct joint law enforcement investigations and repatriate Tajik victims from abroad; provide victim identification and victim sensitivity training to border guard and law enforcement authorities; provide financial or increased in-kind assistance to existing protection services for trafficking victims, including shelters; and work to guarantee the safety of witnesses and victims during the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases.
The Government of Tajikistan increased anti- trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Article 130.1 of the criminal code prohibits both forced sexual exploitation and forced labor, and prescribes penalties of five to 15 years' imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with other serious crimes, such as rape. The government reported six convictions of traffickers under Article 130.1 in 2011, compared with two convictions under the same law in 2010. Two traffickers received sentences of 8.5 years' imprisonment, two received eight-year sentences, and the remaining two have yet to be sentenced. The government may have investigated and prosecuted trafficking crimes under other articles in the criminal code but did not provide information on such cases. The Government of Tajikistan cooperated with Russian and Moldovan law enforcement to investigate a suspected trafficking crime in one case and repatriate a Tajik victim in another case. In partnership with international organizations, it continued to conduct a 26-hour anti-trafficking course as part of the Ministry of Interior Academy's training curriculum for police officials. In 2011, 216 police academy students completed the training.
In 2011, the government certified NGO representatives to monitor the cotton harvest for a second year in a row. It appointed a Ministry of Labor official to accompany IOM representatives during the fall cotton harvest to meet local officials in cotton-growing districts to reinforce the prohibition on forced child labor. The government promptly investigated isolated cases of school administrators forcing children into labor when presented with complaints. While there were no criminal convictions, authorities reprimanded or fined local officials. In 2011, a border guard took a bribe from a trafficker in an airport, where the trafficker was accompanying a potential victim of trafficking to Dubai. The border guard was given an administrative penalty, but not a criminal sentence.
The government continued limited efforts to identify and assist trafficking victims during the reporting period. The government does not have a systematic procedure for identifying and referring victims for assistance. The government has not yet formalized victim referral procedures through a working group established in 2010. Because Tajik law enforcement officials do not differentiate between women in prostitution and sex trafficking victims and did not attempt to identify trafficking victims among women found in prostitution, sex trafficking victims were likely penalized for prostitution crimes. During the reporting period, the government identified and referred six victims to IOM in 2011, compared with 32 victims identified and eight victims referred in 2010. NGOs and IOM provided protective services to a total of 85 trafficking victims in 2011--including 57 men who were labor trafficking victims--compared with 104 victims in 2010. Although the national government did not provide financial assistance to any NGOs or other organizations that afforded specialized assistance to trafficking victims in 2011, the Khujand city government continued to provide in-kind assistance--including food, clothing, and reintegration assistance--to a shelter, and the national government continued to provide free utilities for two adjacent shelters in Dushanbe. Victims in the shelters were not detained involuntarily. There was no information whether the government encouraged victims to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions.
Tajikistan continued efforts to raise awareness of trafficking during the reporting period. The Inter-Ministerial Commission to Combat Trafficking in Persons (IMCCTP) again disseminated a directive to local officials for the effective implementation of laws prohibiting the use of forced child labor. The IMCCTP continued its quarterly anti-trafficking dialogue meetings attended by representatives of government ministries, international organizations, and local NGOs, and expanded its membership to include representatives from three more government agencies. Local governments continued to provide meeting space, transportation, and local publicity for awareness-raising events conducted by NGOs and international organizations. With international organizations and a foreign government, the government co-funded a nationwide 15-day anti-trafficking event in May 2011 that included trafficking awareness events for hundreds of school children. The government has an action plan to combat human trafficking for 2011-2013. Efforts by the government to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts--seen through the prosecution of clients of prostitution--were mitigated by the governments' punishment of women in prostitution without ensuring that they were not victims of trafficking. The government continued to issue birth certificates routinely to Tajik citizens in 2011, but many citizens in rural areas did not request or know how to obtain those documents.
TANZANIA (Tier 2)
Tanzania is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The incidence of internal trafficking is higher than that of transnational trafficking, and is usually facilitated by family members', friends', or intermediaries' offers of assistance with education or finding lucrative employment in urban areas. The exploitation of young girls in domestic servitude continues to be Tanzania's largest human trafficking problem. Cases of child trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation are increasing along the Kenya-Tanzania border. Boys are subjected to forced labor, primarily on farms, but also in mines, in the informal sector, and possibly on small fishing boats. Smaller numbers of Tanzanian children and adults are trafficked--often by other Tanzanians--into conditions of domestic servitude and sex trafficking in other countries, including South Africa, Oman, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and France. Trafficking victims--typically children from Burundi and Kenya, as well as adults from Bangladesh, Nepal, Yemen, and India --are forced to work in Tanzania's agricultural, mining, and domestic service sectors; some are also forced into prostitution. Citizens of neighboring countries may voluntarily migrate through Tanzania before being forced into domestic service and prostitution 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. Reversing several years of virtual inaction and a demonstrated laxness in implementing existing victim protection and prevention provisions of its anti-trafficking law, the government launched both an anti-trafficking committee and anti-trafficking secretariat to coordinate its national activities in late 2011. Within three months, the committee enacted a detailed national action plan to guide its anti-trafficking interventions over the next three years. It also initiated prosecutions of four cases involving five suspects under its anti-trafficking act and referred an increased number of victims for protective services in partnership with NGOs. Despite these significant efforts, the judicial system continued to lack understanding of what constitutes human trafficking, no trafficking offenders were convicted, and most government officials remained unfamiliar with the 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act's provisions or their responsibilities thereunder, perhaps due to the lack of counter-trafficking budget allocations.
Recommendations for Tanzania: Enforce the 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act by prosecuting and punishing trafficking offenders; implement the act's victim protection and prevention provisions; establish policies and procedures for government officials to identify and interview potential trafficking victims proactively--including adult victims--and transfer them, as appropriate, to local organizations providing care; begin compiling trafficking-specific law enforcement and victim protection data at the national level; provide training to judges, prosecutors, and police to clarify the difference between human trafficking and alien smuggling; provide additional training to law enforcement authorities on the detection and methods of investigating human trafficking crimes; and institute standard operating procedures for trafficking victim identification and victim care provision for labor officials and diplomatic personnel at Tanzanian missions overseas.
The Tanzanian government made modest anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. The 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act outlaws all forms of trafficking and prescribes punishments of one to 10 years' imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent, but not commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Authorities investigated six cases under the 2008 act. As of March 2012, one case had been closed, one remained under investigation, and four involving five suspects were under prosecution. The courts achieved no convictions in 2011, compared to its unprecedented three convictions in 2010. In August 2011, the government began prosecuting a Tanzanian man and woman (a school teacher) apprehended while allegedly subjecting two 16-year-old girls to forced labor as barmaids in Mozambique. The suspected male trafficker disappeared after being released on bail, while the female suspect remains in pretrial detention. In January 2012, police arrested a Nepali man for allegedly subjecting three Nepali men to forced labor in Tanzania and a Bangladeshi man for subjecting eight Bangladeshi men in Tanzania to forced labor; both suspects remain in detention awaiting trial. Despite these efforts, most police and immigration officials continued to fail to distinguish human trafficking from smuggling. The two-person police trafficking desk, established to work with counterparts in other law enforcement agencies to respond to trafficking crimes, received two complaints of trafficking during the reporting period. The government made no progress in compiling trafficking-specific law enforcement and victim protection data at the national level, instead relying upon IOM for data compilation related to victims. Newly-hired law enforcement and immigration officials received anti-trafficking training.
Although the Tanzanian government's efforts to protect victims of trafficking remained modest during the reporting period and suffered from a lack of resources, officials identified and referred an increased number of victims to NGO service providers. Key victim protection provisions of the 2008 anti-trafficking act, such as the establishment of a fund to support trafficking victims, have yet to be implemented. The government continued to rely on NGOs to provide care for victims and NGO-run facilities were limited to urban areas. Government officials occasionally provided food, counseling, and medical supplies--which NGOs estimated to be valued at $50,000--as well as assistance with family reunification to victims being sheltered at NGO-operated facilities. The government lacked systematic victim referral procedures; however, NGOs noted an increased responsiveness by the police when reporting a suspected trafficking case. Tanzanian police referred 22 trafficking victims to NGOs for protective services in an ad hoc fashion, an increase of 16 over the previous year. Social welfare or community development officers referred 12 victims in 2011 in comparison to zero victims referred in 2010. IOM provided services to 47 Tanzanian trafficking victims, 40 of whom were younger than 18. Trafficking victims identified during official investigations were reunited with their families and some received counseling from the Department of Social Welfare's social workers. The government operated a 24-hour crime hotline, staffed by police officers, which was available for citizens to report suspected trafficking cases; however, the hotline received no trafficking tips in 2011. The lack of national procedures for victim identification, as well as the lack of a shelter for male adult victims, resulted in the 11 Nepali and Bangladeshi trafficking victims identified during the reporting period being held in prison for a month until the police anti-trafficking desk arranged for their return home. In December 2011, the Tanzanian embassy in Nairobi arranged for the repatriation of a female trafficking victim identified by IOM in Kenya. Other Tanzanian diplomatic missions, however, failed to expeditiously process travel documents and, reportedly, verbally mistreated Tanzanian trafficking victims seeking assistance. The government encouraged victims to participate in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers; during the reporting period three victims agreed to testify in the cases against their alleged traffickers. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act provides foreign victims legal alternatives to their removal to countries where their safety or the safety of their families may be endangered; however, no victims requested this immigration relief during the reporting period.
The government made increased efforts to prevent human trafficking during the year. After three years of inaction, in December 2011, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs formally established an anti-trafficking committee (ATC) and anti-trafficking secretariat (ATS), whose existence and functioning is mandated by the anti-trafficking act. Shortly after their formation, the government continued its renewed commitment to anti-trafficking efforts by drafting a national action plan to combat trafficking covering 2011 to 2014, which was ratified by the government in March 2012. Throughout the year, Department of Social Welfare personnel conducted television and radio interviews that included points about trafficking. The mainland Ministry of Labor's child labor unit, which received only the equivalent of $29,000 from the 2011 national budget--a $3,000 reduction from 2010--could not provide data on the number of child labor complaints made or the number of exploited child laborers identified and withdrawn by its labor officers. Inspectors continued to face myriad challenges, including chronic understaffing and lack of transportation to inspection sites. During the year, the Zanzibar Ministry of Labor, in cooperation with local NGOs, withdrew 1,209 children from exploitative labor in the fishing, seaweed farming, and quarrying industries on the islands and worked with their families to ensure their return to school. The government did not make any efforts to reduce the demand for forced labor or commercial sex acts during the reporting period. All Tanzanian soldiers completed a module on human rights and anti-trafficking interventions as part of their basic curriculum. The government provided additional training on human trafficking to Tanzanian troops prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions.
THAILAND (Tier 2 Watch List)
Thailand is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Victims from neighboring countries, as well as from China, Vietnam, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Fiji, migrate willingly to Thailand for various reasons including to flee conditions of poverty; individuals from Burma, who make up the bulk of migrants in Thailand, seek economic opportunity. The majority of the trafficking victims identified within Thailand are migrants from Thailand's neighboring countries who are forced, coerced, or defrauded into labor or commercial sexual exploitation or children placed in the sex trade; conservative estimates have this population numbering in the tens of thousands of victims. A significant portion of labor trafficking victims within Thailand are exploited in commercial fishing, fishing-related industries, low-end garment production, factories, and domestic work, and some are forced to beg on the streets.
Research made available in 2010 indicated that 23 percent of all Cambodians deported by Thai authorities at the Poipet border were trafficking victims. A study done by the UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP)) found that Thai authorities deport over 23,000 Cambodian trafficking victims per year. Similarly, Lao authorities have reported that groups of 50 to 100 Lao trafficking victims were among the thousands of Lao nationals deported by Thai authorities. An assessment of the cumulative risk of labor trafficking among Burmese migrant workers in the seafood industry in Samut Sakhon, found that 57 percent of these workers experience conditions of forced labor. A report released by an international organization in May 2011 noted prevalent forced labor conditions, including debt bondage, among Cambodian and Burmese individuals recruited--some forcefully or through fraud--for work in the Thai fishing industry. According to the report, Burmese, Cambodian, and Thai men were trafficked onto Thai fishing boats that traveled throughout Southeast Asia and beyond, these men remained at sea for up to several years, were not paid, were forced to work 18 to 20 hours per day for seven days a week, and were threatened and physically beaten. Similarly, an earlier UN survey found that 29 of 49 (58 percent) surveyed migrant fishermen trafficked aboard Thai fishing boats had reported witnessing a fellow fishermen killed by boat captains in instances when they were too weak or sick to work. As fishing is an unregulated industry region-wide, fishermen typically did not have written employment contracts with their employer. Men from Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia were forced to labor on fishing boats in Thai and international waters and were rescued from countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Timor-Leste. Observers noted that traffickers (including labor brokers) who bring foreign victims into Thailand generally work as individuals or in unorganized groups, while those who enslave Thai victims abroad tend to be more organized. Labor brokers, largely unregulated, serve as an intermediary between job-seekers and employers; some facilitate or engage in human trafficking. Informed observers reported that these brokers are of both Thai and foreign origin and work in networks, collaborating with employers and, at times, with law enforcement officials.
Foreign migrants, ethnic minorities, and stateless persons in Thailand are the greatest risk of being trafficked, and they experience withholding of travel documents, migrant registration cards, and work permits by employers. Undocumented migrants remain particularly vulnerable to trafficking, due to their economic status, education level, language barriers, and lack of knowledge of Thai law. These vulnerabilities were exacerbated during the year, when catastrophic flooding displaced at least 200,000 migrant workers. Among those seeking to return to their home countries for safety, unregistered migrants, and those whose documents had been confiscated by their employers, reportedly faced extortion by law enforcement officials and brokers to facilitate their return. Migrants for whom these fees were prohibitively high were forced to remain in Thailand in insecure situations making them highly vulnerable to trafficking, and those who returned faced a cycle of which increased their vulnerability to debt bondage and other exploitation.
Lack of documentation continues to expose migrants to potential exploitation; in the northern areas of Thailand, lack of citizenship makes highland women and girls particularly vulnerable to being trafficked. Some children from neighboring countries are forced by their parents or brokers to sell flowers, beg, or work in domestic service in urban areas. NGOs reported an increase in the number of children in commercial sexual exploitation, with false identification, in karaoke or massage parlors. During the year, Vietnamese women were confined and forced to act as surrogate mothers after being recruited for work in Bangkok. The majority of Thai victims identified during the year were found in sex trafficking; sex trafficking of both Thai and migrant children remains a significant concern. Thai victims are recruited for employment opportunities abroad, and deceived into incurring large debts on broker and recruitment fees, sometimes using family-owned land as collateral, making them vulnerable to exploitation at their destination. Most Thai victims identified abroad during the year were sex trafficking victims; victims were assisted by Thai embassies in Bahrain, Japan, Macau, Russia, South Africa, the Maldives, Oman, and Indonesia. Thai nationals are also known to be subjected to forced labor or sex trafficking in Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Israel, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Timor-Leste, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United Kingdom (UK), the United States, Vietnam, and Yemen. Some Thai men who migrate for low-skilled contract work and agricultural labor are subjected to conditions of forced labor and debt bondage. Sex trafficking generally involves victims who are women and girls. Sex tourism continues to be a problem in Thailand, and this demand likely fuels trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. Thailand is a transit country for victims from North Korea, China, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Burma destined for third countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Russia, the Republic of Korea, the United States, and countries in Western Europe. There were reports that separatist groups recruited teenaged children to carry out attacks.
The Government of Thailand does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government has not shown evidence of increasing efforts to address human trafficking compared to the previous year; therefore, Thailand is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for a third consecutive year. Thailand 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 meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is devoting sufficient resources to implement that plan. The government continued implementation of its human trafficking law and conducted awareness-raising activities on human trafficking. During the year, the government implemented regulations allowing foreign victims to live and work temporarily within Thailand, formally granting this right to 30 victims. The number of prosecutions and convictions pursued for sex and labor trafficking was disproportionately small compared to the significant scope and magnitude of trafficking in Thailand. Effective anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts were hindered by authorities' failure to identify and adequately protect victims, and the country's migrant labor policies continued to create vulnerabilities to trafficking and disincentives to victims to communicate with authorities, particularly if the workers are undocumented. Direct involvement in and facilitation of human trafficking by law enforcement officials reportedly remained a significant problem in Thailand; authorities reported investigating three cases of complicity among local law enforcement officials, but there were no prosecutions or convictions of complicit officials during the year. The Thai government invited the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons to visit in August 2011. In a press statement following her visit, the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons noted, among other shortcomings, weak enforcement of the country's legal anti-trafficking framework, inadequate efforts to address trafficking of men, endemic corruption among law enforcement officials, and a systemic failure to properly identify victims and protect their rights and safety. The Thai government agreed to fund and open five national verification centers for Burmese migrant workers inside Thailand--to be staffed by Burmese Ministry of Labor employees--and these centers opened in late April 2012.
Recommendations for Thailand: Enhance ongoing efforts to identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable populations, in particular undocumented migrants and deportees; significantly increase efforts to train front-line officials on internationally recognized indicators of forced labor such as the confiscation of travel documents or imposition of significant debts by employers or labor brokers; recognizing the systematic disincentives which make victims hesitant to communicate with authorities, develop and implement victim identification procedures that prioritize the rights and safety of potential victims and empower law enforcement officials to carry out this mandate; increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict sex and labor trafficking offenders; consider establishing a dedicated court division to expedite the prosecution of trafficking cases; facilitate greater information exchange between various law enforcement and inspection agencies and establish a clear mandate between the Royal Thai Police and the Department of Special Investigations (DSI); increase efforts--particularly through DSI--to investigate, prosecute, and convict officials engaged in trafficking-related corruption; ensure that offenders of fraudulent labor recruitment and of forced labor receive stringent criminal penalties; improve labor inspection standards and procedures to better detect workplace violations, including instances of trafficking; continue and increase efforts to allow all adult trafficking victims to travel, work, and reside outside shelters; provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign trafficking victims to countries in which they would face retribution or hardship; make greater efforts to educate migrant workers on their rights, their employers' obligations to them, legal recourse available to victims of trafficking, and how to seek remedies against traffickers; improve efforts to regulate fees and brokers associated with the process to legalize migrant workers in order to reduce the vulnerability of migrants to human trafficking; increase anti-trafficking awareness efforts directed at employers and clients of the sex trade; make efforts to decrease the demand for exploitive labor; and ratify the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
The Thai government continued some anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Thailand's 2008 anti-trafficking law criminally prohibits all forms of trafficking and prescribes penalties ranging from four to 10 years' imprisonment--penalties that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious offenses, such as rape. The Royal Thai Police reported initiating investigations in 83 trafficking-related cases--67 for sex trafficking and 16 for forced labor--during 2011, involving 155 suspected offenders and representing an increase from 70 such investigations in 2010. These investigations led to the prosecution of 67 trafficking-related cases; this compares to 79 prosecutions in 2010. The majority of suspected offenders investigated were Thai nationals. The government reported obtaining 12 trafficking-related convictions in 2011; two convictions were for confirmed sex trafficking cases and the government did not provide sufficient information to determine whether the other 10 were trafficking cases. This is a decrease from the previous year's 18 convictions. The government often chose to facilitate an informal dispute resolution rather than to pursue criminal prosecution of employers in cases of the labor exploitation of migrants. DSI, which is under the Ministry of Justice, and has limited jurisdiction for investigating trafficking cases, initiated five investigations during the year; four of these cases were transferred to the police and one investigation remained pending with DSI at the end of the year. In implementing a January 2011 cabinet resolution to expand its anti-trafficking unit, DSI increased its staff from 12 to 25 officers. The outcome of this expansion is unclear, however, as DSI did not report a significant increase in trafficking investigations and a draft amendment of the DSI law--which would expand its mandate to allow for investigating trafficking cases without transfer to the police--was not passed during the year. Police and DSI officials reportedly began discussions about how they would share jurisdiction over trafficking cases if the amendment is passed.
Throughout the year, the government provided anti-trafficking training to approximately 1,850 public health officers, social workers, police, and immigration officials, yet awareness of the 2008 anti-trafficking legislation remained low and many law enforcement officers continued to prosecute trafficking cases under other legal statutes. Some sex trafficking cases may have been prosecuted under the Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act; during 2011, 34 individuals, some of whom may have been sex traffickers, were convicted under Section 9 of this Act, which prohibits forced prostitution and related offenses.
The government did not significantly increase efforts to investigate alleged human trafficking on Thai fishing boats, reporting three such investigations in 2011 compared with two in 2010. One case was identified by the Immigration Bureau during the course of a raid and two were brought to its attention through victim complaints. Three calls to an international organization's hotline regarding suspected cases of trafficking on fishing vessels did not result in any investigations or prosecutions. Victim identification training for front-line officers was inadequate, and inspection efforts failed to successfully identify cases, despite the known prevalence of forced labor in the fishing industry. The government reported the Royal Thai Marine Police conducted pre-departure inspections of some fishing vessels during the year but did not detect any suspected cases of forced labor in 2011. Furthermore, despite conducting more than 1,000 inspections and searches of fishing boats beyond coastal waters and intercepting thousands of undocumented migrant workers--a population likely to contain trafficking victims--the Royal Thai Navy did not identify any suspected trafficking cases. In April 2012, a number of demonstrations erupted among Cambodian and Burmese migrant workers at food processing and other factories in Kachanaburi, Songhkla, and elsewhere in the country, amidst allegations that these workers were being subjected to passport confiscation, withholding of salary payments, and unsafe living conditions, and threats of deportation. The government reported conducting a police investigation, but these efforts have not yet led to any prosecutions or convictions.
The justice system remained slow in its handling of criminal cases, including trafficking cases. Additionally, frequent personnel changes and a reduction in the number of police officers hampered the government's ability to make progress on anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. Some suspected offenders fled the country or intimidated victims after judges decided to grant bail, further contributing to the government's already low conviction rates. In July 2011, the Court of Appeals upheld the 2009 conviction of two offenders found guilty of trafficking 73 victims in a shrimp peeling factory. Both offenders remained free on bail at the close of the reporting period, pending consideration of their case by the Supreme Court.
Thai law enforcement authorities continued to cooperate with counterparts from around the world, and quarterly case management meetings with officials from Burma, Cambodia, and Laos reportedly helped to accelerate cases and resulted in the arrest of five suspected traffickers by Burmese authorities. The government extradited one suspected sex trafficker to face prosecution in the UK during the year.
Corruption remained widespread among Thai law enforcement personnel, creating an enabling environment for human trafficking to prosper. Allegations of trafficking-related corruption persisted during the year, including in cases of sex trafficking and forced labor of migrants. There were credible reports that officials protected brothels, other commercial sex venues, and seafood and sweatshop facilities from raids and inspections, and that some officials engaged in commercial sex acts with child trafficking victims. In addition to well-known corruption of local-level police officers, there were also protective relationships between central-level specialist police officers and the trafficking hot-spot regions to which they were assigned. There was no information indicating tolerance for trafficking at an institutional level. In 2011, DSI initiated three investigations of local law enforcement officials for taking bribes to protect brothels that harbored child sex trafficking victims; no disciplinary action was taken against any officials during the year, however, and these investigations remain ongoing. The government did not respond to reports that Thai officials were involved in the trafficking of Burmese men, women, and children deported to the hands of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA). Authorities also have not responded to reports that Thai police officers and immigration officials extort money or sex from Burmese citizens detained in Thailand for immigration violations, and sell Burmese migrants unable to pay labor brokers and sex traffickers. Reports during the year indicated that immigration officials failed to implement a policy announced by the Ministry of Labor that it would not deport flood-affected migrant workers outside their permit zone; for example many migrant workers, without registration papers allowing them to travel outside of permitted areas where they work, were detained and arrested by authorities.
The Thai government demonstrated limited efforts to identify and protect foreign and Thai victims of trafficking during the year. The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS) reported that 392 foreign victims were classified as trafficking victims in Thailand and received assistance at government shelters during the year, a figure comparable to the 381 foreign victims assisted in 2010. More than half of the victims assisted were from Laos, and more than one-third were from Burma. The Royal Thai Police and DSI identified 279 victims during the year and referred 213 foreign victims to shelters; 66 Thai victims were returned to their homes, and some received services from NGOs. The Immigration Bureau identified seven Cambodian victims of forced labor during a raid of a fishing boat; it reported knowledge of five additional Burmese victims, of trafficking on fishing vessels, who submitted complaints to authorities. The Marine Police Division reported rescuing two victims from the fishing industry in Chumporn Province during the year. In 2011, the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that assistance including repatriation was provided by embassies abroad, to 46 Thai nationals considered potential victims in Bahrain, Japan, Macau, Russia, South Africa, the Maldives, Oman, and Indonesia. The majority of these victims, both male and female, had been subjected to sex trafficking, while some were subjected to forced labor on fishing boats. In 2011, the government allocated the equivalent of $1.9 million to MSDHS to provide protective services to trafficking victims.
The equivalent of an additional $2.2 million was dedicated to an anti-trafficking fund; the majority of funds distributed from the fund during the year, the equivalent of approximately $626,750, was used to finance anti-trafficking activities of government agencies and civil society organizations, while the sum equivalent to $16,400 was distributed to 103 victims.
The government reports the use of systematic procedures to screen for victims among vulnerable populations, such as undocumented migrants in detention; however, serious deficiencies in the government's victim identification efforts led to some trafficking victims being unidentified during the year. The Thai government deports hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants each year; in 2011, it identified only 56 victims from within this population. Many victims, particularly irregular migrants who feared legal consequences from authorities, were hesitant to identify themselves as victims, and front-line officials were not adequately trained to identify such individuals as victims.
In 2011, MSDHS trained nearly 2,000 public officials on the provision of the anti-trafficking legislation and certified them as "competent officials" in this regard. Local law enforcement officials lacked awareness of the essential elements of human trafficking, and regularly misidentified victims with whom they came in contact. In December 2011, authorities raided a shrimp factory in southern Thailand and rescued four Burmese labor trafficking victims after receiving a tip from an NGO. Although authorities identified the four individuals as being subjected to debt bondage--a form of human trafficking--the government failed to certify them as trafficking victims, and refer them to protective services. Instead the victims were held in detention and subsequently deported, illustrating authorities' insufficient understanding of the elements of human trafficking. Some undocumented migrants were precluded from being identified as a trafficking victim based on their immigration status. Some law enforcement officers often believed physical detention or confinement was the essential element to confirm trafficking, and failed to recognize exploitive debt or manipulation of irregular migrants' fear of deportation as non-physical forms of coercion in human trafficking. In July 2011, authorities rescued six children who had been coerced and drugged into begging on the streets at night; some were allegedly sexually assaulted. While the government identified one child as a trafficking victim and one child as a victim of sexual assault and referred them to protective services, it determined the others were not victims because they were related to the traffickers; subsequently two children were referred to protective care. Only law enforcement officials are able to make a final determination to certify an individual as a trafficking victim, and during the year there were reports that social workers or representatives of civil society sometimes disagreed with law enforcement officers' decisions.
The Thai government continued to refer victims to one of nine regional shelters run by MSDHS, where they reportedly received counseling, limited legal assistance, and medical care; although the shelters did not always have the human resource capacity to provide adequate assistance. Foreign adult victims of trafficking identified by authorities were required to stay in government shelters and typically could not opt to reside outside of a shelter or leave the premises unattended before Thai authorities were prepared to repatriate them. Two government shelters for trafficking victims were forced to close for nearly two months during the flooding; displaced victims were transferred to other MSDHS facilities. In 2011, the Ministries of Labor and Interior issued regulations to allow some foreign victims the right to seek employment while awaiting conclusion of legal processes; the government has since granted this right to approximately 30 victims of labor trafficking. The government did not report standard eligibility criteria for victims to receive this benefit, but reported it will be considered on a case-by-case basis for labor trafficking victims; those chosen will be eligible for a six-month work permit and visa, renewable for the duration of their court cases. Extending this benefit to more victims would provide an incentive for victims to remain in Thailand for the duration of their legal proceedings. Government officials did not have specialized service provision for child sex trafficking victims, and the forced repatriation of those unwilling to testify against their traffickers resulted in many of them being re-trafficked. There were reports during the year of foreign trafficking victims who fled shelters, likely due to slow legal and repatriation processes, the inability to earn income during trial proceedings, language barriers, and distrust of government officials. There were reported instances in which victims opted not to seek designation as trafficking victims due to systemic disincentives, such as long stays in shelters during lengthy repatriation and court processes; many of these victims were returned to their country of origin. In at least one case during the year, the government allowed child victims to reside in an NGO-run shelter which it determined could more adequately address their needs. NGOs reported that some victims were trained by labor brokers on how to lie to government officials to prevent being identified as victims or escape from shelters. There were reports that quarterly case management meetings with Burma and Laos accelerated the nationality verification and repatriation process between the countries during the year. Some Uzbek victims were removed from a government shelter and transferred to Uzbekistan's embassy in Thailand after an altercation arose with other victims.
Thai law protects victims from being prosecuted for acts committed as a result of being trafficked, and observers believe identified victims' rights were generally respected. However, the Thai government's victim identification procedures are flawed, and authorities' aggressive efforts to arrest and deport immigration violators led to some victims being punished. The government generally encouraged victims to participate in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases, although some victims opted not to do so for the same reasons many fled shelters or sought to avoid designation as trafficking victims. During the year, authorities, through the threat of civil suits, authorities negotiated compensation for 40 child and adult labor trafficking victims, in a total sum of approximately the equivalent of $11,000. High legal costs, language, bureaucratic, and immigration barriers, fear of retribution by traffickers, distrust of Thai officials, slow legal processes, and the financial needs of victims effectively prevented most victims from participating in the Thai legal process. The lack of regulation of the fishing industry and labor law coverage for fishermen on small vessels in Thailand under the Labor Protection Act of 1998 makes this population particularly vulnerable to exploitation; the cabinet approved amendments to expand protections in this law to all boats with one or more workers on board, but the amendment did not take effect during the reporting year. A 2005 cabinet resolution established that foreign trafficking victims in Thailand who are stateless residents can be given residency status on a case-by-case basis; the Thai government, however, has yet to report granting residency status to a foreign trafficking victim.
The Thai government made some efforts to prevent human trafficking, including through collaboration with international organizations and NGOs, but it did not demonstrate sufficient efforts to decrease the demand for forced and exploitive labor. While some activities aimed to raise public awareness of trafficking within Thai society as a whole, others attempted to raise awareness among targeted high-risk industries. The government estimated that throughout 2011, it reached more than 7,500 people nationwide. The anti-trafficking in Persons committee and its coordinating and monitoring body continued to meet regularly through the year, but met on fewer occasions in 2011 than in previous years due to political transition and devastating floods. In January 2012, the Thai government published a report--which had been delayed from 2010--on its own anti-trafficking efforts, and in March 2012, it adopted a two-year national action plan to guide its future efforts. The government reported taking steps to issue new regulations for protection to workers in the fishing industry--who are highly vulnerable to trafficking--and a list of hazardous occupations for children, although neither was finalized or enacted during the year. The government distributed 150,000 leaflets in the common languages of migrant workers from neighboring countries to educate workers on their rights and their employers' obligations to them. During 2011, 851,830 migrants were registered and received permits to work in Thailand under the government's Nationality Verification and Granting an Amnesty to Remain in the Kingdom of Thailand to Alien Workers Program, which allowed workers to receive formal work visas from the Thai government and the claims of greater rights inside Thailand. Observers remained concerned that the process to legalize migrant workers with its associated fees, as well as costs imposed by poorly regulated and unlicensed labor brokers, increased the vulnerability of migrant workers to trafficking and debt bondage. In some cases, workers reportedly incurred debts imposed by labor brokers and amounting to as much as the equivalent of $700 for the required processing of their registration. During the year, the government provided trainings to 49 translators and developed a list of trained translators to facilitate the government's response to foreign language queries reposted to the hotline that receives calls regarding trafficking cases; however, the government's decentralized call system made it difficult to ensure that localities systematically and adequately responded to calls that were diverted to them--particularly calls that came from non-Thai callers.
During the year, the government revoked the licenses of two labor recruitment companies, out of nine which had been suspended during the previous year, and initiated investigations into 321 cases of alleged violations of the Labor Employment Act; at least two of these cases involved allegations of forced labor, resulting in two employers sentenced by the labor court to pay the equivalent of $3,000 in fines, and one offender sentenced to 11 months in prison, although this term was suspended for two years. The Department of Employment, through random airport screenings, reported identifying 481 individuals as traveling under false pretenses and prevented them from leaving the country during the year, but it did not make efforts to identify potential trafficking victims or refer any suspected trafficking cases to law enforcement agencies. The government conducted awareness-raising campaigns targeting tourists' demand for child sex tourism and extradited one alleged pedophile to the United States for prosecution, but it did not make any other discernible efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sexual acts or forced labor. Inadequate victim identification procedures may have resulted in some victims being treated as law violators following police raids of brothels. The government did not provide Thai troops anti-trafficking training prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions. Thailand is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
TIMOR-LESTE (Tier 2)
Timor-Leste is a destination country for women and girls from Indonesia, China, and the Philippines subjected to sex trafficking and men and boys from Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand subjected to forced labor. In previous years, men and boys from Burma, Cambodia and Thailand were forced to labor on foreign fishing boats operating in Timorese waters where they face conditions of confinement, no medical care, and poor food; some escaped their exploiters and swam ashore to seek refuge in Timor-Leste. The placement of children in bonded domestic and agricultural labor by family members in order to pay off family debts was also a problem. Timor-Leste may also be a source of women or girls sent to Singapore and elsewhere in Southeast Asia for domestic servitude. Some migrant women recruited for work in Dili report being locked up upon arrival, and forced by brothel "bosses" and clients to use drugs or alcohol while providing sexual services. Some women kept in brothels were allowed to leave the brothel only if they paid the equivalent of $20 an hour. Traffickers regularly retained the passports of victims, and reportedly rotated sex trafficking victims in and out of the country every few months. Traffickers used debt bondage through repayment of fees and loans acquired during recruitment or transport to Timorese waters to achieve consent of some of the men laboring on fishing vessels. Traffickers subjected victims to threats, beatings, chronic sleep deprivation, insufficient food or fresh water, and total restrictions on freedom of movement; victims on fishing vessels rarely or never went ashore during their time on board. Transnational traffickers may be members of Indonesian or Chinese organized crime syndicates, and the trafficking offenders who exploited male victims on fishing boats were reportedly Thai nationals.
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. During the year, the government obtained three successful trafficking convictions--the first in the country's history--and imposed adequate prison sentences on the convicted offenders. The government's victim protection efforts, however, were inadequate, and it failed to protect 18 of the 19 victims in this case, whose whereabouts are unknown. The government took tentative steps to increase victim protection by providing funding to an NGO shelter, but subsequently withdrew this funding. Despite increased maritime patrols and continued brothel raids, the government identified only one trafficking victim during the year, raising concerns that some victims were not identified and instead were treated as law violators and deported rather than referred to protective services. The government did not investigate reports of trafficking-related complicity, such as lower-level police and immigration officials accepting bribes from traffickers.
Recommendations for Timor-Leste: Enact comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation that includes strong victim protections; continue efforts to investigate, prosecute, convict, and punish trafficking offenders; train judicial officials on investigation and prosecution methods, including how to integrate procedures for proper victim care throughout the duration of court proceedings; make efforts to investigate and prosecute officials complicit in human trafficking; implement procedures to proactively identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable populations, such as individuals in prostitution and workers on fishing vessels; develop and formally establish policies which clarify perceived inconsistencies in the country's code of criminal procedure, thereby granting police the unambiguous authority to initiate investigations of crimes proactively; increase training for front-line law enforcement officers in the vulnerable persons unit on proper victim identification procedures and referral mechanisms, including recognition of trafficking victims who may possess their travel documents or may have entered the country legally; increase the quality and types of assistance provided to trafficking victims; and develop and conduct anti-trafficking information and education campaigns.
The Government of Timor-Leste increased law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking during the reporting period, including by obtaining its first trafficking conviction. In early 2012, anti-trafficking legislation drafted in a previous year was submitted to the Council of Ministers for review, where it remained at the close of the reporting period. Timor-Leste's revised penal code prohibits and punishes the crime of trafficking through articles 163, 164, and 165; articles 162 and 166 prohibit slavery and the sale of persons. The articles prescribe sufficiently stringent penalties ranging from eight to 20 years' imprisonment; prescribed penalties for sex trafficking or the trafficking of a person younger than 17 range from 12 to 25 years' imprisonment and are commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The government reported investigating two trafficking cases during the year. It initiated prosecutions in one case from a previous year, in which three Chinese nationals were accused of forcing 19 Chinese victims into prostitution or labor related to running a brothel. In December 2011, the government convicted the three traffickers, and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from 13 and 13.5 years. These were the first trafficking convictions obtained in Timor-Leste. The convictions are currently being appealed, and the government has possession of the convicted offenders' passports to prevent them from leaving the country. The second investigation, involving a Timorese girl in domestic servitude, remained ongoing at the close of the reporting period. No information was available on the status of one case pending at the close of the previous year, or nine cases pending from 2010. The government did not train law enforcement officers or other government officials on investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases. The government did not report any efforts to investigate suspected trafficking complicity of public officials, despite reports that immigration officials accepted bribes to allow undocumented Chinese trafficking victims into the country, and that some police officers in Dili accepted bribes to allow brothels--where potential trafficking victims may be identified--to continue operating. International and local NGOs alleged that some lower-level members of the police frequent these establishments.
The government demonstrated weak efforts to protect trafficking victims; it identified and provided services to only one victim during the year, and it may have restricted the mobility of 18 victims--identified during the previous year--by withholding their passports as evidence in a criminal investigation against their traffickers. Police identified one Timorese girl in domestic servitude but no other victims during the year. Immigration police referred one suspected victim, a Burmese male, to an international organization which assessed that he was not a victim of trafficking. Police in the vulnerable persons unit followed a standard operating procedure to refer identified victims to the Ministry of Social Solidarity; the one victim identified was so referred, and the ministry subsequently referred her to a shelter operated by an NGO. The government maintained a protocol of referring foreign victims to an international organization for care, though no such victims were identified during the year. The government did not operate any dedicated shelters for trafficking victims or provide victims with any protective services, though it did refer one Timorese victim to an NGO to receive care. Victims of domestic servitude may be eligible for some protective services codified in the Law on Domestic Violence. During the year, the Ministry of Social Solidarity provided the equivalent of $10,000 to partially fund a local NGO shelter for trafficking victims, but it subsequently discontinued this support, citing lack of use by victims, and the shelter closed due to lack of funds in December 2011. One shelter operated by an NGO was available to assist with victims' basic needs and to provide medical, psychological, and educational services. The government could not provide information on the whereabouts of 18 Chinese victims identified during the previous year whose case was concluded in December 2011; neither local NGOs nor international organizations had received these victims. Judicial officials may have held the victims' passports as evidence for the duration of the case, effectively restricting their ability to leave the country. It is unknown whether the passports, reportedly seized, were returned after the conclusion of the case, although the judge ordered officials to do so. Problems with victim identification continued, likely resulting in some victims remaining unidentified, despite coming into contact with authorities, and some being treated as law violators and deported for immigration offences. Authorities relied on the possession of passports as the determining indicator in identifying trafficking cases; potential victims who did not self-identify and who possessed their documents were not screened for other forms of coercion or referred to NGOs or international organizations for assistance. Police interpreted an article in the country's code of criminal procedure as only granting investigative authority to public prosecutors; this led to a policy, in practice, of only investigating cases in which the victim self-identifies as such. Police conducted raids on brothels and detained and deported Indonesian and Chinese women found in prostitution for immigration violations, without making adequate attempts to identify trafficking victims among them. The government provides a temporary legal alternative to the removal of victims to countries where they may face retribution or hardship, allowing them to stay in Timor-Leste for two years. The government did not provide temporary or extended work visas to trafficking victims during this reporting period.
The Government of Timor-Leste made limited efforts to prevent trafficking during the reporting period. It increased patrols of its territorial waters to combat criminality, including forced labor on fishing vessels, though these efforts did not result in the identification of any trafficking cases during the year. The president continued to speak publicly about the need to increase efforts to combat human trafficking, and government officials participated in foreign donor-funded radio and television campaigns about trafficking on government-sponsored stations. The government's inter-ministerial trafficking working group met twice in 2011 to finalize a national plan of action, drafted during the previous year, and to review draft anti-trafficking legislation; however, the council's passage of the decree law necessary to enact the plan of action is on hold until parliament approves the legislation. In November 2011, parliament approved a an increase equivalent to $67,000 in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' budget in order to fund an international anti-trafficking conference in Dili in 2012. Observers report that police raids on brothels in Dili over the last three years have led to a decreased demand for commercial sex acts; however, due to a lack of proactive victim identification procedures, these efforts may have caused some victims to be treated as law violators.
TOGO (Tier 2)
Togo is a source and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The majority of Togolese victims are exploited within the country; forced child labor occurs in the agricultural sector--particularly on coffee, cocoa, and cotton farms--as well as in stone and sand quarries. Children from rural areas are brought to the capital, Lome, and forced to work as domestic servants, roadside vendors, and porters, or are exploited in prostitution. Near the Togo-Burkina Faso border, Togolese boys are forced into begging by corrupt marabouts (religious instructors). Togolese girls and, to a lesser extent, boys are transported to Benin, Gabon, Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and subsequently forced to work in agriculture. Children from Benin and Ghana are recruited and transported to Togo for forced labor. Traffickers exploit Togolese men for forced labor in Nigerian agriculture and Togolese women as domestic servants. Some reports indicate Togolese women are fraudulently recruited for employment in Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Europe, where they are subsequently subjected to domestic servitude or forced prostitution.
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. The government convicted nine trafficking offenders during the year and identified 281 potential child trafficking victims. However, it neither made progress in enacting draft legislation to prohibit the trafficking of adults nor made efforts to accurately track prosecution and protection data and disseminate it among government ministries.
Recommendations for Togo: Increase efforts to prosecute and punish trafficking offenders, including using existing statutes to prosecute trafficking crimes committed against adults; complete and enact the draft law prohibiting the forced labor and forced prostitution of adults; develop a formal system to identify trafficking victims proactively and train law enforcement, immigration, and social welfare officials to identify such victims, especially among vulnerable populations; develop a system within the Ministry of Social Affairs (MSA) to track the number of victims referred to NGOs or returned to their families; develop a system among law enforcement and judicial officials to track suspected human trafficking cases and prosecution data; ensure sufficient funds are allocated to operate the Tokoin and Oasis centers; and increase efforts to raise public awareness about the dangers of human trafficking.
The Government of Togo sustained modest anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the year. Togolese law does not prohibit all forms of trafficking, such as the sex trafficking of adults, and laws against forced labor are inadequate with regard to definitions and prescribed penalties. The 2007 child code prohibits all forms of child trafficking and prescribes penalties of two to five years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent, but not commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The 2005 Law Related to Child Smuggling prescribes prison sentences of three months to 10 years for abducting, transporting, or receiving children for the purposes of exploitation. Article 4 of the 2006 labor code prohibits forced and compulsory labor, but its prescribed penalties of three to six months' imprisonment are not sufficiently stringent, and its definition of forced or compulsory labor includes broad exceptions. During the year, the government did not take action to enact its draft law prohibiting the trafficking of adults, which has remained pending since 2009.
The government arrested 23 suspected traffickers in 2011. By the end of the reporting period, the government had prosecuted and convicted nine trafficking offenders, an increase of four over the previous year. Ten suspects still await trial. Sentences for the convicted offenders ranged from six months' to two years' imprisonment. The government could not provide information on the status of nine trafficking prosecutions from 2010. In June 2011 and February 2012, the MSA provided training on the child code to hundreds of lawyers, paralegals, magistrates, police, and notaries in Kara and Lome and included information on how to differentiate trafficking crimes from other forms of child exploitation. There were no allegations of government officials' complicity in trafficking cases during the reporting period; however, allegations of complicity from the previous reporting period remained uninvestigated. Inadequate funding, inefficiency, corruption, and impunity in the judicial sector continue to hinder trafficking prosecutions and convictions.
During the past year, the government sustained its efforts to provide modest protection to child victims, but showed no discernible efforts to protect adult victims. The government did not put in place measures to identify trafficking victims among individuals in prostitution; however, it continued efforts to identify child victims of forced labor through increased education among immigration and law enforcement officials in border areas. The Committee for the Reception and Social Reinsertion of Trafficked Children (CNARSEVT), Togo's national anti-trafficking committee comprised of government and NGO representatives, identified 56 victims of child trafficking. In addition, throughout the reporting period the government intercepted and rescued 225 trafficked children being moved to sites where they faced exploitation, such as on farms as laborers and in homes as domestic servants. The governments of Nigeria, Benin, and Gabon repatriated 53 Togolese child victims into the care of CNARSEVT, which in turn provided them with temporary shelter until they could be reunited with their families or placed into an apprenticeship program. In Lome, MSA social workers continued to run a toll-free helpline, Allo 10-11, which received 106 child trafficking calls during the year. Through increased training and awareness-raising among law enforcement officials, the police and CNARSEVT developed an ad hoc referral system for responding to hotline tips, as well as for transferring rescued trafficking victims to an appropriate shelter. The MSA continued to oversee the Tokoin community center--a temporary multi-purpose shelter for child victims--and in January 2011 assumed direct management of a second multi-purpose shelter, the Oasis center, which was previously run by a local NGO. The government did not report the number of trafficking victims these shelters cared for during the reporting period. In early 2011, CNARSEVT initiated a pilot apprenticeship project training 24 female trafficking victims on sewing skills. The government did not offer temporary or permanent residency status to foreign victims who faced hardship or retribution in their native country. Although there were no reports of victims being penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, the lack of a formal identification system may mean some victims remain unidentified in the law enforcement system.
The government increased its efforts to prevent trafficking during the year. CNARSEVT received a budget allocation equivalent to $101,000 for the year, which it used to fund administrative costs and victim protection efforts. In 2011, the governments of Togo and Gabon met to commence negotiations on a bilateral anti-trafficking agreement that will outline procedures for the extradition of suspected traffickers and the repatriation of victims. Although cooperation already exists on a working level between the two governments, the official agreement awaits finalization. Throughout the year and in collaboration with the MSA, the director of CNARSEVT met with village and regional committees, border guards and inspectors across the country to raise trafficking awareness. In June 2011, CNARSEVT and the MSA hosted a child labor and trafficking seminar for Lome businessmen, lawyers, and police. During the reporting period, the government increased the number of labor inspectors--whose responsibilities include identifying trafficking victims--from 62 to 74, but this did not result in the identification of any suspected traffickers or trafficking victims. The government did not take discernible measures to decrease the demand for commercial sex acts. The government provided anti-trafficking training to Togolese troops prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions.
TONGA (Tier 2)
Tonga is a destination country for women subjected to sex trafficking and is, to a lesser extent, a source country for women and children subjected to domestic sex trafficking and domestic and international forced labor. East Asian women, especially women from China, are prostituted in illegal clandestine establishments operating with legitimate front businesses; some East Asian women are recruited from their home countries for legitimate work in Tonga, paying large sums of money in recruitment fees, and upon arrival are forced into prostitution. Some children are subject to forced labor and sexual exploitation in private residences.
The Government of Tonga does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the year, the government acknowledged human trafficking as an issue of concern and in conjunction with the U.S. government, organized a training program on combating trafficking in persons. Nevertheless, the government did not develop or conduct anti-trafficking education campaigns.
Recommendations for Tonga: Publicly recognize, investigate, prosecute, and punish incidences of child sex trafficking; enact a law or establish a policy that provides for explicit protections for victims of trafficking, such as restitution, benefits, and immigration relief; criminalize the confiscation of travel documents as a means of obtaining or maintaining someone in compelled service; increase training for officials on human trafficking and how to identify and assist trafficking victims; continue efforts to investigate, prosecute, and punish trafficking offenders; work with NGOs or international organizations to provide legal assistance to victims of trafficking and greater victim protection resources; adopt proactive procedures to identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable groups; develop and conduct anti-trafficking information and education campaigns; create an interagency process to address anti-human trafficking efforts; develop a national action plan for countering trafficking in persons; and accede to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
The Government of Tonga, despite limited resources, made modest progress in its law enforcement efforts to address human trafficking. Tonga prohibits all forms of human trafficking through its Revised Transnational Crimes Act of 2007, which defines human trafficking as including forced labor and forced prostitution. This law prescribes up to 25 years' imprisonment for these offenses, which is sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties for other serious crimes, such as rape. In April 2011, the government, for the first time, sentenced a trafficking offender to prison. Following her prosecution and conviction during the previous reporting period for the forced prostitution of two Chinese nationals into prostitution, the trafficker was sentenced to 10 years in prison. In September of 2011, the government co-hosted, with the U.S. government, a one-day seminar focused on identification of human trafficking offenses and protection of victims; the training was held in Nuku'alofa, Tonga for 39 individuals, including public prosecutors; police; officials from immigration, customs, the National Reserve Bank, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and local NGOs. Corruption is a known problem in Tonga. However, the government did not report any allegations, investigations, prosecutions, convictions, or punishments of officials for complicity in human trafficking through corrupt practices during the reporting period.
The Government of Tonga made modest progress in identifying trafficking victims or ensuring their access to protective services during the year. The government did not develop or employ systematic procedures for the identification of trafficking victims among at-risk groups such as undocumented migrants or women in prostitution, and no victims were identified during the reporting period. It did not offer care services to potential victims of trafficking, though it continued to refer general victims of crime to NGO providers of victim services. The government provided a total equivalent to $37,000 in funding from its national budget to two local NGOs during the reporting period for operations related to assisting women and children victims of crime.
Under the government's Immigration Act, the Principal Immigration Officer holds broad discretionary authority in granting human trafficking victims permits to stay in the country for any length of time the officer deems it necessary for the protection of victims. The two victims from Tonga's first human trafficking case currently remain in the country on temporary permits and are being assisted by the police in their applications for longer term permits to stay in Tonga. Additionally, human trafficking victims can be granted asylum in Tonga if they fear retribution or hardship in their country of origin, though no human trafficking victim has ever requested asylum.
The government of Tonga made limited efforts to prevent human trafficking during the reporting period. In September, the government trained 39 government officials to identify trafficking victims. The government also provided immigration officials with cards listing trafficking in persons indicators to help identify proactively victims of human trafficking traveling in and out of the country. The government did not take action to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts or forced labor during the reporting period. Tonga is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO (Tier 2)
Trinidad and Tobago is a destination, source, and transit country for adults and children subjected to sex trafficking and adults subjected to forced labor. Women and girls from South America and the Dominican Republic are subjected to sex trafficking in Trinbagonian brothels and clubs. A high risk group for sex trafficking and forced criminal activity within Trinidad and Tobago are Trinbagonian homeless children or children from difficult family circumstances. Economic migrants from the Caribbean region and from Asia, including India and China, may be vulnerable to forced labor. Some companies operating in Trinidad and Tobago reportedly hold the passports of foreign employees, a common indicator of human trafficking, until departure. There also have been instances of migrants in forced domestic service. A small number of trafficking victims from Trinidad and Tobago have in the past been identified in the United Kingdom and the United States. As a hub for regional travel, Trinidad and Tobago also is a potential transit point for trafficking victims traveling to Caribbean and South American destinations.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government passed comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation in 2011 that prohibits all forms of trafficking and provides explicit and extensive victim protections, although the law had not been enacted by the end of the reporting period, and for another year, the government did not prosecute any trafficking offenders. The government identified few victims of trafficking, raising concerns that its procedures for the proactive identification of trafficking victims among vulnerable groups, such as foreign women in prostitution, migrant workers, and homeless children, was insufficient.
Recommendations for Trinidad and Tobago: Enact and fully implement the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Act to vigorously investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, and convict and sentence trafficking offenders, including any officials who may be complicit in human trafficking; consult with IOM on strengthening the standard operating procedures for proactively identifying and assisting victims of trafficking; use the Trafficking in Persons Act to assist more forced labor and sex trafficking victims; ensure that suspected victims are taken to a safe location while conducting trafficking investigations, as victims of human trafficking often feel threatened and are reluctant to identify themselves as victims during a raid; and implement a national public awareness campaign in multiple languages that addresses all forms of trafficking, including the prostitution of Trinbagonian children and forced labor as well as the demand for commercial sex and forced labor.
The government made some progress in the area of prosecution, notably by passing comprehensive trafficking legislation. In June 2011, the legislature passed the Trafficking in Persons Act of 2011, which prohibits both sex trafficking and forced labor and contains extensive victim protections. The Act prescribes penalties of 15 years to life imprisonment with fines. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. The government has not yet enacted the law, however, and before the criminal provisions in the Act can be implemented, the Act requires the government to establish a ministerial level national anti-trafficking task force to coordinate government policy on human trafficking and a counter-trafficking unit within the Ministry of National Security to handle cases. As the new law is not yet in force, the government's ability to prosecute trafficking offenders or any officials guilty of trafficking complicity is significantly hampered. The government reported only one labor trafficking investigation, no sex trafficking investigations, and no labor or sex trafficking prosecutions during the reporting period.
The government made some progress in establishing trafficking-specific protection policies but only provided minimal assistance to trafficking victims. The government identified only one labor trafficking victim and no sex trafficking victims, despite multiple brothel raids and allegations of suspected human trafficking activity in Trinidad and Tobago during the reporting period. The small number of victims identified raised serious concerns that the victim identification procedures for raids on suspected human trafficking were insufficient. An NGO that received government funding provided shelter and protection to the one identified trafficking victim and her dependent. The government reportedly offered suspected human trafficking victims some social services directly and through NGOs that received government funding, but there was no specific budget dedicated toward trafficking victim protection. The newly passed law, which has not yet been enacted, outlines specific services to trafficking victims and contains extensive victim protection provisions to encourage victims' participation in prosecutions of trafficking offenders, including victim confidentiality provisions and victim compensation. It also states that past sexual behavior of victims and consent of victims to exploitation are irrelevant to accessing benefits or pursuing the prosecution of trafficking offenders. The Act contains explicit protection to ensure that victims are not punished for crimes committed as a direct result of being in a trafficking situation. The Act also provides temporary legal alternatives to deportation for foreign victims.
The government made some progress in prevention during the reporting period. The Ministry of National Security in partnership with a local NGO implemented a one-week national human trafficking awareness program. The Ministry of National Security and partner NGOs have established a Facebook page on their joint counter trafficking initiative. Operators trained in trafficking awareness ran NGO hotlines for child abuse and domestic violence. The government co-funded trafficking awareness training for 50 immigration officers during the reporting period. While the government's formal, ministerial level national task force was not operational during the reporting period, the government made progress in the bureaucratic processes, including budgetary allocations and the establishment of new positions, necessary for the cabinet to approve the task force and the counter trafficking unit; both should be operational by June 2012. The newly passed 2011 law mandates that one of the functions of the ministerial task force is to monitor and evaluate the government's anti-trafficking efforts, although no such efforts were reported as of April 2012. The government did not undertake measures to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts, such as an awareness campaign targeted at clients of the sex trade. Authorities did not consider child sex tourism to be a problem in Trinidad and Tobago and no such cases were identified, investigated, or prosecuted during the reporting period.
TUNISIA (Tier 2)
Tunisia is a source, destination, and possible transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Some Tunisian girls are employed in domestic work in Tunis and other governorates. In northwest Tunisia, a network of brokers and hiring agencies facilitates child domestic work, but international observers note this phenomenon has been decreasing over time. Some are reportedly held under conditions of forced labor, including being given no time off, having no employment contracts, experiencing physical and sexual abuse, and being confined to their employers' homes. During the reporting period, political unrest in Tunisia and neighboring Libya triggered a wave of illegal migration through and from Tunisia to Italy, some of which was facilitated by Tunisian smuggling networks; some of these migrants may have also been trafficking victims. Moreover, migrants who fled Libya to Tunisia may have been trafficked to Libya from third countries and continue to be vulnerable to trafficking in Tunisia, including unaccompanied minors and child migrants identified in refugee camps along the Tunisia-Libya border; IOM reported young Malian girls who were forced into prostitution in Choucha refugee camp in southern Tunisia. According to international organizations, there was an increased presence of street children in Tunisia during this reporting period and more rural children are having to work to support their families; some of these children may be susceptible to involuntary exploitation. Tunisian women are recruited for work in Lebanon's entertainment industry through artiste visas and are forced into prostitution after arrival; during the year, four Tunisian women were falsely promised jobs as secretaries in Lebanon and forced into prostitution. Similarly, Tunisian women are found working in Jordanian nightclubs, and some are forced into prostitution.
The Government of Tunisia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Since the previous regime, the interim government has shown some commitment to address human trafficking, particularly by establishing a National Commission to Combat Trafficking in Persons and by drafting comprehensive counter-trafficking legislation, which is still pending. Some victims of trafficking remain unidentified and unprotected, reflecting the previous government's lack of effort to identify them among vulnerable groups. Despite these positive steps forward, the Tunisian government continues to maintain, as it has done in previous reporting periods, that trafficking in persons is not a widespread problem in Tunisia. Moreover, the Tunisian government views human trafficking through a migration lens and does not differentiate migrant smuggling from human trafficking.
Recommendations for Tunisia: Urgently pass and enact the draft comprehensive counter-trafficking legislation that prohibits and adequately punishes all forms of human trafficking concurrent with the 2000 UN TIP Protocol; with outside assistance, urgently develop and begin implementation of formal procedures for government officials' proactive identification of victims of human trafficking (distinct from smuggling) among vulnerable groups such as street children, undocumented migrants, girls in domestic service, and persons in prostitution; use existing criminal statutes on forced labor and forced prostitution to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses and convict and punish trafficking offenders; undertake a baseline assessment to better understand the scope and magnitude of the human trafficking problem; institute a formal victim identification mechanism to identify victims among undocumented migrants and offer them access to protection services; and continue implementing awareness campaigns about trafficking in persons and anti-trafficking trainings for all government officials.
Tunisia has not enacted its draft law specifically addressing trafficking in persons, but Tunisia's Penal Code prohibits some forms of human trafficking, such as its prohibition of capturing, detaining, or sequestering a person for forced labor, for which it prescribes a punishment of 10 years' imprisonment, and the prohibition of forced prostitution of women and children, for which it prescribes a punishment of five years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent, though not commensurate with penalties prescribed under Tunisian law for other serious offenses, such as rape. In addition to these statutes, the Penal Code prescribes one to two years' imprisonment for forced child begging. However, the government did not report investigations or prosecutions of trafficking offenses, nor convictions of trafficking offenders, during this reporting period. Unlike the previous reporting period, government officials, including child protection officers from the Ministry of Women's Affairs, military and border police, and immigration officers, participated in four IOM- and UNHCR-sponsored anti-trafficking trainings in mid-2011. The government, in cooperation with IOM and UNHCR, also developed written procedures to alert law enforcement officers of indicators to identify trafficking victims.
The Government of Tunisia made greater efforts to protect victims of trafficking over the last year, yet the government continued to lack formal procedures to identify proactively trafficking victims among vulnerable groups, such as undocumented migrants and those persons detained for prostitution offenses. The government operated several shelters for marginalized and vulnerable groups, including unwed mothers, at-risk youth, and substance abusers among others, but there are no centers specifically for trafficking victims. The Tunisian Coast Guard, with the support of Italy, conducted 281 operations in which it intercepted and detained African migrants aboard boats off Tunisia's coast, but Tunisian authorities made no discernible effort to identify trafficking victims among those intercepted. The Tunisian government views human trafficking through a migration lens and does not differentiate migrant smuggling from human trafficking. During the reporting period, the government, in conjunction with various international organizations, offered health, counseling and educational services and provided temporary shelter to Libyans and third country nationals who fled Libya; however, because the government does not differentiate economic migrants from human trafficking victims, the government did not make efforts to identify trafficking victims among this vulnerable group. With the help of IOM and other international partners, the Ministry of Women's Affairs assisted two underage Malian trafficking victims at its shelter for unaccompanied minors. The government ensured that its 380 labor inspectors receive training to identify abusive child labor and indicators of human trafficking; similarly, Ministry of Education truancy officers were instructed to identify indicators that suggest parents are pressuring their children to drop out of school and become domestic servants, which carries a high risk of forced labor. The government did not offer foreign trafficking victims legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they might face hardship or retribution.
Unlike the Ben Ali regime, the current Tunisian government made significant efforts to raise awareness about trafficking and train government officials during the reporting period. The Tunisian Ministries of Social Affairs, Education, and Employment and Vocational Training initiated public awareness campaigns in the primary school curriculum to dissuade teenagers and young adults from emigrating illegally and potentially becoming victims of trafficking. The government also supported IOM counter-trafficking awareness campaigns for refugee camp residents. Moreover, the Ministry of Employment conducted investigations and began background checks of all recruitment agencies operating in Tunisia; recruitment agencies are now required to sign contracts with the Ministry of Employment before they can recruit workers to work in Gulf countries. Unlike during the previous reporting period, the government did not report efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts by enforcing laws against prostitution and arresting "clients" soliciting commercial sex; Ministry of the Interior officials continue to believe that the commercial sex trade is not prevalent in Tunisia. In 2011, the Tunisian government established a National Commission to Combat Trafficking in Persons, composed of representatives of the Ministries of Justice, Interior, Foreign Affairs, Social Affairs, Health, Finance, and Women's Affairs, as well as members of civil society; the committee met in February 2012 to discuss adoption of the proposed anti-trafficking legislation.
TURKEY (Tier 2)
Turkey is a source, destination, and transit country for women, men, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Trafficking victims found in Turkey originate from Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, Armenia, Kazakhstan Morocco, Syria and Mongolia. Turkish women are subjected to forced prostitution within the country. According to local experts, sex trafficking victims are forced into prostitution in illegal brothels or are "leased" by clients and kept in private residences or hotels. A recent report claimed that children involved in the drug trade, prostitution, and pick pocketing in Turkey are vulnerable to exploitation by criminal groups.
The Government of Turkey does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but it is making significant efforts to do so. The government stepped up its identification of trafficking victims and increased funding for NGO shelters to remedy a previous funding shortfall and ensure their operation during the year. The government, however, did not secure a sustainable budget for NGOs providing critical care and assistance. It sustained efforts to prosecute and convict trafficking offenders in 2011, though courts continued to acquit a significant number of suspected trafficking offenders.
Recommendations for Turkey: Continue to develop comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation to explicitly criminalize forced labor and forced prostitution without the precondition of movement, consistent with international standards and establish a comprehensive victim-centered framework for assistance, including institutionalized funding and partnerships with NGOs; develop a mechanism to identify potential victims of labor and sex trafficking in partnership with NGOs and other stakeholders, such as labor inspectors; increase incentives for victims to voluntarily cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers, including by appointing a victim witness advocate to ensure a continuum of care; allow potential victims some time to recover from their trafficking experiences and to make informed decisions before they are required to give official statements; establish a case-based analysis of trafficking cases to help desegregate possible smuggling statistics from Article 80; assess why a significant number of prosecuted trafficking cases result in acquittals; establish a victim assistance fund from fines levied against convicted traffickers for this purpose; and develop specialized care for children who are subjected to trafficking, and men who are subjected to forced labor.
The Government of Turkey sustained its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Article 80 of Turkey's penal code prohibits both sex trafficking and forced labor, and prescribes penalties of eight to 12 years' imprisonment--which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. This statute, however, places emphasis on the movement, rather than the exploitation, of victims and does not explicitly prohibit trafficking occurring within Turkey's borders; this is not consistent with international standards. The government initiated a draft comprehensive trafficking law to remedy these deficiencies in 2011. The government reported that it prosecuted 409 trafficking suspects under Article 80 during the period of January through September 2011, of whom 232 were acquitted. This rate of acquittals represents a significant increase compared to the previous year when courts acquitted 150 of 430 suspects prosecuted. Because of Article 80's emphasis on the movement of persons, the government's prosecution data likely includes smuggling statistics. An NGO observer noted an overall low number of traffickers convicted and sentenced for trafficking offenses committed in Turkey. The government reported the conviction of 16 trafficking offenders under Article 80; these offenders received sentences of five to eight years' imprisonment. Courts reportedly convicted another 16 trafficking suspects under a "mediation in prostitution" statute, Article 227, which carries much lighter penalties; these 16 offenders received a range of sentences from one month to four years' imprisonment. Turkish law allows for the suspension of prison sentences of two years or less under certain conditions. Notably, in September 2011, the government cooperated with the Government of Armenia to successfully extradite an alleged Armenian trafficker from Turkey. During the year, the police reported that three of their nine anti-trafficking operations uncovered forced labor crimes and victims, primarily in the domestic servitude, begging, construction, and entertainment sectors. The police also reported the arrest of a Turkish government official for his suspected involvement in sex trafficking as a result of these operations. Complicity in trafficking by government employees continued to be a problem; the government did not take any additional action stemming from a 2009 prosecution involving three police officers or report any follow-up to its 2008 investigation of 25 security officials for trafficking complicity.
The Government of Turkey demonstrated progress in identifying and protecting sex trafficking victims in 2011. According to the Ministry of Interior (MOI), the government identified 82 trafficking victims in 2011, an increase from the 58 victims it identified in 2010. Notably, local police in Antalya included an NGO in victim identification interviews in 2011, which resulted in the identification of 29 trafficking victims. According to regional experts, Turkish authorities do not ensure that NGOs are engaged early in the identification process and as a consequence officials inadvertently deported some foreign trafficking victims. Thus the government continued to arrest and deport individuals without adequate efforts to identify trafficking indicators among men, women, and children.
Three anti-trafficking NGOs provided shelter to a total of 39 victims, including 2 children, during the reporting period. The government increased funding to these shelters in 2011 to help keep them operational during the year; local authorities and the MFA provided a combined $105,000 to the Istanbul shelter during the year. The MFA also provided supplemental funding for the shelters in Ankara and Antalya in 2011, representing an improvement from the previous year when funding shortages caused one shelter's closure. The government continued, however, to lack a consistent funding mechanism to ensure sustainability and support for NGOs providing comprehensive care in these shelters. While the government encouraged victims to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions, most victims chose to return to their country of origin and declined to participate in prosecutions of traffickers. This was most often due to a lack of available legal aid to support victims during court proceedings, victims' perceived fear of authorities, the threat of retribution from traffickers, and slowness of court procedures. IOM assisted in the return of 35 trafficking victims who declined assistance from Turkish officials. The government continued to hold trafficking victims in immigration detention centers while IOM prepared their return procedures. The government offered foreign victims 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 for up to six months with permission to work, with the option to extend for an additional six months. The government granted such a permit to one trafficking victim in 2011.
The Turkish government demonstrated proactive steps to reform its anti-trafficking prevention efforts during the year. Its inter-agency working group on trafficking, established in August 2011, met regularly throughout the year to identify areas of weakness. The government continued to provide the equivalent of $150,000 in annual funding for the operation of its national IOM-run anti-trafficking ("157") hotline. IOM continued to report that the highest percentage of calls came from clients of women in prostitution. During the year, the government distributed an identification form for police to use during anti-trafficking operations; however local experts reported the need for enhanced training to ensure more consistent implementation. The Turkish government provided anti-trafficking training to its military personnel prior to their deployment abroad for international peacekeeping missions. The government did not demonstrate efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts or forced labor within Turkey. Prostitution by women who are Turkish citizens is legal under restricted conditions in Turkey; the government reported efforts to screen both brothels and women involved in street prostitution to identify potential trafficking victims. The government did not take any discernible steps to prevent child sex tourism by Turkish nationals traveling abroad.
TURKMENISTAN (Tier 2 Watch List)
Turkmenistan is a source, and to a lesser extent, destination, country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Men and women from Turkmenistan are subjected to forced labor after migrating abroad in search of employment, including in textile sweatshops, construction sites, and in domestic servitude. Some women and girls from Turkmenistan are subjected to sex trafficking abroad. Turkey remains the most frequent destination for identified Turkmen victims, followed by Russia; Turkmen victims have also been identified in the United Kingdom, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Cyprus. An international organization estimates that there are between 10 and 25 trafficking victims who return to Turkmenistan each month. Trafficking occurring within the country is also a problem. Those who work in the construction industry are vulnerable to forced labor. In 2011, trafficking victims were identified in Turkmenistan from Uzbekistan, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan.
The Government of Turkmenistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite this progress--including publicly acknowledging the existence of human trafficking within the country, convicting traffickers for the first time under its anti-trafficking statute, and formally registering an NGO-operated shelter--the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts in identifying and protecting victims and raising awareness of human trafficking over the previous year; therefore, Turkmenistan is placed on Tier 2 Watch List.
Recommendations for Turkmenistan: Improve implementation of the 2007 Law on Combating Trafficking in Persons; continue to use Article 129 to investigate and prosecute suspected trafficking offenses and convict and punish trafficking offenders; provide training for prosecutors and other relevant government authorities on the proper application of Article 129; develop systematic procedures to identify victims and refer them to protection services and train border guards, police, and other relevant government officials to use these procedures; provide financial or in-kind assistance to anti-trafficking organizations providing assistance to victims; establish safeguards and training procedures to ensure victims are not punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, such as migration violations and prostitution; conduct a trafficking awareness campaign to inform the general public about the dangers of trafficking; develop formal relationships with civil society groups to coordinate national anti-trafficking efforts; and develop a national action plan for countering trafficking in persons.
The Government of Turkmenistan demonstrated law enforcement progress during the reporting period. The government prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through Article 129 of its criminal code, which was adopted in May 2010 and went into effect in July 2010. It prescribes penalties ranging from four to 25 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. However, this law releases the trafficking offender from criminal penalty if he or she voluntarily frees the victim, unless certain aggravating circumstances are present. The government did not provide anti-trafficking law enforcement data for inclusion in this report. At the same time, other sources verified reports that the government convicted several traffickers in three cases under Article 129(1)--the first convictions recorded under Turkmenistan's trafficking statute. In one case, the government sentenced two convicted traffickers from the eastern city of Mary to 13 years' imprisonment for sex trafficking. The government also sentenced an unspecified number of traffickers to nine years' imprisonment in two separate cases in the city of Turkmenabat in Lebap province, also for sex trafficking. A media outlet reported that the former director of a cotton spinning company was sentenced to three years' probation and a fine under a non-trafficking statute for offenses that included sex trafficking; numerous government officials were alleged to be among the clients. These law enforcement efforts represent an increase over those taken during the previous reporting period. There were no reports that the General Prosecutor's Office conducted trainings for law enforcement officials on implementing Article 129(1), as they did in the previous reporting period. Prosecutors reportedly continued to share information about trafficking with Turkish counterparts.
The Government of Turkmenistan demonstrated limited efforts to protect or assist victims during the reporting period, despite provisions in the 2007 anti-trafficking law for establishing victim care facilities and providing protection and assistance for victims of trafficking. The government did not provide services to victims of trafficking, nor did it fund international organizations or NGOs to provide such services to victims. However, the State Migration Service referred some victims to the NGO-run counter-trafficking hotline and shared some cases of potential victims returning from Turkey with an NGO. For the first time, in September 2011, the government formally registered an NGO-operated shelter for trafficking victims, though the shelter had operated since August 2010. In 2011, at least 50 victims were assisted by organizations that did not receive government funding, compared with 38 victims assisted by such organizations in 2010. The government employed no formal victim identification procedures and did not provide victim identification, referral, or sensitivity training to border guards or police. The government punished trafficking victims for crimes committed as a result of being trafficked; reports continued that the State Migration Service fined trafficking victims upon return to Turkmenistan for visa violations. Turkmen citizens deported from other countries--potentially including trafficking victims--are reportedly blocked by the State Migration Service from exiting Turkmenistan for a period of up to five years. The government made no attempts to identify sex trafficking victims among women arrested for engaging in prostitution. There was one report of five victims assisting in an investigation and receiving temporary police protection in return, although the government did not report encouraging victims to assist in trafficking investigations or prosecutions. Anecdotal information suggested, however, that many victims did not turn to the authorities for assistance.
The Government of Turkmenistan demonstrated some efforts to prevent human trafficking during the reporting period. It jointly hosted an anti-trafficking conference in September 2011 with IOM and a foreign government, with participating experts drawn from seven countries and international organizations. State-owned television and print media provided extensive coverage of the event. In November 2011, a government delegation to the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural rights publicly acknowledged for the first time the existence of human trafficking in Turkmenistan by reporting the occurrence of trafficking convictions. The government did not fund or conduct any anti- trafficking awareness campaigns in 2011. The government did not provide assistance to any anti-trafficking NGOs, in contrast to 2010 when Turkmenistan provided in-kind assistance to two NGOs. The government continued to lack a coordinating body on human trafficking and a national anti-trafficking plan. Transparency in anti-trafficking efforts was poor, as the government did not report publicly on its anti-trafficking policies or activities. The stateless population in Turkmenistan is vulnerable to trafficking. The State Migration Service, jointly with UNHCR, registered approximately 8,000 people over the age of 18 who are considered at risk of statelessness and issued residency permits to many of them. The government also granted citizenship to 3,318 formerly stateless people through presidential decrees in July and October 2011.
UGANDA (Tier 2)
Uganda is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Ugandan children are exploited in forced labor within the country in agriculture, cattle herding, mining, stone quarrying, brick making, car washing, scrap metal collection, bars and restaurants, and the domestic service sector, and are exploited in prostitution. Ugandan children are taken to other East African countries for similar purposes, and are also forced to engage in criminal activities. Karamojong women and children are particularly vulnerable to domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation, and forced begging due to dire economic and social conditions in the Karamoja region. Children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Sudan are subjected to forced agricultural labor and prostitution in Uganda. Prisoners in pre-trial detention engage in forced labor alongside convicts; pre-trial detainees make up 56 percent of Uganda's prison population. Until August 2006, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) abducted children and adults in northern Uganda to serve as soldiers, sex slaves, and porters. While there have been no LRA attacks in Uganda since 2006, Ugandan children previously abducted remain unaccounted for, and some may remain captive with LRA elements currently located in the DRC, Central African Republic, and South Sudan.
During the reporting period, Ugandan trafficking victims were reported in the UK, Denmark, Iraq, South Sudan, Kenya, China, Thailand, and Malaysia. In addition, Uganda's INTERPOL office reported Ugandan women trafficked to India, Egypt, Afghanistan, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates. During the year, press reports highlighted the forced prostitution of Ugandan women in Malaysia after being recruited for work as hair dressers, nannies, and hotel staff; some of the women transit through China and Thailand--where they may also encounter forced prostitution--en route to Malaysia.
The Ugandan government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government identified five trafficking cases during the year and prosecuted three of these cases but did not convict any forced labor or sex trafficking offenders under Uganda's 2009 Prevention of Trafficking in Persons (PTIP) Act. The government also established a counter trafficking in persons (CTIP) office--as mandated by the 2009 PTIP Act--to lead national anti-trafficking efforts and develop a national action plan. The government referred victims who came forward to the care of IOM but did not provide financial or material support for this care. The government's one-person External Labor Unit (ELU) continued to monitor the activities of licensed external labor recruiting agencies, provided pre-departure seminars for Ugandans recruited to work oversees, and conducted an official visit to Iraq to investigate trafficking allegations. However, its efforts to adequately monitor external labor recruiting agencies were hampered by a continued lack of financial and human resources.
Recommendations for Uganda: Continue to implement comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation and build the capacity of the CTIP office and other governmental and non-governmental stakeholders; increase efforts to prosecute, convict, and punish trafficking offenders; institute a unified system of documenting and collecting data on human trafficking cases for use by law enforcement, labor, and social welfare officials; investigate and punish labor recruiters and criminal entities responsible for knowingly sending Ugandans into forced labor or prostitution abroad; ensure use of a definition of trafficking in persons consistent with the 2009 PTIP Act and 2000 UN TIP Protocol when implementing the act, identifying victims, and combating trafficking generally; finalize regulations to fully implement the protection and prevention provisions of the 2009 PTIP Act; launch a nationwide anti-trafficking public awareness campaign with a particular focus on forced labor; establish policies and procedures for government officials to identify and interview potential trafficking victims proactively and transfer them to the care, when appropriate, of local organizations; train Ugandan officials serving in overseas postings in victim identification techniques; and increase the number of staff and funding dedicated to the anti-trafficking efforts within the ELU, the Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development (MGLSD), and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA).
The Government of Uganda maintained its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the year, acquitting two suspected traffickers, prosecuting two additional suspects, and initiating two additional investigations, though it did not convict forced labor or sex trafficking offenders. The 2009 PTIP Act prohibits all forms of trafficking, prescribing punishments of 15 years to life imprisonment, penalties which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. During the year, a Ugandan court acquitted two alleged traffickers because the alleged offenses occurred prior to ratification of the act; the government did not retry the offenders for the domestic servitude of a child under other relevant legal provisions. In two of the five investigations that began during the reporting period, the government charged--in August and September 2011--two suspects with human trafficking for recruiting Ugandan women into forced prostitution in East Asia. The investigation of two additional offenders also allegedly involved in the recruitment of women for forced prostitution in East Asia remains pending from the previous reporting period, as does an April 2010 case involving the trafficking of people from the Karamoja region to urban centers in Uganda. In 2011, the Uganda Police Force (UPF) and Ugandan INTERPOL cooperated with Malaysian, Thai, Chinese, Kenyan, and Rwandan government counterparts to investigate alleged trafficking cases.
The government prosecuted one internal domestic servitude case during the year which resulted in an acquittal; however, it did not identify cases of children involved in other forms of forced labor or prostitution. In November 2011, the MIA trained 598 police cadets from Uganda, South Sudan, and Somalia on identifying trafficking cases. In December 2011, the MIA also trained 22 immigration officers on victim identification and case investigation. In March 2011, MIA and police officials conducted two sessions as part of a broader ILO training of 35 officials from the MIA, UPF, the MGLSD, and NGOs on human trafficking and the 2009 PTIP Act. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) did not provide training on victim identification to its consular staff. However, MIA immigration officials working in Ugandan embassies and consulates abroad routinely receive training in victim identification. Additionally, staff within the Uganda Prisons Service is complicit in forced labor for engaging pre-trial detainees in hard labor alongside convicts.
The government made efforts to protect trafficking victims during the year, but it failed to draft implementing regulations or allocate funding for the implementation the 2009 anti-trafficking law's victim protection provisions. The government identified trafficking victims during the year but did not develop procedures for the systematic identification of victims among high risk groups. The Ugandan military did not provide comprehensive data on persons rescued from the LRA during its operations abroad. During the year, an NGO provided services, including counseling and vocational training, to 104 children removed from domestic servitude and prostitution. The government continued to provide short-term shelter, food, and medical care at police stations, while referring victims on an ad hoc basis to NGOs for long-term care and additional services. The government did not provide support to NGOs offering longer-term care. In Kampala, local police routinely took street children to an under-resourced MGLSD juvenile detention center that provided food, medical treatment, counseling, basic education, and family tracing. Children spent up to three months at the facility; some were returned to their families, but many others returned to the streets again. There were no similar government-funded or operated facilities or services for adult trafficking victims. The law permits foreign trafficking victims to remain in Uganda during investigation of their cases and to apply for residency and work permits, but there were no reported cases involving foreign victims during the year. The government encouraged trafficking victims to testify against their exploiters; however, there was no evidence that victims did so during the year.
During the year, IOM repatriated 13 Ugandan women from Malaysia and two from China; the Ugandan government provided travel documents to several of these trafficking victims, but did not fund their travel costs or provide medical care, shelter, counseling, or other assistance to these or other repatriated trafficking victims. The Ugandan honorary consul to Malaysia played an active role in supporting and assisting in the repatriation of Ugandan trafficking victims in Malaysia. Several Ugandan members of parliament visited Malaysia in March 2012 on a related fact-finding mission.
The Ugandan government made increased efforts to prevent human trafficking during the year. In February 2012, the Minister of Internal Affairs, the lead ministry on anti-trafficking efforts, appointed a principal immigration officer to coordinate government anti-trafficking efforts and oversee the work of its newly established anti-trafficking office--the CTIP office. The establishment of the office fulfills a long-delayed mandate of the 2009 PTIP Act. In March 2012, the CTIP office established a national 14-member task force including representatives from the CTIP office, the Immigration Department, the UPF's child and family protection unit and special investigations unit, INTERPOL, the MGLSD, the MFA, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, the Internal Security Organization, the External Security Organization, and the Karamoja affairs, disaster preparedness, and refugees offices within the prime minister's office. During the year, the CTIP office required task force members to submit reports on actions to combat trafficking by their respective agencies and began consultations necessary for drafting a national action plan. The government also conducted anti-trafficking educational campaigns through radio programs and community discussions during the year. Following the interception of several buses of children in the previous reporting period and a well-documented problem of forced begging by Karamojong children on Kampala's streets, in 2011 the MGLSD established road blocks along the Karamoja-Kampala corridor to identify potential child victims before they reached Kampala.
The MGLSD's ELU continued application of its 2008 policy prohibiting labor recruitment agencies from recruiting Ugandans to work as domestic servants, and monitored their recruitment of guards, drivers, and manual laborers for overseas employment. In 2011, the ELU visited Iraq to investigate allegations of trafficking of Uganda citizens in these countries and began drafting new guidelines for recruitment agencies. The ELU--with just one staff member--provided pre-departure seminars for 400 Ugandans leaving for work abroad, supplied sample contracts to recruitment agencies, and provided phone numbers for Ugandans to call should they need assistance while abroad. However, the government's oversight of overseas recruitment agencies remains inadequate and under-resourced.
In March 2011, five women repatriated from Iraq in 2009 filed a lawsuit against the attorney general, the inspector general of police (IGP), the director of public prosecution (DPP), and a labor recruitment agency alleging that the agency had trafficked 155 women to Iraq. The women alleged that the IGP knew the women would be exploited and failed to carry out his constitutional duty to protect them, and that the DPP subsequently failed to prosecute the recruitment agency. The case remains pending, and the plaintiffs' claim that many of the women sent to Iraq remain missing. In February 2011, a member of parliament filed a petition on behalf of 16 women repatriated from Iraq tasking parliament's gender and social development committee to investigate recruitment agencies; during the year, parliament took no action on this petition. The government investigated three cases of child sacrifice, two of which remain pending. In the third case, the government convicted one offender under its PTIP Act and sentenced this suspect to seven years' imprisonment for attempted child sacrifice. In March 2012, the government convicted a foreign national for possession of pornography and sentenced him to two years' imprisonment or a fine of equivalent to $2,500. The offender paid the fine and was released, but was immediately rearrested for the alleged sexual abuse of Ugandan children. The case was pending at the end of the reporting period. The government provided anti-trafficking training to members of the Ugandan armed forces prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions; an estimated 5,000 troops attended such trainings in 2011. Uganda is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
UKRAINE (Tier 2)
Ukraine is a source, transit, and increasingly a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Ukrainian trafficking victims are subjected to trafficking in Russia, Poland, Iraq, Portugal, United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Germany, Azerbaijan, Israel, Lithuania, Lebanon, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Spain, Syria, the United States, Albania, Bahrain, Bosnia & Herzegovina, China, Egypt, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Syria, Turkmenistan, and the Netherlands. Within the country, Ukrainian women and minors were trafficked for sexual exploitation, men and women of all ages were trafficked for forced labor, and children from disadvantaged families were forced to beg. Homeless children or children in orphanages continued to be particularly vulnerable to trafficking in Ukraine. Men, women, and children from Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Cameroon, Moldova, Germany, Albania, and the Czech Republic are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking in Ukraine. The most prevalent sectors for labor exploitation were construction, agriculture, manufacturing, domestic work, the lumber industry, nursing, and street begging or selling. Often, traffickers are part of small organized crime networks, the majority of which are led by Ukrainians with foreign partners, particularly in Germany, Russia, and Poland.
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. During the reporting period, the government passed legislation that could improve the delivery of services to trafficking victims, including through the development of a national victim referral mechanism. The judicial system convicted more trafficking offenders and sentenced the majority to time in prison. The government, through a limited pilot project, also increased the number of victims identified and referred to NGOs for assistance, though it did not fund NGO-provided services to victims, and services available for child victims remained inadequate. The government did not take sufficient steps to investigate, prosecute, and convict government officials complicit in human trafficking crimes and did not develop effective mechanisms for the proactive identification and referral of trafficking victims to services.
Recommendations for Ukraine: Vigorously investigate, prosecute, and convict government officials complicit in trafficking crimes and ensure that guilty officials receive time in prison; continue to investigate actively and prosecute trafficking offenses, and seek sentences for convicted trafficking offenders that require them to serve appropriate jail time; improve collection of data to disaggregate forced labor and sex trafficking offenses; continue to monitor human trafficking trial procedures and encourage prosecutors to give more serious attention to human trafficking cases; implement effectively the new national referral mechanism to ensure the proactive identification and referral of trafficking victims to services; widely disseminate information about the new human trafficking law among governmental institutions; expand services provided by the government to victims of trafficking and provide funding for NGOs providing critical care to victims; consider establishing a fund derived from assets seized from convicted traffickers for this purpose; provide specialized assistance to child trafficking victims; encourage courts to use victim-centered methods of collecting testimony and equip them with the technology and facilities to do so; ensure victims of trafficking are not penalized for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; further expand prevention efforts in coordination with civil society; increase interagency coordination to combat human trafficking; and continue trafficking-specific training for prosecutors and judges.
The Government of Ukraine increased law enforcement efforts during the reporting period, particularly increasing the number of convictions of trafficking offenders. Article 149 of the Criminal Code prohibits all forms of trafficking and prescribes penalties from three to 15 years' imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The government reported initiating 125 investigations into trafficking offenses in 2011, down from 145 in 2010 and 160 in 2009. The government prosecuted 135 trafficking cases under Article 149 in 2011, compared with 111 trafficking cases prosecuted in 2010 and 80 in 2009. The government reported that it convicted 158 trafficking offenders in 2011, an increase from 120 in 2010 and 110 in 2009. Of the 91 convicted trafficking offenders who did not appeal courts' decisions in 2011, 53 received sentences with prison terms. Sentences ranged from less than two years' to 10 years' imprisonment. Thirty-six convicted traffickers were placed on probation, an increase from 33 in 2010. Additionally, appeals of 67 convicted traffickers were still pending in 2011, compared with 25 in 2010. The government did not, however, disaggregate its law enforcement data to demonstrate efforts against both sex and labor trafficking. Prosecutors continued to appeal low sentences imposed on convicted trafficking offenders, appealing 45 such sentences in 2011. In 2011, the Ukrainian government cooperated on joint investigations with at least twenty other governments and executed three extradition requests. During the year, the responsibility for investigating human trafficking offenses reverted from the specialized Department of Combating Cyber Crime and Human Trafficking to a subordinate unit in the Criminal Search Department, which had held this responsibility until 2005. The government continued to include trafficking-specific sessions in its regular training seminars for judges. In December, the National Academy of Prosecutors conducted a seminar for law enforcement personnel on strengthening their capacity to combat human trafficking. Government officials' complicity in human trafficking offenses continued to be a serious problem in 2011. While the government provided no statistics regarding investigations on public officials, NGOs reported that official trafficking-related corruption was a problem, including complicity of prosecutors, judges, and border guards. Local and oblast-level corruption interfered with the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases. Local experts reported one case in Volyn oblast, however, in which the government is prosecuting a village council deputy who organized a criminal ring that trafficked 20 women to Poland. During 2011, three anti-trafficking officers who solicited bribes from women engaged in prostitution were convicted and sentenced to 3.5 years' imprisonment; their appeal was still pending at the end of the reporting period.
The government did not expand its victim protection efforts during the reporting period, though it did pass a law that should improve the delivery of services to victims in the future. In September 2011, the legislature passed the Law on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, which assigned anti-trafficking responsibilities to various government agencies and codified the government's anti-trafficking protection policies. Additionally, the statute requires the establishment of a formal mechanism for referral of victims for the provision of assistance. The new law requires front-line responders to refer all potential trafficking victims to the Ministry for Social Policy (MSP) for formal victim identification and state assistance. The government continued its pilot project, in partnership with the OSCE, to develop a referral mechanism in two oblasts; 43 victims were identified and assisted within the pilot project framework in 2011, an increase from 20 in 2010. According to the Ministry of the Interior, the government identified 294 victims, compared to 277 in 2010 and 359 in 2009. In 2011, IOM, working with its local NGO partners, provided reintegration assistance to 823 Ukrainian victims, a decrease from 1,085 victims in 2010, about three quarters of whom were victims of labor trafficking. The government did not provide any funding to NGOs providing assistance to victims of trafficking, although it did provide some in-kind assistance to NGOs assisting victims and engaged in other anti-trafficking activities, including administrative expenses and facility space. Government-supported shelters reported providing assistance to 15 trafficking victims in 2011. The government, however, continued to rely on international donors to provide the majority of funding for victim assistance. The government continued to place child trafficking victims in temporary shelters for homeless children that do not offer specialized services for trafficking victims. The government encouraged victims to cooperate with law enforcement in the prosecution of their traffickers; 294 victims assisted in pre-trial trafficking investigations in 2011. Meanwhile, the government made modest improvements in protecting victim witnesses by more frequently using victim-centered methods of collecting testimony. The new human trafficking law provides foreign trafficking victims with the opportunity to apply for a three-month temporary residence permit, which can be extended for participation in judicial proceedings or if the victim's safety would be comprised by his or her repatriation. There were no reports of victims being punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; however, three victims were detained for six months because they were not initially recognized as trafficking victims, and another victim was detained while awaiting deportation because there was not yet a temporary legal status for trafficking victims. The Department on Combating Organized Crime was reportedly more active in proactively investigating human trafficking rings and regularly monitored farms and industrial areas, though those doing the investigations were not the personnel who had previously received specialized training in conducting anti-trafficking investigations. IOM identified 23 foreign victims of trafficking during the reporting period.
The Government of Ukraine continued its limited trafficking prevention activities during 2011. The government prepared 15 anti-trafficking public service announcements for Ukrainian television, published 136 articles for print and electronic media, and aired 19 radio reports. The government took some steps to regulate private companies involved in the recruitment of Ukrainians for work abroad. The government provided in-kind and limited financial assistance to NGOs for trafficking-prevention activities. Together with IOM, the government conducted five counter-trafficking training sessions for Ukrainian troops prior to deployment for international peacekeeping duties in 2011; these trainings are mandatory for Ukrainian peacekeepers. In January 2012, the government designated the MSP as the national anti-human trafficking coordinator. At the end of the reporting period, the Government of Ukraine adopted the National Plan on Combating Human Trafficking for 2012-2015. The government did not conduct any anti-trafficking prevention campaigns to address demand for commercial sex.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (Tier 2)
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a destination, and to a lesser extent transit , country for men and women, predominantly from South and Southeast Asia, who are subjected to forced labor and forced prostitution. Migrant workers, who comprise more than 90 percent of the UAE's private sector workforce, are recruited from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, China, Thailand, Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, and the Philippines. Women from some of these countries travel willingly to the UAE to work as domestic servants, secretaries, beauticians, and hotel cleaners, but some are subjected to conditions indicative of forced labor, including unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, nonpayment of wages, threats, or physical or sexual abuse. Restrictive sponsorship laws for foreign domestic workers often give employers power to control domestic workers' movements, threaten them with abuse of legal processes, and make them vulnerable to exploitation. Men from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal are drawn to the UAE for work in the construction sector; some are subjected to conditions of forced labor, including debt bondage as they struggle to pay off debts for recruitment fees. In some cases, employers have declared bankruptcy and fled the country, effectively abandoning their employees in conditions vulnerable to labor exploitation. Some women from Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Far East, East Africa, Iraq, Iran, and Morocco are subjected to forced prostitution in the UAE.
The Government of the United Arab Emirates does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. This year, the government continued to prosecute and punish sex trafficking offenders, though its efforts to combat forced labor were lacking. The government's failure to address labor and other forms of trafficking continues to be a gap in the Emirates' law enforcement efforts against trafficking. However, during the reporting period, in direct response to indicators of forced labor of temporary migrant workers and domestic servants, the government implemented victim identification procedures, drafted a law to protect domestic workers, and continued to aggressively enforce its Wage Protection System, which is intended to ensure the payment of wages to workers. The government continued to implement its anti-trafficking awareness campaigns and to refer identified sex trafficking victims to protective services. In addition, the government invited Dr. Joy Ezeilo, the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, in April 2012 to conduct a fact-finding mission on trafficking issues in the UAE and offer recommendations to strengthen government efforts against trafficking. Nonetheless, labor trafficking victims remained largely unprotected and, due to the government's lack of capacity to identify victims of forced labor among vulnerable populations, victims may be punished for immigration and other violations.
Recommendations for the United Arab Emirates: Significantly increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, and punish labor trafficking offenses, and convict and punish trafficking offenders, including recruitment agents and employers who subject workers to forced labor; enact and implement the draft law addressing the protection of domestic workers' rights; institute formal procedures to identify proactively victims of trafficking among vulnerable groups such as workers subjected to labor abuses, those apprehended for violations of immigration laws, domestic workers who have fled their employers, and foreign females in prostitution; provide protection services to all victims of trafficking, including by extending protection to victims of forced labor on par with victims of forced prostitution; ensure trafficking victims are not incarcerated, fined, or otherwise penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, including victims of forced labor; enforce prohibitions on withholding of workers' passports; extend labor law protections to domestic workers; and reform the sponsorship system so it does not provide excessive power to sponsors or employers in granting and sustaining the legal status of workers.
The UAE government sustained its strong law enforcement efforts against sex trafficking during the reporting period, but again failed to take any discernible measures to investigate or punish forced labor offenses. The UAE prohibits all forms of trafficking under its federal law Number 51 of 2006, which prescribes penalties ranging from one year in prison to life imprisonment, as well as fines and deportation if the trafficker is an expatriate. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. In November 2010, the Dubai authorities established a special court to expedite human trafficking prosecutions in that Emirate. During the reporting period, the UAE government continued to combat sex trafficking, investigating 44 cases in 2011, two of which involved victims under the age of 18. Thirty-seven of these cases were prosecuted under the anti-trafficking law, which is a significant decrease from the 58 sex trafficking cases prosecuted in 2010. According to the government's 2011-2012 annual human trafficking report, the 37 prosecutions yielded 111 arrests and involved 51 victims; 19 traffickers were convicted and punished with prison terms including life imprisonment. Despite the UAE's prohibition of labor trafficking offenses, the government only reported the prosecution of one forced labor case under the anti-trafficking law. In January 2011, two women were charged with forced labor offenses for forcing a woman to work in a massage parlor; they were also charged with forced prostitution of two other victims. The prosecution was still ongoing at the end of the reporting period. The government failed to report any convictions or punishments for forced labor during the reporting period. Prohibitions against practices that greatly contribute to forced labor, such as the widespread withholding of workers' passports, remained unenforced. The government continued to respond to workers' complaints of unpaid wages, but this response was largely limited to administrative remedies, including fines or mediation to recover the wages; seldom did the government criminally investigate or punish an employer. The government's inter-ministerial National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking (NCCHT) and Dubai authorities continued to train judicial and law enforcement officials and staff of the government's social services agency on human trafficking issues. The Ministry of Interior (MOI) also conducted 47 internal training courses for over 1,000 anti-trafficking specialists in 2011, and anti-trafficking courses were added to police academies' curriculums. The NCCHT also finalized a data collection methodology to establish a central database for law enforcement officers working on anti-trafficking cases. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions for government complicity in trafficking offenses. The government reported actively cooperating with other countries and international agencies on international trafficking investigations during the year. For example, UAE cooperated with Azerbaijani authorities to extradite three Azerbaijani traffickers who were listed on an INTERPOL watch list.
The UAE government made sustained, yet uneven, progress in protecting victims of trafficking during the reporting period. Although it continued to provide services to victims of sex trafficking, it demonstrated no efforts to improve care for victims of forced labor. The government continues to fund shelters for female and child victims of trafficking and abuse in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras al Khaimah, and Sharjah. These facilities provide medical, psychological, legal, educational, and vocational assistance to victims of trafficking. While the government does not provide shelter services for male victims of trafficking, in 2011, the Ministry of Labor in Dubai provided alternative options for some laborers who were abandoned by their employers, including repatriation, filing a grievance against the employer, or locating a new employer. In the first half of 2011, the Dubai shelter assisted 19 victims of trafficking and the Abu Dhabi shelter assisted 29 women and children trafficking victims, which is a significant decrease from the 49 and 71 victims the shelters assisted in 2010. The Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah shelters assisted 15 and 14 victims, respectively, in 2011. Two victims referred to shelter services in 2011 were UAE nationals who were forced into prostitution by family members. Once identified, victims reportedly were not punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, such as prostitution offenses. Authorities report that government officials, including the police, as well as houses of worship and community centers, refer victims to shelters. The government reportedly identified and referred 32 sex trafficking victims to care facilities in the first nine months of 2011. The government continued to implement aggressively its anti-trafficking awareness campaigns, and the MOI implemented new victim identification procedures during 2011. Police stations designated personnel and implemented standard operating procedures to identify victims of both sex and labor trafficking; however, some victims may have remained unidentified due to capacity issues. As a result, some victims of sex trafficking, who the government did not identify, may have been penalized through incarceration, fines, or deportation for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. To attempt to remedy this problem, the government reportedly has a referral process to improve the identification of trafficking victims in detention or prison and refer them to a local shelter; NGOs report the referral system works well in practice. Moreover, in January 2012, shelter representatives reported that the MOI implemented a system to place suspected trafficking victims in a transitional facility, instead of a detention center, until victim identification is completed.
The government encouraged identified victims of sex trafficking to assist in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers by providing victims with housing and sometimes employment. Nonetheless, the UAE continues to fail to recognize forced labor victims, particularly if they are over the age of 18 and entered the country voluntarily. While the UAE government exempts victims of trafficking from paying fines accrued for overstaying their visas, the government did not offer victims of labor trafficking--likely the most prevalent form of trafficking in the UAE--shelter, counseling, or immigration relief. Domestic workers who fled from their employers often accessed limited assistance at their embassies, but largely were presumed to be violators of the law by UAE authorities. The UAE government did not actively encourage victims of labor trafficking to participate in investigations or prosecutions, and it did not initiate proactive investigations of forced labor offenses committed against these victims. In addition, although training for law enforcement officials included training on victim identification, the government does not have formal procedures for proactively identifying victims of trafficking among high risk persons with whom they come in contact. As a result, victims of forced labor may have been punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, such as immigration violations. The government did not provide long-term legal alternatives to the removal of foreign trafficking victims to countries where they faced retribution or hardship.
The UAE government continued to make anti-trafficking prevention efforts a priority during the reporting period. The government and Dubai police conducted anti-trafficking information and education campaigns within the UAE and with source country embassies, and expanded an advertisement campaign, which was implemented in 2010 in the Abu Dhabi and Al Ain international airports, to additional international airports throughout the country. The government also restricted the issuance of tourist visas to certain vulnerable populations that had been subject to sex trafficking. The UAE's Cabinet of Ministers approved a draft law in January 2012 protecting the rights of domestic workers, which awaited presidential approval and subsequent implementation at the end of the reporting period. The NCCHT re-launched its website to raise awareness of trafficking and established a toll-free hotline to report labor abuses. The MOI also conducted lectures on forced labor issues, which reached nearly 52,000 foreign workers in companies and institutions across the country. The government was transparent about its anti-trafficking efforts, as it continued to publish an annual public report on its anti-trafficking measures. In April 2012, the government also invited the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons to conduct an assessment on trafficking in the UAE and provide recommendations to increase government awareness and strengthen efforts to combat trafficking. Government authorities produced and translated into source country languages pamphlets on workers' rights and resources for assistance for distribution to migrant workers. In addition, the Dubai Police's Human Trafficking Crimes Control Center reported it conducted 1,648 inspections of labor camps in 2011 and received 668 complaints to its labor hotline; however, none of the cases received by the hotline were deemed labor trafficking. Additionally, the government sustained its Wage Protection System (WPS), an electronic salary monitoring system intended to ensure workers receive their salaries. Monitored by the Ministry of Labor, the WPS has penalized over 600 employers who have failed to register their wage payments. Approximately 2.85 million workers and 205,000 of the 250,000 registered companies have enrolled in the WPS since its launch in 2009. In 2011, the UAE also implemented a system to verify contracts with some labor source countries to protect workers from contract substitution and other fraudulent activities. The government, however, did not take any measures to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts in the UAE or child sex tourism by UAE nationals.
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|Title Annotation:||TAIWAN-UNITED ARAB EMIRATES|
|Publication:||Trafficking in Persons|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2012|
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