Namibia is predominantly a country of origin and destination for children and, to a lesser extent, women subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Some victims are offered legitimate work for adequate wages, but eventually may be forced to work long hours and carry out hazardous tasks in urban centers and on commercial farms. Traffickers in Namibia exploit Namibian children in forced labor in agriculture, cattle herding, and domestic service. Children from Angola, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are subjected to prostitution in Namibia. Some Angolan boys may be brought to Namibia for forced labor in cattle herding; however, no such cases were reported during the year. Foreign nationals or persons resident in Namibia from southern Africa and Europe are among the clientele of children in prostitution in Namibia. Children are also coerced to conduct criminal activity, including drug smuggling and robbery. Namibians commonly house and care for children of distant relatives in order to provide expanded educational opportunities; however, in some instances, such children are exploited by their relatives in sex trafficking or forced labor. Among Namibia's ethnic groups, San girls are particularly vulnerable to forced labor on farms or in homes, and to a lesser extent, are exploited in prostitution. The Government of Namibia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite these measures, including its prosecution of two suspected sex traffickers, the government did not demonstrate evidence of overall increasing efforts to address human trafficking during the previous reporting period; therefore, Namibia is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for a second consecutive year. Although the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare (MGECW) launched a National Plan of Action on Gender-Based Violence in 2012, which includes actions to address human trafficking, the government did not undertake systematic anti-trafficking efforts to ensure lasting progress, particularly in regard to the prosecution of trafficking crimes. Although the government developed a referral process for victims of gender-based violence, including trafficking, it failed to designate as trafficking victims any victims of crime discovered during the year or ensure its officials were informed of how to determine such status. In addition, it did not complete draft comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation. Furthermore, the government has never convicted a trafficking offender under any of its laws. However, the government discovered at least one trafficking victim and provided counseling to four during the year--a modest increase in its protection efforts in 2011. It also completed its renovation of one additional shelter for victims of gender-based violence, including trafficking.
Recommendations for Namibia: Draft and enact comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation; increase efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, and to convict and punish trafficking offenders under existing law, including the Prevention of Organized Crime Act (POCA); continue to train law enforcement and judicial sector officials on the anti-trafficking provisions of the POCA and other relevant laws; in the implementation of the law, ensure consistent use of a broad definition of human trafficking that does not rely on evidence of movement, but rather focuses on exploitation, consistent with the 2000 UN TIP Protocol; continue to distribute and use standard guidelines for all government stakeholders for use in the identification of victims by law enforcement, immigration, labor, and social welfare officials; continue to dedicate adequate time and resources to complete ongoing shelter and safe house renovations; continue to strengthen coordination of anti-trafficking efforts among government ministries, including at the working level; and continue to collect, analyze, and disseminate data on trafficking cases.
The Government of Namibia continued its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the year, initiating the prosecution of two suspects for the alleged sex trafficking of three girls. The government, however, did not convict any trafficking offenders or complete comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation during the year. In May 2009, the government enacted the POCA, which criminalizes all forms of trafficking. Under the POCA, persons who participate in trafficking offenses or aid and abet trafficking offenders may be imprisoned for up to 50 years and fined up to the equivalent of approximately $133,000, penalties which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with punishments prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. During the year, the government began its first sex trafficking prosecution under the POCA; however, it has never convicted a trafficking offender under this statute. In January 2013, the government, in partnership with UNODC, held an inter-ministerial workshop to reaffirm its plans to develop comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation to include specific protections for trafficking victims, prevention measures, and harsher punishments for child trafficking offenses. The pending Child Care and Protection Bill, drafted in 2009 and approved by the cabinet in March 2012, includes a provision criminalizing child trafficking; the bill remained pending parliamentary debate and passage.
In October 2012, the Swakopmund Magistrate's Court commenced the government's first known sex trafficking prosecution, charging two suspects for their alleged role in procuring three girls (aged 13, 14, and 18) for sexual exploitation by a South African miner for the approximate equivalent of $1,175. The trial was ongoing at the close of the reporting period. In August 2012, nine immigration officials participated in an IOM train the trainer course and, by the close of 2012, these officials had trained 124 of their colleagues using IOM's curriculum. Furthermore, in partnership with UNICEF, MGECW developed a police curriculum on gender-based violence, including trafficking.
The government increased its efforts to protect trafficking victims, identifying at least one victim and providing counseling to four child victims during the year. In addition, in March 2013, the government developed a formal process for the referral to assistance of victims of gender-based violence, including trafficking. However, although officials were trained on trafficking victim identification, the government remained without a process for officials to screen populations to determine victimization or provide official designation of trafficking victim status. Upon discovery of a woman or child victim of crime, including trafficking, police transfer them to the Women and Child Protection Unit (WACPU), which has responsibility for referring victims of all crimes to temporary shelter and medical assistance provided by NGOs or other entities. During the year, MGECW, in partnership with UNICEF, formalized these referral procedures through the development of a national protection referral network for crime victims. In 2012, WACPU's facilities provided initial psychosocial, legal, and medical support to trafficking victims, in cooperation with the Namibian Police, MGECW, the Ministry of Health, and NGOs. For example, the MGECW provided social workers to assist WACPU police in counseling victims of violent crimes, including human trafficking; during the year, at least four trafficking victims received such counseling, some of which involved several sessions and longer-term consultation. The MGECW trained gender-liaison officers in all 13 regions on trafficking and case management, who, in turn, trained police and all 60 of its social workers on these topics during the previous reporting period.
The government continued its renovation of buildings to be used for long-term accommodations for women and child victims of gender-based violence and human trafficking; five facilities continued operation, while one additional renovation was completed and a seventh renovation began during the reporting period. Five of the six renovated facilities are under the management of MGECW; in addition, MGECW provided a social worker and partial coverage of operational costs to an NGO managing one facility. These facilities offered overnight accommodation, medical examinations, and space for social workers to provide counseling and
psycho-social support. In 2012, police caught a 14-year old San boy stealing cattle on behalf of his uncle, who had kidnapped the boy; authorities did not penalize the boy for this crime, but instead took him to WACPU for counseling and reintegration. The government actively encouraged victims to voluntarily assist in the prosecution of alleged trafficking offenders during the year. Though no foreign victims were identified in Namibia in 2012, the government remained without the ability to provide temporary or permanent residency to foreign victims.
The Namibian government continued its efforts to prevent human trafficking during the reporting period. Under the leadership of MGECW, the National Advisory Committee on Gender-Based Violence--which included trafficking within its mandate--launched its "National Plan of Action on Gender-Based Violence 2012-2016," completed with donor funding and in partnership with UNDP, UNICEF, and local stakeholders. In November 2012, the government concluded its three-year "Zero Tolerance Against Gender-Based Violence and Trafficking in Persons" media campaign that included TV and radio broadcasts on human trafficking and the placement of billboards; the campaign was jointly funded by the MGECW and donors. In addition, the police, in partnership with several NGOs and international donors, continued an anti-trafficking and prostitution demand reduction campaign. In 2012, the MGECW began seeking proposals and bids that would enable the completion of a study to assess the extent of trafficking in the country and the effect of current counter-trafficking efforts. During the year, several officials, including the first lady, addressed community leaders, traditional leaders, and parents on child prostitution and child labor, advocating for them to increase children's awareness about these topics and facilitate their attendance in school.
NEPAL (Tier 2)
Nepal is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children who are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Nepali men are subjected to forced labor in the Middle East and within the country. Nepali women and girls are subjected to sex trafficking in Nepal, India, the Middle East, and China and subjected to forced labor in Nepal, India, and China as domestic servants, beggars, factory workers, mine workers, and in the adult entertainment industry. They are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor elsewhere in Asia, including in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and South Korea. Nepali boys are also exploited in domestic servitude and, along with a number of Indian boys transported to Nepal, subjected to forced labor within the country, especially in brick kilns and the embroidered textiles, or zari, industry. Extreme cases of forced labor in the zari industry frequently involve severe physical abuse of children. Bonded labor exists in agriculture, cattle rearing, brick kilns, the stone-breaking industry, and domestic servitude. Bonded laborers freed by a government decree in 2000 are left vulnerable to human trafficking in the absence of sufficient government-mandated rehabilitation services. Children of kamaiya families that were formerly or are currently in bonded labor are also subjected to the kamalari system of domestic servitude. Human traffickers typically target low-caste groups.
Some of the Nepali migrants who willingly seek work in domestic service, construction, or other low-skilled sectors in India, Gulf countries, Malaysia, Israel, South Korea, and Lebanon subsequently face conditions indicative of forced labor such as withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, nonpayment of wages, threats, deprivation of food and sleep, and physical or sexual abuse. In many cases, this forced labor is facilitated by recruitment fraud and high recruitment fees charged by unscrupulous Nepal-based labor brokers and manpower agencies. Unregistered migrants--including the large number of Nepalis who travel via India or rely on independent recruiting agents--are more vulnerable to forced labor. Migrants from Bangladesh, Burma, and possibly other countries may transit through Nepal for employment in the Gulf states, fraudulently using Nepali travel documents, and may be subjected to human trafficking.
The Government of Nepal does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite limited resources and the absence of a parliamentary body since May 2012. The national anti-trafficking inter-ministerial committee was strengthened under the new leadership of an undersecretary, officials took steps to regulate labor recruitment agencies, and the government published a report on its anti-trafficking efforts. Problems remained, however. Anti-trafficking structures were not fully effective, and trafficking victims did not receive sufficient support from the government. Anti-trafficking laws were inconsistently implemented, and the government ineffectively used funds allocated for protection. Victim identification efforts were weak; child sex trafficking victims were returned to their abusers in the wake of raids, increasing the debts by which they were bonded. Many government officials continued to employ a narrow definition of human trafficking, leaving domestic sex and labor trafficking victims and male victims of transnational labor trafficking unidentified, marginally protected, or re-victimized.
Recommendations for Nepal: Increase law enforcement efforts against all forms of trafficking, including the sex trafficking of Nepali females within Nepal, and against government officials complicit in trafficking-related crimes; ensure trafficking victims are not punished for their involvement in prostitution or forgery of official documents as a direct result of their being trafficked; prosecute labor trafficking offenders who exploit Nepalese migrants abroad and Nepali labor recruiters for charging excessive recruitment fees or engaging in fraudulent recruitment; raise awareness among government officials and the public of the existence of forced prostitution of Nepali women and girls within Nepal; work to revise the Human Trafficking and Transportation (Control) Act (HTTCA), or finalize a new draft law to bring the definition of human trafficking in line with international standards; institute a formal procedure to identify victims of trafficking, particularly by police who conduct raids, and refer them to protection services; lift the recent ban on women under age 30 working as domestic workers in the Gulf states, and publicize that policy change; continue to monitor and evaluate anti-trafficking shelters; ensure victim services are available to male victims of trafficking; implement the victim protection provisions of the HTTCA, including protections for victims who serve as witnesses in trafficking prosecutions; improve evidence collection, including by educating victims on the processes required to submit their testimony; and accede to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
The Government of Nepal continued to convict transnational sex trafficking offenders during the reporting period. Nepal prohibits many, but not all, forms of trafficking in persons through the 2007 Human Trafficking and Transportation (Control) Act (HTTCA) and the 2008 Regulation. While the HTTCA criminalizes slavery, bonded labor, and the buying and selling of a person, it does not criminalize the recruitment, transportation, harboring, or receipt of persons by force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of forced labor or services. It criminalizes forced prostitution but, in a departure from the 2000 UN TIP Protocol's definition of human trafficking, does not consider the prostitution of children as a form of human trafficking absent force, fraud, or coercion. The law also criminalizes non-trafficking in persons offenses, including engaging in prostitution and removal of human organs. Prescribed penalties range from 10 to 20 years' imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The HTTCA, however, shifts the burden of proof to the defendant, requiring the defendant prove he or she did not commit the offense; placing the burden of proof on the suspected victim thereby assumes his or her guilt. Bonded labor is prohibited through the Bonded Labor (Prohibition) Act (2002). Forced child labor and transnational labor trafficking offenses may be prosecuted under the Child Labor Act and the Foreign Employment Act. According to the office of the Attorney General, at least 189 trafficking offenders were convicted under the HTTCA during the Nepali fiscal year, compared with approximately 229 in the previous fiscal year; the government did not provide information on sentences or confirm the number of convicted trafficking offenders who served time in jail. In one case, a district court sentenced a sex trafficking offender to 170 years in jail--the longest sentence recorded in Nepal's history--and levied a substantial fine. Government officials and civil society groups noted that the vast majority of convictions under the HTTCA were for transnational sex trafficking, and some NGOs reported that many law enforcement authorities do not pay sufficient attention to the problem of sex trafficking within the country. The government included anti-trafficking elements in law enforcement officers' regular training programs and provided meeting spaces and participated as trainers for some NGO-organized and foreign government-funded trainings. Nevertheless, police officers' lack of awareness of the law, challenges in evidence collection, and poor investigation techniques impeded prosecutions. A prominent NGO reported that victims prefer civil action or compensation through informal negotiations with the defendant rather than pursuing lengthy criminal prosecutions.
There continued to be NGO reports that some government and political party officials were complicit in trafficking-related crimes. NGOs asserted that political parties sometimes support traffickers and pressure a variety of actors, including police, prosecutors, and the judiciary, to ignore or drop cases, but they did not provide specific examples. Traffickers reportedly use ties to government officials to facilitate trafficking, including by paying bribes for protection and favors, although the scope of the problem is not established. Some Nepali officials reportedly have been bribed to include false information in genuine Nepali passports or to provide fraudulent documents to prospective labor migrants. According to reports, the Government of Nepal continued to investigate nine airport officials for taking bribes to allow workers traveling on inappropriate visas to pass immigration control, a trafficking-related offense, but did not report any prosecutions of government employees for complicity in trafficking-related offenses during the reporting period.
The Government of Nepal made limited efforts to protect trafficking victims in the reporting period. Government officials rarely proactively identified victims of trafficking among high-risk persons with whom they came in contact. Some victims of transnational labor exploitation faced legal action for possession of forged travel documents. In raids of "adult entertainment" establishments, some trafficking victims, including girls, were reportedly arrested and then bailed out by their traffickers, further indebting the girls to their exploiters. Other sex trafficking victims were charged under "public offense" provisions of the law. The government did not report the number of victims it identified in the reporting period. Two NGOs reported supporting 960 trafficking victims in 2012, at least 189 of whom were victims of labor trafficking. The government did not provide legally mandated benefits to many bonded laborers who, in past years were freed through government decree, leaving them impoverished and vulnerable to further trafficking. Government and NGO officials jointly rescued more than 120 Nepali and Indian child laborers, likely trafficking victims, in the zari industry. These children were referred to protection services and reunited with their families. The government issued 34 zari factory owners fines of only the equivalent of approximately $112, which anti-trafficking advocates consider an insufficient penalty. A government official noted the risk of these children being re-trafficked, and a follow-up visit six months later revealed that one of the rescued children was re-victimized in the zari industry.
The government continued to run emergency shelters for vulnerable female workers--some of whom were likely trafficking victims--in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates and continued to provide funding to its embassy in India to assist in repatriating Nepali trafficking victims. Some Nepali embassies have referred human trafficking cases to the police via the Department of Foreign Employment (DOFE). While the Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB) collected fees from departing registered migrant workers for a welfare fund, most of the funds remain unused; the majority of pay-outs were to families of deceased migrant workers. In the reporting period, the Ministry of Labor did not contribute to its fund to assist exploited undocumented workers; there was no information as to whether any Nepali migrant workers benefited from this fund.
The national minimum standards for victim care outline procedures for referring identified victims to protection services; however, the referral system functioned inconsistently. The Ministry of Women, Children, and Social Welfare (MWCSW) continued to partially fund eight NGO-run shelter homes for female victims of trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault, as well as emergency shelters for victims of trafficking and other forms of abuse, run by local women's cooperatives, but it is unclear how many of those assisted were trafficking victims. While government officials reported that these shelters are available for men, there is little information on whether any men received protective services in these shelters. Most of the funds the government allocated for protection efforts remained unspent, and in practice many trafficking victims did not receive legally mandated compensation. All facilities that assist trafficking victims in Nepal were run by NGOs, and most provided a range of services. Some of these shelters reportedly limited victims' ability to move freely and controlled their access to money and to family members. In April 2012, the government adopted psycho-social counseling guidelines developed by an international organization. In partnership with an international organization and the private sector, the government provided job opportunities for some victims. The government encouraged trafficking victims to participate in investigations against their traffickers on an ad hoc basis, such as by providing transportation costs to courts; however, the lack of effective victim-witness protections continued to be a major impediment to prosecutions.
The Government of Nepal increased its efforts to prevent human trafficking during the reporting period. Under the improved leadership of an MWCSW undersecretary, the inter-ministerial National Committee for Controlling Human Trafficking (NCCHT) continued to meet regularly; formed three working groups to address issues of protection, prosecution, and prevention; and disseminated anti-trafficking policy documents to a number of government officials, particularly through training sessions. In March 2013, the NCCHT also published a report on the government's anti-trafficking efforts. The government re-imposed a ban on the migration of females under age 30 to the Gulf states for domestic work; according to a report by the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, bans such as these may drive migration further underground and lead to increased human trafficking. The government allocated the equivalent of approximately $2,300 to mark the sixth annual national anti-trafficking day, and federal and district officials participated in rallies throughout the country. In January 2013, the president publicly honored a prominent anti-trafficking activist for her work. NGOs state that the majority of the District Committees for Controlling Human Trafficking (DCCHT) do not function well or are not active; the NCCHT assisted some of the better-performing DCCHTs to form village-level committees to address human trafficking at a local level. The FEPB sponsored a program and short public service announcements on safe migration on the radio.
In the reporting period, the Government of Nepal worked to improve the monitoring of labor recruitment agencies and brokers. For instance, DOFE registered approximately 200 recruitment brokers, an increase from fewer than a dozen registered brokers a year ago, and formally linked those brokers to a single recruitment agency in an effort to clarify lines of responsibility. This is a small fraction of the estimated 30,000 recruitment brokers in Nepal, according to a report by an international anti-trafficking organization. Government-mediated complaints of recruitment agencies resulted in fines and the closure of a number of agencies, but it is unknown whether these recruiters were involved in human trafficking-related activities. Nepali recruitment agencies often register multiple companies; in the event of license cancellation, the agent continues business under a different name. There were no known cases of the criminal prosecution of recruitment agencies for facilitating human trafficking. Efforts by the government to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts and child sex tourism, including the prosecution of clients of prostitution in the adult entertainment sector, were mitigated by the government's punishment of sex trafficking victims. All Nepali military troops and police assigned to international peacekeeping forces were provided pre-deployment anti trafficking training. Nepal is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
NETHERLANDS (Tier 1)
The Netherlands is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution and forced labor. A significant number of underage Dutch residents continued to be subjected to sex trafficking in the country. The Netherlands, Hungary, Nigeria, Romania, Bulgaria, Sierra Leone, and Poland are the top seven countries of origin for identified victims of forced prostitution in 2012; victims are also from Africa, China, and other parts of Asia. Men and boys are subjected to forced prostitution and various forms of forced labor, including in the maritime sector, agriculture, horticulture, catering, food processing, cleaning, construction, and illegal narcotics trafficking. Male victims originate primarily from Romania, Nigeria, Poland, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Angola, China, Ghana, and Guinea, but are also from India, Bulgaria, Egypt, Hungary, the Netherlands, and the Philippines. Domestic workers employed in the Netherlands remain vulnerable to forced labor, including by foreign diplomats posted in the Netherlands. Groups vulnerable to trafficking include unaccompanied children seeking asylum, women with dependent residence status obtained through fraudulent or forced marriages, women recruited in Africa and Eastern Europe, and East Asian women working in massage parlors. Local recruitment of domestic trafficking victims over the internet continued to increase.
The Government of the Netherlands fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government continued to employ a multidisciplinary, whole-of-government approach to its anti-trafficking efforts and maintained an effective and independent national anti-trafficking rapporteur. It used creative methods to detect and proactively identify both foreign and domestic trafficking victims in the country and mobilized a range of governmental, non-governmental, and private entities in this endeavor. In 2012, the government continued to investigate and prosecute sex trafficking and forced labor cases vigorously; police and investigators referred the highest number of trafficking cases to date for prosecution during the reporting period. While the average sentences for convicted traffickers increased, courts in the Netherlands continued to hand down lenient sentences for these perpetrators. The government increased its international anti-trafficking cooperation during the year, sharing best practices and lessons learned with source countries, EU partners, and other countries.
Recommendations for the Netherlands: Ensure convicted trafficking offenders receive sentences commensurate with the seriousness of the crime; continue to develop pragmatic approaches to victim outreach within illegal and legal labor sectors, including potential victims inadvertently held in detention centers; ensure sufficient shelter capacity for the delivery of comprehensive and specialized services for trafficking victims; continue to employ innovative methods to prevent and uncover forced labor; continue to mentor officials in the former Antilles as well as Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba (BES) to improve identification of victims and prosecution of traffickers in the Caribbean; and continue to share best practices and lessons learned with other countries, in particular, methods to uncover and respond to local sex trafficking of domestic victims, the development of a multidisciplinary approach and practices on victim protection, and the importance of employing a self-critical approach to improve anti-trafficking results.
The Dutch government continued to pursue innovative approaches to addressing human trafficking through law enforcement. During the year, it convicted an increased number of trafficking offenders and increased the average sentence for trafficking offenders. The Netherlands prohibits all forms of trafficking through Article 273 of its criminal code, which prescribes sentences ranging from eight to 18 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. In 2012, the government prosecuted and convicted 141 trafficking offenders, an increase from 108 in 2011. The average sentence for convicted trafficking offenders was approximately 25 months in 2011, the most recent year this data was available, an increase from 21 months in 2010. The government did not disaggregate forced labor cases from sex trafficking cases, but one official estimated approximately one-quarter of all cases involved labor trafficking. One official noted judges consistently handed down more severe penalties for rape than for sex trafficking. Local police reported that low sentences for traffickers continued to result in the reappearance of the same offenders and thus the continued exploitation of trafficking victims within the regulated commercial sex sector. In October 2012, the Administrative Office of the Courts announced the appointment of specialized anti-trafficking judges after the rapporteur reported that disparities in the way judges across the country interpret Article 273 were resulting in widely varying verdicts and sentences for trafficking offenders. In addition, in January 2013, the Administrative Office of the Courts designated four courts to specialize in complex human trafficking cases.
In a landmark verdict in July 2012, a court in Leeuwarden sentenced a sex trafficker to six years' imprisonment for subjecting a woman to forced prostitution for seven years. The court also awarded the victim the equivalent of approximately $1.3 million in restitution as part of its verdict. During the reporting period, local authorities, including specialized social workers, interpreters, and lawyers, conducted two major operations to investigate human trafficking in red-light districts in Eindhoven and Alkmaar based on the successful model utilized in The Hague's red-light district in 2011 that uncovered useful information about the sex trade, the persons operating in it, potential victims, and suspected perpetrators.
The government increasingly focused its law enforcement efforts on sectors vulnerable to forced labor in 2012. In December 2012, a court in Zwolle sentenced two co-directors of a temporary agency to respective sentences of four and eight years' imprisonment for forced labor involving Polish workers. The court found the offenders guilty of coercing and exploiting one male and six female workers in a meat-processing facility, in addition to other charges; one suspect was also found guilty of raping three of the victims. The court found that the victims were completely dependent on the suspects for work, housing, and transportation. In November 2012, the national police service published the results of a two-year study on human trafficking in Chinese restaurants, massage parlors, and nail salons. The study revealed trafficking victims in these sectors and found they were reluctant to leave these situations out of fear of deportation, loyalty to their community, or fear of reprisal by their traffickers against their families in China. There were no reported official cases of trafficking-related complicity in 2012; however, Amsterdam police believe that police assigned to anti-prostitution law enforcement efforts carry inherent temptations for corruption. The force therefore requires anti-trafficking officers in Amsterdam to pass three examinations in a specialized, 256-hour training course focused on working with trafficking victims and policing the sex industry. Potential officers also must sign a code of conduct before they are eligible to work in this sector. During the reporting period, the government re-opened an investigation into allegations that a former Ministry of Justice official had engaged in child sex tourism in the 1990s after an alleged victim presented a deposition. The investigation, the third in the case, ended in October 2012 when the Prosecutor's Office concluded that there was insufficient evidence on which to proceed. An appeal to compel prosecution by court order was thereafter filed by the complainants and alleged victims; the appeal remained pending at the end of the reporting period.
The Netherlands demonstrated appreciable progress in its efforts to protect trafficking victims during the reporting period. In 2012, Comensha, the government-funded national victim registration center and assistance coordinator, registered 1,024 potential trafficking victims in the first 11 months of 2012, compared with 1,222 victims in 2011. The government continued to operate an extensive network of facilities providing a full range of trafficking-specialized services for children, women, and men; the government provided victims with legal, financial, and psychological assistance, shelter, medical care, social security benefits, and education financing. Victims in government shelters were not detained involuntarily. The government reported that single underage asylum seekers suspected to be trafficking victims were provided intensive counseling in secure shelters to protect them from traffickers. Comensha continued to report a shortage of accommodation for trafficking victims requiring shelter in 2012. Dutch authorities provided temporary residence permits to allow foreign trafficking victims to stay in the Netherlands for a three-month reflection period, during which victims received immediate care and services while they considered whether to assist law enforcement. The government provided updated comprehensive data regarding temporary and permanent residency permits reported last year. In 2011, the government reported it granted 390 three-month reflection periods, 400 B-9 temporary residency permits, and 70 permanent residency permits to trafficking victims. The government did not provide preliminary figures for 2012, though it confirmed that the number of permits issued during the first four months of the year were on par with residency permits issued in 2011. Victims with B-9 status are permitted access to the labor market. Permanent residency is granted to victims if their case results in conviction of their trafficker and to victims who had held B-9 status for three or more years.
The government encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers, although it lacked figures on the percentage of trafficking victims who filed charges against their traffickers during 2012. The National Prosecutor's office reported that many victims did not file complaints, fearing retaliation by traffickers or deportation by officials. The government, however, continued to seek ways to increase incentives for victims to cooperate with law enforcement. In 2012, the government granted a two-year extension to a successful 2012 pilot project that demonstrated dedicated shelters for trafficking victims facilitated recovery and led to higher rates of cooperation in criminal investigations. The government also decided to extend until 2015 a pilot project in which male trafficking victims are offered shelter. There were no reports that any victims were punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. However, one NGO expressed concern that some unidentified trafficking victims may have been mistakenly detained by law enforcement officials who may have missed signs of trafficking. In 2012, the government initiated training for staff working with asylum seekers on ways to identify trafficking victims among this population. To facilitate safe and voluntary repatriation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has developed a system to evaluate victims' safety in five countries of return.
The government continued to pursue innovative approaches to prevent trafficking and address demand for commercial sex acts and forced labor; its multi-agency human trafficking taskforce continued to coordinate the country's anti-trafficking response in 2012. In June 2012, the government renewed a previously successful campaign to educate clients of women in prostitution about trafficking and encouraged them to anonymously report signs of exploitation to authorities through the national anti-trafficking hotline. Local police in Amsterdam conducted and publicized a sting operation at three hotels in 2012 to ensure compliance with a ban on illegal prostitution on their premises; in response the Dutch hotel association announced an industry policy favoring the dismissal of hotel managers who fail to prevent illegal prostitution in their hotels. In 2012, the government implemented a number of measures targeting local pimps who seduce young women and then coerce them into sex trafficking and forced prostitution in the Netherlands, including through an awareness campaign for students co-created by a former domestic trafficking victim. In January 2012, the Social Affairs Ministry launched a campaign against fraudulent temporary employment agencies prompted by concerns that temporary agencies may exploit laborers, mostly in agriculture and horticulture, and thus disrupt the competitive market. The ministry compiled a list of the 100 agencies most susceptible to fraud for increased scrutiny by the labor inspectorate. During the reporting period, the foreign ministry continued to conduct outreach with foreign diplomats' domestic staff members, without their employers present, on how to report cases of abuse.
The government pursued formal cooperation with source countries and established mentoring relationships via a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Dutch experts and their counterparts in the Caribbean islands of Curacao, Aruba, and St. Maarten during the year. In April 2012, the ministry initiated a pilot program to train foreign consulates from common source countries in the Netherlands on how to identify and report potential trafficking victims. The Dutch government continued to demonstrate anti-trafficking leadership by transparently reporting and publishing self-critical, public reports on its anti-trafficking efforts. The National Rapporteur's office published six reports on human trafficking in 2012. The military provided training on the prevention of trafficking and additional training on recognizing trafficking victims for troops being deployed abroad on missions as international peacekeepers. In October 2012, the government, in partnership with NGOs and private sector travel agencies, launched an awareness campaign to address child sex tourism by distributing a flyer to all travelers flying internationally from the Netherlands to encourage them to report suspicious activity.
Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba
On October 10, 2010, the Kingdom of the Netherlands established a new constitutional structure under which the "Netherlands Antilles" ceased to exist as an entity within the Kingdom. As of that date, the BES islands became municipalities of the continental Netherlands. On September 27, 2010, the government adjusted the Criminal Code of the BES islands to reflect the new structure. The criminal code prohibits both sex and labor trafficking under Article 286f. The government reported this article is similar to the human trafficking article in the Netherlands' criminal code, although prescribed penalties are lower, ranging from six to 15 years' imprisonment. The BES islands are a transit and destination area for women and children subjected to trafficking, specifically forced prostitution, and for men and women in conditions of forced labor. Women in prostitution in both regulated and illegal commercial sex sectors in the BES islands are highly vulnerable to trafficking, as are unaccompanied children. Local authorities believe that men and women also have been subjected to involuntary domestic servitude and other forms of forced labor in the agricultural and construction sectors. Some migrants in restaurants and local businesses may be vulnerable to debt bondage.
In 2012, the Netherlands, also representing BES, continued to implement its June 2011 MOU with Aruba, Curacao, and St. Maarten to increase cooperation on anti-trafficking to improve victim identification and prosecution of traffickers on the islands. Part of the MOU includes establishment of a mentoring or "twinning" system for officials from the four countries of the Kingdom and the BES to provide each other with technical support to develop anti-trafficking investigations and prosecutions, as well as shelter and information campaigns. In October 2012, local authorities, in partnership with Dutch officials, reported investigating the first trafficking case in Bonaire, involving Colombian women in forced prostitution. No victims were identified in Saba or St. Eustatius. No trafficking prosecutions or convictions were initiated on these islands during the reporting period. The central government continued to provide in-kind support for human trafficking hotlines in St. Maarten and Bonaire, though there were no awareness campaigns specifically targeting potential clients of the sex trade in the BES islands to reduce demand for commercial sex acts.
NEW ZEALAND (Tier 1)
New Zealand is a destination country for foreign men and women subjected to forced labor and to an extent, a source country for underage girls subjected to sex trafficking within the country. Foreign men aboard foreign-flagged fishing vessels in New Zealand waters, mainly from Indonesia, are subjected to conditions of forced labor, including debt bondage, underpayment of wages, and some cases of physical and sexual abuse. Conditions experienced by workers on these boats include confiscation of passports, imposition of significant debts, physical violence, mental abuse, and excessive hours of work. Foreign women, including some from China and Southeast Asia, may be recruited from their home countries by labor agents for the purpose of prostitution and may be at risk of coercive practices. A small number of girls and boys, often of Maori or Pacific Islander descent, engage in street prostitution while some are victims of gang-controlled trafficking rings. The problem of street prostitution of children in South Auckland continues, in which some children were recruited by other girls or compelled by family members. The Christchurch School of Medicine's 2007 survey reported that due to their age, children in forced prostitution are more likely to have suffered more violence, threats, rape, and theft. According to police reports, health personnel testified to several instances of underage women seeking emergency care for sexual violence. Some Asian and Pacific Islander individuals migrate voluntarily to New Zealand to work in the agriculture, horticulture, and viticulture sectors, and are subsequently subject to forced labor through fraudulent employment contracts they signed before arrival. In addition, some foreign workers report being charged excessive and escalating recruitment fees, experiencing unjustified salary deductions and restrictions on their movement, having their passports confiscated and contracts altered, or being subjected to a change in working conditions without their permission--all indicators of human trafficking.
The Government of New Zealand fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. However, the government has not prosecuted or convicted any trafficking offenders under its trafficking legislation in the last seven years, nor has it identified or certified any trafficking victims in the last nine years. A legal review of national anti-trafficking legislation to expand the availability of anti-trafficking prosecutorial tools, and to conform the existing New Zealand anti-trafficking laws with international standards, was submitted to the Cabinet; approval of the review's recommendations remained pending at the end of the reporting year. While three trafficking investigations continued at the end of the reporting period, the government did not formally identify any persons as trafficking victims during the year.
Recommendations for New Zealand: Draft and enact legislation that will expand New Zealand's current anti-trafficking legal framework to prohibit and adequately punish all forms of human trafficking; significantly increase efforts to investigate and prosecute both sex and labor trafficking offenders; update and fully implement the 2009 national plan of action to reflect the current trafficking in persons situation in the country; make greater efforts to assess the full extent of sex and labor trafficking occurring in New Zealand; investigate and prosecute employment recruiting agencies or employers who subject foreign workers to debt bondage or involuntary servitude; increase efforts to proactively screen vulnerable populations, including women in prostitution, foreign workers, and illegal migrants, in order to identify and assist trafficking victims; increase efforts to identify and assist child sex trafficking victims; continue to make proactive efforts to identify victims of labor trafficking, particularly among populations of vulnerable foreign laborers; and establish an ongoing anti-trafficking awareness campaign directed at clients of both the legal and illegal sex trades.
The Government of New Zealand demonstrated modest efforts to investigate suspected trafficking offenses--an increase from six reported last year to eight this year--but failed to convict and punish any trafficking offenders for a ninth consecutive year. New Zealand does not have a comprehensive anti-trafficking law that prohibits all forms of trafficking and the government's recommendations from its review of the scope of these laws are still pending with the Cabinet. Current New Zealand statutes define human trafficking as a transnational offense akin to smuggling, though it does not include exploitation as an element of the crime, and criminalizes in the Crimes Act of 1961 only some specified forms of forced labor. Slavery is criminalized, but limited to situations of debt bondage and serfdom; this prohibition does not cover forced labor obtained by means other than debt, law, custom, or agreement that prohibits a person from leaving employment. The Dealing in Slaves statute and the Prostitution Reform Act criminalize inducing or compelling a person to provide commercial sex and, with regard to children, provide a broader prohibition to include facilitating, assigning, causing, or encouraging a child to provide commercial sex. While statutory penalties for these crimes are generally commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape, the maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment prescribed for the sex trafficking of children does not commensurate with penalties imposed for rape or with the maximum penalty of 14 years' imprisonment prescribed for inducing or compelling the commercial sexual services of an adult. The Crimes Act of 1961 and the Wages Protection Act of 1983 prohibit fraudulent employment and recruiting practices and prescribe sufficiently stringent penalties of up to 20 years' imprisonment and a fine equivalent to approximately $250,000 and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. However, the government has never prosecuted suspected trafficking offenders under any of these laws. The Immigration Act prohibits retention or control of a person's passport or any other travel or identity document, though there were no prosecutions for passport confiscation during the year.
During the reporting year, the government investigated eight alleged trafficking offenses; three of which were ongoing at the close of the reporting period. No prosecutions of suspected sex or labor trafficking offenders were initiated and no convictions of trafficking offenders were obtained. According to NGOs and government officials, the reason for the absence of anti-trafficking prosecutions and identification of victims is the high evidentiary bar of the current law. The government prosecuted fishing companies on boats in the New Zealand economic zone for environmental offenses. Although the government investigated allegations of forced labor on the same boats, despite allegations of underpayment of wages, physical abuse, and threats against the crewmen, no prosecution resulted. Despite the lack of prosecutions and certification of trafficking victims, the government trained new customs officers on trafficking as part of the mandatory induction course and provided training sessions on victim identification and interviewing skills to frontline officers at various agencies. The government did not report any efforts to investigate or prosecute public officials for alleged complicity in trafficking-related offenses.
The government demonstrated limited efforts to protect trafficking victims during the reporting period. The government did not proactively identify any victims of trafficking. However, the government adopted a victim-centered approach to monitoring industries with high numbers of migrant workers. In the decriminalized sex industry, government labor inspectors periodically visit legal brothels to ensure that workers' conditions satisfy New Zealand law. The government investigated allegations of underage children in prostitution, though no child victims were identified. Police referred other underage girls to social services from areas where street prostitution was common. One member of parliament reported discovering a child in prostitution as young as 13 years of age.
The country's laws require that victims of crime, including human trafficking, receive access to and information about services including medical care, legal aid, and psycho-social counseling; the government offers these services to individuals. On a case-by-case basis, the New Zealand police provide amenities, such as food and shelter, to meet the immediate needs of victims of crime and refer them to NGOs or other service providers. Immigration officers and labor inspectors use templates that contain interrogation techniques; these were augmented with a new online learning module that raised awareness of trafficking; it is unclear whether any victims were identified using this method during this reporting year. New Zealand's laws authorize temporary residency to victims of trafficking for up to 12 months and make them eligible for a variety of government-provided or government-funded services. Although not identified as trafficking victims, nine Indian students who alleged forced labor and underpayment of wages at an Auckland liquor store were provided work visas by the government for the pendency of the trial; the trial began in February 2013 and was still pending at the end of the reporting year. In addition, the government provided temporary work visas and collaborated with the New Zealand Charter Party to provide care to 35 crew members of foreign charter vessels (FCVs) during the investigations of alleged abuse onboard the vessels.
The Government of New Zealand increased its efforts to prevent trafficking during the reporting year. After the March 2012 release of the ministerial inquiry report on forced labor aboard foreign-flagged fishing vessels operating in New Zealand waters, the government implemented short- and long-term legislative and regulatory changes. In the short-term, the government suspended visas for the crews of foreign fishing vessels, effectively shutting down fishing operations until operators showed credible evidence that they are providing back pay to former crew and adequate pay to current crew. This reportedly resulted in significant economic losses for the fishing companies. Apparently as result, several fleets no longer fish in New Zealand waters. A new law, the adoption of which had been recommended by the ministerial inquiry into the allegations of trafficking of fishing boat crews, requires that by 2016, all FCVs fishing in New Zealand waters must operate as New Zealand-flagged vessels, and to extend the applicability of New Zealand's health and labor laws to such vessels. Also in the wake of the inquiry, the duties of the existing fisheries observers to report on labor trafficking abuses was expanded; the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is now empowered to suspend or cancel fishing registrations for noncompliance with relevant regulations. The previous Code of Practice on Foreign Fishing Crew to ensure fair payments is also being updated. In March 2013, a Ukrainian vessel re-designated under the New Zealand flag was the first vessel to comply with this new requirement. The government continued to distribute brochures on trafficking indicators to community groups in six languages through its regional offices; they were also distributed to those in the sex trade and the horticulture and viticulture industries. The Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment developed a train-the-trainer module to raise awareness about trafficking crimes and to teach indicators to front-line officers, targeting vulnerable populations in migrant communities. The government did not take significant steps to reduce the overall demand for commercial sex acts in the country's decriminalized commercial sex industry. The government provided anti-trafficking training to military personnel prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions. The government continued to cooperate with foreign governments to identify child sex tourists and to prioritize the prevention of child sex tourism abroad by New Zealand residents. In November 2012, the government notified authorities in the Philippines of a New Zealand resident with previous convictions for child sex tourism who was in the Philippines. He was subsequently arrested for child rape in the Philippines, where he awaits trial.
NICARAGUA (Tier 1)
Nicaragua is principally a source and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Nicaraguan women and children are subjected to sex trafficking within the country as well as in neighboring countries, most often in other Central American states, Mexico, and the United States. Trafficking victims are recruited in rural areas for work in urban centers--particularly Managua, Granada, and San Juan del Sur--and subsequently coerced into prostitution. Nicaraguan girls are subjected to sex trafficking in locations along the country's Atlantic Coast, where the lack of strong law enforcement institutions, higher crime rate, and presence of drug trafficking increases the vulnerability of the local population. Nicaraguan adults and children are subjected to conditions of forced labor in agriculture, the informal sector, and domestic servitude within the country and in Costa Rica, Panama, and other countries in the region. Managua, Granada, Esteli, and San Juan del Sur are destinations for tourists from the United States, Canada, and Western Europe, some of whom engage in the commercial sexual exploitation of Nicaraguan children.
The Government of Nicaragua fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Nicaraguan authorities significantly strengthened law enforcement efforts over the year, particularly through increased prosecutions and convictions, including for forced labor. The government provided limited services for victims of trafficking--mostly for female victims--and NGOs provided most specialized care. Authorities maintained public awareness efforts in partnership with civil society organizations. Prosecution, protection, and prevention efforts in the two Atlantic autonomous regions of Nicaragua continued to be much weaker than in the rest of the country.
Recommendations for Nicaragua: Ensure that victims identified within the country and repatriated Nicaraguan victims are referred to appropriate services; provide adequate funding for specialized services for trafficking victims, as well as for specialized anti-trafficking police units; increase training and resources for government officials to facilitate increased victim identification and assistance, particularly in the autonomous regions; institute clear, formal, and proactive procedures for identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations; strengthen law enforcement and victim protection efforts in the Atlantic autonomous regions, including through increased staff and funding; continue to investigate and prosecute all forms of human trafficking, and convict and punish trafficking offenders; partner with civil society organizations to ensure that victims receive long-term care and reintegration services; continue to strengthen mechanisms for interagency coordination and partnership with civil society organizations at the local level; continue to improve the management of statistical case data across agencies; further support all departmental and regional anti-trafficking coalitions; and raise awareness of all forms of human trafficking through increased public awareness efforts and campaigns.
The Government of Nicaragua significantly strengthened law enforcement efforts during the year, including by convicting 35 trafficking offenders. While most investigations focused on sex trafficking, labor trafficking prosecutions and convictions increased greatly in 2012. Nicaragua criminalizes all forms of human trafficking through Article 182 of its penal code, prescribing penalties of seven to 12 years' imprisonment. In August 2012, reforms came into effect increasing penalties to 10 to 14 years' imprisonment and broadening the scope of offenses that can be prosecuted as human trafficking. A separate statute, Article 315, prohibits the submission, maintenance, or forced recruitment of another person into slavery, forced labor, servitude, or participation in an armed conflict; these offenses carry penalties of five to eight years' imprisonment. These prescribed punishments are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Authorities maintained anti-trafficking units in the capital within the intelligence and judicial police forces, as well as within the women's police commission. Additionally, there was a designated anti-trafficking unit in each of the country's 15 departments and two autonomous regions, and in each of the capital's 10 districts that was responsible for collaborating with the specialized units on investigations. A lack of resources hindered the specialized units' abilities to carry out investigations outside of the major cities, particularly in remote parts of the autonomous regions. In particular, the lack of a prosecutor in the town of Waspam, on the Nicaraguan border with Honduras, was a debilitating factor in the prosecution of trafficking along the northern autonomous region's border. Prosecutors and police improved coordination on data collection by using a shared case log, leading to more uniform law enforcement statistics, though inconsistencies remained.
Police investigated 27 potential trafficking cases in 2012, including 10 labor trafficking cases, compared with 26 investigations in 2011, two of which were for labor trafficking. Judicial authorities prosecuted 57 accused trafficking offenders in 2012, compared with 32 individuals prosecuted in 2011. The government convicted 35 trafficking offenders during the reporting period, all but one under the human trafficking statute, and sentenced them to seven to 30 years' imprisonment. In comparison, during the previous reporting period, authorities reported 15 convictions. Notably, 18 traffickers were convicted of forced labor crimes in 2012, 13 of whom were also convicted of sex trafficking. Nicaraguan authorities collaborated with Guatemalan counterparts to investigate and prosecute two sex trafficking cases. There were no reported investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government employees for their alleged complicity in trafficking-related offenses during the year. There were reports that some law enforcement and labor officials in the autonomous regions incorrectly categorized potential trafficking cases as home abandonment or labor infractions. The government increased efforts to train law enforcement, justice, consular, and labor officials on human trafficking, often in partnership with civil society organizations. For example, the anti-trafficking judicial police unit trained over 600 police officers.
The Government of Nicaragua continued to provide some services to trafficking victims, but most specialized care was provided by civil society organizations, and long-term care and reintegration services remained limited. The government did not have formal procedures for identifying trafficking victims among high-risk populations, such as adults and children in prostitution, and victim identification in the autonomous regions continued to lag behind national efforts. Police and prosecutors reported identifying 50 potential trafficking victims in 2012, all of whom were Nicaraguan, but it is unclear how many of these victims received specialized services. The Ministry of Family identified 65 children in commercial sexual exploitation, all of whom were transferred to NGO shelters in Managua, as the government had no adequate facilities for these victims. During the reporting period, at least 25 adult women received services at a temporary open shelter managed by the women's police anti-trafficking unit. In 2012, the women's police in Jinotega opened a small shelter for victims of domestic violence that could also house trafficking victims. The regional departments most affected by human trafficking lacked adequate services. NGOs operated shelters for at-risk children and female adult victims of domestic abuse in Rio San Juan, Esteli, Rivas, Puerto Cabezas, and Managua. While the government did not provide funding to these NGOs, officials referred victims to them for assistance. Victims received legal support as well as limited medical and psychological assistance from the government, as well as education when appropriate, though longer-term care was minimal. Services and shelter for male victims remained limited.
The government encouraged victims to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions, though some were reluctant to do so due to social stigma and fear of retribution from trafficking offenders. Nicaraguan law allows for trafficking victims to provide documented testimony in advance of the trial, and during the year, some victims testified against trafficking offenders. There were no reports of victims being penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking. Humanitarian visas are specifically available to foreign trafficking victims, but the government identified no foreign victims in Nicaragua during the year.
The Nicaraguan government sustained awareness efforts and maintained regional anti-trafficking working groups across the country during the reporting period. The government-run anti-trafficking coalition, which is composed of government and civil society actors, met on a bimonthly basis and was responsible for coordinating anti-trafficking efforts and implementing its strategic plan. The government continued to support regional anti-trafficking working groups in the country's 15 departments and two autonomous regions: these regional groups varied in effectiveness, and some were reportedly inactive. Different government entities coordinated with the coalition on awareness efforts and the women's police reported reaching over 29,000 Nicaraguans with general information on women's issues and human trafficking. Authorities reported prosecuting six individuals from Belgium, Canada, and the United States for child sex tourism offenses and achieving three convictions. The anti-trafficking coalition launched one awareness campaign against the sex trade, and the government reported no other initiatives to reduce demand for commercial sexual acts or for forced labor.
NIGER (Tier 2)
Niger is a source, transit, and destination country for children, women, and men subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Caste-based slavery practices continue primarily in the northern part of the country. Nigerien boys are subjected to forced begging or forced labor within the country, as well as in Mali and Nigeria, by corrupt marabouts (religious instructors); these individuals, or other loosely organized clandestine networks, may also place Nigerien girls into domestic servitude or in the sex trade. Nigerien children are subjected to forced labor in gold mines, agriculture, and stone quarries within the country. Girls are subjected to prostitution along the border with Nigeria, particularly along the main highway between the towns of Birni N'Konni and Zinder. Nigerien girls reportedly enter into "marriages" with citizens of Nigeria and other foreign nationals living in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, after which they are forced into domestic servitude upon arrival in these countries. In the Tahoua region of Niger, girls born into slavery are forced to marry men who buy them as "fifth wives" and subsequently subject them to forced labor and sexual servitude; their children are born into slave castes. Traditional chiefs play a primary role in this form of exploitation, either through enslaving children in their own families or arranging "marriages" for other powerful individuals. A small number of girls in forced marriages may be prostituted by their "husbands," and a larger number are exploited in the sex trade after fleeing their nominal marriages. Nigerien women and children are recruited from Niger and transported to Nigeria, North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe where they are subsequently subjected to domestic servitude, sex trafficking, and forced labor in agriculture or animal herding.
Niger is a transit country for men, women, and children from Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo migrating en route to Algeria, Libya, and Western Europe; some may be subjected to forced labor in Niger as domestic servants, mechanics, welders, laborers in mines and on farms, or as staff in bars and restaurants. NGOs reported that returnees from Libya and the approximately 50,000 refugees from Mali were likely at increased vulnerability to trafficking, but did not provide details on the forms of exploitation experienced by this population.
The Government of Niger does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Following two years of negligible action in implementing its 2010 anti-trafficking law, the government demonstrated significant progress in prosecuting and punishing trafficking offenders, obtaining 22 convictions of sex and labor traffickers. During the year, it also appointed staff to the National Commission for the Coordination of the Fight against Trafficking in Persons (CNLTP), making it fully operational to coordinate and implement the government's policies, as required by the 2010 law. The government took steps to address officials' lack of awareness of anti-trafficking laws and policies; the Ministry of Justice distributed copies of the law to prosecutors' offices throughout the country, and the CNLTP held a series of awareness-raising events for government officials and members of the public. The government, however, relied on NGOs to provide services to victims, and overall victim protection efforts were inadequate to address the needs of victims. Neither the government nor NGOs made sufficient efforts to identify and protect adult trafficking victims.
Recommendations for Niger: Vigorously prosecute and punish trafficking offenders, including those guilty of slavery offenses, using the anti-trafficking law; hand down adequate sentences for individuals convicted of committing trafficking offenses and enforce court judgments; train law enforcement and judicial officials throughout the country on the provisions of the anti-trafficking law in coordination with NGOs and international organizations; train law enforcement officials to identify trafficking victims proactively among vulnerable populations, such as women in prostitution, girls born into slave castes, and children at worksites, and to refer them to protective services; develop systematic procedures to refer identified victims to protective services and support NGO partners in providing victim care; increase the quantity and quality of services available to victims; increase efforts to rescue victims of traditional slavery practices and adult victims; initiate law enforcement investigations into suspected cases of local officials colluding with traffickers or accepting bribes to obstruct criminal investigations of trafficking crimes, particularly traditional slavery; continue to include civil society representatives in anti-trafficking policy discussions and ensure they are given a platform to provide meaningful input to policymaking decisions; allocate adequate funding for the operation of the National Commission for the Coordination of the Fight against Trafficking in Persons; conduct labor inspections in the informal sector of the economy; and continue an initiative to raise public awareness about anti-trafficking law--specifically targeting vulnerable populations, religious leaders, and traditional chiefs--and encourage victims to exercise their rights under the law.
The Government of Niger demonstrated notable progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the year. Order No. 2012-86 on Combating Trafficking in Persons, enacted in 2010, prohibits all forms of trafficking, including slavery and practices similar to slavery. This law prescribes punishments of five to 10 years' imprisonment for committing trafficking offenses against adults and 10 to 30 years' imprisonment when the victim is a child, penalties that are sufficiently stringent. Penalties for child trafficking are commensurate with those prescribed for other serious offenses, such as rape, but penalties prescribed for the trafficking of adults are not. The law defines slavery and practices similar to slavery and specifically prohibits exploitative begging. Other statutes prohibit certain forms of trafficking; the country's penal code prohibits slavery, procurement of a child for prostitution, and the encouragement of or profiting from child begging in Articles 270 (as amended in 2003), 292-293, and 181, respectively, and its new labor code enacted in September 2012 outlaws forced labor. The penal code's prescribed penalties of 10 to 30 years' imprisonment for slavery offenses are sufficiently stringent and reflect the serious nature of the crime. The penalties prescribed in the labor code for forced labor are also sufficiently stringent, but the law allows for the option of a fine in lieu of jail time, which does not reflect the serious nature of this crime.
Having taken initial steps towards making the 2010 anti-trafficking law operational at the close of the previous reporting period, the government has since implemented the law through the prosecution and punishment of trafficking offenders, investigating 30 suspected trafficking offenses, prosecuting 24 cases (19 involving sex trafficking and five involving labor trafficking), and convicting 22 trafficking offenders during the year, a significant increase from the two investigations and no prosecutions or convictions during the previous year. Thirteen convicted offenders were sentenced to two-year prison terms and nine offenders were sentenced to six months' probation. Two prosecutions remained ongoing at the close of the reporting period and four suspected traffickers were still under investigation. The government did not make progress in ending impunity for marabouts who force children to beg or traditional chiefs who facilitate the enslavement of children. The actions of two marabouts were investigated, but the Koranic teachers were ultimately released without charges being filed. Structural barriers impeded victims' access to justice, as they were often uninformed about their legal rights and lacked the necessary capacities and resources to seek punitive action against their exploiters. One slavery case dating from 2009 was reportedly brought to a judge in February 2013, but remained pending at the close of the reporting period. There were no reported developments in a 2010 case in which a man was accused of re-enslaving two former slaves. NGOs reported that 10 additional slavery prosecutions that have been ongoing for years remained pending, but no defendants have been detained. Awareness of the country's anti-trafficking laws remained low among officials outside Niamey, but the government undertook efforts to improve this during the year; the Ministry of Justice distributed copies of the 2010 anti-trafficking law to all prosecutors' offices throughout the country and issued official instructions to fully implement the law to prosecute violators. There were reports that local officials chose not to pursue slavery cases brought to their attention due to social or political connections of the alleged traffickers. There was no evidence of public officials' complicity in trafficking, though civil society representatives argued that judicial failure to focus adequately on slavery cases brought to their attention amounted to tacit complicity. The government did not report its investigation or prosecution of any public officials for alleged complicity in trafficking or trafficking-related criminal activities during the reporting period.
The government increased its efforts to identify victims during the year, though overall victim protection efforts remained inadequate. Authorities did not develop or employ systematic measures to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as women and girls born into traditional slave castes or children at worksites, and there were no formal procedures to guide officials in referring identified victims to protective services. The government provided medical assistance and temporary shelter in social service facilities to a small number of child victims and referred others on an ad hoc basis to local NGOs for care. The government relied almost exclusively on NGOs and international organizations to provide services to victims, though NGOs' capacity to provide shelter or long-term services to victims was inadequate; their primary role was often to facilitate repatriation or family reunification of victims. There were no specialized services available in Niger for adult victims or victims of hereditary slavery. In one case, in which an NGO mediated the release of 14 slaves, the government reported it undertook efforts to prevent re-trafficking after the victims were returned to their families, but did not describe the nature of these efforts. Victims were often forced to return to their villages after a few months if NGO resources ran out, and some children spent the night in police stations when shelter space was not available.
The government identified 183 child trafficking victims during the year and NGOs identified an additional 395 child trafficking victims; the total number of victims identified, 578, is an increase from the 490 victims identified during the previous year, and the government played a larger role in these efforts than it had in the past. The regional government of Agadez continued to operate a committee comprised of police and local officials to assist in returning Nigerien migrants deported from North Africa to their communities of origin, though it did not make efforts to identify trafficking victims among this population. The 2010 anti-trafficking law includes provisions to ensure victims would be safe upon return to their countries of origin and provides for the possibility of granting victims legal status in Niger, including the ability to obtain employment. The government reported that adult victims would be encouraged to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases, though no such victims were identified during the year. Victims of forced labor and caste-based servitude were able to file civil and criminal complaints simultaneously; although legal aid for victims was limited, NGOs helped victims file complaints in slavery cases. Victims' lack of awareness of the legal options available to them, fears of retaliation by traffickers, and lack of adequate shelter and protective services impeded efforts to obtain their participation in investigations and prosecutions. There were no reports that identified victims were detained, fined, or jailed for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; however, the government did not make adequate efforts to identify trafficking victims, which may have led to some victims being treated as criminals. Front-line officials did not receive training in identifying victims and referring them to protective services, and border guards often denied entry to suspected traffickers and victims rather than attempting to rescue victims and place them in protective care.
The Government of Niger increased its efforts to prevent human trafficking during the year. It appointed staff--including representatives from civil society--to the CNLTP, making it operational as the coordinating body for the government's anti-trafficking efforts. Senior officials increasingly recognized publicly the problem of human trafficking and Niger's policies to combat it; for example, in January 2013, the Minister of Justice chaired a seminar for 200 participants from government, civil society, and the community to raise awareness about laws prohibiting slavery and additional outreach meetings were held in the country's nine district courts and the tribunal of Niamey in March 2013. The Ministry of Justice allocated the equivalent of approximately $32,000 to fund three workshops held by the CNLTP in December 2012 and March 2013 to train 695 law enforcement officials, community leaders, and civil society on the provisions of the country's anti-trafficking law and policies. The government took no discernible measures to address the demand for forced labor or commercial sex acts. Bylaws governing Niger's armed forces require troops to receive anti-trafficking training prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions, though there is no evidence the government implemented such training during the reporting period.
NIGERIA (Tier 2)
Nigeria is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Trafficked Nigerians are recruited from rural and, to a lesser extent, urban areas within the country; women and girls for domestic servitude and sex trafficking, and boys for forced labor in street vending, domestic service, mining, stone quarrying, agriculture, and begging. Nigerian women and children are taken from Nigeria to other West and Central African countries, as well as to South Africa, where they are exploited for the same purposes. Children from West African countries--primarily Benin, Ghana, and Togo--are forced to work in Nigeria, and many are subjected to hazardous labor in Nigeria's granite mines. Nigerian women and girls--primarily from Benin City in Edo State--are subjected to forced prostitution in Italy, while Nigerian women and girls from other states are subjected to forced prostitution in Spain, Scotland, the Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Ireland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Greece, and Russia. Nigerian women and children are also recruited and transported to destinations in North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, where they are held captive in the sex trade or in forced labor. Nigerian women are trafficked to Malaysia, where they are forced into prostitution and to work as drug mules for their traffickers. Nigerian traffickers rely on threats of voodoo curses to control Nigerian victims and force them into situations of prostitution or labor. Nigerian gangs traffic large numbers of Nigerian women into forced prostitution in the Czech Republic and Italy, and the European Police Organization (EUROPOL) has identified Nigerian organized crime related to trafficking in persons as one of the largest law enforcement challenges to European governments.
The Government of Nigeria does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting period, the government demonstrated a modest increase in anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts through the conviction of 25 traffickers and the provision of specialized anti-trafficking training to officials by various government ministries and agencies. The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) received a slight increase in funding in 2012. Despite these efforts, the government has yet to pass draft legislation that would restrict the ability of judges to offer fines in lieu of prison time during sentencing and the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) continued to experience difficulty identifying trafficking victims. The Ministry of Labor did not make any new efforts to address labor trafficking during the reporting period.
Recommendations for Nigeria: Ensure that the activities of NAPTIP receive sufficient funding, particularly for prosecuting trafficking offenders and providing adequate care for victims; vigorously pursue trafficking investigations and prosecutions of trafficking offenses, and impose adequate sentences on convicted trafficking offenders, including imprisonment whenever appropriate; take proactive measures to investigate and prosecute government officials suspected of trafficking-related corruption and complicity in trafficking offenses; train police and immigration officials to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as women in prostitution and young females traveling with non-family members; fully integrate counter-trafficking responsibilities into the work of the NPF and the Ministry of Labor; develop a formal system to track the number of victims repatriated from abroad, and upon repatriation ensure they are aware of available protective services; and ensure NAPTIP productively interacts with and receives support from other government agencies that have a stake in addressing human trafficking.
The Government of Nigeria demonstrated modest progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the year. The 2003 Trafficking in Persons Law Enforcement and Administration Act, amended in 2005 to increase the penalties for trafficking offenders, prohibits all forms of human trafficking. The law prescribes penalties of five years' imprisonment or a fine not to exceed the equivalent of approximately $645 or both for labor trafficking offenses; these are sufficiently stringent, but the law allows convicted offenders to pay a fine in lieu of prison time for labor trafficking or attempted trafficking offenses, resulting in penalties not proportionate to the crimes committed. The law prescribes penalties of 10 to 15 years' imprisonment for sex trafficking offenses and a fine of the equivalent of approximately $1,250, or both. For sentences that include only a fine, penalties are not sufficiently stringent. In 2011, NAPTIP introduced amendments to the anti-trafficking law, which would give prosecutors more authority and restrict the ability of judges to offer fines in lieu of prison time during sentencing; this amendment was awaiting approval by the National Assembly at the end of the reporting period.
The government reported that NAPTIP initiated 117 trafficking investigations, commenced at least 17 prosecutions, and achieved 25 convictions during the reporting period. Another 143 prosecutions remained pending at the end of 2012. There was a significant decrease in the number of investigations from the previous reporting period's 279 investigations, but this is likely due to the fact that law enforcement officials are now better trained to identify trafficking cases and are not mistakenly referring numerous non-trafficking crimes to NAPTIP for investigation. All prosecutions occurred under the 2003 Trafficking Act, and sentences upon conviction ranged from three months' to 18 years' imprisonment. Of the 25 convictions, 17 resulted in prison sentences without the option of paying a fine. The NPF reportedly also investigated and prosecuted human trafficking offenses; data regarding these cases was unavailable. The government also collaborated with law enforcement agencies from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Austria, and Taiwan on investigations involving Nigerian nationals during the reporting period. Three of the pending prosecutions involve government officials alleged to have committed child labor trafficking offences.
The government conducted extensive training sessions throughout the reporting period. NAPTIP, collaborating with foreign governments and international organizations, provided specialized training to approximately 465 government actors, including officials from NAPTIP, the Nigerian Police Force, the Nigerian Immigration Service, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, the Department of State Services, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as judges, prosecutors, and border patrol officers. These programs focused on border control procedures, obtaining and processing digital evidence, identification and investigation of trafficking cases, criminal intelligence, gender-based violence, prosecution of trafficking crimes, counseling of victims, and migration policy. Despite these efforts, however, high levels of training remained difficult to maintain, as police officers within the NPF were frequently rotated to different positions and many never receive anti-trafficking training.
The Government of Nigeria made slightly increased efforts to protect trafficking victims during the year. The government and NGOs identified 480 trafficking victims within the country, including 303 victims of sex trafficking and 177 victims of labor trafficking. Another 92 individuals were identified as victims of trafficking-related crimes. All victims identified by NAPTIP received initial screening and assistance by NAPTIP, after which 250 victims were referred to government-run care facilities for further medical care, vocational training, education, and shelter. In 2012, the Government of Nigeria allocated the equivalent of approximately $11.9 million to NAPTIP, a slight increase from the 2011 budget, and an additional equivalent of approximately $160,000 to help evacuate Nigerian victims of trafficking who were stranded in Cote d'Ivoire. State governments also contributed the equivalent of approximately $15,900 in additional funds to support NAPTIP efforts during the reporting period.
In 2012, NAPTIP continued to operate eight shelters with a total capacity of 293 victims, an increase in capacity from 2011. Through these shelters, NAPTIP provided access to legal, medical, and psychological services, as well as vocational training, trade and financial empowerment, and business management skills. Victims who required additional medical and psychological treatment were provided services by hospitals and clinics through existing agreements with NAPTIP. While all shelter staff received basic training in victim care, NAPTIP funded additional specialized training for 50 counselors during the reporting period that was conducted by a local university and UNODC. The NAPTIP shelters offered short-term care, generally limiting victims' stays to six weeks, though victims were allowed to extend their stays under special circumstances. If victims needed longer-term care, they could be referred to two shelters operated by the Ministry of Women's Affairs in Kano and Benin City; during the reporting period, NAPTIP referred 20 victims to these two shelters. Additionally, NAPTIP collaborated with NGO-run shelters, which also provided longer-term care. Victims in NAPTIP shelters were not allowed to leave unless accompanied by a chaperone. NAPTIP paid a monthly stipend of the equivalent of approximately $2,900 to a local NGO-run shelter and provided limited funding, in-kind donations, and services to NGOs and other organizations that afforded protective services to trafficking victims. On occasion, state and local governments also provided in-kind assistance through training and technical support to NGOs. Overall, NAPTIP spent roughly one-fifth of its operational budget, or the equivalent of approximately $666,000, on victim protection and assistance during 2012.
The government has formal written procedures to guide law enforcement, immigration, and social services personnel in proactive identification of victims of trafficking among high-risk populations. Additionally, police, immigration, and social services personnel received specialized training on how to identify victims of trafficking and direct them to NAPTIP. Although NAPTIP has yet to establish an official national referral mechanism, authorities continued to utilize an informal referral process whereby the police, immigration, and NGOs could transport suspected victims to NAPTIP. Additionally, in May 2012, NAPTIP signed a memorandum of understanding with the Network of Civil Society Organizations Against Child Trafficking, whose membership includes the vast majority of anti-trafficking NGOs and international organizations working on the issue within Nigeria. Despite the growing number of Nigerian trafficking victims identified abroad, the government has yet to implement formal procedures for the return and reintegration of Nigerian victims; consequently, many victims are not afforded adequate care upon their return to Nigeria. This is of particular concern, as some European countries deny Nigerian victims' attempts to seek asylum or access to European victim programs on the basis of the perceived availability of adequate victim services in Nigeria.
Per provisions of the 2003 Trafficking in Persons Law Enforcement and Administration Act, Nigerian authorities ensured that trafficking victims were not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a result of their being trafficked. On occasion, authorities initially detained individuals involved in prostitution or other unlawful acts before they were identified as trafficking victims. Once identified, NAPTIP worked with security services to remove victims from custody and provide them care. Officials encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases, and NAPTIP reported that 26 victims served as witnesses or gave evidence during trial in 2012. All victims were eligible to receive funds from the victims' trust fund, which was financed primarily through confiscated assets of convicted traffickers. During the reporting period the equivalent of approximately $22,000 was disbursed to 10 victims for purposes ranging from medical costs to school tuition, although not necessarily in equal amounts. The government provided a limited legal alternative--short term-residency that could not be extended--to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution.
The Government of Nigeria sustained modest efforts to prevent human trafficking through campaigns to raise awareness and educate the public about the dangers of trafficking. NAPTIP's Public Enlightenment Unit continued to conduct extensive national and local programming through radio and print media in all regions of the country to raise awareness about trafficking, including warning about fraudulent recruitment for jobs abroad. The objective of these and several related programs was to sensitize vulnerable people, sharpen public awareness of trends and schemes traffickers use to lure victims, warn parents, and encourage community members to participate in efforts to prevent trafficking. NAPTIP also carried out advocacy visits with community leaders, opinion leaders, traditional and religious leaders, and government officials at both the local and national levels. Each of NAPTIP's six zonal offices also completed their own awareness and education campaigns, including constructing outdoor billboards throughout the country.
During the reporting period, the Government of Nigeria demonstrated a commitment to increased coordination between NAPTIP and various relevant ministries, primarily through improved referral mechanisms and training efforts. NAPTIP also developed a new five-year strategic plan on the coordination of anti-trafficking efforts for 2012-2017 and held stakeholders' workshops to begin implementation of the plan. The Ministry of Labor took no additional steps to address labor trafficking nor to decrease the demand for forced labor. In an attempt to reduce the demand for commercial sex in Abuja, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory declared that soliciting prostitution is illegal; the government made no other discernible efforts to decrease the demand for commercial sex acts. NAPTIP officials assisted other West African governments with their anti-trafficking efforts, including providing training to officials employed by The Gambia's recently established National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons from May 29-June 4, 2012. The government, with foreign donor support, provided anti-trafficking training to Nigerian troops prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions.
NORWAY (Tier 1)
Norway is a destination and, to a lesser extent, a transit and source country for women and girls subjected to sex trafficking and for men and women subjected to forced labor in domestic service, in nursing, and construction sectors. Children are subjected to forced begging and forced criminal activity, such as shoplifting and drug sales. Most trafficking victims identified in Norway originated in Nigeria, while others came from Eastern Europe (Belarus, Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Romania) and Africa (Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya). These victims usually travel to Norway on Schengen visas issued by other European countries, and transit through several countries, such as Italy, Spain, and Morocco. African trafficking offenders often coerce victims into prostitution through threats to family at home and threats of voodoo. Traffickers from Eastern Europe are typically members of small family mafias; offenders seduce young women in their home countries and convince them to come to Norway, where they are forced into prostitution. Some foreign au pairs, including those from the Philippines, are vulnerable to trafficking in Norway.
The Government of Norway fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The Norwegian government has adopted a victim-centered approach, offering generous and diverse victim services through specialized NGOs and local governments. Norwegian law obligates municipalities to offer trafficking victims shelter, regardless of residence status and the victim's willingness to testify in court. In 2012, authorities investigated and prosecuted more labor trafficking cases, although prosecutions for sex trafficking offenses continued to decline. Government-funded NGOs opened more shelter facilities for male victims, but specialized care for children remained deficient. The government studied the vulnerability of au pairs to trafficking and created a new telephone counseling service.
Recommendations for Norway: Continue efforts to vigorously prosecute and convict both sex and labor trafficking offenders; investigate why few labor trafficking investigations result in prosecutions; ensure that child victims of trafficking receive specialized care; ensure that male trafficking victims receive adequate shelter and that all governmental anti-trafficking efforts are structured to address male as well as female victims of trafficking; ensure that front-line responders understand and offer a reflection period to identified victims, during which victims can receive services and recover from their trauma; consider options for the provision of longer-term victim assistance in non-emergency shelters; and fund a national or targeted anti-trafficking awareness campaign.
The Norwegian government demonstrated some progress in its law enforcement efforts during the reporting period through increased investigations and prosecutions for labor trafficking, though sex trafficking prosecutions continued to decrease. Norway prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through Criminal Code Section 224, which prescribes a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment, which is sufficiently stringent and commensurate with punishments prescribed for other serious offenses, such as rape. Norwegian authorities initiated 26 sex trafficking investigations and 22 labor trafficking investigations in 2012, compared with 32 sex trafficking and 12 labor trafficking investigations initiated in 2011. The government prosecuted a total of at least eight trafficking suspects--two for sex trafficking and six for labor trafficking--under Section 224 in 2012, compared with six sex trafficking suspects and one labor trafficking suspect in 2011. Authorities convicted at least seven trafficking offenders --three for sex trafficking and four for labor trafficking--in 2012, compared with seven offenders convicted in 2011; all of the convicted traffickers received jail sentences. In January 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the sentences of two traffickers who had received sentences of four and a half and five years' imprisonment for forcing children into criminal activity.
The cities of Bergen, Ostfold, Oslo, and Trondheim maintained specialized anti-trafficking units in their police forces. In April 2012, the Ministry of Justice sponsored a national seminar for 125 police officers and prosecutors on Norway's trafficking situation and techniques to detect, investigate, and prevent trafficking. Experts reported that some prosecutors interpreted anti-trafficking laws too narrowly and, as a result, did not always apply trafficking charges when needed. The government continued to provide new police officers with training on identifying and assisting trafficking victims, as well as periodic in-service training to all police officers on the referral processes. The government also supplied the police with "action cards" that detail the procedures when encountering a trafficking victim. Norwegian authorities collaborated with counterparts in several other European countries to investigate transnational trafficking cases, including Moldova and Sweden. The Norwegian government did not report the investigation or prosecution of any public officials for trafficking-related complicity.
The Government of Norway demonstrated strong victim protection efforts during the reporting period through sustained funding and increased services to male victims, although specialized care for children remained deficient. The Norwegian government provided protection to trafficking victims through government-funded NGOs, church associations, and municipalities. These NGOs offered both foreign and domestic victims a generous range of assistance, including shelter, legal aid, stipends for food, psychological care, medical assistance, fitness facilities, and Norwegian language classes. An NGO specializing in caring for trafficking victims who have received a reflection period offered vocational programs, education, and sponsored internships for victims who had completed a reflection period. Although some of the specialized NGOs primarily offered services to women, a few programs opened new facilities, including apartments, for men. By law, Norwegian municipalities were obligated to offer trafficking victims shelter, regardless of their immigration status. One of the main government-funded institutions for trafficking victim care received 146 contacts from trafficking victims in 2012, in contrast to 128 contacts in 2011. Sixteen of these initial contacts were men. Of these 146 initial contacts, 42 women or girl trafficking victims ultimately were housed by the victim care institution. According to the Rosa Center, there were no shelters to assist men or boy trafficking victims. The primary government-funded project received the equivalent of approximately $440,000 in funding for trafficking victim care; this sum does not include the costs for most of the aid given to victims by municipalities--including free medical care--nor the financial allocations to other NGO anti-trafficking projects. In 2012, the Norwegian government reported identifying and providing services for 274 trafficking victims, including 191 women, 18 men, and 65 children, compared with 272 trafficking victims assisted in 2011. NGOs reported fairly extensive coordination efforts with the government on victim assistance. The government's Child Welfare Services assisted children directly. In 2012, the government passed the Child Welfare Act, which enabled authorities to place children, who are assumed victims of trafficking, in an institution without their consent for a period of up to six months. However, observers reported that some child welfare staff members were not adequately aware of human trafficking or of how to assist child victims of trafficking.
The Norwegian government permitted trafficking victims to stay in Norway without conditions during a six-month reflection period, a time for them to receive immediate care and assistance while they consider whether to assist law enforcement with a trafficking investigation and prosecution. The government also offered a permanent residency permit for victims facing retribution or hardship in their countries of origin, on the condition that they give statements to the police outside of court. Any victim of trafficking--regardless of potential retribution or hardship at home--who made a formal complaint to the police, could remain in Norway for the duration of court proceedings; victims who testified in court were entitled to permanent residency. In 2012, Norwegian authorities issued 51 temporary residence permits to trafficking victims and granted asylum to 18 trafficking victims. At least four victims testified in human trafficking cases in court. NGOs reported that several trafficking victims received restitution in 2012. NGOs did not report the detention or punishment of any identified trafficking victims, but some potential victims may have been punished for document forgery.
The Norwegian government sustained its trafficking prevention efforts during the reporting period. It framed many of its anti-trafficking prevention efforts in terms of preventing trafficking from source countries. The Norwegian government continued to be a leading international anti-trafficking donor, significantly supporting victim care throughout the world, including in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, and Thailand. The government did not fund any broad-based national trafficking awareness campaigns targeting labor or sex trafficking. The Ministry of Justice did not report any cases of authorities punishing labor recruiters involved in the recruitment of workers through knowingly fraudulent offers of employment. The national coordinator enhanced transparency of the government's anti-trafficking efforts by publishing statistical reports on them. In 2012, the government evaluated the Norwegian au pair system and in January 2013, it created a telephone counseling service for au pairs in case they experience problems, including exploitative employers. The government undertook steps to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. The Norwegian national criminal investigation service monitored the travel of Norwegian nationals to known child sex tourism destinations. The government provided anti-trafficking training to Norwegian troops prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions.
OMAN (Tier 2)
Oman is a destination and transit country for men and women, primarily from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Indonesia, who are sometimes subjected to conditions indicative of forced labor and, to a lesser extent, forced prostitution. Most migrants travel willingly and legally to Oman with the expectation of employment in domestic service or as low-skilled workers in the country's construction, agriculture, or service sectors. Some subsequently face conditions indicative of forced labor, such as the withholding of passports and other restrictions on movement, nonpayment of wages, long working hours without food or rest, threats, and physical or sexual abuse. Government sources note that runaway domestic workers are also susceptible to forced prostitution. Unscrupulous labor recruitment agencies and their sub-agents in migrants' original communities in South Asia, as well as labor brokers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, and Iran, may deceive workers into accepting work that constitutes forced labor. Many of these agencies provide false contracts for employment either with fictitious employers or fictitious wages, and charge workers high recruitment fees (often in an amount exceeding the equivalent of approximately $1,000) at usurious rates of interest, leaving workers vulnerable to trafficking.
Oman is also a destination and transit country for women from China, India, Morocco, Eastern Europe, Uganda, Kenya, and parts of South Asia who may be forced into commercial sexual exploitation, generally by nationals of their own countries. The majority of women identified as sex trafficking victims in the reporting period were of Asian descent, primarily from Indonesia and India, as well as North Africa; identified victims in the previous year included women from countries in East Africa, namely Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, and Burundi. Women working in Oman as domestic workers from Ethiopia, Nepal, and Vietnam--countries without diplomatic presence in Oman--are especially vulnerable to domestic servitude. Male Pakistani laborers and other workers from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and East Asia transit Oman en route to the UAE; some of these migrant workers are exploited in situations of forced labor upon reaching their destination.
The Government of Oman does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making efforts to do so. Over the last year, the government prosecuted and convicted sex trafficking offenders, but it did not investigate or prosecute any suspected labor trafficking offenders. The government continued to assist victims of trafficking at a government-run shelter for trafficking victims, though the facility remained underused. The government identified and referred two victims to the shelter, which was a significant decrease from the number of victims identified during the previous reporting period. Omani authorities continued to lack formal procedures to proactively identify trafficking victims among those detained for immigration violations or prostitution charges. As a result, the government may not have adequately identified victims of forced labor or sex trafficking nor punished the trafficking offenders.
Recommendations for Oman: Vigorously investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses and sentence convicted traffickers to imprisonment; make greater efforts to investigate and prosecute forced labor offenses, including those perpetrated by recruitment agents and employers; ensure that victims of trafficking are not punished for acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking; institute formal procedures for identifying trafficking victims among all vulnerable populations, such as migrant workers and people in prostitution; refer all suspected victims of trafficking, including victims of both forced labor and forced prostitution, to a shelter, regardless of whether there is a corresponding prosecution of an alleged offender; as a measure to prevent labor trafficking, enact and enforce strict penalties for employers who withhold their employees' passports; increase and enforce legal protections for domestic workers, including coverage under Oman's labor laws; continue training government officials in all relevant departments to recognize and respond appropriately to human trafficking crimes; and increase public awareness campaigns or other prevention programs to reduce the demand for forced labor and commercial sex acts.
The Government of Oman made no discernible progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period as the number of investigations, prosecutions, and convictions of trafficking offenders significantly decreased. Through its Royal Decree No. 126/2008, also known as the Law Combating Trafficking in Persons, issued in 2008, the Omani government prohibits all forms of trafficking and prescribes punishments of three to 15 years' imprisonment, in addition to financial penalties, for trafficking crimes. These punishments are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. A Ministry of Manpower circular (No. 2/2006) prohibits employers from withholding migrant workers' passports, a practice widespread among employers in Oman, including government officials, that is known to contribute to forced labor. The circular does not specify penalties for noncompliance; the government did not report any investigations or other actions using this circular during the reporting period. The government reported investigating five cases of sex trafficking. The government reported prosecuting 15 sex trafficking offenders and convicted two sex trafficking offenders in this reporting period; however, it failed to prosecute or convict any forced labor offenders. As part of these court cases, however, the government also prosecuted three trafficking victims and convicted two of them for immigration offenses. Also, the government often failed to investigate reported abuses of domestic workers due, in part, to their status outside the Omani labor law. The government did not report investigating or punishing government employees for alleged complicity in trafficking-related offenses during the reporting period. All Royal Oman police cadets received training on how to recognize trafficking in persons during the reporting period. The National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking also conducted an anti-trafficking training in May 2012 for prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement officials.
The government's efforts to identify and protect victims of trafficking remained weak during the reporting period. The government continued to lack formal procedures to proactively identify victims of trafficking among all vulnerable groups, including migrants detained for immigration violations and women in prostitution. During the reporting period, the Public Prosecution--the only entity that can refer victims to the government shelter and only if it determines the case against the alleged offender will go to trial--identified and referred only two identified victims of sex trafficking to the shelter. This is a significant decrease from the 14 victims the Public Prosecution referred last year. As in previous years, the government identified and referred no labor trafficking or child trafficking victims to the government care facility for assistance. The Royal Oman Police continued to operate and fund a permanent shelter that could accommodate up to 50 men, women, and children who were victims of forced labor or sex trafficking. Victims in this shelter could not leave the premises unchaperoned, but they could reportedly readily access shelter employees to accompany them offsite. The shelter is able to provide social, psychological, legal, and medical services at no cost to victims. The shelter remained underused due to the strict government entry requirements; most trafficking victims in Oman sought care in shelters run by the embassies of their home countries.
Due to a lack of comprehensive victim identification and protection procedures, the government failed to ensure that migrant workers subjected to forced labor or sex trafficking were not inappropriately incarcerated, fined, or otherwise penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking. In this reporting period, three identified victims of sex trafficking were prosecuted and two were convicted for acts committed as a result of being trafficked, including having outdated residency permits; in at least one case, a trafficker and a trafficking victim were both charged in the same case. Furthermore, the government failed to provide protection services to these identified victims. In years prior to this reporting period, the government claimed to have encouraged suspected foreign trafficking victims to assist in investigations and prosecutions regarding their cases, though it did not provide foreign victims with a legal alternative to removal to countries in which they may face retribution or hardship. The government also did not provide information on the number of victims who assisted in trafficking investigations or prosecutions in this reporting period. Victims were permitted to stay in Oman on a case-by-case basis but were not permitted to work while awaiting court proceedings.
The government sustained modest efforts to prevent human trafficking during the reporting period. The government published brochures in numerous languages, highlighting the rights and services to which workers are legally entitled; however, it did not conduct an anti-trafficking public awareness campaign during this reporting period. The government did not report conducting investigations or imposing fines under Royal Decree 113/2011, which requires employers to pay all wages by electronic deposit to the employee's local bank account. The Ministry of Manpower implemented an annual inspection plan in 2012 under which the ministry undertook field visits to 1,913 facilities to ensure that businesses and employers adhered to the Omani labor law and to investigate complaints of labor violations; the government did not report if these visits resulted in the identification of forced labor victims. The government required that all employers post labor law regulations in the languages of their workers in prominent locations at worksites. There were no reported efforts by the government to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts or forced labor in Oman.
PAKISTAN (Tier 2)
Pakistan is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking, with a large percentage of trafficking occurring within the country. Trafficking, particularly of children, remains elevated due to effects from natural disasters, a weak economy, and deteriorating security and rule of law. The country's largest human trafficking problem is bonded labor, in which traffickers or recruiters exploit an initial debt assumed by a worker as part of the terms of employment, which sometimes persist through generations. Bonded labor is concentrated in the Sindh and Punjab provinces, but also takes place in the Balochistan and Khyber Paktunkhwa provinces, in agriculture and brick-making and to a lesser extent in the mining, carpet-making, and fishing industries. In some cases, when bonded laborers attempt to escape or seek legal redress, police return them to the landowners and brick kiln owners who then hold laborers and their families, including children, in chains in private jails. Boys and girls as young as five years old are bought, sold, rented, or kidnapped and placed in organized begging rings, domestic servitude, small shops and factories, and prostitution, according to child rights experts; NGOs report that boys are particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking, particularly around hotels, truck stops, bus stations, and shrines. Illegal labor agents charge high recruitment fees to parents for giving work to their children, who are subsequently subjected to forced labor and sometimes forced into prostitution. Trafficking experts describe a structured system for forcing women and girls into prostitution, including the presence of physical markets in which victims are offered for sale. Women and girls are also sold into forced marriages; in some cases their new "husbands" move them across Pakistan's land borders and force them into prostitution in Iran or Afghanistan, and in other cases, sometimes organized by extra-judicial courts, the transaction is used to settle debts or disputes. Non-state militant groups kidnap children or coerce parents into giving away children as young as nine with fraudulent promises or threats and then force the children to spy, fight, or die as suicide bombers in Pakistan and Afghanistan. These militants often sexually and physically abuse the children and use psychological coercion to convince the children that the acts the children commit are justified.
Many Pakistani women and men migrate voluntarily to the Gulf states, Iran, Turkey, South Africa, Uganda, Maldives, Greece, and other European countries for low-skilled employment such as domestic work, driving, or construction work; once abroad, some become victims of labor trafficking. False job offers and high recruitment fees charged by illegal labor agents or sub-agents of licensed Pakistani overseas employment promoters increase Pakistani laborers' vulnerabilities to debt bondage. Pakistani workers abroad face restrictions on movement, nonpayment of wages, threats, and physical and sexual abuse. Traffickers use violence, psychological coercion, and isolation, often seizing travel and identification documents as a means to coerce Pakistani women and girls into prostitution. There are reports of child sex trafficking between Iran and Pakistan, and of Pakistani children and adults with disabilities who are forced to beg in Iran. Pakistan is a destination for men, women, and children from Afghanistan, Iran, and, to a lesser extent, Bangladesh, who are subjected to forced labor and prostitution. Afghan refugees and religious and ethnic minorities are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking. In 2012, six Pakistani victims were subjected to human trafficking in Malawi.
The Government of Pakistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite these measures, the government still showed insufficient political will and capacity to address trafficking fully, as evidenced by ineffective law enforcement measures, the punishment of trafficking victims, and limited efforts in trafficking prevention. Government officials' complicity in human trafficking was a persistent, serious problem.
Recommendations for Pakistan: Vigorously investigate and prosecute suspected human trafficking offenders, respecting due process, as well as government officials suspected of complicity in trafficking; develop and pass an anti-trafficking law that prohibits and penalizes all forms of human trafficking; in partnership with civil society groups, work to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, including street children, people in prostitution, Afghan refugees, and laborers in brick kilns and agriculture; work to ensure that trafficking victims are not penalized for acts committed as a result of being trafficked; clearly distinguish between human trafficking and human smuggling in trainings, policies, and programs; strengthen the capacity of provincial governments to address human trafficking, including bonded labor, through training, raising awareness, providing funding, and encouraging the adoption of provincial-level anti-trafficking action plans; undertake awareness campaigns on human trafficking in local languages, targeted to parents who sell their children, particularly in the Punjab province; improve efforts to collect, analyze, and accurately report counter-trafficking data; and accede to the UN TIP Protocol.
The Government of Pakistan continued to prosecute human trafficking offenses over the last year. The government does not prohibit and penalize all forms of trafficking. Several sections in the penal code criminalize some forms of human trafficking, such as slavery, selling a child for prostitution, and unlawful compulsory labor, prescribing punishments for these offenses that range from fines to life imprisonment. Transnational trafficking in persons offenses, as well as some non-trafficking crimes--such as people smuggling and fraudulent adoption--are prohibited through the Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance, 2002 (PACHTO), which prescribes penalties of seven to 14 years' imprisonment. Prescribed penalties for the penal code and PACHTO offenses are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The Bonded Labor System (Abolition) Act (BLSA) prohibits bonded labor, with prescribed penalties ranging from two to five years' imprisonment, a fine, or both. Pakistani officials have yet to secure a conviction under this law. Under the devolution process that started in 2010, federal laws apply to provinces until corresponding provincial laws are enacted; as of the reporting period, only Punjab has adopted such a law.
The government did not report disaggregated data on trafficking convictions under the penal code. It is unclear how many traffickers were prosecuted during the reporting period, because the government's data does not reflect the number of prosecutions; instead, it reports how many prosecutions were brought under each provision of the penal code, without indicating whether specific cases were prosecuted under several provisions. The government reported that penal code provisions were used approximately 80 times to prosecute trafficking cases from April 2012 to March 2013, compared with 55 times in 2011. Government officials continued to conflate human smuggling and human trafficking, and the Federal Investigative Agency's (FIA) anti-trafficking units dealt with undocumented migration and smuggling, in addition to human trafficking. During 2012, the government reported that it convicted trafficking offenders under PACHTO; however, since PACHTO also prohibits non-trafficking offenses and some government officials conflated trafficking and smuggling, the actual number of convicted trafficking offenders is unknown. Many police and prosecutors did not pursue trafficking cases or simply did not prioritize anti-trafficking activities. The FIA reported it continued to train officials on transnational trafficking issues at the FIA academy, but experts noted these trainings conflated trafficking with human smuggling.
Government employees' complicity in human trafficking remained a significant problem. Some feudal landlords were affiliated with political parties or were officials themselves and used their social, economic, and political influence to protect their involvement in bonded labor; a 2012 ILO report asserted that those who use bonded labor have been able to do so with impunity. Additionally, some police received bribes to ignore human trafficking activities from brothel owners, landowners, and factory owners who subjected Pakistanis to forced labor or forced prostitution. Some reports asserted that low-level officials in the FIA anti-trafficking unit, including police, did not register cases against trafficking offenders in exchange for bribes. Other reports noted that some FIA officials solicited bribes from deported Pakistani citizens who arrived in Pakistani airports to avoid having charges filed against them; some of these citizens may have been trafficking victims. The Government of Pakistan did not report any convictions of government employees for alleged complicity in trafficking-related offenses during the reporting period.
The Government of Pakistan did not make progress in the protection of victims of human trafficking during the reporting period. Pakistani authorities did not have systematic methods for identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations and referring them to protective services.
NGOs reported that government officials often detained, fined, or jailed trafficking victims. For example, rural police were inclined to return "runaway" bonded laborers to brick kiln and landowners on the grounds that they tried to avoid repayment of debts. Undocumented foreign nationals were detained and charged under the penal code regardless of whether they had been subjected to human trafficking. Authorities detained returning Pakistani adults and boys, some of whom were trafficking victims, for having left the country illegally. Victims of sex trafficking were often charged with crimes, while their traffickers remained free. Various government-run jail-like facilities that did not allow women to leave without a male relative or a court order, commonly called "women's shelters," were available to female trafficking victims; there were not only reports of abuse and severe lack of freedom of movement in these centers, but also allegations that staff and police sold some women unclaimed by their families to men under the guise of marriage. Some child trafficking victims received shelter or other protective services through broad child protection programs and centers offered by provincial governments, although there was no information on how many victims were assisted. A news report described the rescue of 165 bonded laborers by police per the directive of local courts; however, in responding to the traffickers' grievances of outstanding loans, the courts permitted the traffickers to file civil suits against the bonded laborers in order to recover funds, and the disposition of these civil suits is unknown. Civil society groups report that government rescues of trafficking victims are not accompanied by efforts to protect victims, leading to the victims' re-trafficking. The Punjab provincial government continued implementation of its project launched in 2008 to eliminate bonded labor in brick kilns, which included helping an unknown number of bonded laborers obtain identity cards and interest-free loans. The Pakistani military continued to run a rehabilitation program in Swat for children who had been exploited by extremist groups; there was no information on how many trafficking victims were assisted by this program during the reporting period. There was also no information on whether the government encouraged victims of trafficking to participate in investigations against their traffickers. The government did not provide foreign victims with legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they may face retribution or hardship.
The Pakistani government made only limited efforts to prevent human trafficking during the year. The FIA reportedly placed anti-trafficking posters at airports and border crossings to raise awareness of transnational trafficking. Many of the district vigilance committees charged with curbing bonded labor and mandated by law continued to be either inactive or ineffectual. Under the government's devolution process, which started in 2010, labor regulation and other civil matters, as well as social service delivery, were devolved from the central government to provincial jurisdictions, which often did not have the financial resources and technical capacity to carry them out; this hampered the government's overall efforts to effectively address forced labor and to provide protective services to trafficking victims. There was no information on whether Pakistani forces deployed to UN peacekeeping missions received training on combating human trafficking prior to their deployment abroad. The government's efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts by arresting some clients of prostitution were mitigated by the government's punishing of females in prostitution without ensuring that they were not victims of trafficking. Pakistan is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
PALAU (Tier 2)
Palau is a destination country for women subjected to sex trafficking and for women and men subjected to forced labor. Palau's foreign population--the majority of which are from the Philippines, China, and the Republic of Korea--is estimated to comprise nearly one-fifth of the county's population of 17,400. Filipino, Chinese, and Korean men and women pay thousands of dollars in recruitment fees and willingly migrate to Palau for jobs in domestic service, agriculture, restaurants, or construction; upon arrival, they are forced to work in conditions substantially different from what was presented in contracts or recruitment offers. Women from China and the Philippines migrate to Palau expecting to work as waitresses or clerks, but are subsequently forced into prostitution in karaoke bars and massage parlors; prime perpetrators of illegal recruitment are from the Philippines, who recruit for karaoke bars and massage parlors operated by Taiwanese nationals. Recent reports indicate that some Indonesian men who voluntarily migrate to Palau for work on fishing boats face fraudulent recruitment, altered working conditions, and withholding of salaries. Noncitizens are by law excluded from the benefits of the minimum wage law, and regulations make it extremely difficult for foreign workers to change employers once they arrive in Palau, increasing their vulnerability to involuntary servitude and debt bondage.
The Government of Palau 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 prosecuted and convicted a Palauan senator for human trafficking, but relied on a labor law statute--a far lesser offense--that does not reflect the serious nature of the human trafficking offense allegedly committed. The government also initiated two investigations involving foreign women masseuses and a locally hired U.S. government employee. The government, however, still lacks an adequate understanding of trafficking and how its law can be applied to identify trafficking victims and investigate and prosecute trafficking offenders.
Recommendations for Palau: Establish formal procedures for front-line officers to identify and refer trafficking victims to protective services; continue efforts to proactively investigate, prosecute, and punish trafficking offenders; continue publicly to highlight the issue and to recognize and condemn incidences of trafficking; increase resources devoted to address anti-trafficking efforts; develop a national plan of action to combat human trafficking; continue to make vigorous efforts to combat corruption by officials involved in regulating the immigration and employment of foreign workers; monitor employment agents recruiting foreign men and women for work in Palau for compliance with existing labor laws to prevent their facilitation of trafficking; continue to develop and implement anti-trafficking information and education campaigns; and accede to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
The Government of Palau demonstrated modest anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the year. Palau's Anti-Smuggling and Trafficking Act of 2005 prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons and prescribes sufficiently stringent penalties for these offenses, ranging from 10 to 50 years' imprisonment and fines of up to $500,000; these are commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Instead of using this more serious statute, prosecutors sometimes bring charges under the less serious labor violations. For example, in June 2012, the government convicted a Palauan senator, in a case that involved nine alleged trafficking victims, using a labor law violation of unlawful wage deductions and penalties, which led to an imposed sentence of only 90 days' imprisonment--less than the punishment prescribed under the 2005 trafficking law. The government reported investigating two additional suspected trafficking cases involving foreign masseuses who were serving tourists, prominent politicians, and businessmen, and another involving a locally hired U.S. government employee.
The Attorney General's office and members of the Department of Public Safety provided administrative support for a law enforcement training co-hosted by the Guam Attorney General's office, which included a session on anti-trafficking. However, the government did not train officers to proactively identify and assist victims or to identify victims among vulnerable populations, such as foreign workers or foreign women in prostitution. The government did not report any new investigations or prosecutions of government employees for alleged complicity in trafficking-related offenses during the reporting year, though it did continue its efforts in the labor case against the senator that began in 2011.
The Government of Palau made modest efforts to identify and protect victims of trafficking during the reporting period. The government did not provide shelter or other services for trafficking victims, though it sustained partnerships with local churches to offer shelter, food, and housing to potential trafficking victims. The Department of Labor assisted six alleged trafficking victims in finding new employment. The government reported that while it did not have a policy of identifying and referring trafficking victims to legal services, the Attorney General's Office has increased its efforts to encourage victims' participation in investigations and prosecutions by holding counseling sessions to address victims' trauma and by reducing their fear of reprisals from traffickers. The government facilitated the departure of victims from Palau, but also offered work permits to alleged victims of trafficking who remained in the country.
The Government of Palau sustained its previous efforts to prevent new incidents of human trafficking during the reporting period. The Department of Labor and the Attorney General's office developed a brochure that informs foreign workers of their rights and provided them with a contact number to report any misconduct. The closure of the Philippines embassy in July 2012 stymied the adoption of a Philippine-Palau memorandum of understanding to address the use of illegal recruiters. The government has yet to develop a national action plan against trafficking in persons and has not designated sufficient resources for anti-trafficking purposes. The government signed an extradition agreement with Taiwan authorities in December 2012 to strengthen cooperation on crime prevention and judicial mutual assistance. The government made no discernible effort to address the demand for commercial sex acts or the demand for forced labor during the reporting period. Palau is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
PANAMA (Tier 2)
Panama is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Most Panamanian trafficking victims are exploited in sex trafficking in the country. The majority of foreign trafficking victims found in Panama are adult women from Colombia and, to a lesser extent, from neighboring Central American countries and the Dominican Republic. Most of these women migrate voluntarily to Panama to work, but are subsequently exploited in sex trafficking or in domestic servitude. In recent years, authorities have identified several East European women working in nightclubs as potential sex trafficking victims. NGOs report that some Panamanian children, mostly young girls, are subjected to domestic servitude in the country. Some Chinese men and women have been smuggled into the country to work in grocery stores and laundries, apparently in situations of debt bondage. There were reports that Nicaraguan migrants were also vulnerable to forced labor in Panama.
The Government of Panama 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, authorities convicted three sex trafficking offenders and launched a national anti-trafficking action plan. The government did not initiate any new trafficking prosecutions and the lack of police and victim care experts with specialized training hindered law enforcement efforts. Victim services and victim identification efforts remained inadequate; while two victims received shelter and other assistance, the majority of potential victims reported by authorities during the year were offered no specialized services or shelter after interacting with officials, leaving some to engage in prostitution for survival.
Recommendations for Panama: Increase funding for specialized victim services, particularly for adult victims, in partnership with civil society; ensure that identified victims are referred to appropriate services and shelters; intensify law enforcement efforts to investigate and prosecute both labor and sex trafficking crimes, and convict and sentence trafficking offenders, including officials complicit in trafficking offenses; strengthen government-provided training for police officers, prosecutors, immigration officials, social workers, and other government officials in anti-trafficking laws and victim identification and care; develop formal guidelines for identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, particularly people in prostitution and migrant workers, to standardize victim identification and referral mechanisms; and strengthen interagency coordination mechanisms.
The Government of Panama convicted three sex trafficking offenders but did not initiate any new trafficking prosecutions during the year. It continued to investigate possible sex trafficking cases; however, there were no reported investigations of forced labor, and an ongoing prosecution of officials accused of trafficking complicity was dismissed. Panamanian law prohibits all forms of trafficking, with prescribed sentences ranging from six to 30 years' imprisonment, depending on the nature of the offense. These punishments are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Panamanian law also prohibits moving people for the purposes of prostitution and illegal adoption as forms of trafficking, offenses that are not considered trafficking under the 2000 UN TIP Protocol. Panamanian officials categorized cases of human trafficking that did not involve movement as different crimes, such as commercial sexual exploitation, and treated these differently than human trafficking cases involving movement.
During the reporting period, authorities reported investigating eight sex trafficking cases and no labor trafficking cases. The government initiated no new prosecutions, while three prosecutions for sex trafficking commenced in previous years continued during 2012. In January 2013 the government convicted three sex trafficking offenders in one case under commercial sexual exploitation statutes: these offenders were each sentenced to 72 months' imprisonment. The government convicted no labor trafficking offenders. During the previous reporting period, authorities prosecuted four sex trafficking offenders, but convicted none. There was no dedicated anti-trafficking police unit, and the organized crime prosecutorial unit continued to be responsible for investigating trafficking cases. The lack of systematic data collection for trafficking crimes remained an impediment to assessing anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. A judge dismissed the prosecution of six former immigration officials for their roles in a possible forced labor case initiated in 2010; the dismissal remained under appeal. Some officials lacked understanding of human trafficking, thereby at times impeding law enforcement efforts, and some trafficking cases were categorized as other crimes with lesser penalties. In 2012 Panamanian authorities cooperated with international organizations and foreign governments to train judicial and immigration officials on human trafficking.
While authorities reported assisting two sex trafficking victims, the government failed to refer the vast majority of potential victims to victim services, raising serious concerns about victim identification and referral capacity. Authorities did not employ formal procedures for identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as detained undocumented migrants and people in prostitution. Officials characterized 45 foreign women as potential sex trafficking victims, including 40 Colombian women in prostitution identified in one case after one victim escaped and identified herself as a victim to prosecutors. In comparison, Panamanian authorities reported identifying 80 potential trafficking victims in 2011 through law enforcement investigations. The government did not report how many children in prostitution it identified in 2012. Specialized services for trafficking victims remained inadequate, and authorities did not report funding NGOs to provide specialized services or shelter to victims or referring any potential victims to NGOs for care. Some NGOs received limited government funding for general operations, and NGOs reported identifying five victims during the year. In the absence of shelters for adults, authorities noted that they could house adult victims in hotels on an ad hoc basis, although they did not do so in practice during the year. In fact, after being identified as sex trafficking victims by authorities, a significant number of Colombian women remained in the lodging in which they were exploited and were reportedly locked inside for hours at a time by police responsible for their security. Some engaged in prostitution after being identified due to the lack of support from the government for food or basic needs. Two sex trafficking victims were housed in a temporary government shelter for female victims of violence, including the self-identified victim who remained there for three weeks before being repatriated, as well as a pregnant woman.
There were no medical, psychological, or legal services provided to the majority of potential victims identified during the year, and there were no long-term services available to trafficking victims. Panamanian authorities encouraged victims to assist with the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenders, although officials reported difficulties in obtaining victim participation in investigations and did not report how many victims did so in 2012. Panamanian law provided legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims of trafficking to countries where they might face hardship or retribution; while the government did not report issuing any temporary resident permits for trafficking victims during the reporting period, it reported that two such permits were in process. Seven foreign sex trafficking victims were voluntarily repatriated, and in one case police officers paid out of their own pocket for some travel expenses. Trafficking victims were not known to have been penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking. Due to the lack of victim identification guidelines, however, it was not clear that all foreign victims were identified before their deportation.
During the reporting period, the Government of Panama strengthened efforts to prevent human trafficking through awareness activities and launching a national anti-trafficking plan. The five-year plan assigned different government entities responsibilities for increasing prosecution, protection, and prevention efforts. The government anti-trafficking commission met regularly during the reporting period; it reported conducting a month-long awareness campaign, as well as partnering with an airline to raise awareness. Child sex tourism is prohibited by law, though there were no reported investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of foreign tourists engaged in the commercial sexual exploitation of children in 2012. The government did not report other efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts or for forced labor.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA (Tier 3)
Papua New Guinea is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Women and children are subjected to sex trafficking and domestic servitude, and men are subjected to forced labor in logging and mining camps. Child labor is outlawed in Papua New Guinea, but it is estimated that 19 percent of the labor market is composed of child workers. Teenagers, particularly underage girls, are employed in night clubs as hostesses, dancers, and bartenders. The vulnerability to human trafficking of "Mosko Girls"--young girls who are employed in bars to provide companionship to male patrons and sell an alcoholic drink called mosko--emerged as a new trend around major cities in Papua New Guinea in 2012. There are reports of internal trafficking involving children, including girls from tribal areas as young as five, being subjected to commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor by members of their immediate family or tribe. Tribal leaders sometimes trade with each other the exploitative labor and service of girls and women for guns and political advantage. Traditional customs in Papua New Guinea permit parents to sell their daughters into forced marriages--often to wealthy men and politicians--to settle debts, leaving them vulnerable to forced domestic service. Polygamy in Papua New Guinea is also a serious concern, as it affirms patriarchal attitudes that men own women and perpetuates discrimination against women and girls. Young girls sold into polygamous marriages are often forced into domestic service for their husbands' extended families. In more urban areas, some children from poorer families are prostituted by their parents or sold to brothels. Young boys, as young as 12, are exploited by "market taxis" in urban areas, carrying extremely heavy loads for low pay.
Asian crime rings, foreign logging companies, and foreign businesspeople arrange for some foreign women to voluntarily enter Papua New Guinea with fraudulently issued tourist or business visas. Subsequent to their arrival, many of the women, from countries including Malaysia, Thailand, China, and the Philippines, are turned over to traffickers who transport them to logging and mining camps, fisheries, and entertainment sites, and then exploit them in forced prostitution and domestic servitude. Chinese and local men are exploited for labor at commercial mines and logging camps, where some receive little pay and are compelled to continue working for the company indefinitely through debt bondage schemes. Employers exacerbate workers' indebtedness by paying substandard wages and charging artificially inflated prices at the company store; in such circumstances, an employee's only option is to buy food and other necessities on usurious terms of credit.
The Government of Papua New Guinea does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Despite an overall low level of awareness of trafficking among many government officials, the government acknowledged that human trafficking was a problem in the country and expressed its commitment to increasing law enforcement's capacity to address it. However, it has not yet enacted draft legislation that would criminalize all forms of trafficking, nor has it investigated or prosecuted suspected trafficking offenders under existing laws, or identified or assisted any trafficking victims during the year. The government appeared to take no action against trafficking-related corruption. Government officials continued to facilitate trafficking by accepting bribes to allow illegal migrants to enter the country or to ignore victims forced into prostitution or labor, and by trading female trafficking victims in return for political favors or votes.
Recommendations for Papua New Guinea: Enact the draft legislation that prohibits and punishes all forms of trafficking; investigate, prosecute, and punish trafficking offenders, including officials who facilitate or directly benefit from trafficking; develop and institute a formal procedure to identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable groups, such as individuals in prostitution and foreign women arriving for work in Papua New Guinea; train law enforcement officers to proactively identify victims and refer them to protective services; ensure that victims of trafficking are not arrested, deported, or otherwise punished for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; work with NGOs and international organizations to increase protective services to victims of trafficking; increase collaboration with civil society, religious, and tribal leaders to raise awareness of and reduce demand for forced labor and commercial sex acts; and accede to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
The Government of Papua New Guinea did not demonstrate significant progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the year. The government's draft legislation, which would amend the country's criminal code by prohibiting human trafficking, was resubmitted to the National Executive Council in early 2012 for signature under a newly elected administration. However, despite the expressed support and recognized importance of the bill from government leaders, it remains pending at the end of the reporting cycle. Papua New Guinea's existing criminal code prohibits some forms of human trafficking, such as the trafficking of children for commercial sexual exploitation and slavery and the forced labor and slavery of adults. Its definition of forced labor, however, appears to exclude victims who initially consented to a particular job, but were subsequently maintained in that labor or service through force or coercion. Therefore, Papua New Guinea's laws do not prohibit all forms of trafficking. Penalties prescribed for the crime of child trafficking are up to life imprisonment and are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The criminal code prescribes various penalties under different definitions of forced prostitution of women. These offenses, including holding a woman in a brothel against her will, prescribe fines or sentences of up to two years' imprisonment, which are not sufficiently stringent. Prescribed penalties of up to seven years' imprisonment for perpetrators who use fraud, violence, threats, abuse of authority, or drugs to procure a person for purpose of forced prostitution are sufficiently stringent. However, the government did not report investigating, arresting, or prosecuting any trafficking offenders under these statutes. Instead of handling trafficking-related crimes in criminal courts and assigning trafficking offenders criminal penalties, these cases were often referred to village courts, which administered customary law and adjudicated cases resulted in restitution paid by the trafficking offender to the victim. Some victims of internal trafficking (or their parents) who received customary compensation payments from the offender were reluctant to notify police or bring additional criminal charges against traffickers.
Department of Justice and Attorney General (DJAG), with the assistance of foreign funding, trained a total of 78 law enforcement and non-law enforcement government officers and 82 NGO representatives on human trafficking. Wealthy businesspeople, politicians, and police officials who benefitted financially from the operation of commercial sex establishments were not prosecuted. Law enforcement agencies were underfunded, and most government offices remained weak as the result of corruption, cronyism, a lack of accountability, and a promotion system based on patronage. The government did not investigate or prosecute any government officials for complicity in trafficking-related crimes during the year, despite NGO claims that government ministers, police, and other officials may be complicit in commercial sexual exploitation.
The Government of Papua New Guinea did not make any discernible efforts to proactively identify or assist victims of trafficking among vulnerable populations during the reporting period. The government does not operate any victim care facilities for trafficking victims, nor did it refer victims to NGO service providers. Shelters run by NGOs may be available to trafficking victims, but none of these organizations reported identifying or assisting any victims of trafficking during the year. The government did not fund any international organizations or NGOs to assist trafficking victims. Due to poor victim identification by authorities, potential victims who came to the attention of police may have been punished for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked. This was especially true for victims of sex trafficking, who may have been prosecuted for violation of the country's prostitution laws. While laws are in place to protect sex trafficking victims from being penalized for unlawful acts they might have committed as a direct consequence of their being trafficked, there are no such provisions to protect victims of forced labor. The government did not offer legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims of trafficking to countries where they may face hardship or retribution.
During the past year, the Government of Papua New Guinea initiated modest efforts to prevent human trafficking. DJAG, in partnership with an international organization and with funding from a foreign donor, conducted research in four provinces, which identified Papua New Guineans vulnerable to labor and sexual exploitation. This research resulted in organizing various activities. For example, in partnership with an international organization, DJAG conducted several two-hour community-level awareness sessions in various villages and communities during May and June 2012. They also hosted the "One Day Against Human Trafficking" events in which films, presentations, and interactive panel discussions were utilized to increase awareness on human trafficking. Radio campaigns surrounding these awareness events were also delivered nationally, in addition to a special one-day workshop in June at one of the four provinces featured in the report. The National Human Trafficking Committee, chaired by the DJAG, provided informational and logistical support for an anti-trafficking seminar in February 2013, which invited 35 people from seven government agencies to discuss adult and child sex trafficking. The government took no discernible actions, however, to decrease the demand for forced labor or commercial sex acts, and it did not provide anti-trafficking training to Papua New Guinean troops prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions. Papua New Guinea is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
PARAGUAY (Tier 2)
Paraguay is a source country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking, and for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor. To a more limited extent, Paraguay is a destination and transit country for men and women subjected to forced labor and forced prostitution. Paraguayan victims of sex trafficking and forced labor are found in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, and Spain, and during the year a significant number of Paraguayan victims were identified in Brazil. Paraguayan victims of sex trafficking have also been identified in other countries, most recently including Ecuador and Colombia. There were continued reports of child sex trafficking in the tri-border area with Argentina and Brazil. There are reports that Paraguayan women are recruited as couriers of illicit narcotics to Europe, where they are subsequently coerced into forced prostitution. Domestic servitude and sex trafficking of women and girls within the country remain a serious problem; some victims are recruited from rural areas, in particular from the departments of Caazapa, Caaguazu, and San Pedro, and exploited in urban centers. Indigenous persons are particularly at risk of being subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking, especially in the Chaco region. Street children and children involved in hazardous work are vulnerable to human trafficking.
The Government of Paraguay does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government maintained law enforcement efforts against sex trafficking offenders and took action against official complicity by convicting a police officer involved in sex trafficking. Authorities passed a new trafficking law strengthening the country's legal framework, maintained provision of victim services for some sex trafficking victims, and strengthened prevention efforts. Specialized victim services, however, remained limited, and authorities lacked a formal system to proactively identify trafficking victims or to refer them to care services. Trafficking-related corruption remained a serious concern.
Recommendations for Paraguay: Enhance access to comprehensive services and shelter for victims of sex and labor trafficking alike through increased funding for victim services and enhanced partnerships with civil society organizations; institute formal referral mechanisms to ensure that all identified victims can access care services; increase efforts to proactively investigate forced labor cases and identify labor trafficking victims, including those exploited within the country; continue to intensify efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, including forced labor crimes and crimes involving official complicity, as well as efforts to convict and punish trafficking offenders; consider increasing resources for dedicated anti-trafficking units; increase training for government officials, including law enforcement officials, labor officials, judges, and social workers on how to identify and respond to trafficking cases; improve data collection on human trafficking cases; and continue to strengthen efforts to raise public awareness about all forms of human trafficking, including internal trafficking.
The Government of Paraguay passed a law prohibiting all forms of human trafficking in December 2012, and it maintained strong efforts to investigate and prosecute sex trafficking offenses throughout the year; however, efforts to investigate forced labor remained weak. The new law also strengthened investigative tools available to prosecutors, raised penalties for trafficking crimes, and outlined victim protection commitments. The law prescribes penalties of up to eight years' imprisonment, which can be increased to up to 20 years with aggravating factors; these penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Previously, Paraguay's penal code did not sufficiently prohibit internal trafficking, though articles 129(b) and (c) prohibited transnational sex and labor trafficking, prescribing penalties up to 12 years' imprisonment. Other statutes, including those penalizing commercial sexual exploitation of children, were used to investigate domestic trafficking cases.
The police maintained anti-trafficking units in five cities with a total of 33 officers; these units also investigate crimes such as extortion and the production of fraudulent documents, and reportedly faced resource and staffing challenges during the year. The government increased the staff of the dedicated anti-trafficking unit in the attorney general's office to a total of three prosecutors and 20 assistants, including a social worker and a psychologist. The unit worked with prosecutors across the country to investigate and prosecute human trafficking cases. Some civil society and government actors noted that these units had limited human and material resources, that law enforcement response in some parts of the country was severely limited or delayed, and that awareness of internal trafficking crimes was weak among many officials. In 2012, Paraguayan prosecutors reported 128 new trafficking investigations; out of these, only two involved forced labor. Authorities initiated 23 new prosecutions and convicted 14 sex trafficking offenders: eight offenders were convicted under article 129 (b), while six offenders were convicted under a statute prohibiting pimping. Sentences ranged from six months to seven and a half years' imprisonment, and at least six sentences were suspended. There were no reported convictions for forced labor. This compares with 2011, when authorities reported prosecuting 30 cases and convicting eight sex trafficking offenders and one labor trafficking offender.
Some government officials, including police, border guards, judges, and public registry employees, reportedly facilitated human trafficking, including by protecting brothels where children were prostituted, extorting suspected trafficking offenders in order to prevent arrest, and producing fraudulent identity documents. There were also reports that some traffickers used their connections with local politicians to intimidate judges and police officers. In 2012, the government convicted a police officer of forcing two Paraguayan women into prostitution in Chile, and he was sentenced to seven and a half years' imprisonment. Much of the specialized training on human trafficking for Paraguayan officials was either funded by, or provided by, foreign governments and international organizations; the women's ministry trained hundreds of local officials on human trafficking, prosecutors created anti-trafficking modules with foreign government funding to incorporate into mandatory training for new prosecutors. Paraguayan officials collaborated with Argentine, Bolivian, Chilean, German, and Spanish counterparts on trafficking investigations, and extradited two Argentine citizens to Argentina to face trafficking charges.
The Government of Paraguay maintained efforts to protect some female victims of sex trafficking during the reporting period, but victim assistance remained uneven, particularly outside of the capital. Authorities did not employ formal procedures for proactively identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations such as those in prostitution, domestic workers, or street children. Officials referred identified victims to services on an ad hoc basis. During the reporting period, prosecutors identified 58 trafficking victims and reported referring all sex trafficking victims to care facilities. The coordinator of the anti-trafficking roundtable stated that the government identified 174 victims during the year, while the foreign ministry reported assisting 202 Paraguayan victims abroad. While the majority of victims identified within the country were Paraguayan, authorities reported identifying two Bolivian citizens exploited in forced labor, and a potential Brazilian victim of forced labor. The differing figures reflect the continued difficulties in collecting comprehensive and accurate victim data. It is unclear how many of the victims exploited abroad or within the country received specialized services.
The women's ministry ran one open shelter in Asuncion for female trafficking victims that provided medical, psychological, and legal services to 18 victims during the year, 10 girls and eight adult women. This represents a decrease from 38 victims assisted at the shelter in 2011. The government increased funding for the anti-trafficking unit in the women's ministry during the year, which had a staff of five. The women's ministry maintained other assistance programs, including seven drop-in centers for a variety of women's issues, four of which opened in 2012. These centers provided assistance to 47 trafficking victims during the year, 37 women and 10 girls; the women's ministry provided follow-up assistance to 20, including participation for six victims in social reintegration programs. Government-provided services for child sex trafficking victims were inadequate. NGOs and international organizations provided victim services, mostly focused on vulnerable children, and one NGO providing specialized services and shelter for child sex trafficking victims in Asuncion ceased providing this care due to a funding decrease from international donors. Specialized services, including shelters, remained inadequate for the number of identified victims, including for child sex trafficking victims. The Paraguayan government did not offer shelter facilities for male victims.
Paraguayan authorities encouraged victims to participate in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenders, and some victims filed complaints to open investigations. Victims generally avoided the court system, however, due to social stigma, fear of retaliation, and the lengthy judicial process. Identified victims generally were not jailed, deported, or otherwise penalized for acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking. The government could offer temporary or permanent residency status for foreign trafficking victims through its liberal immigration system, but did not report doing so in the past year.
The Paraguayan government strengthened its prevention activities during the reporting period. Government agencies, civil society organizations, and foreign diplomatic missions participated in a government-run anti-trafficking roundtable, which met several times during the year, and whose four sub-committees each met frequently. In 2012, authorities also formed several regional anti-trafficking roundtables which varied in effectiveness. With funding from a private company, the women's ministry launched an awareness campaign targeting vulnerable Paraguayan citizens seeking jobs. Authorities continued to distribute pamphlets on the rights of migrant workers to citizens applying for passports. Some government agencies issued public reports of their anti-trafficking efforts. There were no reports of Paraguayans engaged in child sex tourism abroad. Authorities reported no efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex acts or forced labor. The government provided anti-trafficking training to Paraguayan troops prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions.
PERU (Tier 2)
Peru is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Peruvian men, women, and children are exploited in forced labor within the country, principally in informal gold mining and related services, logging, agriculture, and domestic service. Research conducted during the reporting period found various forced labor indicators among Peruvians working in artisanal gold mines, including deceptive recruitment, debt bondage, restricted freedom of movement or inability to leave, withholding of or nonpayment of wages, and menace and use of physical violence. Peruvian women and girls, and to a lesser extent boys, are exploited in sex trafficking in Peru's urban areas and mining centers, often recruited through deceptive employment offers. Women and girls exploited near mining communities are often indebted due to the cost of transportation, and unable to leave due to remoteness of camps and complicity of miners in their exploitation; many are forced to consume alcohol with clients. Forced child begging remained a problem in urban areas. Peruvian authorities continued to identify an increasing number of children involved in illicit activities, including in cocaine production and transportation, and some of these children are coerced or forced to participate in these illegal enterprises. There are continued reports that the terrorist group Sendero Luminoso, or Shining Path, recruited children and adults to serve as combatants and in the illicit narcotics trade. To a lesser extent, Peruvian women and children are found in forced prostitution in Ecuador and Argentina, and men, women, and children are found in forced labor in Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, and the United States, among other countries. Peru also is a destination country for foreign female trafficking victims from other South American countries including Bolivia in conditions of forced labor. Child sex tourism is present in areas such as Cuzco, Lima, and the Peruvian Amazon.
The Government of Peru does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The anti-trafficking police unit continued to identify a large number of potential victims and the public ministry's victim assistance program provided 140 trafficking victims with services, including psychological and legal support. A new law passed during the year requires the government to report annually to Congress on progress in fighting trafficking. Regional governments formed anti-trafficking commissions, some of which approved anti-trafficking plans. In spite of the existence of forced labor in various sectors, there appeared to be no proactive efforts to prosecute forced labor cases, and efforts to identify and assist forced labor victims were weak. Given the large number of victims identified during the year, the low number of trafficking defendants convicted was of particular concern. Trafficking-related complicity among officials remained a serious concern; in one high-profile sex trafficking case prosecutors allegedly accepted bribes from trafficking defendants to interfere with the trial. Government funding for victim services continued to be inadequate, particularly for adults, and officials did not report referring the majority of identified victims to care services. There were no dedicated shelters for trafficking victims. The lack of shelters left victims vulnerable to revictimization and some child victims were housed in police stations.
Recommendations for Peru: Significantly increase efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, and convict and punish trafficking offenders, especially for forced labor crimes; fund dedicated shelters and specialized services for all victims of trafficking, including adults, or provide funding to NGOs with capacity to provide these services; initiate proactive investigations of forced labor crimes through enhanced partnerships between law enforcement officials, labor officials, and civil society organizations; create and implement formal victim identification and referral mechanisms; ensure that law enforcement officials conduct intelligence-based raids and employ effective victim screening during operations; hold corrupt officials who facilitate trafficking activities accountable through criminal investigations and prosecutions; increase funding for resources and training for specialized anti-trafficking police and prosecutorial units; and improve data collection on trafficking crimes.
The Government of Peru investigated trafficking crimes during the year, but convictions were low in comparison to the number of victims identified and efforts to prosecute and convict forced labor offenders were inadequate. Peruvian law prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons, prescribing penalties of eight to 25 years' imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Despite guidance from the judicial branch, some investigators, prosecutors, and judges classified trafficking cases as less serious criminal offenses and prescribed lower penalties. The anti-trafficking police division was based in the capital, with a smaller unit in Iquitos; the division's effectiveness, particularly outside the capital, was hampered by limited resources. Most law enforcement operations focused on sex trafficking, and investigations, prosecutions, and convictions for forced labor remained disproportionately low. In some parts of the country, lack of government presence and officials' fear of retaliation from trafficking offenders prevented them from investigating reported cases of forced labor or forced prostitution. Data collection suffered a setback during the year, as police did not use an existing electronic case database to track human trafficking investigations. Law enforcement officials continued to conflate prostitution and sex trafficking. There were no dedicated prosecutors for trafficking cases, and police and prosecutors continued to suffer from a lack of coordination with each other.
In 2012, the police investigated 215 potential trafficking cases in the capital and the surrounding region. The government initiated 113 new prosecutions. The government did not report the number of trafficking offenders convicted in 2012, but prison statistics indicated that at the end of 2012 there were nine more individuals incarcerated after being convicted of human trafficking in comparison with 2011. Information was not available about the range of prison sentences given, although one press report indicated that a convicted sex trafficking offender was sentenced to four years and six months' imprisonment. In 2011, the government reported convicting four sex trafficking offenders and one forced labor offender.
Tolerance by and corruption of officials facilitated trafficking in certain instances. Some officials permitted the operation of unlicensed brothels and the commercial sexual exploitation of children; during the year, six police officers were accused of extorting nightclub owners using the threat of sex trafficking charges. Civil society organizations reported that some officials' involvement in the mining industry resulted in a conflict of interest in terms of taking law enforcement action against sex trafficking in mining areas. In a high-profile case, officials in Piura suspended two prosecutors for 30 days for accepting money to interfere with the prosecution of an alleged trafficker; although authorities continue to investigate these prosecutors, the accused trafficking offenders that allegedly bribed the prosecutors were acquitted in January 2013. There were no reported prosecutions or convictions of government employees complicit in human trafficking in 2012. In partnership with civil society organizations and often with international organization and foreign government funding, the government provided anti-trafficking training to police, prosecutors, and other officials.
The Peruvian government provided inadequate services to trafficking victims during the year, and the lack of specialized shelters remained a challenge. Authorities did not develop or employ systematic procedures for identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations and law enforcement had a limited ability to distinguish between people engaged in prostitution and sex trafficking victims. The government did not maintain comprehensive victim identification statistics. Law enforcement officials reported identifying 518 potential trafficking victims in the city and region of Lima in 2012, including 446 adults and 72 children. This number appears to include a significant number of adult women in prostitution who were not trafficking victims. Eleven children identified during a raid on a Shining Path camp were referred to government shelters for vulnerable children. Of the 11 adults also identified during the raid, all of whom were determined to have been kidnapped or forcibly recruited to work for the Shining Path, only three received services from the government--these three were provided victim witness protection by the state.
The government had no formal process for referring trafficking victims to services, and it was unclear how many total victims received services, including shelter. Civil society organizations provided most specialized services to victims without government funding, and specialized psychological, legal, and other services remained unavailable in many parts of the country, particularly for adults. The public ministry's national program for assistance to victims and witnesses reported assisting 140 trafficking victims in total, including 65 labor trafficking victims, 69 sex trafficking victims, and six victims of both labor and sex trafficking. Of these 140 victims, 79 were children and 61 were adults; 107 received psychological assistance, 95 received legal services, and 85 received social services. Of those victims receiving social services, 49 were referred to shelters, 20 were referred to medical services, and only seven were referred to reintegration services. Police reported returning to their parents the majority of child victims identified in Lima in 2012 and referring an additional 18 child victims to government-run shelters for vulnerable children. Two government-funded shelters for girl victims of sexual exploitation could shelter child sex trafficking victims, though they were not equipped to provide specialized care for victims of trafficking. Other government-run general shelters for vulnerable children lacked basic infrastructure, including space to house victims. Likewise, government-run emergency centers for women provided no specialized services to trafficking victims and no shelter, but reported assisting 34 trafficking victims during the year. The Peruvian national police were responsible for temporarily housing victims after raids; in some cases, however, child victims remained at police stations in "preventative centers" for months if shelters lacked available beds. In some cases, police or prosecutors used their own personal money to help victims due to a lack of victim services. Specialized services for male victims were virtually non-existent, and while authorities reported paying for repatriation of Peruvian victims exploited abroad, funding for reintegration and other services was lacking.
Victim participation in the investigation or prosecution of traffickers remained limited. NGOs noted that victims received inadequate protection and assistance during the legal process, and one victim under the witness protection program was reportedly unable to come and go at will or pursue gainful employment. Some police, prosecutors, and judges did not sufficiently protect the privacy of trafficking victims. The government did not, however, penalize victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. Foreign trafficking victims were eligible for temporary and permanent residency status under Peruvian refugee law, though there were no reports of victims requesting or receiving this status during the year.
The Government of Peru maintained its prevention efforts, including by supporting regional-level anti-trafficking working groups and action plans. The government's interagency committee, which also included civil society actors, continued to receive limited funds to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts. However, most government entities lacked adequate funding to implement their responsibilities as outlined in the national anti-trafficking action plan. NGOs and officials alike reported that the committee suffered from a lack of commitment on the part of some participating ministries and was ineffective. The government passed a law requiring annual reports to Congress on anti-trafficking efforts, including efforts to implement the action plan. Authorities conducted some awareness raising efforts, often in partnership with civil society organizations. Several regional governments maintained anti-trafficking working groups or worked on regional anti-trafficking plans, some of which were launched during the year. In an effort to prevent forced labor, the labor ministry provided training for staff at government-run job search centers on how to identify fraudulent job offers. During the reporting period, Peruvian authorities trained tourist service providers on preventing child sex tourism and investigated potential cases. Authorities reported no prosecutions or convictions of child sex tourists in 2012. The government provided Peruvian peacekeepers training on human trafficking prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions.
PHILIPPINES (Tier 2)
The Philippines is a source country and, to a much lesser extent, a destination and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. A significant number of Filipino men and women who migrate abroad for work are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude. Men, women, and children are subjected to conditions of forced labor in factories, at construction sites, on fishing vessels, on agricultural plantations, and in the shipping industry, as well as in domestic service and other service sector jobs in Asia and increasingly throughout the Middle East. A significant number of Filipina women working in domestic service in foreign countries also face rape, physical violence, and sexual abuse. Skilled Filipino migrant workers such as engineers and nurses are also subjected to conditions of forced labor abroad. Filipina women were subjected to sex trafficking in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, and Syria.
Trafficking of men, women, and children within the country also remains a significant problem. People are trafficked from rural areas to urban centers including Manila, Cebu, the city of Angeles, and increasingly cities in Mindanao, as well as within other urban areas and tourist destinations such as Boracay, Olongapo, Puerta Galera, and Surigao. Men are subjected to forced labor and debt bondage in agriculture, including on sugar cane plantations, and in the fishing industry. Women and children were trafficked within the country for forced labor as domestic workers and small-scale factory workers, for forced begging, and for exploitation in the commercial sex trade. Hundreds of victims are subjected to sex trafficking each day in well-known and highly visible business establishments that cater to Filipinos' and foreign tourists' demand for commercial sex acts. Filipino migrant workers, both domestically and abroad, who became trafficking victims are often subjected to violence, threats, inhumane living conditions, nonpayment of salaries, confinement, and withholding of travel and identity documents.
Traffickers, at times in partnership with organized crime syndicates and corrupt government officials, recruit family and friends from villages and urban neighborhoods, sometimes masquerading as representatives of government-registered employment agencies. During the year, traffickers increasingly used email and social networking sites to fraudulently recruit Filipinos for overseas work. Fraudulent recruitment practices and the institutionalized practice of paying recruitment fees leave workers vulnerable to forced labor, debt bondage, and commercial sexual exploitation. Reports that illicit recruiters used student, intern, and exchange program visas to circumvent the Philippine government and receiving countries' regulatory frameworks for foreign workers are not uncommon. Recruiters continued to employ various methods to avoid government-run victim detection units at airports and seaports. Traffickers utilized budget airlines, inter-island ferries and barges, buses, small private boats, and even chartered flights to transport their victims domestically and internationally. Organized crime syndicates transported sex trafficking victims from China through the Philippines en route to third-country destinations.
Child sex tourism remained a serious problem in the Philippines, with sex tourists coming from Northeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and North America to engage in the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Increasingly, Filipino children are coerced to perform sex acts for internet broadcast to paying foreign viewers. An NGO reported an increasing risk of boys becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
Children in conflict-afflicted areas were particularly vulnerable to trafficking. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a separatist group, and the New People's Army were identified by the UN as among the world's persistent perpetrators of violations against children in armed conflict, including unlawfully recruiting and using children. During the year, the UN reported on the Abu Sayyaf Group's continued targeting of children for conscription as both combatants and noncombatants. There were reports that, in one incident, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) forced two children aged 12 and 13 to serve as guides; the children were reportedly released the same day. There were also reports that one child was inadvertently recruited into a paramilitary entity operational under the AFP during the year.
The Government of the Philippines does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government sustained its levels of funding for the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) at the equivalent of approximately $1.2 million in 2012 and continued efforts to implement anti-trafficking laws and policies at the national, regional, and provincial levels. It undertook notable efforts to prevent the trafficking of overseas workers and to protect Filipino victims exploited abroad, and increased many of its financial and human resource allocations to combat trafficking. It did not, however, make significant progress in addressing the underlying weaknesses in its judicial system, which stymied efforts to hold trafficking offenders accountable, and the overall number of prosecutions and convictions remained disproportionately low for the size of the problem. It enacted amendments to its anti-trafficking legislation that could facilitate prosecution of a wider range of cases, but the excessive length of trials and lack of public prosecutors dedicated to trafficking cases continue to limit progress. The government identified and provided protections to trafficking victims but did not make significant efforts to increase the availability of specialized services. Rampant corruption at all levels enabled traffickers and undermined efforts to combat trafficking.
Recommendations for the Philippines: Increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict an increased number of both labor and sex trafficking offenders implicated in the trafficking of Filipinos within the country and abroad; address the significant backlog of trafficking cases by developing mechanisms to track and monitor the status of cases filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and those under trial in the courts; conduct immediate and rigorous investigations of complaints of trafficking complicity by government officials, and ensure accountability for leaders that fail to address trafficking-related corruption within their areas of jurisdiction; ensure the government's armed forces or paramilitary groups supported by the government do not recruit or use children; continue to strengthen anti-trafficking training for police recruits, front-line officers, and police investigators; increase the number of government officials whose duties are dedicated solely to anti-trafficking activities; continue and improve collaboration between victim service organizations and law enforcement authorities with regard to law enforcement operations; make efforts to expand the use of victim processing centers to additional localities to improve identification of adult victims and allow for victims to be processed and assisted in a safe environment after a rescue operation; examine "offloading" policies to ensure this practice does not interfere with individuals' freedom of movement; increase victim shelter resources and expand the government shelter system to assist a greater number of trafficking victims, including male victims of sex and labor trafficking; increase funding for the DOJ's witness protection program and facilitate the entry of trafficking victims into the program; increase efforts to identify trafficking victims in destination countries and to pursue criminal investigation and prosecution of their traffickers; and develop and implement programs aimed at reducing the demand for commercial sex acts, including child sex tourism.
The government continued to prosecute sex and labor trafficking offenders and to impose stringent sentences on convicted offenders, but it convicted fewer offenders than it did during the previous year. The Philippines criminally prohibits sex and labor trafficking through its 2003 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, which prescribes penalties that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. In February 2013, the government enacted an amendment to its 2003 law that defined additional acts as constituting trafficking in persons and included provisions for the prosecution of attempted trafficking; the new law also provides for extraterritorial jurisdiction of trafficking crimes committed by Filipino citizens or legal residents or against Filipino citizens abroad. During the reporting period, 227 cases were filed with the DOJ for potential prosecution, but it is unknown how many cases were prosecuted. The government convicted 24 trafficking offenders, a decrease from the 29 traffickers convicted during the previous year; three convictions were for labor trafficking, a slight increase from the two labor trafficking convictions obtained during the previous year. An international NGO assisted the government with seven of the 19 cases that resulted in convictions. Sentences for those convicted ranged from 17 years to life imprisonment, with the majority of offenders sentenced to life imprisonment. In one successful case, a sex trafficking conviction was obtained in the Philippines for a local Filipina recruiter, and IACAT support was given to the court in Malaysia that reportedly convicted her Singaporean counterpart for human trafficking violations in Malaysia. The government's anti-money laundering law could be used to file a civil action requesting courts freeze and seize assets of suspected traffickers, but there were no reports that victims received this form of redress during the year. Nonetheless, hundreds of victims continue to be trafficked each day in well-known, highly visible establishments, many of which have never been the target of anti-trafficking law enforcement action.
Although the DOJ encouraged courts' expedited processing of trafficking cases based on a 2010 supreme court circular setting a six-month limit, inefficiencies in the judicial system posed serious challenges to the successful prosecution of some cases; government and NGO observers estimated the average length of trafficking cases to be between three-and-a-half and five years. The DOJ, which houses the IACAT secretariat, is responsible for the prosecution of suspected offenders and protection of witnesses in trafficking cases and assigned 93 prosecutors to work on trafficking in persons cases, a significant increase from 58 in the previous year. Nineteen of these prosecutors were with the IACAT secretariat, while 74 were assigned to airport and regional taskforces. Most of these prosecutors, however, were given this responsibility in addition to their regular workloads. The government continued to employ a taskforce model, in which prosecutors were assigned to assist law enforcement in building cases against suspected trafficking offenders; eight new taskforces were established during the year, bringing the total to 14. Observers reported that constant collaboration between law enforcement officers and prosecutors led to more organized investigations during the reporting period.
The government continued strong efforts to provide anti-trafficking training to government officials: IACAT independently conducted 90 training sessions for government and NGO stakeholders and 14 in cooperation with other partners, police trained 1,616 officers working on women and children's desks, and NGOs and foreign donors provided additional training to law enforcement officers. Nonetheless, NGOs continue to report a lack of understanding of trafficking and the country's anti-trafficking legal framework among many judges, prosecutors, social service workers, and law enforcement officials; low awareness and high rates of turnover among officials continue to pose a significant impediment to successful prosecutions. Philippine officials cooperated with counterparts in other countries to rescue victims and pursue law enforcement action against suspected traffickers; two such cases led to convictions of recruiters in China and Malaysia for labor and immigration infractions.
Law enforcement officials' complicity in human trafficking remained a problem in the Philippines, and corruption at all levels of government enables traffickers to prosper. Officials in government units and agencies assigned to enforce laws against human trafficking reportedly permitted trafficking offenders to conduct illegal activities, allowed traffickers to escape during raids, extorted bribes, facilitated illegal departures for overseas workers, and accepted payments or sexual services from establishments known to traffic women and children. During the year, a judge was reported to have criminally mishandled trafficking cases, and a city prosecutor allegedly accepted a bribe to downgrade a human trafficking charge to child abuse. There were ongoing allegations that police officers at times conducted indiscriminate or fake raids on commercial sex establishments to extort bribes from managers, clients, and female victims in the sex industry, sometimes threatening the victims with imprisonment.
During the year, the government took some steps to identify and prosecute officials complicit in human trafficking, and it dismissed officials who may have facilitated trafficking, though no public officials were criminally convicted for trafficking or trafficking-related corruption. Two officials were charged under the anti-trafficking law for facilitating illegal departures of overseas workers, but these cases had not been concluded by the close of the reporting period. A Philippine ambassador abroad, accused of sexual exploitation of a domestic worker, was investigated for possible trafficking; the ambassador was recalled and currently faces charges in the Philippines for sexual harassment.
The government sustained its efforts to identify and protect trafficking victims during the year, but overall there were inadequate resources available to serve the large number of victims in the country. In 2012, the government allocated equivalent of approximately $615,000 to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to fund the Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons. The government reported the majority of the 2,569 victims assisted by DSWD received skills training, shelter, medical services, and legal assistance under this program; an unknown number of these also received financial assistance to seek employment or start their own businesses. The DSWD operated 42 temporary shelters for victims of all types of abuse, and IACAT referred 135 trafficking victims to DSWD for support through its residential and community-based services. Facilities were generally inadequate to address the specific needs of trafficking victims, and at times, shelters lacked the space necessary to accommodate the influx of victims following large-scale law enforcement operations. Specialized services for male victims were inadequate; this led to male victims, including children, being released from protective care prematurely and negatively affected their rehabilitation and reintegration. The government established a center for male victims, but at the close of the reporting year it was not yet fully operational. The lack of services was particularly detrimental to male victims of sex trafficking, a growing population in the Philippines. The IACAT Operations Center established a temporary shelter for witnesses and trafficking victims that was subsequently transferred to a local government agency; the shelter offered some social services and vocational opportunities to 15 victims during the year.
The government followed formal procedures to identify and assist victims and refer them to government or NGO facilities for short- and long-term care. Numerous government agencies employed proactive identification measures; victims were identified through rescue operations, screening at departure points, embassies abroad, and calls to the national anti-trafficking help line. Many police units had specialized facilities for processing women and child victims. Due to overlapping and incomplete data collection systems across various agencies, reliable statistics for the total number of victims identified and assisted during the year were not available. Government shelters did not detain adult victims against their will, though victims who chose to reside in shelters were not permitted to leave the premises unattended. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) led four operations rescuing 223 children and removed additional children from the worst forms of child labor, including forced labor and sex trafficking; as a result of these operations, four businesses alleged to be engaged in sex trafficking of minors were permanently closed. Two children captured during fighting against armed groups were allegedly detained and charged with crimes. One child inadvertently recruited into a paramilitary entity under AFP operational control was removed and referred to DSWD. During the year, the government finalized the development of a monitoring and response system for grave child rights violations, including child soldiering. No foreign trafficking victims were identified during the year. IACAT operated an anti-trafficking help line; during the year, the line received over 7,000 calls leading to the identification of 133 trafficking victims. The government encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers, but the serious lack of victim and witness protection programs, exacerbated by a lengthy trial process and fear of retaliation by traffickers, caused many victims to decline or withdraw cooperation. During the year, the IACAT launched its Operations Center Witness Location Program, which located 25 witnesses and victims willing to testify in cases, and assisted 88 witnesses attending hearings; DOJ increased the number of victims assisted by its witness protection program from 18 to 60, but the majority of victims did not have access to this form of protection. The DSWD continued to hold trainings on victim identification and protection throughout the year. Most local social welfare officers, however, remain inadequately trained on how to assist rescued trafficking victims, particularly children and victims of labor trafficking.
The DSWD and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) coordinated with NGOs in other countries to provide temporary shelter, counseling, and medical assistance to 1,029 victims of trafficking and illegal recruitment identified abroad, and established 15 new multi-agency Filipino workers' resource centers overseas to assist workers in 36 countries with 20,000 or more Filipino workers. DSWD social workers were deployed to Philippine diplomatic missions in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, where they assisted 2,604 Filipinos overseas. Services to victims identified overseas included plane tickets, shipment of personal items, temporary shelter, counseling, and medical assistance.
The government continued its robust efforts to prevent human trafficking during the reporting period; numerous government agencies conducted seminars and training sessions for government officials and community members, and the government provided funding to two NGOs to implement additional awareness campaigns. The IACAT and other government taskforces involved in anti-trafficking activities continued to meet regularly to share information and coordinate policies, and the IACAT partnered with the presidential taskforce against illegal recruitment to establish a joint operations center to respond to reported cases. The Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) conducted 862 pre-employment orientation seminars for over 150,000 prospective and outbound Filipino overseas workers, and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) held targeted counseling programs for groups considered at-risk, including Filipinos seeking overseas marriages or those migrating to Europe to work as au pairs. The IACAT conducted a two-day anti-trafficking awareness seminar for media professionals in a region known to be a center of trafficking, and the CFO partnered with a private radio and television broadcasting association to develop a short public service announcement that aired on numerous stations between April and June 2012. During the reporting year, POEA investigated 9,029 allegations of unlawful practices by recruitment agencies and filed two cases of trafficking. The government continued to operate its two overseas passenger assistance centers to distribute awareness materials and screen passengers for signs of trafficking in regions where seaports are known to be a departure point for victims. The immigration department continued its intensified efforts to screen for potential trafficking victims at airports and seaports; this aggressive effort to "off-load" suspected victims for interviews--in essence blocking their travel from the Philippines--raised concerns that Filipinos' right to travel out of the country might be unduly restricted. There was a significant increase over the previous year in the number of potential victims identified through this method.
In January 2013, the government enacted the Domestic Workers Act, which provides specific protections to domestic workers including mandatory daily and weekly rest periods and the prohibition of recruitment fees charged to workers by a private agency or third party. The government's amended law on migrant workers continued the ban on deployment of Filipinos or "de-certifications" to 14 countries or territories deemed to lack adequate legal protections for workers. Afghanistan, Chad, Cuba, Haiti, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Nepal, Niger, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Palestinian Territories, Somalia, Uzbekistan, and Zimbabwe are designated as noncompliant by the DFA. During the year, the government issued resolutions certifying Iraq, Yemen, and Eritrea, thereby allowing the flow of workers to these countries to resume. To decrease the vulnerability to trafficking of thousands of undocumented Filipino workers in the Malaysian state of Sabah, the DFA sent a Philippine consul from its embassy in Kuala Lumpur four times during the year to provide services to this population, including the provision of passports and other documents. The DFA provided anti-trafficking training to new overseas diplomats hired during the year, and the DOLE maintained 42 labor attaches in 36 diplomatic missions to assist overseas workers. The CFO, in cooperation with the IACAT, launched a series of international toll-free help lines in 16 countries that forward calls to the Philippines' national help line. In February 2013, the help line in the Philippines implemented free text messaging capabilities, though this is not yet available for all mobile phone users. Despite significant local demand in the country's thriving commercial sex trade, the government's efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts in the Philippines were negligible. During the year, the government charged two child sex tourists under the anti-trafficking law and deported 15 foreign nationals for child sex crimes. The government provided training, including a module on human trafficking, to Philippine troops prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions.
POLAND (Tier 1)
Poland is a source, transit, and destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and for women and children subjected to sex trafficking. Men and women from Poland are subjected to conditions of forced labor in Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy, the Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries, and the United Kingdom (UK). Women and children from Poland are subjected to conditions of sex trafficking within their country and also in Austria, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK. Women and children from Belarus, Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine are subjected to sex trafficking in Poland. A smaller number of women from Africa, including Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, and Uganda are subjected to forced prostitution in Poland. Men from Romania, Ukraine, and Vietnam are brought to Poland for forced labor. Roma persons are recruited from Romania for forced begging in Poland.
The Government of Poland fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In 2012, authorities increased the number of trafficking investigations, prosecutions, and convictions, although half of all convicted offenders continued to receive suspended sentences. The government sustained its funding of victim protection mechanisms in all areas of the country and it provided services to more victims compared to the previous year, though it continued to face challenges in identifying victims of labor trafficking and referring child victims of sex trafficking for specialized care. The government continued to sponsor an array of awareness campaigns that targeted populations at risk for trafficking.
Recommendations for Poland: Continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses and take steps to ensure that a majority of trafficking offenders serve time in prison; improve victim identification procedures and training to better identify victims of labor trafficking; ensure child victims of sex trafficking are referred to specialized care; increase training for prosecutors and judges on labor trafficking cases; continue to increase the shelter system's capacity to assist victims, including men and children; take systemic efforts to prevent sex trafficking of children; provide border guards with a clear mandate to investigate potential trafficking cases; incorporate the victim compensation process into criminal proceedings; amend the criminal code to ensure that identified victims of trafficking are not penalized for acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; ensure all victims are given access to and encouraged to use the reflection period; create a centralized database to consolidate statistics on trafficking victims and related law enforcement actions; and conduct additional awareness campaigns to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.
The Government of Poland improved its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts in 2012. Poland defines and prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through several articles of its criminal code, including Articles 115.22, 115.23, 189a, 203, and 204.3. Prescribed punishments under these statutes range from one to 15 years' imprisonment; these sentences are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. In 2012, Polish police investigated 60 new cases of human trafficking, an increase from 37 in 2011. The border guard began four additional investigations. The government initiated prosecutions of 24 suspected trafficking offenders and convicted 39 in 2012, an increase from 17 prosecutions and 28 convictions in 2011. In collecting data, the government only considered sentences issued after appeals to be final. In 2011, the most recent year for which post-appeal sentences were available, 63 traffickers were sentenced, compared to 60 in 2010; these sentences ranged from one to eight years' imprisonment. Similar to the previous two years, approximately half of the convicted offenders received suspended sentences. The government did not report the investigation or prosecution of any public officials for alleged complicity in human trafficking-related offenses. Nevertheless, Polish consular staff in Ukraine who had issued visas to women who may have later become victims of sex trafficking in Germany and Spain were dismissed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Polish authorities collaborated on human trafficking investigations with counterparts in several European countries. During the year, the government provided anti-trafficking investigative and prosecutorial training to judges, prosecutors, labor inspectors, border guards, and police; there were reports that prosecutors and judges often lacked expertise in labor trafficking cases. Border guards lacked the mandate to investigate potential trafficking cases that did not involve another border-related offense, such as immigration violations or possession of false documents, and lacked adequate expertise in identifying labor trafficking victims.
The Government of Poland increased its anti-trafficking victim protection efforts in 2012, providing assistance to more victims, although the majority of child victims of sex trafficking did not receive specialized care. Most child trafficking offenses were prosecuted under Article 204.3 of the criminal code, which applies to child prostitution. Victims of child prostitution frequently received assistance from NGOs and social services, but authorities did not automatically refer these children to specialized care for trafficking victims. The police and border guard identified 282 victims of trafficking through investigations in 2012, compared to 315 victims identified in 2011. The vast majority of these victims were child victims of sex trafficking. Government agencies reportedly lacked adequate tools and expertise to identify and assist potential victims of labor trafficking. In 2012, the government sustained previous funding for victim assistance, allocating the equivalent of approximately $250,000. The government continued to fund the NGO-run National Intervention-Consultation Center for Victims of Trafficking (KCIK) to provide assistance to foreign and Polish victims of trafficking, which provided assistance to 198 victims in 2012, up from 133 in 2011. Of the 198 victims, 145 were females and 53 were males. Slightly more than half of these victims were foreign nationals and 16 of those assisted were child victims or the children of trafficked adults. Government-funded NGOs arranged shelter for 111 victims in 2012 and also offered medical and psychological care, legal assistance, food, clothing, and employment-related training for all victims. Adult victims of trafficking were allowed to leave the shelters unchaperoned and at will. Local governments funded and operated 185 crisis intervention centers around the country, 19 of which were specifically for trafficking victims and had a capacity of 123 persons. There were no trafficking shelters designated specifically for male trafficking victims, although NGO representatives reported placing male victims in crisis centers, hostels, and hotels. KCIK placed child victims in orphanages and with foster families. The government did not systematically refer child victims of sex trafficking to KCIK, and most do not receive specialized care. KCIK also operated an anti-trafficking hotline. The victim assistance program is highly centralized, and some academic experts believed it would be more effective if local NGOs were more directly involved in working with local authorities in the victim referral process and providing assistance.
The government's witness protection program provided for a temporary residence permit, medical and psychological care, safe transportation, food, clothing, and shelter or lodging support for victims who cooperated with law enforcement. The government enrolled 56 victims into this program in 2012. The Law on Aliens offered foreign victims a three-month reflection period during which foreign victims can stay legally in Poland to deliberate whether to cooperate with the criminal process. However, no victims utilized the reflection period in 2012, reportedly because victims from EU countries did not need it and other victims preferred the residence permit that allowed them to gain employment. The Ministry of Interior and IOM continued to work together to safely repatriate foreign victims of trafficking, and in 2012 they repatriated eight victims to Bulgaria and Romania.
Victims may file civil suits against traffickers. However, the UN Special Rapporteur expressed concern that prosecutors do not adequately incorporate compensation or restitution options into criminal proceedings. There were no reports of trafficking victims punished for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked, although Polish law did not exonerate trafficking victims from such punishment.
The government sustained its strong anti-trafficking prevention efforts during the reporting period. The government sponsored a number of creative information campaigns, including a festival featuring films that highlight human trafficking. The Ministry of Interior worked with NGOs on a number of campaigns targeting child sex trafficking, including workshops for 435 teachers. Authorities continued to produce and distribute information to Polish citizens seeking work abroad, and the Ministry of Labor operated a website in which Polish citizens could chat with experts about finding legitimate jobs abroad. During 2012, the Interior Ministry and National Labor Inspectorate collaborated with IOM to distribute labor rights information to foreign workers in Poland. The government also sponsored three training sessions on human trafficking for labor inspectors. In 2012, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy organized and funded four training sessions for a total of 102 persons.
A national action plan for 2013-2015 was undergoing inter-ministerial consultations at the close of the reporting period. While the government did not have an independent national rapporteur on trafficking, the Ministry of Interior continued to systematically collect information on trafficking and in December 2012, it published its third comprehensive report on human trafficking which covered the years 2009-2011. Additionally, in February 2013, the inter-ministerial team's working group approved a report that assessed the progress made on the action plan for 2011-2012. Although multiple government agencies and NGOs collected data on trafficking victims and related law enforcement actions, no central mechanism existed to consolidate these statistics, leading to difficulty in assessing the scope of trafficking in Poland and the efficacy of law enforcement efforts. The government did not organize any programs to reduce the participation of Polish citizens in child sex tourism. The government did not run any programs specifically designed to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts, although several of its awareness campaigns discussed the potential exploitation of women in prostitution, as well as punishments for the sexual exploitation of children.
PORTUGAL (Tier 2)
Portugal is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Trafficking victims identified in Portugal are from Brazil, Mozambique, Bulgaria, Ghana, Nigeria, Romania, Bosnia, Croatia, Nepal, and Thailand. A growing number of Portuguese victims are subjected to forced labor in restaurants, agriculture, and domestic work in Portugal and Spain. Roma criminal groups force vulnerable disabled and homeless populations to work. Children from eastern Europe, particularly Roma, are subjected to forced begging in Portugal, often by their families, and other children from eastern Europe have reportedly been forced to commit property crimes. Portuguese victims are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking after migrating to other destinations in Europe. Workers from former Portuguese colonies and other non-EU nationals based in Portugal are reportedly subjected to labor trafficking in Luxembourg, where they live in inhumane conditions and are denied wages.
The Government of Portugal 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 employ standardized procedures for identifying victims of trafficking and it conducted multiple trainings to raise awareness of human trafficking among government officials. The government continued to fund a small shelter providing specialized services to female victims of trafficking. The government did not provide evidence, however, that trafficking offenders were held accountable through prosecutions, convictions, and appropriate sentences during the reporting period.
Recommendations for Portugal: Provide data that demonstrates the Government of Portugal vigorously prosecutes and convicts trafficking offenders and sentences them to punishments that reflect the gravity of their crimes; continue to train judges in order to raise awareness of human trafficking and encourage application of the law to obtain appropriate and dissuasive sentencing; adapt specialized services for victims of trafficking to meet the needs of labor trafficking victims, male victims, and child victims; leverage the existing network of health care workers already trained to address sexual violence and train them to better identify and respond to indicators of sex trafficking and forced labor; continue to train law enforcement officials, prosecutors, labor inspectors, social workers, and NGOs likely to be in a position to identify and assist victims of trafficking to ensure victims are protected and trafficking offenders are effectively prosecuted; ensure that, in practice, victims who are not assisting with a law enforcement investigation are confirmed as identified victims of trafficking and provided with assistance after referral by NGOs; ensure that services for victims of trafficking that are delegated to NGOs to provide, such as psycho-social assistance and assistance with immigration claims, are adequately funded; improve screening for trafficking among the vulnerable population of children in out-of-home care; consider explicitly stating in law the irrelevance of the initial consent of a victim of trafficking to improve the implementation of the anti-trafficking law; and promote efforts to reduce the demand for forced labor.
The Government of Portugal did not demonstrate evidence of progress in holding trafficking offenders accountable during the reporting period. Portugal prohibits all forms of trafficking through Article 160 of the penal code, which prescribes penalties of three to 12 years' imprisonment--penalties sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those for other serious crimes, such as rape. Article 160 also encompasses illicit adoption and organ removal. In addition, Article 159 prohibits slavery, Article 163 prohibits forced prostitution, and Article 175 prohibits the prostitution of children. The government reported that it prosecuted eight alleged trafficking offenders under Article 160 in 2011. The government did not report any convictions for human trafficking offenses under Article 160, nor did it disaggregate data to demonstrate how many of the eight defendants were prosecuted for forced labor or sex trafficking. The government reported it convicted six offenders under Article 159. Possible human trafficking crimes were also reportedly prosecuted under articles for pimping, criminal association, or abetting illegal aliens--crimes for which a lesser burden of proof is required and convictions are easier to obtain. The Government of Portugal is prohibited by its constitutional privacy law from releasing data on convictions for crimes for which there were fewer than three incidents recorded within a year nationwide. Because the government did not report on convictions for trafficking in persons offenses under Article 160 for 2011, it is assumed that between zero and two trafficking offenders may have been convicted under that law. A total of six convictions obtained under Article 159 in 2011 does not demonstrate vigorous prosecution, conviction, and sentencing of trafficking offenders. A network of points of contact for trafficking in persons was set up within the public prosecutor's office in 2012. The government encouraged victims to assist in prosecutions through witness protection and opportunities to testify by deposition or videoconference.
A 2013 Report on Portugal by the Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) noted concern over the low number of convictions for human trafficking. GRETA reported that of the six offenders convicted in 2011 under Article 159, three were sentenced to prison terms of eight, 12, and 20 years, as well as the payment of wages totaling the equivalent of approximately $98,800. One offender was sentenced to four years' imprisonment, suspended on condition of payment of compensation to the victim of the equivalent of approximately $5,200. Two offenders were sentenced to seven years and six months and five years and six months, respectively. The UNODC Human Trafficking Case Law Database listed a conviction under Article 160 for human trafficking; the offender subjected Romanian women to sex trafficking. Sentencing data for this conviction was not available.
Some NGOs reported that, while the law does not require victims to participate in law enforcement investigations in order to access services, in practice, the small number of victims who access specialized services for victims of trafficking were limited to those identified by law enforcement and who were participating in active criminal proceedings. The government trained 96 labor inspectors on how to identify and report suspected trafficking situations, and to date, nearly half of all labor inspectors have been trained on anti-trafficking awareness. The government also trained 30 prosecutors, 30 judges, and several immigration and equality officials on anti-trafficking awareness. It did not report any investigations or prosecutions of government employees for alleged complicity in trafficking-related offenses during the reporting period.
The government maintained efforts to protect and assist victims of trafficking in 2012. The government is investigating 93 identified victims of trafficking out of 125 potential victims flagged in 2012, compared to 23 confirmed out of 71 potential victims flagged in 2011. Of the 53 trafficking victims identified within Portugal in 2012, 36 were subjected to forced labor, including 31 children. Forty Portuguese men were identified abroad as victims of labor trafficking. The government continued to subsidize one NGO-run shelter in Porto that specialized in care for victims of trafficking and provided the equivalent of approximately $136,630 to its operation in 2012, which was consistent with the level of support provided in 2011. The shelter provides legal, psychological, medical, social, education, and vocational assistance. Nine women and their minor dependents were served by the shelter in 2012. Other identified victims received from the government nutritional assistance, child protective services, and assistance with return to country of origin. Male victims were referred to homeless shelters and additional services from NGOs. NGOs reported that child victims of trafficking were under-identified; officials were not well-trained to detect trafficking indicators among the vulnerable population of children in out-of-home care. Some NGOs were reluctant to report trafficking cases to the police out of fear that an investigation might expose victims to the traffickers as potential witnesses, concern over victims' confidentiality, and apprehension that a report to law enforcement might result in a victim's removal from the country. The government maintained that victim identification and access to services is not dependent on victims' willingness to assist law enforcement. The majority of victims confirmed by the government were referred by law enforcement; in the absence of confirmed identification by the government, victims referred by NGOs but not involved in an investigation did not, in practice, receive assistance from the government. Portugal's anti-trafficking law provides for a "reflection period" of up to 60 days--time in which victims can recover before deciding whether to cooperate with law enforcement--however, no cases were reported in which a presumed victim of trafficking was granted this reflection period during the reporting period. The law also provides for a residence permit that may be issued before the end of the reflection period if the victim agrees to cooperate with law enforcement or based on a personal situation with regard to the victim's security, health, or family. Twenty-nine victims were issued a residence permit in 2012.
The Government of Portugal sustained efforts to prevent trafficking in persons during the year. The government adopted the UNODC "Blue Heart" campaign against human trafficking and disseminated awareness information and materials aimed at the general population through the radio, television, print media, and billboards. The government translated into Portuguese a UNODC manual for criminal justice practitioners and disseminated it to Brazil, Angola, Sao Tome and Principe, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, and East Timor. The government also organized and funded training in Lisbon for 20 law enforcement officials from Portuguese-speaking countries. The government organized a conference on labor trafficking for parliamentarians, government officials, diplomats, and NGOs. Portugal's national action plan to combat trafficking, launched in 2011, remains valid through 2013. The Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality was responsible for coordinating anti-trafficking activities with support from a technical committee of various ministries and the presidency of the Council of Ministers. Implementation of the second phase of the national action plan focused on training of labor inspectors, prosecutors, and judges. The government's Observatory on Trafficking in Human Beings maintained a website, Facebook page, and blog to promote public awareness of human trafficking. The government reported it launched several campaigns to raise public awareness on human trafficking, including among potential clients of the sex trade. The government did not demonstrate efforts to reduce the demand for forced labor. The government did not report any efforts to reduce the participation in international child sex tourism by Portuguese nationals and the government did not report any cases of alleged child sex tourism during the reporting period.
QATAR (Tier 2)
Qatar is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and, to a lesser extent, forced prostitution. Men and women from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Sudan, Thailand, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya, Burma, Nigeria, and China voluntarily migrate to Qatar as low-skilled laborers and domestic servants, but many subsequently face involuntary servitude. According to Qatar University's Social and Economic Survey Research Institute, a November 2012 study found that 86 percent of expatriate workers surrendered their passports to employers. There are also reports of widespread nonpayment of wages. Female domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to trafficking due to their isolation in private residences and lack of protection under Qatari labor laws. Many migrant workers arriving for work in Qatar have paid exorbitant fees to recruiters in their home countries--a practice that makes workers highly vulnerable to forced labor once in Qatar. Moreover, Qatar's sponsorship system binds foreign workers to their designated employers, placing a significant amount of power in the hands of employers; because of this, when workers face abuse, they often avoid legal action because of the lengthy recourse process, fear of reprisal, or lack of knowledge of their legal rights. Qatar is also a destination for women who migrate for legitimate purposes and subsequently become involved in prostitution, but the extent to which these women are subjected to forced prostitution is unknown. Some of these women may be runaway domestic workers who have fallen prey to forced prostitution by individuals who exploit their illegal status.
The Government of Qatar 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 demonstrate efforts to address human trafficking, particularly through prosecuting trafficking offenders, proactively identifying trafficking victims, and implementing awareness campaigns. The government improved its protection measures by training officials on victim identification procedures and continued to implement a national referral mechanism. However, officials continued to punish some victims for crimes committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking and only assisted victims who lodged official complaints prior to being arrested by authorities. The government continued to operate a shelter for trafficking victims, which provided a variety of protection services. Nonetheless, the government did not demonstrate efforts to abolish the sponsorship system, nor did it strictly enforce a legal provision that criminalizes withholding of passports.
Recommendations for Qatar: Implement anti-trafficking legislation by increasing efforts to investigate, prosecute, convict, and punish trafficking offenses under the law; collect, disaggregate, analyze, and disseminate counter-trafficking law enforcement data; institute and consistently apply formal procedures to identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable groups, such as those arrested for immigration violations or prostitution; enforce the criminalization of passport-withholding, and mandate employees receive residence cards within one week as a means of preventing trafficking abuses; abolish or significantly amend provisions of Qatar's sponsorship law to prevent the forced labor of migrant workers, particularly as demand for migrant workers grows in association with construction for the 2022 FIFA World Cup; continue to train government officials on the anti-trafficking law and conduct anti-trafficking public awareness campaigns; and punish employers who withhold workers' wages.
The Government of Qatar made limited law enforcement efforts to combat its human trafficking problem over the year. Qatar's comprehensive anti-trafficking law, Law No. 15, which was enacted in October 2011, prohibits all forms of trafficking and prescribes penalties of no more than seven years' imprisonment and up to the equivalent of $82,000 in fines, with prescribed penalties of no more than 15 years' imprisonment for trafficking offenses committed with aggravating circumstances. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with other serious crimes, such as kidnapping. Qatar also prohibits employers' withholding of workers' passports under the 2009 Sponsorship Law, though the law was not rigorously enforced. During the reporting period, the government reported two prosecutions for forced labor under Article 322 of the penal code, which addresses forced and bonded labor; both cases were pending at the end of the reporting period. The Qatar Foundation to Combat Human Trafficking (QFCHT), Qatar's national coordinating body for anti-trafficking activities, also referred 19 suspected trafficking cases for prosecution, eight of which involved the rape of domestic workers; however, it was unclear how many of these cases constituted human trafficking offenses. The government did not report any investigations or prosecutions of public officials for alleged complicity in trafficking-related offenses. During the reporting period, QFCHT funded and conducted eight anti-trafficking trainings for law enforcement and judicial personnel; the Police Training Institute continued to train Ministry of Interior officials on trafficking investigations.
The government made sustained progress in protecting victims of trafficking during the reporting period through implementation of systematic procedures to proactively identify victims of trafficking among vulnerable populations, such as foreign workers, and the government continued to provide protective services to victims. The QFCHT continued to distribute a manual to law enforcement, immigration authorities, and social service providers on procedures to proactively identify victims of trafficking. The QFCHT continued to operate a trafficking shelter for women and children, which provided access to medical and psycho-social care, social services, rehabilitation and reintegration programs, repatriation assistance, and legal aid. Victims had the right to leave the shelter without supervision, and victims were able to access the shelter even if their employers had filed charges against them. The shelter also provided long-term housing during judicial proceedings, and shelter residents were able to earn an income through work at the shelter's rehabilitation center. The shelter assisted 40 female suspected trafficking victims, some of whom were victims of forced labor, during the reporting period. The government continued to use its national victim referral system to coordinate victim identification and referral efforts between government authorities and nongovernment organizations. Government officials, including police, public prosecutors, and other government ministry officials, reportedly referred some trafficking victims to the shelter in this reporting period.
While some officials encouraged victims to participate in the prosecution of trafficking offenders, other officials did not equate involuntary labor exploitation with human trafficking. Under Qatar's sponsorship law, employers, also known as sponsors, had the unilateral power to cancel workers' residency permits, deny workers' ability to change employers, report a worker as a runaway to police authorities, and deny workers permission to leave the country. As a result, some workers were afraid to report abuses or assert their rights for fear of reprisal. Victims of trafficking were often punished for unlawful acts they committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking; specifically, Qatari authorities regularly arrested, detained, and deported potential trafficking victims for immigration violations and running away from their employers or sponsors. Ministry of Interior officials interviewed all detainees in the deportation center and were required to determine whether the workers were victims of trafficking and offer them protection. However, some victims occasionally languished in detention centers for up to six months because of debts owed or, more rarely, employers filed false charges of theft against them. The costs of legal representation under these circumstances were borne by the worker but were often waived by the government due to inability to pay. Domestic workers, who were not covered under the provisions of the labor law, continued to face difficulties seeking legal redress for abuses through civil court action. For example, civil suits could only be filed against an employer for that employer's failure to meet his/her financial obligations to the domestic worker; in practice, civil suits were rare but have increased in number. Trafficking victims had the option to remain in the country during judicial proceedings or request an immediate exit visa. The government and the QFCHT also transferred sponsorships and assisted in job placement for some victims who chose to remain in Qatar. The government did not offer most foreign trafficking victims legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they may face retribution or hardship.
Qatar made significant progress in preventing trafficking in persons during the reporting period through raising public awareness of human trafficking and implementing its National Plan for Combating Human Trafficking for 2010-2015; however, the government did not reform Qatar's sponsorship law, which contributes to forced labor in the country. The QFCHT continued to conduct anti-trafficking awareness campaigns, and it published trafficking awareness materials for foreign workers in multiple languages. The QFCHT also hosted a regional conference with 300 participants from Arab countries to discuss human trafficking trends, and the government strengthened ties with labor-sending countries to collaborate on ways to combat trafficking. In October 2012, the QFCHT launched the National Alliance to Combat Human Trafficking, which brought together civil society and government agencies to collaborate on anti-trafficking efforts. The government also established an anti-trafficking hotline in October 2012, though it was unclear how many trafficking victims were identified through the hotline. The government routinely inspected and monitored recruitment companies and actively sought to punish companies that were found making fraudulent offers or imposing exorbitant fees in selling visas. Through a series of raids conducted by the Ministries of Interior and Labor, the government blacklisted 8,000 companies for labor law violations and cancelled the registration of 15 recruitment firms in 2012. The government also reported convicting two individuals for selling forged work visas in this reporting period. The government did not, however, systematically investigate companies to prevent passport withholding. Although the sponsorship law requires an employer to secure a residence card for laborers within seven days, reports indicated that this sometimes did not happen; this restricts migrant workers' mobility and impedes their ability to access health care or lodge complaints at the labor department. The government publicly called for adherence to Islamic principles in an effort to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts and to prevent child sex tourism of Qataris traveling abroad.
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|Publication:||Trafficking in Persons|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2013|
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