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Trafficking in Persons Interim Assessment  
Released by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
February 28, 2008

Trafficking in Persons Interim Assessment

2007 Trafficking in Persons Report

The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, passed by the Congress and signed into law by the President in December 2003, requires the Department of State to submit to the Congress an Interim Assessment of the progress made in combating trafficking in persons (TIP) by those countries and territories placed on the Special Watch List in October 2007. The evaluation period covers the six months since the release of the June 2007 annual report.

This year, 41 countries and territories are on the Special Watch List. These countries and territories either (1) had moved up a tier in the 2007 TIP Report over the last year’s Report; or (2) were ranked on Tier 2 in the 2007 TIP Report, but (a) had failed to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat TIP from the previous year, (b) were placed on Tier 2 because of commitments to carry out additional future actions over the coming year, or (c) had a significant or significantly increasing number of trafficking victims. Thirty-four of the 41 countries and territories on the Special Watch List are in the second category – ranked as Tier 2 Watch List, including two countries initially ranked as Tier 3 in the June 2007 TIP Report, but reassessed as Tier 2 Watch List countries by the State Department in September 2007 (Equatorial Guinea and Kuwait). Attached to this Interim Assessment is an overview of the tier process.

In most cases, the Interim Assessment is intended to serve as a tool by which to gauge the anti‑trafficking progress of countries and territories which may be in danger of slipping a tier in the upcoming June 2008 TIP Report and to give them guidance on how to avoid a Tier 3 ranking. It is a tightly focused progress report, assessing the concrete actions a government has taken to address the key deficiencies highlighted in the June 2007 TIP Report. The Interim Assessment covers actions undertaken between the beginning of May – the cutoff for data covered in the June TIP Report – and November. Readers are requested to refer back to the annual TIP Report for an analysis of large‑scale efforts and a description of the trafficking problem in each particular country or territory.

Tier Process

The Department placed each of the countries or territories included on the 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report into one of the three lists, described here as tiers, mandated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, as amended (TVPA). This placement reflects an evaluation of a government’s actions to combat trafficking. The Department first evaluates whether the government fully complies with the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Countries and territories whose governments do so are placed in Tier 1. For other countries and territories, the Department considers whether their governments made significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance. Countries and territories whose governments are making significant efforts to meet the minimum standards are placed in Tier 2. Those countries and territories whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so are placed in Tier 3. Finally, the Special Watch List criteria are considered and, if applicable, Tier 2 countries and territories are placed on the Tier 2 Special Watch List.

The Tiers

Tier 1: Countries and territories whose governments fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards.

Tier 2: Countries and territories whose governments do not fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

Tier 2 Special Watch List: Countries and territories whose governments do not fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards, and:

a) The absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is increasing significantly; or

b) There is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year; or

c) The determination that a country or territory is making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country or territory to take additional future steps over the next year.

Tier 3: Countries and territories whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.

As required by the TVPA, in making tier determinations between Tiers 2 and 3, the Department considers the overall extent of human trafficking in the country or territory; the extent of government noncompliance with the minimum standards, particularly the extent to which government officials have participated in, facilitated, condoned, or are otherwise complicit in trafficking; and what reasonable measures the government would have to take to come into compliance with the minimum standards within the government’s resources and capabilities.

AFRICA

Burundi

The Government of Burundi acknowledges the problem of trafficking in persons and has made progress in its anti-trafficking efforts. In early 2007, an amendment to Burundi’s Criminal Code, drafted in a joint effort between the Ministry of Justice and members of civil society, was transferred to the Parliament for passage. Among other provisions, the amendment defines acts of prostitution and human trafficking, and delineates the methods of prosecution and punishment for such crimes. Due to an impasse in the political process in mid-2007, the bill is only now being debated in committee by the National Assembly.

There were no known investigations or prosecutions of anyone suspected of trafficking children in prostitution or engaging in any other form of human trafficking during the reporting period. Although government officials and Burundian security forces, including the Brigade for the Protection of Women and Children, are aware of major centers for child prostitution in the vicinity of Bujumbura, a survey into the conditions of these children has not taken place.

There were no demobilizations of children associated with the Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People – National Forces of Liberation, the sole rebel group remaining outside the government’s control, during the period since the June 2007 Report because of a lack of progress in the implementation of the ceasefire agreement. However, during the reporting period, the government’s Demobilization Department worked with an international NGO to provide vocational training, conflict resolution training, and income generating projects to assist with the reintegration of 538 previously demobilized child soldiers throughout Burundi into civilian life. The Department also provided medical assistance to children suffering from physical and psychological trauma.

The Central African Republic

The Government of the Central African Republic (GOCAR) demonstrated minimal progress to combat trafficking in persons since the release of the 2007 TIP Report. The GOCAR has not finalized, passed, or enacted its draft law prohibiting trafficking in persons, although the government held a conference on Central African Justice at which participants made recommendations for improvements to the draft law. The government also did not take steps to train police about trafficking.

The government failed to increase efforts to identify trafficking victims or liaise with civil society to protect victims. However, the Ministry of Labor collaborated with UNICEF to conduct a study on violence associated with child labor in the GOCAR. The field work has been completed and the Ministry of Labor is finalizing a report on the findings.

In commemoration of the Day of the African Child, the GOCAR launched a three-week public awareness campaign about child protection issues, including trafficking.

Chad

The Government of Chad demonstrated minimal progress to combat trafficking in persons since the release of the 2007 TIP Report. The government announced that a Judicial Reform Commission, which seeks to bring national laws into conformity with international conventions – including laws dealing with trafficking offenses – has been reconvened.

Chad signed an accord with UNICEF to demobilize child soldiers in the Chadian National Army in May 2007, leading to the release since May of over 400 child soldiers to UNICEF. However, in July, the government barred UNICEF access to military bases, obstructing the organization’s efforts to continue its demobilization efforts. Reports also indicate that Chad continues to unlawfully recruit children into its armed forces.


The government did not take steps to increase awareness of trafficking in Chad. However, government action to arrest foreign NGO workers who appear to have fraudulently transported children from Chad stimulated media reports on child protection issues in Chad, including trafficking.

Djibouti

The Government of Djibouti has shown clear progress and a greater commitment to combating human trafficking since the June 2007 TIP Report. In October, the President of Djibouti and the Council of Ministers approved a draft comprehensive anti-trafficking law and presented it to the National Assembly for debate and adoption. The bill includes definitions of punishable acts and the jurisdictional framework needed to more effectively combat trafficking. The Council’s approval of this anti-trafficking draft law was heavily publicized, and dominated the entire front page of the country’s only daily newspaper, which is government-run, sending a clear message to both security forces and citizens of the government’s intent to combat human trafficking. The law was passed by the National Assembly on December 8 and will take effect when signed by the President.

A French national, who fled Djibouti after being convicted of sexually exploiting two boys, was recently recaptured by police upon returning to the country and sent to prison. In addition, the Attorney General’s office announced the opening of an investigation into a child sexual exploitation network dating back to the 1990s. Police searched the homes of the accused network organizers and arrested two French nationals after finding evidence, allegedly, of child pornography; it is not yet clear whether the alleged crimes constitute human trafficking.

NGOs and the government-run orphanage for girls reported greater levels of government collaboration in providing assistance to street women and children, most of whom are foreign nationals and at risk of trafficking. This follows the recent declaration by the Ministry of the Promotion of Women that all street children are to be classified as “very vulnerable.”

Equatorial Guinea

The Government of Equatorial Guinea demonstrated limited progress in its law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking in persons since the release of the 2007 TIP Report. While the government has pledged to train police on anti-trafficking issues and construct victim shelters, it failed to demonstrate progress in protecting trafficking victims and took minimal action toward raising awareness about trafficking.

A trafficking in persons component has been added to government-funded human rights training for police and military forces. While police have not reported any arrests or prosecutions of traffickers, they have patrolled markets and bars where trafficking is likely to occur. The government has developed a standard operating procedure (SOP) for authorities to follow when investigating trafficking cases and identifying victims. Equatorial Guinea plans to distribute the SOP on wallet-sized cards to appropriate officials.

The government did not make progress in developing a system through which rescued trafficking victims may receive care. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is planning an inter-agency roundtable discussion on the issue. The government has reached out to the diplomatic community for assistance in developing awareness-raising tools about trafficking.

The Gambia

The Government of The Gambia demonstrated clear progress since the release of the 2007 TIP Report by enacting a comprehensive law against trafficking in persons in October 2007. In other areas of its anti-trafficking response, however, the government’s efforts were limited.

The Gambia’s new law prohibits the trafficking of adults and children, prescribes a minimum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment, and establishes a national agency dedicated to addressing trafficking in persons issues. While this agency will be responsible for future law enforcement efforts, The Gambia did not report any new trafficking investigations, arrests, or prosecutions. However, police received some training on trafficking.

The new anti-trafficking legislation also establishes a trafficking victim fund that will provide victims with food, shelter, rehabilitation, reintegration, and repatriation services. The government has not yet reported an increase in the number of victims rescued or provided with care. The Gambia did not finalize its draft anti-TIP national action plan, but the Attorney General is organizing a workshop to do so.

Kenya

The Government of Kenya made significant progress in publicly acknowledging the existence of human trafficking and taking steps to combat it since the release of the June 2007 TIP Report. On numerous occasions, senior government officials, including Vice President Awori, spoke publicly about trafficking and attended many awareness-raising events, including the Day of the African Child in June.

Police are currently investigating a number of significant cases, including the suspected trafficking of a Kenyan girl to The Netherlands and four children to Ireland. In addition, two children trafficked to Tanzania for forced labor were rescued by Kenyan officials and placed in a children’s home; the investigation is ongoing as police believe the perpetrators to be harboring an additional 40 children and six adults. Upon the conclusion of a police investigation, two women were charged with child defilement and child prostitution after luring a 14-year old girl to their home and inducing her into commercial sexual exploitation. Six people in Bomet and Nandi Districts of Rift Valley Province were charged with the sale and trafficking of children; 14 victimized children were removed from their exploitative situation and placed in a children’s home in Nandi.

In September, stakeholders, including the Ministries of Justice, Home Affairs, Labor, and the Office of the President, provided comments on the draft human trafficking bill to the Attorney General. The National Steering Committee to Combat Human Trafficking held several meetings attended by key government ministries. Its sub-committee appointed to draft a national action plan received two days of training from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), after which it convened three drafting sessions and presented an initial outline of the plan to the Committee for circulation in October. Based on the comments of various ministries and other stakeholders, the sub-committee will present a more detailed action plan in January.

Fifteen newly appointed ambassadors received a first-ever briefing on human trafficking at Kenya’s Foreign Service Institute. Preparations are underway for a comprehensive briefing from the Ministries of Labor and Home Affairs and IOM for mid-grade and junior officers on their responsibilities in assisting Kenyan victims. In July, a district-level anti-child sex tourism committee was established in Malindi.

Mauritania

The Government of Mauritania demonstrated clear progress in combating trafficking in persons offenses, including slavery, since the release of the 2007 TIP Report through the passage of new anti-slavery legislation. Mauritania’s president also announced that eradicating slavery is a priority of his administration. Deficiencies remain, however, in key areas of Mauritania’s response to trafficking.

Improving on its prior anti-slavery law, Mauritania’s new legislation defines slavery and prescribes ten years’ imprisonment for violators. While necessary implementing regulations for the law have yet to be developed, an implementation working group has been established. Since the June release of the 2007 Report, Mauritanian police arrested two individuals for subjecting two minors to forced servitude in a case referred to police by the country’s leading anti-slavery NGO. The government failed, however, to take steps to ensure that trafficking victims are not incarcerated and did not provide increased care to child victims of forced begging.

Mozambique

The Government of Mozambique has made some progress in combating human trafficking since the release of the June 2007 TIP Report. A comprehensive anti-trafficking bill, jointly drafted by the Ministry of Justice and civil society, was approved by the Council of Ministers in August and forwarded to the National Assembly for debate and passage.

Since June 2007, law enforcement officials investigated one suspected case of trafficking. A government labor inspector found approximately 100 workers employed by a flower company – who had been fraudulently recruited with promises of good working conditions – in slave-like conditions, working long hours without proper protective equipment, and living in tents without access to safe drinking water or bathrooms. The government immediately suspended the company’s operations and ordered the return of workers to their home provinces. The Ministry of Labor provided cars to transport more than 40 of the workers back to their home provinces.

In November, the government extended coverage of a one-day trafficking seminar for new police officers that began in 2006 in the country’s central provinces to include the northern provinces.

The government has yet to launch a nationwide campaign to foster public awareness of human trafficking among government officials and private citizens. As a result, most Mozambicans, including many law enforcement officials, reportedly still do not have a clear understanding of what constitutes trafficking. The government also continues to lack formalized procedures for identifying potential victims and transferring them to organizations with the capacity to provide care.

South Africa

The Government of South Africa continued its slow but steady progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2007 TIP Report. The Children's Act of 2005 was amended by Parliament in November 2007; it will be translated and then signed by the President. Implementing regulations are being prepared; full implementation of the law’s provisions on child trafficking cannot begin until the regulations are adopted. Dissemination of the regulations is expected in early 2008. The comment period on a draft comprehensive human trafficking bill closed at the end of June 2007, and South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) staff continue preparing the recommended final text of the bill for expected submission to SALRC officials in March 2008.

The government continued prosecution of existing trafficking cases. In November, racketeering charges were filed against the suspected trafficker in a December 2006 sex trafficking case involving Thai women. Four cooperating Thai witnesses remain in protective custody and are expected to testify when the case comes to trial in early 2008.

In June 2007, a South African man was arrested for allegedly trafficking a Zimbabwean woman to South Africa with promises of a job. Prior to his arrest, the victim was deported without being identified as a trafficking victim, though she later revealed her ordeal to a counselor during processing at IOM’s Beitbridge, Zimbabwe repatriation center. Zimbabwean authorities notified the South African Police Service who arrested the perpetrator. He remains in custody under charges of violating migration laws and the Sexual Offenses Act; no trial date has been set.

Because human trafficking is not an official category of crime, South Africa has not begun to track or document anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. Systematic victim identification procedures of undocumented migrants before their deportation have also been delayed. During the reporting period, more than 400 South African judges, police officials, social workers, and representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Consular Affairs Section received anti-trafficking training from IOM and external sources. In addition, the government actively partnered with IOM’s various public awareness raising programs by providing logistical support and distribution of materials to targeted groups.

Since the 2007 TIP Report, the Department of Home Affairs referred one child victim of trafficking to IOM for assistance. The Department of Social Development (DSD) provided the victim with shelter accommodation, schooling, and basic needs. DSD did not refer any children for assistance during the reporting period. The government made little progress in investigating the cross-border trafficking of Mozambican and Malawian children for agricultural labor.

Zimbabwe

The Government of Zimbabwe showed minimum progress overall in addressing trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2007 TIP Report. A steady decline in resources severely impedes the government’s ability to investigate and prosecute human trafficking cases, though it sustained modest efforts in providing protection to trafficking victims and preventing new incidents of trafficking. There was no progress on the drafting of anti-trafficking legislation.

None of the investigations or cases reported in the 2007 Report has resulted in prosecutions; resource constraints facing the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the judiciary remain a severe hindrance. However, since April, the ZRP conducted investigations into two new trafficking cases. In one case, a suspected trafficker promised two young Zimbabwean women jobs in Mozambique, but forced them to work in a flea market without pay. The victims escaped to Zimbabwe and the case was ultimately reported to the Interpol National Central Bureau’s Zimbabwe office. The Interpol office referred the case to the ZRP’s Victim Friendly Unit. Police arrested the individual and an investigation is ongoing.

The government allocated land in Plumtree, near the border with Botswana, to IOM to establish a second immigration reception center. The government continued to cooperate with IOM to broadcast an anti-trafficking awareness radio campaign. During each quarter of the year, the four government-run radio stations – the only source of domestic radio broadcasts – aired anti-trafficking spots 20 times per day for a two-week period in five languages.

EUROPE

Armenia

The Government of Armenia has made minimal progress in addressing trafficking in persons since the release of the 2007 TIP Report. Most notably, it did not take steps to combat trafficking-related corruption.

The government continued to use its anti-trafficking law to investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers. The Prosecutor General’s office regularly publishes on its website crime reports that include detailed reports and statistics on trafficking crimes. The government continues to fail to address trafficking-related official complicity and did not vigorously investigate or prosecute official corruption as it relates to trafficking.

Government agencies referred an increased number of trafficking victims to appropriate NGO care, but did not provide financial assistance to anti-trafficking NGOs. The government has not yet drafted a national referral mechanism, although a working group was established in October 2007. In December 2007, the government approved the new 2007-2009 National Plan of Action on Combating Trafficking in Persons, and elevated the inter-agency anti-TIP commission to a ministerial council chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister. The government conducted a trafficking awareness program for orphans who are leaving the state’s care, a highly vulnerable group. In September 2007, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs co-hosted an anti-trafficking awareness seminar with an international organization that resulted in media appearances by officials and NGOs.

Belarus

The government of Belarus has made some progress in its efforts to combat trafficking in persons since the release of the 2007 TIP Report. The government established an anti-TIP training center in its National Police Academy, several TIP-related NGOs reported improved collaboration with authorities, and the government began to publicly acknowledge the work of local NGOs; however, direct government funding for victim protection and assistance improvements remained insufficient. Moreover, the government’s approach to trafficking is errantly focused, in part, on controlling migration.

The government invested considerable resources in the new anti-TIP training center aimed at teaching government officials to deal more effectively with TIP and assist victims. Belarusian diplomats abroad provided help in repatriating nationals trafficked abroad, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently included IOM training for Belarusian consular officers to reinforce this effort. Although the government made some progress to improve law enforcement’s treatment of victims, some victim’s testimony continued to be coerced as the official policy of non-coercion of victims has not been fully assimilated through the police ranks.

While the government has given modest in-kind assistance to NGOs combating trafficking, Belarus has still not provided funding for victim assistance programs codified into law in 2005, and although there were some bureaucratic improvements for trafficking-related work, NGOs continued to face an overly burdensome government approval process for projects, as part of the overall environment NGOs face in Belarus. The government-run hotline does not offer a wide range of services to potential victims, but authorities cooperate with and refer callers to the more effective NGO hotlines.

Cyprus

The government of Cyprus made tangible progress on combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2007 TIP Report; however, important reforms on punishment for traffickers and prevention of trafficking remain unfulfilled.

On July 13, the Government of Cyprus enacted a much anticipated comprehensive trafficking law that criminalizes all severe forms of trafficking and provides for a one-month reflection period for trafficking victims. The Cypriot government allocated resources dedicated for the protection of TIP victims by giving $25,000 to the NGO STIGMA, which until November 26 operated the island’s only shelter for trafficking victims. The government of Cyprus officially opened its long-promised trafficking shelter on November 26 and housed its first victims there on November 27. From March to October 2007, the Cypriot Social Welfare Office offered assistance to 60 victims of trafficking, providing shelter to 22 victims in state-run eldercare facilities and financial assistance to 38 of victims in other accommodations. Sentences for persons charged with trafficking remain inadequate. Since the 2007 Report, the Cypriot police anti-trafficking unit reported that there were nine convictions for cases prepared for trial under trafficking charges. One individual was fined, seven were imprisoned for one year or less, and one individual received a prison sentence of 3.5 years.

The government has not demonstrated a restriction or abolition of “artiste” work permits, which are used to exploit trafficking victims, and instead has continued to issue a large number of such permits. As part of demand reduction efforts, the government continued to distribute anti-trafficking fliers and posters and air UN produced public service announcements on trafficking on the state-run television station. Although NGOs recently launched a comprehensive demand reduction campaign that would address a key deficiency in the government’s anti-trafficking efforts, the NGOs declined the government’s funding after the government asked the NGOs to modify their campaign. Hence, no government funding was provided towards this long-awaited initiative. In September, the government allocated $61,690 for a separate demand reduction campaign, to start early in 2008.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic showed continued progress in its efforts to combat trafficking in persons since its upgrade to Tier One in the June 2007 TIP Report. The government identified human trafficking as a law enforcement and judicial priority by investigating trafficking cases, expanding law enforcement training, initiating new awareness campaigns, and improving protections for trafficking victims.

Since June 2007, Czech police investigated 18 cases under the state’s Trafficking in Persons statute. The government prosecuted 15 traffickers, resulting in four convictions: three traffickers were sentenced to prison sentences of between 5-15 years, while one received a suspended sentence. This compares to one conviction last year under the trafficking statute, which resulted in a suspended sentence.

The government increased its law enforcement training on trafficking in persons during the first half of the reporting period. It continued to require anti-trafficking courses at the national police academy, as well as continuing education requirements for police officers. Additionally, the government incorporated an anti-trafficking curriculum into the academy for judges. The government continued to raise anti-trafficking awareness through the distribution of an informational guide on labor trafficking to police, labor inspectors, and tax offices. It increased funding for social workers who assist victims of trafficking and established a “Center for Migration” to provide analysis of illegal employment and produce anti-trafficking literature in relevant foreign languages.

The government improved its protection for trafficking victims by increasing the reflection period for identified victims from 30 to 60 days, and by relaxing a requirement for victims who decide to cooperate. Victims who now choose to cooperate in police investigations, but do not testify in court, will not lose victim protections and benefits. 

Georgia

The Government of Georgia showed continued progress in addressing trafficking in persons since its upgrade to Tier One in the 2007 TIP Report. The government proactively identified trafficking victims; increased staffing for the anti-trafficking law enforcement unit; conducted anti-trafficking training for police officers, special operations officers, border guards, and prosecutors; consistently implemented its National Referral Mechanism; and proactively investigated and prosecuted traffickers.

Since April 1, 2007, the government identified 19 trafficking victims; 15 choose to cooperate in a law enforcement investigation. The government also worked with NGOs to ensure victims not involved in a law enforcement investigation received assistance. Georgia funded $30,600 for the opening of a second trafficking victim shelter in Tbilisi in September 2007. The government continued to require all new police to complete basic anti-trafficking training and specialized advanced training for Border Police and the Special Operations Division.

Between April and November 2007, the Prosecutor General's office reported 18 trafficking investigations, of which five involved possible internal trafficking. Seven of the 18 cases involved external trafficking, mainly for sexual exploitation in Turkey. During the same time period, the government prosecuted 13 trafficking cases initiated between 2005-2007. In May 2007, the Georgian Parliament enacted a new law criminalizing the use of services of a TIP victim.

Hungary

The Hungarian government has not demonstrated further evidence of appreciable progress in its efforts to combat trafficking in persons since its upgrade to Tier One in the June 2007 TIP Report.

The Government of Hungary’s draft of the 2007 National Anti-Trafficking Strategy has yet to be finalized and implemented; the date of its passage is uncertain. Prevention efforts remained weak as Hungary did not implement policies or programs to tackle demand reduction. The government did not provide the data necessary to demonstrate that it vigorously prosecuted traffickers; nor has it demonstrated that convicted traffickers served more time in prison. With regard to victim protection efforts, established identification and referral procedures for potential trafficking victims remain unimplemented. The Hungarian National Bureau of Investigation’s information center dedicated to collecting TIP-related statistics, including victims and perpetrators, remains in the planning stages. The Government of Hungary provided funds for a TIP-related pilot training in April 2007.

Moldova

The Government of Moldova has made minimal progress in its efforts to combat trafficking in persons since the release of the 2007 TIP Report. Although the number of trafficking investigations has increased, and a national referral system pilot program continues to develop, the Moldovan government has not yet appointed appropriate leadership to its national anti-trafficking committee or implemented its National Action Plan on Preventing Trafficking. Despite a persistent problem of trafficking-related corruption at all levels of government, it has also failed to show progress in addressing the serious problem of complicity in trafficking by public officials, and the majority of convicted traffickers did not receive jail sentences.

The government continued to assist victims though the nascent national referral system, paid the salaries of 547 social workers, and provided limited in-kind support to some NGOs, but international organizations and NGOs funded by foreign donors provided most monetary contributions for victim assistance and protection. Moreover, the Moldovan government showed no evidence of proactive efforts to identify trafficking victims.

Russia

The Government of Russia has made minimal progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2007 TIP Report. Although the government continued to vigorously investigate cases of human trafficking, Russia demonstrated little progress in improving assistance provided to victims.

Russia lacks a national action plan on trafficking in persons and a federal committee to coordinate national and regional government anti-trafficking efforts and to work with NGOs and international organizations to ensure that trafficking victims are provided with shelter and assistance. No formal procedures exist to identify victims of trafficking and to refer them to NGOs and international organizations for assistance; however, the IOM reported an increased number of victims referred for assistance by law enforcement authorities since June 2007.

Accessibility to victim services and the quality of those services still varies from region to region. For example, in one city, the local government provided generous funding for a short-term child shelter that also assists victims of trafficking; however, an NGO-run shelter that assists adult victims in the same city was on the brink of closing in November 2007 due to lack of funding. Other regional and local governments continue to fund shelters for women in distress which assist some trafficking victims, and some regional governments have created programs to address labor trafficking by funding dormitories and migrant centers that help migrants legalize their status and find safe employment. However, foreign and Russian victims found in regions where they do not reside legally are often denied access to state-run general health care and social assistance programs, as local governments restrict these services to local residents. Dedicated federal funding for victim assistance and a national anti-trafficking strategy would improve Russia’s ability to address these problems. A disproportionate share of shelter and assistance costs are borne by international organizations and NGOs receiving support from abroad.

Slovenia

The Government of Slovenia showed continued progress in addressing trafficking in persons since its upgrade to Tier One in the 2007 TIP Report.

Since June 2007, law enforcement officials have completed investigations of five trafficking cases and have sent reports on these cases to the state prosecutor for further action. State prosecutors have launched four investigations into two separate trafficking cases and have filed indictments against four suspects in a trafficking-related case. A Slovenian court convicted four people of trafficking-related offenses, including two Slovak citizens. One of the two Slovenes convicted is serving a sentence of four years and nine months, while the other was convicted of assisting and was given probation. The two Slovak citizens convicted of trafficking-related offenses were sentenced to prison for one year and three months. Although there is no evidence of trafficking awareness training for judges, state prosecutors have received such training. The Police Education Center initiated trafficking awareness training as part of its curriculum, including a five-day training course bringing together crime inspectors and NGO officials.

In 2007, the government ran one program and provided funds for two NGO programs that assisted trafficking victims by providing safe houses and expediting the receipt of residence permits and legal asylum when warranted. As part of its 2008-2009 action plan, the Ministry of Education is working to include TIP awareness in the national school curriculum by 2009. The government has not taken steps to address indigenous demand for commercial sex acts.

Ukraine

The Government of Ukraine made minimal progress in addressing trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2007 TIP Report.

The government, which has acknowledged deficiencies in the area of punishing convicted traffickers, provided statistics indicating that for the first ten months of 2007, the number of traffickers receiving jail time increased slightly. In August 2007, the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) issued instructions to prosecutors around the country to appeal all verdicts that sentenced convicted traffickers to probation rather than jail time. As a result, the PGO has filed appeals resulting in successful increases in sentences in some cases.

The Ukrainian Academy of Judges and the Academy of Prosecutors, with sponsorship from the OSCE, participated in eight seminars for 203 judges and prosecutors from around the country on victim related issues and sensitivity training for TIP-related cases. Also within the context of a regular two-week professional continuing education course, 1025 judges received two to four hours of TIP-related training. However, Ukraine’s Supreme Court provided little formal guidance to courts on procedures for handling trafficking cases. Although the Foreign Ministry held an interagency working group on fraudulent documents and human trafficking, the government did not proactively investigate the nature and extent of complicity by government officials. On the contrary, there was little evidence of efforts by the national government to curb complicity by government officials.

The government has not increased its funding for NGOs providing victims with protection and rehabilitation, but there has been significant support from local governments in this area. IOM reported that local authorities from 14 regions provided direct funding to anti- trafficking NGOs. Courts in Ivano-Frankivsk are implementing a pilot program to develop a modern witness protection program. Thus, while local governments are independently developing victim assistance programs, concrete steps to protect and assist trafficking victims are lacking at the national level.

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC

Cambodia

The Government of Cambodia has made significant progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2007 TIP Report. The government created a national anti-trafficking task force, increased law enforcement action against traffickers and complicit officials, and undertook prevention activities.

Cambodian authorities in April 2007 established the National Task Force to Implement Agreements, Memoranda of Understanding between the Government and Relevant Countries on the Elimination of Trafficking in Persons and Assisting Victims of Trafficking (NTF). The NTF brought in an internationally known recording artist to work with local Cambodian artists to develop a trafficking in persons prevention song to raise awareness. A consultant is assisting the protection and reintegration working group on a survey of data collection methods currently used by the government and civil society. In August, the Deputy Prime Minister set up a Leading Task Force (LTF), sometimes called the High Level Working Group, of minister-level members to act as an oversight mechanism for the NTF. The LTF encouraged local officials of Cambodia’s 24 provinces and municipalities to establish their own local anti-trafficking task forces. The LTF reported that, to date, 11 of these provincial working groups have established secretariats and are considered “active.”

Since June 2007, Cambodian police arrested 17 suspected traffickers and seven pimps for trafficking offenses. Police also arrested three Westerners for child sex tourism offenses. Fifteen traffickers were convicted in the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, while one trafficker and one American charged with child sex tourism were convicted in the Sihanoukville Court. Sentences for all these convictions ranged between seven and seventeen years. In October 2007, police in Sihanoukville arrested a high-profile Russian pedophile along with three Cambodians who provided 19 child victims to the Russian. The Ministry of Justice did not provide prosecution statistics from other jurisdictions due to limited resources.

The Supreme Council of Magistracy removed four judges, including the President of the Appeals Court, and reprimanded three other judges for trafficking-related corruption. Two police officers in the Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department were administratively transferred after being convicted for trafficking-related corruption by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

In August, the Council of Ministers passed the long-awaited draft anti-trafficking law and sent it to the National Assembly in November.

China

The Government of China made modest progress in its efforts to combat trafficking in persons since the release of the 2007 TIP Report. Law enforcement authorities arrested and punished traffickers involved in forced labor practices, but did not provide data on prosecutions, convictions, or sentences for trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. China lacks a comprehensive nationwide victim protection service and has an inadequate number of shelters for victims of trafficking, but the government reportedly made limited progress in the provision of victim identification and protection services in key provinces and border areas.

In June, Chinese media reports revealed significant cases of forced labor in brick kilns in China’s Henan and Shanxi Provinces. Over one thousand farmers, teenagers, and children, including some who were mentally disabled, were forced to work in the kilns and subjected to physical abuse, confinement, fraud, and non-payment of wages. In response, the Chinese government reportedly organized a joint task force to investigate and punish forced labor practices. By mid-August, the government reported it had inspected 277,000 brick kilns and other small-scale enterprises nationwide, and had rescued 1,340 workers. China sentenced one person to death and 28 persons to prison terms of up to life for their roles in these cases. According to government reports, at least four county-level government officials were charged with dereliction of duty, but they received only administrative penalties. These reported actions have not been corroborated by independent NGOs or UN agencies.

China continues to lack comprehensive victim protection services throughout the country; this may be attributable to efforts to focus limited anti-trafficking resources on some of those provinces most vulnerable to trafficking. The Ministries of Public Security and Civil Affairs have some shelters for victims, and the central government has partnered with international organizations and the quasi-governmental All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) to provide services to victims. China does not have enough shelters to house victims, and generally returns trafficking victims to their homes without extensive rehabilitation. Due to the lack of city and provincial funding and awareness, victims generally do not receive recovery support once they have returned to their homes. Most existing shelters are temporary and are not exclusively for victims of trafficking. The Yunnan provincial government, however, is building a halfway house to accommodate Chinese trafficking victims in Kunming. Vietnamese trafficking victims are housed in shelters along the border for temporary medical care and counseling prior to repatriation.

The government, in partnership with international non-governmental organizations and the ACWF, is developing guidelines for the proper care of trafficking victims, including reintegration and protection. The Chinese government has yet to institute a systematic victim identification procedure to identify victims of sex trafficking among those it arrests for prostitution and refer them to organizations providing services.

China has signed several international conventions that address aspects of trafficking, and Article 240 of China’s Criminal Code specifically addresses trafficking. However, China’s laws are still not fully in alignment with international definitions. For example, China's definition of trafficking does not include forced labor, nor does it regard all children over 14 who are trafficked into the commercial sex trade as victims. Chinese law also does not cover the broad range of forms, methods, and purposes of trafficking as defined in the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Protocol). China continues to classify North Korean victims of trafficking as economic migrants and forcibly return them to North Korea where, in all likelihood, they will be punished.

China’s State Council published its long-awaited National Action Plan (NAP) against trafficking in persons on December 13. The NAP spells out anti-trafficking responsibilities to be divided among 28 ministries, and calls for the establishment of an umbrella organization to coordinate the various agencies’ anti-trafficking efforts. China hosted the COMMIT Second Ministerial Summit in Beijing in December.

In July, the All-China Women’s Federation co-sponsored a Children’s Forum that brought together children from across the country to discuss ways to prevent the trafficking of vulnerable youth. The Chinese government, through the ACWF, has conducted training for law enforcement agencies and border entry-exit officials to raise awareness for trafficking.

Fiji

The Government of Fiji has made minimal progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2007 TIP Report. The government has not taken steps to increase the number of investigations, criminal prosecutions, and convictions of child trafficking offenders or child sex tourists. Since June, however, the Department of Justice chaired an interagency Combined Law Agencies Group which met several times to address several law enforcement issues, including trafficking in persons.

Fiji has shown no discernable effort to develop or implement procedures to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations. Similarly, the Fijian government has not conducted any public awareness campaigns about trafficking, either on its own or in collaboration with NGOs or international organizations.

Laos

Since being ranked Tier 2 in the 2007 TIP Report, the Government of Laos has shown modest progress in combating trafficking in persons. Authorities continued to implement an early 2007 revision in government regulation that no longer requires Lao citizens to obtain an exit permit to depart the country. Implementation of this revision has greatly reduced the incidence of penalizing trafficking victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of part of being trafficked. Since the release of the Report, the government has not provided data on the number of arrests or prosecutions of traffickers or complicit officials.

The government Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare continues to collaborate with IOM and a local NGO to monitor the return and reintegration procedures and programs for trafficking victims from abroad.

The primary focus of the government’s anti-trafficking efforts continues to be on trafficking across international borders. However, there were signs of the government’s growing attention to internal trafficking, including statements by senior Lao government officials. In June, officials from the Ministry of Communication, Transport, Post, and Construction, together with provincial officials, participated in a workshop on internal trafficking as road construction in this area is seen as a potential risk factor for trafficking.

In October 2007, the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare and a local NGO began constructing a shelter for trafficking victims in Savannakhet province. This shelter will assist with monitoring and reintegration efforts in the south and be the only shelter in this region. In June, the Lao Bar Association, a quasi-governmental entity, began a legal aid clinic for victims of human rights abuses, including trafficking.

Macau

The authorities of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) have made modest progress in efforts to address trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2007 TIP Report. Under the direction of the Chief Executive of the MSAR, officials began drafting revisions to the MSAR’s criminal code that would eliminate significant deficiencies in the law’s coverage of trafficking in persons crimes. These revisions have not been presented to the MSAR’s legislative assembly, however. The MSAR government showed greater awareness of the trafficking problem facing Macau, with senior officials making a few public statements on the dangers of trafficking and the need for greater measures to confront it.

The Chief Executive also established an interagency committee to deal with trafficking issues, though the committee has not established any tangible programs. The Macau government did not make progress in investigating and prosecuting trafficking offenses. Although the government studied ways to improve the handling of cases involving violence against women, it has not yet instituted a systematic approach towards identifying and protecting victims of trafficking. Moreover, no tangible steps were taken towards dedicating resources for the sheltering or counseling of trafficking victims.

Papua New Guinea

The Government of Papua New Guinea made no discernable progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2007 TIP Report. The government continues to be plagued by corruption while exhibiting a general indifference to trafficking in persons-related crimes. There was no evidence of arrests or convictions of public officials complicit in trafficking in children for sexual exploitation. The government did not provide any data on criminal investigations or prosecutions of trafficking in persons. Interagency rivalries impeded the coordination of efforts to conduct raids on suspected establishments exploiting trafficked persons or against criminal rings that profit from trafficking.

The Papua New Guinea government did not improve its collaboration with civil society to develop or implement procedures to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations. In addition, the government has not collaborated with civil society on anti-trafficking public awareness campaigns.

NEAR EAST

Egypt

The Government of Egypt made minimal progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2007 TIP Report. In July, the government officially formed an interagency committee to address trafficking in persons; since its formation, this National Committee to Combat and Prevent Trafficking in Persons met once in October. In addition, the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, a quasi-governmental organization, drafted a child protection law that includes a provision prohibiting the trafficking of children. It is unclear when this law will be debated in Parliament and passed.

The Government of Egypt, however, provided no data on prosecutions or punishments of traffickers under existing laws against forced labor, rape, and abduction. The inter-ministerial committee identified increasing investigations and prosecutions under existing laws as one of its priorities. As part of its efforts to address bedouin criminal activity in the Sinai, the Government of Egypt is undertaking a comprehensive assessment of trafficking networks in the area.

In addition, the government did not demonstrate efforts to identify or protect victims of trafficking. Border officials interdict foreigners who are illegally traveling to Israel and turn them over to their embassies for repatriation rather than jailing them, but the government still has not given any indication that it interviews them to identify victims of trafficking, thereby undermining potential victims’ ability to participate in criminal investigations or trials against their traffickers. Formal victim identification procedures do not exist in Egypt, and the government took no discernible steps to either train police officers in identifying victims or incorporate social workers or trained psychologists into areas where victims might be found. As such, victims of trafficking may be punished for crimes such as prostitution or vagrancy.

The Government of Egypt also has not acknowledged the significant level of trafficking of children for household and agricultural work. In July, however, state-owned Egyptian television began airing United Nations-produced public service announcements on trafficking for forced labor during prime-time broadcasts.

Kuwait

The Government of Kuwait made modest progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2007 TIP Report. In September, the government opened a shelter for victims of involuntary domestic servitude. The government also drafted and submitted to parliament a draft comprehensive anti-trafficking law prohibiting all forms of trafficking in persons. Kuwait similarly passed a ban on withholding passports, though it is unclear how this regulation is monitored and enforced, and its penalties are limited to warnings and fines.

The government, however, did not report data on any arrests, prosecutions, or convictions for trafficking offenses since the release of the June 2007 report. The Government of Kuwait offered data on four past trafficking cases. In 2004, one employer was jailed for five years for locking his domestic worker in the house, abusing her, and forcing her to work. Three other convicted traffickers received penalties of three years’ imprisonment in 2005 for forcing a foreign woman into prostitution. Since the release of the 2007 TIP Report, the U.S. government requested that the Kuwaiti government remove from the United States one of its U.S.-based diplomats after the U.S. Department of Justice determined, after conducting an investigation, that it had credible evidence that the wife of that Kuwaiti diplomat subjected a domestic worker to involuntary servitude in their U.S. residence. The diplomat and his wife have since departed the United States.

The Government of Kuwait made some improvements in victim protection since June. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor opened a shelter for victims of involuntary domestic servitude in September. The shelter can accommodate up to 200 people, and offers services such as medical, psychological, and legal assistance. Source country embassies, police, and other government offices can refer victims to the shelter. Since its opening, the shelter has accommodated a modest number of victims. Although victims are able to enter and leave freely, it is unclear whether victims will be permitted to stay in the shelter if their employer files a complaint against them. Despite the opening of the shelter, however, Kuwait has not taken any steps to formulate a systematic victim identification procedure to proactively identify and refer victims to protection services.

In addition, the government continued to raise public awareness of workers’ rights through the Ministry of Islamic Affairs’ Barirah program. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor also began distributing brochures on workers’ rights to incoming migrant workers.

Libya

The Government of Libya provided no additional information on its progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2007 TIP Report. The government did not take steps to develop a national plan of action on trafficking in persons, which would provide Libya with a focused anti-trafficking strategy. While the government continues to informally screen foreigners detained for immigration violations to identify trafficking victims, it has yet to institute a formal victim identification mechanism. Libya provided limited protection services, including medical care, for identified victims.

Similarly, despite estimates by international observers that roughly one to two percent of the approximately 1.5 to 2 million foreigners in Libya may be victims of trafficking, the government has not provided data on any criminal investigations or prosecutions of suspected trafficking offenders. In addition, no public awareness program exists to highlight the rights and obligations of employers and workers or to raise general awareness about trafficking in persons.

United Arab Emirates

The Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) made some tangible progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2007 TIP Report. The UAE National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, an interagency committee tasked with formulating the UAE’s anti-trafficking response, met twice since June to coordinate activities at the federal and emirate levels.

The Government of the UAE reported three confirmed trafficking convictions since June 2007 under its comprehensive anti-trafficking statute. In July, a Dubai court sentenced two traffickers to 15-year prison terms after they forced a woman into prostitution; the sentence was reduced to seven years on appeal. A driver convicted for aiding and abetting this crime will spend three years in prison. The government also established a police unit in Dubai specifically tasked with investigating trafficking. The Dubai authorities conducted two training classes on investigating trafficking crimes for 100 police officers. Another anti-trafficking training class in September targeted law enforcement officers, public prosecutors, and other government officials. In addition, the UAE government closed down two notorious nightclubs in Dubai which were known sites of commercial sexual exploitation and possible sex trafficking.

Nonetheless, the UAE did not report any criminal prosecutions or convictions for forced labor. Despite an administrative ban on withholding passports, workers still commonly have their passports confiscated by their employers and their movements restricted. The UAE also did not demonstrate increased efforts to regulate manpower agencies in the UAE or to reform its foreign migrant sponsorship system, which currently contributes to trafficking. To curb the highly prevalent practice of withholding wages as a means of keeping migrant workers in a state of involuntary servitude, the UAE now requires employers to directly deposit wages into electronic bank accounts, and has hired and trained labor inspectors to enforce laws on work sites.

The UAE made some progress in protecting victims of trafficking. In April, the UAE committed $8 million to support repatriated child camel jockeys. In Dubai, the government established the Dubai Women’s and Children’s Foundation, which opened a shelter for victims of abuse in September. This shelter can accommodate up to 260 victims, including victims of trafficking, and will provide services including health care, psychological and legal counseling, vocational training, and recreation. Despite some training programs in victim identification, the UAE continues to lack systematic victim identification procedures to ensure that victims of trafficking are not arrested or punished. As such, it is believed that some victims of trafficking – particularly those who entered UAE illegally, but who were subsequently trafficked – are prosecuted or deported before they can be referred to protection services.

SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA

Kazakhstan

The Government of Kazakhstan made some tangible progress to combat trafficking in person since the release of the June 2007 TIP Report. The Government of Kazakhstan took initial steps to combat trafficking-related government complicity, increased its trafficking convictions and expanded anti-trafficking training. However, the government has not yet implemented a number of planned anti-trafficking reforms.

Since June, the government investigated and prosecuted three police officers for trafficking-related complicity. The government also increased the number of trafficking convictions to 17, and 14 of those convicted are serving time in prison. The average sentence was from five to seven years. It also provided victim identification and protection training for 97 law enforcement officers on anti-trafficking units and funded an information campaign that reached approximately 3,000 people.

Nevertheless, the government failed to provide evidence of increasing efforts to give adequate victim assistance and protection. For example, the Kazakh government’s effort to provide financial assistance for anti-trafficking organizations remains inadequate. Although NGOs are given the opportunity to apply for competitive grants through a social service program, the government has yet to provide specific funding for trafficking shelters or services for victims.

India

Since the release of June 2007 TIP Report, the Government of India made modest progress overall in combating India’s significant trafficking in persons problem; however, the government failed to show significant progress on some key issues, such as bonded labor, ending impunity for government officials complicit in trafficking, and empowering a centralized law enforcement authority.

Since June, the Indian government increased senior-level engagement on trafficking in persons issues. Government officials raised the issue of trafficking and bonded labor in the press and placed advertisements in national newspapers warning against child labor.

In June, the State Government of West Bengal established a police Anti-Human Trafficking Unit, specializing in fighting sex trafficking, in Kolkata. The State Government of Bihar established three similar units in November. India’s Central Bureau of Investigation incorporated anti-trafficking training into its standard curriculum. Arrests of traffickers increased in some states, but the Government of India reported no new prosecutions, convictions, or sentences.

The Government of India created a two-person central “nodal cell” to facilitate nation-wide law enforcement coordination on trafficking in 2006. Due to its small size and limited scope, however, this cell does not adequately equip the central government to provide states the leadership and technical advice needed to address trafficking. The critical need for an effective national-level law enforcement authority continues to impede India’s ability to effectively combat its trafficking in persons problem.

The government took minimal, but inadequate, steps to address the problem of bonded labor throughout the country. The Minister of Labor and Employment highlighted trafficking and bonded labor in an October speech. However, there has been little effort to hold traffickers and employers legally accountable for their actions. The government could also much more fully utilize existing legal provisions, such as the Bonded Labor Act, to provide protection services and compensation to victims of bonded labor.

The Government of India failed to increase the number of investigations into allegations of law enforcement officials’ complicity in trafficking and begin showing increased arrests. The government did not report any prosecutions or punishments of complicit officials. The government could take clear steps to crack down on government complicity at all levels, and follow up investigations with arrests, as appropriate, that lead to effective prosecutions and convictions with meaningful sentencing.

Sri Lanka

The Government of Sri Lanka made limited progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the June 2007 TIP Report. Trafficking crimes are not disaggregated from other criminal violations. The government has reported no new trafficking prosecutions or convictions or progress in creating and implementing victim identification procedures.

The government has not reported any prosecutions or punishments of traffickers for offenses committed since June 2007, including those trafficking children for commercial sexual exploitation. Similarly, it has not demonstrated increased efforts to prosecute or convict labor recruiters using fraudulent tactics to lure workers overseas, and thereby facilitating labor trafficking. However, the government initiated an investigation of a recruitment agent involved in a case where three Muslim children were trafficked abroad. The three Muslim females were to be trafficked to Saudi Arabia as domestic servants. The Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau initiated an investigation. Although the passports contained dates of birth showing them to be over age 18, based on certifications from local authorities, the women appeared to be much younger. The Sri Lanka Police Criminal Investigation Department has taken over the case to develop evidence for a possible trafficking prosecution.

Sri Lanka made limited improvements in protecting victims of trafficking. The government has no formal victim identification procedures, and Sri Lankan law enforcement training programs continue to lack trafficking-specific training on victim identification. Comprehensive care for repatriated victims of trafficking remains a need. However, the government of Sri Lanka has recently opened two temporary shelters for women who are victims of violence, including trafficking both locally and overseas. The first government-sponsored shelter opened in Kalutara in July 2007, joined by a second one in Homogama on November 27, 2007. Both are situated in the Western province, which includes the capital, Colombo. The government continues to run five schools aimed at rehabilitating children trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. Sri Lanka did not report any protection programs for children forcibly conscripted by paramilitary organizations working with either by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or the government.

In part to prevent trafficking, the Government of Sri Lanka provides pre-departure training prior to domestic workers going overseas on skills and rights awareness. This training, however, is voluntary and reportedly focuses more on job skills rather than worker rights and protections. The National Child Protection Authority conducts a community awareness program on trafficking to educate girls seeking foreign employment on the risks.

WESTERN HEMISPHERE

Argentina

The Government of Argentina made modest progress in combating trafficking in persons since release of the June 2007 TIP Report. The President signed an executive decree establishing a national program to prevent human trafficking. The Argentine Congress has not yet passed anti-trafficking legislation consistent with the Palermo Protocol, but continues to debate the issue. Federal and provincial governments continued to investigate suspected cases of human trafficking and related crimes, arrest trafficking offenders, and build anti-trafficking capacity, though the government reported no tangible progress in prosecuting, convicting, and sentencing trafficking offenders, or in addressing trafficking-related complicity by government officials, particularly on the provincial and local levels.

In October 2007, President Kirchner signed an executive decree that aims to coordinate governmental and non-governmental anti-trafficking efforts, conduct public awareness campaigns, judicial and police training, victim assistance, anti-trafficking research, and establish a national hotline, among other measures. In July, the Ministry of Justice issued a resolution to create a program aimed at trafficking prevention, coordinate interagency efforts to provide comprehensive victim assistance, and maintain a database of trafficking cases. In September, the Buenos Aires city legislature criminalized trafficking in minors and established prison sentences and fines for those convicted of the offense. Two provinces have established specialized anti-trafficking police units – Santa Fe in May and Tucuman in July. While no additional prosecutions or convictions have been reported since June 2007, Argentine and Bolivian authorities cooperated in the August arrest of an Argentine woman seeking to transport two young Bolivian girls across the border; it is believed the girls were to be sold into prostitution. In October 2007, nine suspected traffickers were arrested in Buenos Aires on charges of child prostitution and sexual abuse. The federal government and the provincial government of Tucuman provided financial and other support to a new foundation dedicated to fighting human trafficking and assisting victims.

Belize

The Government of Belize sustained modest progress in combating trafficking in persons since its Tier 2 ranking in the June 2007 TIP Report. The government maintained law enforcement efforts, and advanced initiatives to strengthen anti-trafficking laws and provide better care for victims.

In October 2007, the government’s tripartite team of police, immigration, and social workers conducted an anti-trafficking investigation and brothel raid, leading to the rescue of a teenage trafficking victim and the arrest of a suspected trafficker. In February, the government took an important step in addressing trafficking-related complicity by arresting and charging three police officers with trafficking offenses. In November, the officers underwent a disciplinary police proceeding: two were found guilty, and one was acquitted. For the two found guilty, job dismissal has been recommended, and both continue to face criminal charges. No other prosecutions or convictions have been reported.

The government’s anti-trafficking in persons committee continued to meet monthly to foster better interagency cooperation and to conduct anti-trafficking training and research. In November 2007, the committee reviewed a report prepared by a consultant from the Inter-American Development Bank which recommends increased penalties for trafficking crimes and greater involvement by the health ministry. The committee is now examining possible amendments to Belize’s comprehensive anti-trafficking law.

The government improved physical conditions at victim shelters in Belmopan and Belize City. The government continued to air anti-trafficking public service announcements on major television and radio stations, distribute anti-trafficking pamphlets and materials, and conduct workshops.

Dominican Republic

The Government of the Dominican Republic made limited progress in its efforts to combat trafficking in persons since release of the June 2007 TIP Report. The government continued to investigate and prosecute criminal cases under its anti-trafficking law, but it did not address media reports of trafficking-related corruption by senior public officials. The government increased prevention efforts through greater publicizing of an existing anti-trafficking hotline with assistance from international organizations and NGOs, although prevention and intervention information was geared toward Spanish-language users. While the government improved treatment for foreign trafficking victims, legal protections and social services for Haitians and other victims of Haitian descent remain lacking, mostly due to the unavailability of government-issued identity documents.

Since June 2007, the government has maintained 16 open anti-trafficking investigations and three trafficking prosecutions. As the cases have not yet reached conclusion, no convictions or sentences have been reported. These cases do not include criminal investigation or prosecution of public officials for trafficking-related corruption, despite media reports suggesting complicity by senior consular and immigration personnel. The government is taking steps to provide greater protection for trafficking victims by planning a trafficking shelter. Moreover, at the urging of IOM, the government has begun releasing foreign trafficking victims into IOM’s custody prior to deportation, rather than detaining them in State facilities. In November, the President issued a mandate to formalize an interagency anti-trafficking working group with the goals of developing a national strategy to combat trafficking and improving victim protection. In April, the legislature passed a bill criminalizing the electronic dissemination of child pornography.

Guatemala

The Government of Guatemala made modest progress in combating trafficking in persons since release of the June 2007 TIP Report. Although necessary legislative reforms to Guatemala’s anti-trafficking statute remain pending in the legislature, the government made efforts to prosecute trafficking-related crimes under separate laws. The government also increased efforts to protect trafficking victims.

Since April 2007, the government, in collaboration with NGOs, conducted a number of rescue operations which resulted in the rescue of approximately 20 sexually exploited minors. Since June, the government has launched 11 trafficking-related prosecutions. In November, the Attorney General’s office announced formation of a dedicated unit to investigate and prosecute trafficking in persons and illegal adoption cases. The new Attorney General’s unit replaced an existing anti-trafficking unit in the prosecutor’s office for women. No efforts to confront trafficking-related corruption by public officials, especially local police, were reported in 2007. Nonetheless, the government demonstrated its commitment to fight trafficking by establishing a formal interagency commission to combat trafficking in persons. In September 2007, the government opened a 24-hour call center to assist victims and announced plans to open a new shelter in Guatemala City for undocumented persons, which will include separate space for trafficking victims. In October, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a regional seminar focusing on anti-trafficking legislation in Latin America.

Guyana

The Government of Guyana made modest progress in combating trafficking in persons since release of the June 2007 TIP Report. The government continued efforts to identify and prosecute human trafficking cases, despite judicial backlogs and delay. In addition, the government maintained previous levels of services for trafficking victims and made public pledges of its anti-trafficking commitment.

Since June 2007, the government has opened six trafficking investigations. In October, a female suspect was formally charged with trafficking two teenagers for purposes of sexual exploitation and remains in jail. Another trafficking investigation involves allegations against a policeman. The government also pushed to conclusion five cases which had been languishing in court; each case was dismissed. Anti-trafficking training for judicial and other public officials remains necessary. In July, the government added human trafficking to its list of most serious crimes to raise the issue’s profile both inside and outside the government. Moreover, the government established an inter-agency taskforce to work on anti-trafficking issues.

Honduras

The Government of Honduras made strong, tangible progress in combating trafficking in persons since release of the 2007 TIP Report. The government significantly increased criminal trafficking investigations in an effort to bring offenders to justice. The government also took steps to provide trafficking victims with greater access to services. Government-sponsored training and public-awareness efforts also increased substantially.

The government currently is investigating more than 70 trafficking cases in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, a significant increase over 2006 in which the government initiated 24 investigations. In 2007, three cases have gone to trial in San Pedro Sula and seven cases have gone to trial in Tegucigalpa: two defendants have been sentenced to five years in prison each. Of particular note are the government’s efforts to utilize police strategies such as raids, victim rescues, stakeouts, and surveillance operations to catch human traffickers and remove victims from trafficking situations. In September 2007, a female suspected trafficker was arrested for trafficking a Honduran girl to Mexico for sexual exploitation. In November, Honduran police raided four massage parlors in Tegucigalpa to rescue two child victims, arresting two men. In 2007, a total of 15 minors were rescued in Tegucigalpa in seven separate cases. Additionally, nine Honduran girls were rescued from Guatemala, one from Mexico, and three from El Salvador, and are being repatriated to the care of a Honduran NGO. In the fall of 2007, the government launched a national tracking system for trafficking cases in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, and began collaborating with NGOs to identify victim witnesses to testify at trial. The government also has taken steps to better coordinate victim assistance with NGOs and the IOM to place victims in shelters and provide reintegration assistance for Honduran trafficking victims, many returned from Guatemala. Anti-trafficking training and community outreach have increased significantly. Police, prosecutors, and government officials conducted numerous sessions across the country.

Mexico

The Government of Mexico made clear progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the 2007 TIP Report. A much-needed comprehensive federal law was enacted, and the state of Tlaxcala passed anti-trafficking legislation. Law enforcement actions against traffickers increased, although the bulk of these efforts have taken place at the state level. The government devoted more attention to victim protection, and expanded anti-trafficking training for key government personnel.

On November 27, President Calderon signed into law Mexico’s new federal anti-trafficking legislation, which criminalizes all severe forms of human trafficking and underscores the need to provide comprehensive services for victims. The law also formalizes a federal interagency commission, which has statutory authority to request funds to implement the new law, in addition to a national program to prevent trafficking in persons.

Since June 2007, the federal government has arrested six persons suspected of trafficking activity. No formal federal prosecutions or convictions, or criminal investigations of public officials suspected of trafficking-related corruption, have been reported. However, the state of Chihuahua has initiated six prosecutions against alleged traffickers since enactment of its state anti-trafficking law in January 2007. A federal anti-trafficking police unit was dismantled with the change of administrations in early 2007 but the Attorney General’s office is moving toward reconstituting a new Trafficking in Persons unit.

The government did not improve on its past record of not providing trafficking victims with dedicated shelter services. However, the government continued to provide financial support to domestic violence shelters, including the appropriation of $7 million to open a trafficking shelter for women and children. NGOs utilize these funds to support trafficking victims. Separately, the Mexican federal government, in coordination with U.S. law enforcement agencies, conducted eight operations to rescue more than 90 potential victims from trafficking situations since June. The government also created a toll-free hotline so that victims may receive information and assistance. To date, no reported calls have been received and no victims have been assisted. Since April, the government has issued six humanitarian visas to foreign trafficking victims so they may legally remain in Mexico while their cases are investigated. The government also collaborated with Central and South American governments, and neighboring countries such as the United States, on anti-trafficking investigations.


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