U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Equatorial Guinea
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||12 June 2007|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Equatorial Guinea, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3afc.html [accessed 1 February 2015]|
Equatorial Guinea (Tier 3)
Equatorial Guinea is primarily a destination country for children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and possibly for commercial sexual exploitation, though some children may also be trafficked within the country from rural areas to Malabo and Bata for these same purposes. Children are trafficked from Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, and Gabon for domestic, farm and commercial labor to Malabo and Bata, where demand is high due to a thriving oil industry and a growing expatriate business community. Reports indicate that there are girls in prostitution in Equatorial Guinea from Cameroon, Benin, Togo, other neighboring countries, and the People's Republic of China, who may be victims of trafficking.
The Government of Equatorial Guinea does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and it is not making significant efforts to do so. Despite its significant resources, the government failed to investigate and prosecute traffickers and protect victims. However, it did take steps to raise awareness of trafficking. The government has not shown a political commitment to addressing the country's trafficking in persons problem. To demonstrate a credible response to trafficking, the government should: create a specialized anti-trafficking police unit to investigate trafficking complaints; increase efforts to prosecute and convict traffickers; support local NGO efforts to shelter victims; develop a system for referring victims to NGOs; and create mechanisms for collecting trafficking crime and victim data.
The Government of Equatorial Guinea demonstrated insufficient law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking during the reporting period. The government prohibits all forms of trafficking through its 2004 Law on the Smuggling of Migrants and Trafficking in Persons, which carries sufficiently stringent penalties of 10 to 15 years' imprisonment for labor and sex trafficking. However, no one has been prosecuted under this law. The government failed to report any trafficking arrests during the year and did not effectively investigate cases, failing to respond adequately to at least 11 cases reported by civil society activists, foreign embassy officials, and religious orders. If police determined a reported case to be valid, they paid the trafficker a visit, but lacked training and awareness to identify trafficking suspects or victims. The government also failed to investigate allegations that Chinese employers may be recruiting Chinese laborers for construction and confiscating their travel documents to keep them in involuntary servitude. The government funded two 5-day workshops at which 210 law enforcement officers were trained about trafficking. The government also reached out to the international community to request additional law enforcement training.
The government demonstrated weak and inadequate efforts to provide care for trafficking victims during the year. The Equatoguinean government neither operates victim shelters nor funds the protection efforts of local NGOs, despite its considerable resources. The government also has no system in place for identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations and referring victims to NGOs for care. The government failed to provide data on any services it provided to victims. The government does not encourage victims to assist in trafficking or slavery investigations or prosecutions. The government does not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution. However, victims are not inappropriately incarcerated or fined for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked.
The Government of Equatorial Guinea made progress in raising awareness about trafficking during the year. The government disseminated its 2006 National Action Plan through workshops for over 500 representatives from local, provincial and national government agencies, foreign government and international organization representatives, NGOs, and the media. The government collaborated with UNICEF to educate the public about trafficking. It provided public service time for radio and television announcements, paying for the staff time and production materials for these broadcasts.