Last Updated: Thursday, 21 August 2014, 11:05 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Egypt

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 5 June 2006
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Egypt, 5 June 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d8861e.html [accessed 22 August 2014]
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.

Egypt (Tier 2 Watch List)

Egypt is a transit country for women trafficked from Eastern Europe – primarily Uzbekistan, Moldova, Ukraine, and Russia – to Israel for the purpose of sexual exploitation. These women generally arrive in Egypt through air and seaports as tourists and are subsequently trafficked through the Sinai Desert by Bedouin tribes. Men and women from sub-Saharan Africa and Asia are similarly believed to be trafficked through the Sinai Desert to Israel and Europe for labor exploitation. Bedouins, who are very knowledgeable of desert routes and methods of avoiding detection, routinely rape and abuse victims during journeys that can take up to two months to complete. In addition, some Egyptian children from rural areas are trafficked within the country to work as domestic servants or laborers in the agriculture industry.

The Government of Egypt does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Egypt is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to address trafficking over the past year, particularly in the area of law enforcement. The government failed to conduct an assessment of the trafficking situation, or to draft a planned comprehensive anti-trafficking law, and had few trafficking prosecutions during the year. In 2005, however, Egypt improved training for border security officials to prevent smuggling and trafficking, and incorporated innovative tools to interdict traffickers as they travel through the Sinai Desert. Egypt should take proactive measures to investigate trafficking and increase prosecutions of Egyptians involved in trafficking rings. The government should also improve its cooperation and communication with source and destination country governments.

Prosecution

Over the year, Egypt made modest progress in its law enforcement efforts against traffickers. Egypt does not have a law specifically criminalizing human trafficking, and despite reports in 2004 that an anti-trafficking law was forthcoming, none has yet been presented to the Parliament for ratification. While other sections of the criminal code can be used to prosecute trafficking offenses, there were no reported prosecutions in 2005. According to State Security officials, the government has reportedly increased prosecutions against travel agencies complicit in the trafficking of women through Egypt. In a possible trafficking case, a criminal court in South Sinai in February 2005 convicted an Egyptian man of attempting to smuggle five Russian and Moldovan women to Israel. He was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison. Egypt should increase its investigations against Bedouin tribes involved in human smuggling and trafficking and should improve communication with source and destination countries to provide information relevant to interdicting trafficking rings. The government should also assess the level of trafficking of children for domestic or agricultural servitude and prosecute their traffickers.

Protection

Egypt took some modest measures to protect victims of trafficking this year. The government does not have a systematic mechanism to connect trafficking victims with organizations providing assistance, but does generally refer victims to IOM and their embassies to aid in their care and repatriation. Egypt also provides food, health care, and lodging to some victims on an ad hoc basis through the Ministry of Health. The government should improve its screening system at the border to ensure that trafficking victims are not detained with illegal migrants or deported without receiving victim assistance. The government does not offer legal alternatives to the removal of victims to countries where they face retribution or hardship.

Prevention

During the year, Egypt made significant progress in preventing trafficking through the Sinai Desert to other destinations. In particular, in response to terror bombings in Sinai, the government made a concerted effort to increase security in the Sinai, especially with regard to alleged illegal activities by Sinai Bedouin tribes, which include trafficking of persons. Border officials participated in training aimed to improve their skills in interdicting traffickers. They also employed Bedouin trackers and sophisticated technology such as night-vision goggles to enhance their ability to capture Bedouin traffickers in the desert. In addition, the government increased scrutiny at major airports in Cairo and Sharm el Sheikh to prevent traffickers from entering the country. The government should institute a public awareness campaign to educate employers on the rights of children working in their homes or in the agriculture industry.

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