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

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

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 - Syria, 3 June 2005, available at: [accessed 30 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.

Syria (Tier 2)

Syria is a destination country for women trafficked from South and East Asia and Ethiopia for the purpose of labor exploitation and from Eastern Europe for the purpose of sexual exploitation. There are no statistics available on the scope and type of trafficking that may exist and very little insight on the part of the government, the general public, and the diplomatic community on the issue. There have been some reports that indicate Iraqi women may be subjected to sexual exploitation in prostitution in Syria at the hands of Iraqi criminal networks, but those reports have not been confirmed. Some individuals brought into the country to work as domestic workers have suffered conditions that constitute involuntary servitude, including physical and sexual abuse, threats of expulsion, denial or delayed payment of wages, withholding of passports, and restriction of movement. Manpower agencies may lure some victims to Syria through fraudulent or deceptive offers of employment in the Gulf.

The Government of Syria does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Syria does not have a legal framework governing relations between domestic workers and their employers. It also does not regulate the illegal manpower agencies that bring in and, in some cases, facilitate victims' exploitation. The Governments of Indonesia and the Philippines banned their citizens from taking employment in Syria because of abuses and the lack of a mechanism to protect the rights of their citizens. The government should appoint a national anti-trafficking coordinator, develop comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, investigate and prosecute traffickers and manpower agencies that facilitate trafficking, tighten its entertainment visa issuance regime to prevent its exploitation for trafficking, and launch a broad anti-trafficking campaign to educate the general public.


The Government of Syria took minimal steps to investigate and/or prosecute trafficking and trafficking-related cases during the reporting period. Syria does not have an anti-trafficking law, though most forms of trafficking are criminalized under other statutes. Foreign domestic workers are excluded from protection under Syrian labor laws. Syrian law enforcement officials need to be trained in victim identification and protection methods. The Syrian Government did not provide any data on investigations, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences for trafficking-related offenses during the last year.


Over the last year, the Syrian Government did not improve its efforts to provide shelter, dispute settlement, or other protection services to victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation or involuntary servitude. It does, however, cooperate with source-country representatives and NGOs working with victims in these areas. It should put in place a procedure for distinguishing trafficking victims from illegal immigrants and provide them appropriate protection measures, including shelter, legal, medical, and psychological services, as well as repatriation and reintegration assistance.


Syria continued to make strong efforts to prevent illegal entry into the country by monitoring its borders closely and screening passengers at arrival points. There were no trafficking-specific prevention efforts, however. The government cooperates with source-country embassies and IOM in the repatriation of victims. A consortium of source-country embassies has established an Anti-fraud Taskforce that works with the government to train immigration and customs officials to combat illegal immigration, which would likely benefit anti-trafficking efforts as well.

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