2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Guinea
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||27 June 2011|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Guinea, 27 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e12ee79c.html [accessed 19 December 2014]|
Guinea (Tier 2 Watch List)
Guinea is a source, transit, and to a lesser extent, a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The majority of Guinea's trafficking victims are children, and incidents of trafficking are more prevalent among Guinean citizens than foreign migrants residing in Guinea. Girls are often subjected to domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation, while boys are forced to beg on the streets or to work as street vendors, shoe shiners, and laborers in gold and diamond mines. Some Guinean men are subjected to forced agricultural labor. 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 domestic servitude and likely also commercial sexual exploitation. Some Guinean boys and girls are subjected to forced labor in gold mining in Senegal, Mali, and possibly other African countries. Guinean women and girls are subjected to domestic servitude and forced and child prostitution in Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire, Benin, Senegal, Greece, and Spain. Chinese women are brought to Guinea for commercial sexual exploitation by Chinese traffickers, and women from Vietnam are reportedly forced into prostitution in hotels and restaurants in Guinea. 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 domestic servitude.
The Government of Guinea does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting year, virtually all of Guinea's transition government's attention and funding were devoted to the first democratic election in the country's 52-year post-colonial history. Although the government acknowledges that trafficking in persons is a problem in Guinea, it is unclear if the new government, which took power in December 2010, will demonstrate an increase over the previous regime's minimal efforts to combat trafficking. The government failed to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses; no new prosecutions or convictions were reported, 12 cases from the previous reporting period remain pending in the courts, and 18 additional cases have disappeared from the court system. The government created a specialized police unit responsible for child labor and child trafficking investigations; however, a failure to clearly define the relationship of this unit to the National Committee to Fight Against Trafficking in Persons has led to internal conflict over the government's limited anti-trafficking funds. The government failed to provide protection to trafficking victims, and although the government conducted an anti-trafficking awareness campaign on radio and television, overall prevention efforts remained weak. Therefore, Guinea is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for a fourth consecutive year. Guinea was not placed on Tier 3 per Section 107 of the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, however, as the government has a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is devoting sufficient resources to implement that plan.
Recommendations for Guinea: Increase efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, and convict and punish trafficking offenders; finalize and adopt the implementing text for the new Child Code; train law enforcement officials and magistrates on anti-trafficking statues in the new Child Code and the existing penal code; increase prescribed penalties for the sex trafficking of adults; provide specialized training to border officials to recognize trafficking victims and to refer them to protective services; investigate allegations of corruption among border officials; implement the National Action Plan to fight trafficking for the years 2009 – 2013, and establish a clear division of responsibilities and allocation of resources between the National Committee to Fight Against Trafficking in Persons and the Office for the Protection of Gender, Childhood, and Morals; develop stronger partnerships with NGOs and international organizations, where possible, to care for victims; and increase efforts to raise public awareness about trafficking.
The Government of Guinea did not demonstrate significant anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Although Guinea prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through separate legal statutes, some types of forced labor, such as debt bondage, may be difficult to prosecute under these statues. Article 337 of the 1998 Penal Code prohibits individuals from entering into agreements that deprive third parties of their liberty, prescribing penalties of five to 10 years' imprisonment and confiscation of any resulting profits. There is no evidence that a conviction for forced labor has ever been obtained using this article. Pimping is outlawed by Articles 329-330 of Guinea's Penal Code, which prescribes penalties of two to five years' imprisonment when the victim is a minor, or if the offender employs the use of coercion or fraud. These penalties are sufficiently stringent, but not commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Articles 385-396 of the Child Code, signed into law in December 2009, prohibit all forms of child trafficking and prescribe penalties of three to 10 years' imprisonment and the confiscation of any resulting profits. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. However, ambiguity over the authority of the Child Code continues to impede its effective implementation. NGO observers believe that an implementing text by presidential decree is required for the law to be enforced, though the Ministry of Justice released an oral opinion stating that the Child Code does not require an implementing text in order to be enacted. Nevertheless, the Legal Advisor for the Ministry of Social Affairs, who serves as the head of the National Committee to Fight Against Trafficking in Persons, said in February 2011 that passing the implementing text is a priority. The government initiated no new trafficking investigations or prosecutions during the reporting period; 12 cases remain pending from the previous reporting period, and another 18 cases from previous years appear to have been closed, as they are no longer on the courts' calendar. The Government of Guinea did not provide any specialized training to its officials on the recognition, investigation, and prosecution of human trafficking, and border guards were often accused of trafficking-related corruption. Though the Ministry of Security created a new unit in the civilian police force in June 2010 – the Office for the Protection of Gender, Childhood, and Morals – to conduct child labor and child trafficking investigations, it did not provide statistics to indicate the unit undertook such investigations.
The government demonstrated negligible efforts to protect trafficking victims during the reporting period. During 2010, the transition government had no formal operating budget, and funding for social programming was virtually nonexistent. The government reportedly referred an unknown number of potential victims to NGOs and international organizations for assistance, though government officials did not demonstrate use of systematic referral procedures or proactive measures to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable groups, such as foreign children at worksites. The Ministry of Social Affairs reported that it continued to provide assistance to a few hundred children, a small number of whom may be trafficking victims, though it did not provide information about the type of assistance that it provided. The government reported its knowledge of 12 child trafficking victims during 2010, but did not provide information about whether these children received assistance from the government or were referred to NGO facilities for care. The government did not provide trafficking victims with access to legal, medical, or psychological services, and did not provide direct or in-kind support to foreign or domestic NGOs that assisted victims. Foreign trafficking victims were not given permanent residency status or relief from removal to countries where they would face retribution or hardship. The Ministry of Social Affairs reportedly coordinated with local and international NGOs during the reporting period to repatriate an unknown number of child victims to Mali and Sierra Leone, and to return Guinean children to their home villages. The government reported that it places repatriated child trafficking victims in protection cells on military bases, though it is not known if this practice occurred during the year. The Child Code contains provisions allowing NGOs to bring cases to court on behalf of victims, and the government reports that a victim could file a civil suit against a trafficking offender, but this did not happen during the year. The government reports that a victim could file a civil suit against a trafficking offender, as long as the victim is at least 12 years of age, or NGOs could file such a suit on behalf of a victim, but in practice this did not occur. There was no evidence that the government encouraged trafficking victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers during the year. It is not known whether any trafficking victims were prosecuted for violations of other laws.
The Government of Guinea demonstrated some efforts to prevent trafficking during the reporting period. The government conducted an awareness campaign against child sex trafficking via radio and national television to coincide with the launch of the Office for the Protection of Gender, Childhood, and Morals within the Ministry of Security. The Ministry of Social Affairs adopted an updated National Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons for the years 2009-2013. However, the National Committee to Fight Against Trafficking in Persons, charged with meeting every three months, met only twice during the last year. The government did not take steps to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.