Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 November 2015, 08:46 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ethiopia

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 11 June 2003
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ethiopia, 11 June 2003, available at: [accessed 26 November 2015]
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.

Ethiopia (Tier 2)

Ethiopia is primarily a source country for women, and to a lesser extent, children trafficked to Lebanon, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates for domestic labor. Some women, lured by the prospect of employment abroad, are subjected to domestic servitude and sexual abuse. There is internal trafficking of children for forced labor. Large numbers of displaced persons in camps are increasingly vulnerable to trafficking, particularly the exchange of sexual services for food.

The Government of Ethiopia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite severe resource constraints and a widespread food emergency. Enhanced law enforcement efforts, especially follow-through on cases, witness protection, prosecution of cases to conviction, and curbing corruption are needed.


The government and an international organization conducted a public awareness campaign and inserted anti-trafficking messages into the school curriculum. Local government authorities, trade unions, and children are being mobilized to prevent trafficking and identify traffickers to authorities. Community task forces of barkeepers, police, health providers, and local politicians are involved in anti-trafficking activities. The government provides anonymous complaint forms in local areas to help identify traffickers and those who abuse children's rights. Additionally, an inter-ministerial committee on trafficking meets monthly to coordinate government activities. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs monitors and keeps statistics on the numbers of Ethiopians trafficked abroad. In concert with an international organization, the government launched a project for pre-departure briefings of labor migrants to explain their rights in the destination countries. The government supports an ongoing awareness-raising campaign about abuse and exploitation during humanitarian crises.


The Criminal Code prohibits trafficking in women, infants, and young persons. More than 100 traffickers have been arrested in Ethiopia under other statutes, but lack of cooperation from witnesses makes convictions difficult to obtain. Employment agencies, which are a key recruitment mechanism for traffickers, are required to register with the government, but this regulation is not fully enforced. Ethiopians traveling abroad must have a valid work permit; however, false documents are easily obtained and low-level collusion between traffickers and government officials has led to weak enforcement. Allegations of official collusion are being investigated.


The government works with destination countries to provide assistance to victims abroad and opened a consulate in Lebanon to address the needs of trafficking victims. The consulate, which provides shelter and legal advice, is currently handling 710 cases. Victims are not detained or jailed, and the government sometimes assists with transportation costs for returning victims to travel from the capital to home areas. The government works with NGOs to help street children, victims of child prostitution, and child laborers. Child Protection Units at police stations educate law enforcement officials on the rights of children.

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