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Papua New Guinea is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution and forced labor. Women and children are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary domestic servitude; trafficked men are forced to provide labor in logging and mining camps. Children, especially young girls from tribal areas, are most vulnerable to being pushed into commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor by members of their immediate family or tribe. Families traditionally sell girls into forced marriages to settle their debts, leaving them vulnerable to involuntary domestic servitude, and tribal leaders trade the exploitative labor and service of girls and women for guns and political advantage. Young girls sold into marriage are often forced into domestic servitude for the husband’s extended family. In more urban areas, some children from poorer families are prostituted by their parents or sold to brothels. Migrant women and teenage girls from Malaysia, Thailand, China, and the Philippines are subjected to forced prostitution, and men from China are transported to the country for forced labor.
Asian crime rings, foreign logging companies, and foreign businessmen arrange for some women to voluntarily enter Papua New Guinea with fraudulently issued tourist or business visas. Subsequent to their arrival, the smugglers turn many of the women over to traffickers who transport them to logging and mining camps, fisheries, and entertainment sites where they are exploited in forced prostitution and involuntary domestic servitude. Foreign and local men are exploited for labor at mines and logging camps, where some receive almost no pay and are compelled to continue working for the company indefinitely through debt bondage schemes. Employers foster workers’ greater indebtedness to the company by paying the workers sub-standard wages while charging them artificially inflated prices at the company store; the employees’ only option becomes to buy food and other necessities on credit. Government officials facilitate trafficking by accepting bribes to allow illegal immigrants to enter the country or to ignore victims forced into prostitution or labor, by receiving female trafficking victims in return for political favors, and by providing female victims in return for votes.
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 the establishment of an interagency anti-trafficking committee, initial efforts to address forced child labor, and new programs to educate the public about trafficking, the government did not investigate any suspected trafficking offenses, prosecute or convict any trafficking offenders under the existing law of Papua New Guinea, or address allegations of officials complicit in human trafficking crimes.
The U.S. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons placed the country in "Tier 2 Watchlist" in 2017.
The Government of Papua New Guinea showed negligible progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the year. No trafficking offenders were arrested or prosecuted during the year. Papua New Guinea does not have a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, and the penal code does not prohibit all forms of trafficking. Its criminal code does not specifically prohibit the trafficking of adults, but prohibits trafficking of children for commercial sexual exploitation and slavery. Penalties prescribed for trafficking children of up to life imprisonment are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The Criminal Code prescribes various penalties for the forced prostitution of women. Low fines or sentences of up to two years’ imprisonment for these offenses, including holding a woman in a brothel against her will, 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 purposes of forced prostitution are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes. Labor laws prohibit forced labor and fraudulent employment recruiting. Prescribed penalties of up to two years’ imprisonment are not sufficiently stringent. The government showed no signs of investigating suspected trafficking offenses or prosecuting trafficking offenders. The Ministry of Justice continued to deliberate on a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, which will include implementation and monitoring guidance. Trafficking-related crimes in rural areas were referred to village courts, which administered customary law rather than criminal law, and resolved cases through restitution paid to the victim rather than criminal penalties assigned to the trafficking offender. Wealthy business people, politicians, and police officials who benefit financially from the operation of commercial sex establishments where trafficking victims are reportedly exploited were not prosecuted. Most law enforcement offices and government offices remained weak as the result of corruption, cronyism, a lack of accountability, and a promotion system based on patronage.
The Government of Papua New Guinea maintained minimal efforts to protect and assist victims of trafficking during the reporting period. Due to severe resource and capacity constraints, it continued to rely on NGO's to identify and provide most services to potential victims. The government did not proactively identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, and did not regularly refer victims to NGO service providers. Potential victims who came to the attention of police could be jailed. Immigration inspectors at ports of entry who suspected foreigners would engage in illegal prostitution denied them entry without first determining whether they might be victims of sex trafficking. Officials informally referred crime victims to appropriate service providers, who reported that some of these appear to be victims of trafficking. The government contributed some funds to a shelter for victims of domestic violence in Port Moresby run by an NGO, which could provide shelter and legal aid to trafficking victims, although it did not knowingly do so during the year. The Public Solicitor’s office could provide free legal advice and representation to victims. Women’s shelters in Port Moresby and Lae could also house foreign and local victims. The Department of Health, with NGO assistance, continued to set up support centers in hospitals throughout the country to provide trafficking victims with counseling and short-term medical care. Survivors of internal trafficking often received customary compensation payments from the offender and were reluctant to notify police or bring additional criminal charges against their traffickers.
During the past year, the Papua New Guinean government made few efforts of its own to prevent trafficking during the reporting period. The government did, however, sustain partnerships with international organizations and NGOs to raise public awareness. The Constitutional Law Reform Commission (CLRC) took the lead in coordinating and communicating on trafficking issues, and established an inter-agency Anti-Trafficking Committee that included foreign government and NGO members. In partnership with IOM, the CLRC conducted the first National Human Trafficking and Smuggling Conference in March 2009, involving over 120 participants from both the government and NGO groups. Participants produced a resolution to ratify the 2000 UN TIP Protocol and harmonize the country’s laws with bilateral law enforcement cooperation agreements already forged with surrounding countries. The Department of Labor addressed issues of child labor trafficking in partnership with the International Labour Organization as part of the TACKLE Project, and became a partner in the Government of Australia’s efforts to prevent the labor trafficking of migrant workers from Papua New Guinea through the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme. Officials took steps to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts through public awareness campaigns against prostitution, the proliferation of pornographic material, and the country’s growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Papua New Guinea is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
Senegal is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Trafficking within the country is more prevalent than trans-border trafficking and the majority of victims are children. Within Senegal some boys called "talibes" are victims of trafficking, by promising to educate them, but subjecting them instead to forced begging and physical abuse. A 2007 study done by UNICEF, the ILO, and the World Bank found that 6,480 talibe were forced to beg in Dakar alone. Women and girls are trafficked for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation, including for sex tourism, within Senegal. Transnationally, boys are trafficked to Senegal from The Gambia, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea for forced begging by religious teachers. Senegalese women and girls are trafficked to neighboring countries, the Middle East, and Europe for domestic servitude and possibly for sexual exploitation. Women and girls from other West African countries, particularly Liberia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria may be trafficked to Senegal for sexual exploitation, including for sex tourism.
Syria is a destination and transit country for women and children trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. A significant number of women and children in the large and expanding Iraqi refugee community in Syria are reportedly forced into commercial sexual exploitation by Iraqi gangs or, in some cases, their families. Similarly, women from Somalia and Eastern Europe are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation. Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian women recruited for work in Syria as cabaret dancers are not permitted to leave their work premises without permission, and they have their passports withheld—indicators of involuntary servitude. Some of these women may also be forced into prostitution. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Syria may be a destination for sex tourism from other countries in the region. In addition, women from Indonesia, the Philippines, Ethiopia, and Sierra Leone are recruited for work in Syria as domestic servants, but some face conditions of involuntary servitude, including long hours, non-payment of wages, withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, threats, and physical or sexual abuse. Syria may also be a transit point for Iraqi women and girls trafficked to Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), and Lebanon for forced prostitution. The Government of Syria does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Syria again failed to report any law enforcement efforts to punish trafficking offenses over the last year. In addition, the government did not offer protection services to victims of trafficking and may have arrested, prosecuted, or deported some victims for prostitution or immigration violations.
The United Arab Emirates is a destination country for men and women that are mostly trafficked for the purposes of labor. U.S. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons placed the country in "Tier 2" in 2017.
Lebanon is a destination for Asian and African women trafficked for the purpose of domestic servitude, and for Eastern European and Syrian women trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Lebanese children are trafficked within the country for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor in the metal works, construction, and agriculture sectors. Women from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Ethiopia migrate to Lebanon legally, but often find themselves in conditions of forced labor, through unlawful withholding of passports, non-payment of wages, restrictions on movement, threats, and physical or sexual assault. During the armed conflict in July 2006, Sri Lankan domestic workers reported being restricted from leaving the country by their employers. Eastern European and Syrian women come to Lebanon on "artiste" visas, but some become victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation when they are subjected to coercive acts such as unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, threats, and physical assault.
Antigua and Barbuda is a destination country for a small number of women from Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution. To a lesser extent, it is reportedly also a destination country for women subjected to involuntary domestic servitude in private homes. Business people from the Dominican Republic and Antiguan citizens acting as pimps and brothel owners subject foreign women to forced prostitution primarily in four illegal brothels that operate in Antigua as well as in private residences that operate as brothels. Some of these foreign women voluntarily migrate to Antigua to engage in prostitution but are subsequently subjected to force or coercion and become victims of sex trafficking. After their arrival, brothel managers confiscate their passports and threaten the victims with deportation until they repay the brothel owner for travel and other expenses they were not aware they had incurred. Some other foreign victims of sex trafficking enter the country legally with work permits as “entertainers” then are subsequently forced to engage in prostitution.
Austria is a destination and transit country for women, men, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution and forced labor.
Belgium is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor and forced prostitution. Victims originate in Eastern Europe, Africa, East Asia, as well as Brazil and India. Some victims are smuggled through Belgium to other European countries, where they are subjected to forced labor and forced prostitution. Male victims are subjected to forced labor and exploitation in restaurants, bars, sweatshops, horticulture sites, fruit farms, construction sites, and retail shops. There were reportedly seven Belgian women subjected to forced prostitution in Luxembourg in 2009. According to a 2009 ECPAT Report, the majority of girls and children subjected to forced prostitution in Belgium originate from Eastern Europe and Nigeria; some young foreign boys are exploited in prostitution in major cities in the country. Local observers also report that a large portion of children trafficked in Belgium are unaccompanied, vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees. According to the Belgian immigration office, the government identified eight children between January and June 2009 as trafficked. Foreign workers continued to be subjected to involuntary domestic servitude in Belgium, some involving members of the international diplomatic community posted in Belgium.
Botswana is a source and destination country for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Parents in poor rural communities sometimes send their children to work for wealthier families as domestics in cities or as herders at remote cattle posts, where some of these children are vulnerable to forced labor. Batswana girls are exploited in prostitution within the country, including in bars and by truck drivers along major highways; it does not appear, however, that organized pimping of children occurs. In the past, women reported being forced into commercial sexual exploitation at some safari lodges, but there were no similar reports during this reporting period. Residents in Botswana most susceptible to trafficking are illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe, unemployed men and women, those living in rural poverty, agricultural workers, and children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Some women from Zimbabwe who voluntarily, but illegally, migrate to Botswana to seek employment are subsequently subjected by their employers to involuntary domestic servitude. Botswana families which employ Zimbabwean women as domestic workers at times do so without proper work permits, do not pay adequate wages, and restrict or control the movement of their employees by holding their passports or threatening to have them deported back to Zimbabwe.
Eswatini is a source, destination, and transit country for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically commercial sexual exploitation, involuntary domestic servitude, and forced labor in agriculture. Swazi girls, particularly orphans, are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary domestic servitude in the cities of Mbabane and Manzini, as well as in South Africa and Mozambique.
Tunisia is a source, destination, and possible transit country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor and forced prostitution. In 2009, one Tunisian female was rescued from forced prostitution in Lebanon. In 2008, two women were rescued from forced prostitution in Jordan and three men from forced labor in Italy. Based on limited available data, some Tunisian girls may be trafficked within the country for involuntary domestic servitude. In 2009 a Tunisian academic published a study on Tunisian domestic workers. The study, conducted in 2008, surveyed 130 domestic workers in the Greater Tunis region and found that 52 percent were under the age of 16; twenty-three percent claimed to be victims of physical violence, and 11 percent of sexual violence. Ninety-nine percent indicated they had no work contracts and the majority received salaries below the minimum wage. These conditions are indicators of possible forced labor.
Paraguay is a source and transit country for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically sex trafficking, as well as a source and transit country for men, women, and children in forced labor. Most Paraguayan trafficking victims are found in Argentina, Spain, and Bolivia; smaller numbers of victims are exploited in Brazil, Chile, France, South Korea, and Japan. In one case, 44 suspected Paraguayan trafficking victims were detained at the international airport in Amsterdam, and Dutch authorities arrested the alleged trafficking offender. In another case, 13 Paraguayan women were found in conditions of forced prostitution in a brothel in La Paz, Bolivia. Paraguay was a destination country for 30 Indonesian orphans, who were allegedly brought into the country for a long-term soccer camp, but who the government suspects are trafficking victims.
Namibia is a country of origin, transit, and destination for foreign and Namibian women and children, and possibly for men subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically conditions of forced labor and forced prostitution. Traffickers exploit Namibian children, as well as children from Angola and Zambia, through forced labor in agriculture, cattle herding, involuntary domestic servitude, charcoal production, and commercial sexual exploitation. In some cases, Namibian parents unwittingly sell their children to traffickers. Reports indicate that vulnerable Namibian children are recruited for forced prostitution in Angola and South Africa, typically by truck drivers. There is also some evidence that traffickers move Namibian women to South Africa and South African women to Namibia to be exploited in forced prostitution. Namibian women and children, including orphans, from rural areas are the most vulnerable to trafficking. Victims are lured by traffickers to urban centers and commercial farms with promises of legitimate work for good wages they may never receive. Some adults subject children to whom they are distantly related to forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation. Small business owners and farmers may also participate in trafficking crimes against women or children. Victims are forced to work long hours to carry out hazardous tasks, and may be beaten or raped by traffickers or third parties.
Nicaragua is principally a source and transit country for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution and forced labor. Nicaraguan women and children are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation within the country as well as in neighboring countries, most often to El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the United States. Trafficking victims are recruited in rural areas for work in urban centers, particularly Managua, and subsequently coerced into prostitution. Adults and children are subjected to conditions of forced labor in agriculture, the fishing industry, and for involuntary domestic servitude within the country and in Costa Rica. There are reports of some Nicaraguans forced to engage in drug trafficking. To a lesser extent, Nicaragua is a destination country for women and children recruited from neighboring countries for forced prostitution. Managua, Granada, Estelí, and San Juan del Sur are destinations for foreign child sex tourists from the United States, Canada, and Western Europe, and some travel agencies are reportedly complicit in promoting child sex tourism. Nicaragua is a transit country for migrants from Africa and East Asia en route to the United States; some may fall victim to human trafficking.
Ghana is a country of origin, transit, and destination for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor and forced prostitution. The nonconsensual exploitation of Ghanaian citizens, particularly children, is more common than the trafficking of foreign migrants. The movement of internally trafficked children is either from rural to urban areas, or from one rural area to another, as from farming to fishing communities.
Guinea is a source, transit, and to a lesser extent, a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically in the areas of forced labor and forced prostitution. The majority of victims are children, and these incidents of trafficking are more prevalent among Guinean citizens than among foreign migrants living in Guinea. Within the country, girls are largely subjected to involuntary domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation, while boys are subjected to forced begging and forced labor as street vendors, shoe shiners, and laborers in gold and diamond mines. Some Guinean men are also subjected to forced agricultural labor within Guinea. Smaller numbers of girls from Mali, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Guinea-Bissau migrate to Guinea, where they are subjected to involuntary domestic servitude and likely also commercial sexual exploitation. Some Guinean boys and girls are subjected to forced labor in gold mining operations in Senegal, Mali, and possibly other African countries. Guinean women and girls are subjected to involuntary domestic servitude and forced prostitution in Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Benin, Senegal, Greece, and Spain. Chinese women are trafficked to Guinea for commercial sexual exploitation by Chinese traffickers. Networks also traffic women from Nigeria, India, and Greece through Guinea to the Maghreb and onward to Europe, notably Italy, Ukraine, Switzerland, and France for forced prostitution and involuntary domestic servitude.
Malawi is primarily a source country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically conditions of forced labor and forced prostitution within the country and abroad. Most Malawian trafficking victims are exploited internally, though Malawian victims of sex and labor trafficking have also been identified in South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, and parts of Europe. To a lesser extent, Malawi is a transit point for foreign victims and a destination country for men, women, and children from Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe subjected to conditions of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation. Within the country, some children are forced into domestic servitude, cattle herding, agricultural labor, and menial work in various small businesses. Exploited girls and women become "bar girls" at local bars and rest houses where they are coerced to have sex with customers in exchange for room and board. Forced labor in agriculture is often found on tobacco plantations. Labor traffickers are often villagers who have moved to urban areas and subsequently recruit children from their original villages through offers of good jobs. Brothel owners or other prostitution facilitators lure girls with promises of nice clothing and lodging. Upon arrival, they charge the girl high rental fees for these items and instruct her how to engage in prostitution to pay off the debt. South African and Tanzanian long-distance truck drivers and mini-bus operators move victims across porous borders by avoiding immigration checkpoints. Some local businesswomen who also travel regularly to neighboring countries to buy clothing for import have been identified as traffickers. Reports of European tourists paying for sex with teenage boys and girls continue.
Mali is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor and, to a lesser extent, forced prostitution. Within Mali, women and girls are forced into domestic servitude and, to a limited extent, prostitution. Malian boys are found in conditions of forced begging and forced labor in gold mines and agricultural settings both within Mali and neighboring countries. Reports indicate that Malian children are trafficked to Senegal and Guinea for forced labor in gold mines and for forced labor on cotton and cocoa farms in Côte d'Ivoire. Boys from Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger and other countries are forced into begging and exploited for labor by religious instructors within Mali and across borders. Adult men and boys, primarily of Songhai ethnicity, are subjected to the longstanding practice of debt bondage in the salt mines of Taoudenni in northern Mali. Some members of Mali's black Tamachek community are subjected to traditional slavery-related practices rooted in hereditary master-slave relationships.
Morocco is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children who are subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor and forced prostitution. Children are trafficked within the country from rural areas to urban centers to work as maids or laborers, or for commercial sexual exploitation. Moroccan men, women, and children are exploited for forced labor and prostitution in European and Middle Eastern countries. Young Moroccan girls from rural areas are recruited to work as child maids in cities, but often experience non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse, and sometimes face restrictions on movement. These practices indicate that these girls are subjected to involuntary servitude. Moroccan boys experience forced labor as apprentices in the artisan and construction industries and in mechanic shops. A few Moroccan men and boys are lured to Europe by fraudulent job offers, and are subsequently forced to sell drugs. In addition, men and women from sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and the Philippines enter Morocco voluntarily but illegally with the assistance of smugglers; once in Morocco, some of the women are coerced into prostitution or, less frequently, forced into domestic service. Nigerian gangs, who engage in a variety of criminal activities like human smuggling and drug trafficking, compete to control the trafficking of sub-Saharan Africans in Morocco.
Human trafficking in Brazil is an ongoing problem. Brazil is a source country for men, women, girls, and boys subjected to human trafficking, specifically forced prostitution within the country and abroad, as well as a source country for men and boys in forced labor within the country. In 2012 there was a soap opera made about Human trafficking named Salve Jorge.
El Salvador is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children who are subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution and forced labor. Most victims are Salvadoran women and girls from rural areas who are forced into commercial sexual exploitation in urban areas, though some adults and children are subjected to forced labor as agricultural workers and domestic workers. The majority of foreign victims are women and children from neighboring countries, such as Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic, who migrate to El Salvador in response to job offers, but are subsequently forced into prostitution or domestic servitude. Trafficking offenders use fraudulent documentation to facilitate the movement of foreign victims. Salvadorans have been subjected to forced prostitution in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize, the United States, Spain, and Italy.