U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Equatorial Guinea
|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 - Equatorial Guinea, 11 June 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d7c3c.html [accessed 25 April 2014]|
Equatorial Guinea (Tier 2)
Equatorial Guinea is a country of destination and, to a lesser extent, transit for women and children trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Recent growth in the country's oil industry has fueled demand for women trafficked from Benin, Cameroon, and Nigeria. Children are trafficked in from West and Central Africa and into exploitative work situations as farmhands, domestic servants, and street hawkers. Equatorial Guinea is a transit country for women being trafficked from other African countries to Europe, particularly Spain.
The Government of Equatorial Guinea does not fully meet the minimum standards to eliminate trafficking in persons; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite severely limited resources. Aggressive enforcement of current statutes in the absence of anti-trafficking legislation and curbing of corruption are needed.
The government, in conjunction with NGOs, sponsored a public-awareness campaign which reduced young girls' vulnerability to trafficking and the flow of children trafficked from Benin to Equatorial Guinea for forced labor. The government is working with local community leaders to raise public awareness about trafficking. Equatorial Guinea actively participates in regional conferences and a regional plan of action to combat trafficking in persons. The government has identified poverty and lack of education as root causes of trafficking and has made education free and compulsory until age 14.
Equatorial Guinea does not have an anti-trafficking law but is in the process of drafting legislation. In 2002, the Foreign Minister issued a public announcement threatening stiff penalties for the crimes of sex trafficking and pedophilia, which drove prostitution underground. Equatorial Guinea is an island nation and borders are inadequately monitored. The law prohibits forced labor.
The government is currently constructing two shelters for trafficked and disadvantaged children, which are scheduled to open in late 2003. The government also assists abandoned children and cooperates with NGOs that provide services to victims and at-risk women and children. In 2001, the government offered to care for and repatriate trafficked children found aboard a captured boat in transit from Benin to Gabon, but ceded to an international organization to manage the repatriation. There are no reports of victims being deported or otherwise punished. In 2000, a young Beninese trafficking victim was found in Equatorial Guinea; the government allowed her to stay and aided her integration into the community.