Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May 2016, 08:56 GMT

Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Afghanistan

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 4 June 2008
Cite as United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Afghanistan, 4 June 2008, available at: [accessed 27 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


Afghanistan is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Afghan children are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation, forced marriage to settle debts or disputes, forced begging, debt bondage, service as child soldiers, and other forms of forced labor. Afghan women and girls are also trafficked internally and to Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and elsewhere in the Gulf for commercial sexual exploitation. Afghan men are trafficked to Iran for forced labor. Afghanistan is also a destination for women and girls from China, Iran, and Tajikistan trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. Tajik women and children are also believed to be trafficked through Afghanistan to Pakistan and Iran for commercial sexual exploitation.

The Government of Afghanistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Anti-trafficking offices are now established within the Attorney General's office in all provinces. In addition, Afghan law enforcement officials received training in anti-trafficking investigations. The government also worked with IOM to implement a public awareness program to address trafficking of women and girls in the most vulnerable provinces. The Government of Afghanistan works with non-governmental organizations by providing in-kind contributions such as land for shelters. Nonetheless, despite a significant problem, the government did not provide sufficient evidence that it adequately punishes acts of trafficking. In addition, Afghanistan punishes some victims of sex trafficking with imprisonment for adultery or prostitution, acts committed as a result of being trafficked. Although the government lacks resources to provide comprehensive victim protection services, it fails to ensure that victims receive access to care available from NGOs.

Recommendations for Afghanistan: Increase law enforcement activities against trafficking, including prosecutions, convictions, and imprisonment for acts of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor; ensure that victims of trafficking are not punished for acts committed as a result of being trafficked, such as prostitution or adultery violations; institute a formal procedure to identify victims of trafficking and refer them to available protection services; to the extent possible, provide in-kind assistance to NGOs offering protection services to victims of trafficking; and undertake initiatives to prevent trafficking, such as instituting a public awareness campaign to warn at-risk populations of the dangers of trafficking.


The Government of Afghanistan did not provide sufficient evidence of efforts to punish trafficking over the reporting period. Afghanistan does not prohibit all forms of trafficking, but relies on kidnapping and other statutes to charge some trafficking offenses. These statutes do not specify prescribed penalties, so it is unclear whether penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those for other grave crimes, such as rape. Despite the availability of some statutes, Afghanistan did not provide adequate evidence of arresting, prosecuting, or convicting traffickers. The government reported data indicating traffickers had been prosecuted and convicted, but was unable to provide disaggregated data. There was no evidence that the government made any efforts to investigate, arrest, or prosecute government officials facilitating trafficking offenses despite reports of widespread complicity among border and highway police.


The Government of Afghanistan made inadequate efforts to protect victims of trafficking. Afghanistan lacks resources to provide victims with comprehensive rehabilitation care; NGOs provided the bulk of assistance to victims. Law enforcement authorities do not employ formal procedures to identify victims of trafficking and refer them to protection services provided by NGOs. At the same time, serious concerns regarding the government's punishment of victims of trafficking for acts committed as a result of being trafficked remain. Some victims of trafficking continue to be arrested or otherwise punished for prostitution and morality crimes, which under the law could incur possible penalties of life imprisonment or death. The government does not encourage victims to assist in investigations of their traffickers, nor does it provide foreign victims with legal alternatives to removal to countries in which they may face hardship or retribution. Four women's shelters nationwide provide protection to female victims of abuse, including victims of trafficking, but they have limited capacity and lack adequate funding; the government did not report referring or assisting any victims of trafficking in these centers during the reporting period. Child trafficking victims are sometimes placed in orphanages until reunited with their parents.


During the reporting period, Afghanistan made no reported efforts to prevent trafficking in persons. The government did not institute a public awareness campaign to warn at-risk populations of the dangers of trafficking or potential traffickers of the consequences of trafficking. The government also did not take steps to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. Afghanistan has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

Afghanistan tier ranking by year

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