Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Sudan

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 3 June 2005
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Sudan, 3 June 2005, 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.

Sudan (Tier 3)

Sudan is a source country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Sudanese boys are trafficked to the Middle East, particularly the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, for use as camel jockeys. The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan rebel group, continued to abduct children in war-torn northern Uganda for use as cooks, porters, sex slaves, and combat soldiers. Although Ugandan military offensives during the year significantly reduced LRA numbers, the group continued to conduct operations involving forced child soldiers from camps in southern Sudan. The vast majority of the trafficking within Sudan, however, has involved abductions of largely women in the western and southern regions of the country, territories outside the central government's complete control because of ongoing political, cultural, and civil conflict. In the Sudanese context, inter-tribal abductions are a by-product of various, complex civil wars waged over the past two decades.

Abduction, a traditional but dormant cultural practice, was revived with the resurgence of the north/south civil war in 1983. The Dinka Chiefs' Committee estimates that, during these years of civil war and resulting inter-tribal warfare, 14,000 Dinka women and children were abducted by two other tribes (Missiriya and Rezeigat). An additional 3,500 abductions reportedly occurred in SPLA-held regions. Victims frequently became part of the abductor's tribal family, with many women marrying into the new tribe; however, some victims of abduction were used for forced domestic labor and/or sexual exploitation. Due to the ongoing peace process and the cessation of conflict in the south, abductions in the region have significantly decreased; during the year, there were no known cases of new abductions in the south.

The regions of Southern Darfur and Western Kordofan remained embroiled in a separate bitter conflict, in which numerous rapes, atrocities, and abductions were reported to have taken place during the year. During the reporting period, janjaweed militias that have been supported by the Government of Sudan subjected civilians to grievous human rights and alleged trafficking-related abuses. The lack of security in the Darfur region impeded the ability to gather further information on these reports, which is of grave concern. Women, after being raped, were sometimes mutilated or abducted for further sexual exploitation. Some children may also have been abducted, mostly to care for looted livestock.

The Government of Sudan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and, despite some progress in other areas of the country, is not making sufficient efforts to do so in regard to alleged trafficking-related abuses, violence, and atrocities in Darfur. The government made progress on identifying victims of abduction and reuniting them with their families. The government took over funding of the Committee for the Eradication of Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWC) in 2004. Given the conditions within which it operates, CEAWC is making a notable effort to seriously address trafficking, particularly through its efforts to identify victims of abduction and reunite them with their families. Of the 7,328 cases of abduction documented, 2,708 of those identified were returned to their families. To further its efforts to combat trafficking, the government should work to end the violence in Darfur and bring to justice those responsible for abuses, closely with NGOs and international organizations to adequately verify and document cases of abduction, and coordinate the movement of affected populations to their home areas in an organized and safe manner. It should also seek to strengthen its fledgling anti-trafficking public awareness campaign and demonstrate concrete enforcement of its existing relevant legal codes.


The government's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts throughout Sudan were limited in 2004, and ineffective in Darfur. Articles 162 through 165 of the Sudanese Criminal Code outlaw all forms of trafficking in persons, including abduction, luring, forced labor, and illegal detention. Sudanese law prohibits prostitution, owning brothels, and pimping women or children. In early 2005, the Ministry of Interior outlawed the trafficking of children outside of the country for camel jockeying; the law was implemented by the Department of Passports and Immigration on March 1, 2005, leading to interrogations of adults attempting to board outbound airplanes or boats without the proper exit visa for accompanying children. Although Sudan's laws appear adequate to cover the full scope of trafficking in persons, the official court system handled no trafficking-related prosecutions during the year. Based on an agreement with the Dinka Chief's Committee to allow opportunity for amicable tribal return and reconciliation efforts to occur, the government is not pursuing legal action against abductors who cooperate with CEAWC and voluntarily return their abductees. If, however, an abductor refuses to comply, the government has committed to prosecuting such an individual as a trafficker. In 2004, all identified abductors reportedly cooperated to the extent of surrendering their abductees to CEAWC.

During the year, the government increased border cooperation and surveillance with the neighboring Government of Uganda to combat the LRA and its continuing terrorist operations in southern Sudan, including trafficking in children. The government permitted the Ugandan military to take action against the LRA on Sudanese territory along the Ugandan border. Sudanese security forces and SPLA elements also engaged LRA forces that had raided further north into Sudan.


The government did not provide protection to civilians against abuses in the Darfur region in 2004, or take action to stop them. However, it made stronger efforts to protect Sudan's largest population of trafficking victims – abducted women and children – during the reporting period. The CEAWC – comprised of representatives from a variety of central and state government ministries, civil society organizations, and tribal representatives of the Dinka, Missiriya and Rezeigat tribes – was established in 1999 to facilitate the safe return of abducted women and children to their families. CEAWC also includes 22 Joint Tribal Committees (JTCs) located in the affected regions, whose members consist of individuals selected from affected tribes and who receive a small subsidy for food and expenses incurred while working. There are six CEAWC field centers in Bahar El Gazal and 10 spread through West Kordofan and South Darfur that are maintained by Dinka chiefs. Since March 2004, CEAWC has received funding from the Government of Sudan through the Ministry of Finance totaling more than $1.8 million. The organization's three co-chairmen report directly to the First Vice President.

During the year, CEAWC continued its efforts to document the extent of abductions in the country. Through an interview process involving representatives from the tribes of both the abductor and the abducted victim, the JTCs identified and documented 7,240 cases of abduction during the year, compared to a total of 1,842 documented cases in the five previous years since its establishment. Of those persons identified, 2,708 were reunited with their families during six separate field missions. Plans are underway to return the remainder of those who have been documented but still remain with their abductors. CEAWC provided free transportation over long distances for victims returning to their home areas. Returned abductees were also provided with limited amounts of shelter, medical attention, food, and clothing at destination sites, often through in-kind contributions from NGOs and international organizations. Tribal chiefs arranged for the care of returned children whose families could not be immediately found.

During the year, various NGOs and international organizations expressed concerns regarding CEAWC's methodology for verifying victims of abduction, as well as lack of coordination with the international community for the organized and safe return of abductees to their home areas. CEAWC leadership acknowledged these logistical and communications breakdowns, as well as other systemic weaknesses, and demonstrated commitment to improving communications and documentation as requested by international organizations.


The government did not take actions to prevent abuses in the Darfur region in 2004. During the year, CEAWC completed six field missions to identify and retrieve abducted people, each of which included an awareness raising component before the actual work of documenting abductees began. All members of the community, including the tribal leaders, were assembled to discuss the reunification work of CEAWC and the imperative to end inter-tribal abductions. In addition, CEAWC worked with the tribal leaders and UNICEF to conduct awareness raising discussions and other activities during market days in different regions. During March and April 2004, CEAWC produced a documentary-style film chronicling the operation of the field missions and the activities involved with identifying and returning victims of abduction. Though the footage requires further editing before being aired on television, the film was used to demonstrate to national government and SPLA officials the progress that has been made to rectify past abductions and prevent new ones from occurring. In addition, CEAWC worked with local media sources to raise awareness of its campaign to end inter-tribal abductions. For instance, the July 2004 issue of monthly news magazine "Sudan Today" included a substantial article featuring CEAWC's retrieval of abducted persons, as well as its efforts to transition from a signed political peace to a reality of peaceful tribal co-existence.

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