Last Updated: Friday, 19 September 2014, 13:55 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2002 Trafficking in Persons Report - Sierra Leone

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 5 June 2002
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2002 Trafficking in Persons Report - Sierra Leone, 5 June 2002, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d7aa23.html [accessed 19 September 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.

Sierra Leone (Tier 2)

Men, women and children have been trafficked internally in Sierra Leone as pawns in a brutal internal conflict. During the course of a 10-year conflict, to which Sierra Leone's President declared a formal end on January 18, 2002, rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) abducted individuals and forced them to work as laborers, mainly in the country's diamond fields. Women and girls who were captured by RUF rebels were used as sex slaves as well as domestic labor. Despite the end of the conflict and the release of some victims, the number of girls released was an extremely small percentage of the estimated number of girls used as sex slaves during the conflict. Moreover, it is likely that small groups of previously captured individuals are still being held for forced labor or sexual servitude.

The Government of Sierra Leone does not yet fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Government efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases have been severely hampered by the country's internal conflict and scarce resources. While Sierra Leone does not have a law specifically prohibiting trafficking, traffickers can be prosecuted for related offenses. In February 2002, a Sierra Leonean court indicted a group of rebel defendants for various crimes, including abductions. The Government works closely with international organizations and NGOs to facilitate the reintegration of over two thousand persons released last year by the rebels, many of whom were victims of trafficking. The Police are also actively involved in locating and securing the release of others still held captive, directing minors to United Nations' programs, and others to NGOs for assistance. The government has been unable to initiate any prevention programs or anti-trafficking campaigns.

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