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

U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Yemen

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 - Yemen, 12 June 2007, available at: [accessed 28 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.

Yemen (Tier 2)

Yemen is a source country for women trafficked internally and possibly to Saudi Arabia for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation, as well as a possible destination country for women from Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia. Some Yemeni girls fleeing forced marriages or abusive families are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation. Yemen is also a country of origin for children, mostly boys, trafficked for forced begging, forced unskilled labor, or street vending. Yemeni children are trafficked over the northern border into Saudi Arabia or to the Yemeni cities of Aden and Sana'a to work primarily as beggars. Estimates reflect that the age of children trafficked for forced begging ranges from 7 to 16 years, with the majority being between 12 and 14 years of age.

The Government of Yemen does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In February, Yemen established a technical committee to combat child trafficking. The government also increased its public awareness campaigns to educate families, local councils, and teachers on the dangers of trafficking. Yemen should, however, significantly increase prosecutions of trafficking crimes, improve protection services available to victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, and should prevent the incarceration of trafficking victims. Yemen should also institute a formal victim identification mechanism to identify and refer victims to protection services.


The Government of Yemen did not improve its efforts to punish trafficking crimes over the past year. Yemeni law does not prohibit trafficking for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or involuntary servitude, but Article 248 of the penal code stipulates a 10-year prison sentence for anyone who "buys, sells, or gives as a present, or deals in human beings; and anyone who brings into the country or exports from it a human being with the intent of taking advantage of him." Article 161 of Yemen's Child Rights Law specifically protects children from prostitution. Yemen reported 12 convictions for trafficking of children for involuntary servitude abroad, with sentences ranging from six months' to three years' imprisonment. The government prosecuted only one trafficker for commercial sexual exploitation, sentencing her to three months' imprisonment for trafficking at least two minor girls into the sex trade. Moreover, despite reports of corruption among government officers, Yemen did not prosecute any officials for involvement in trafficking.


Yemen made limited progress in protecting victims of trafficking during the reporting period. The government continues to operate a reception center providing child victims repatriated from Saudi Arabia with social services, limited medical care, and family reunification services. In 2006, this center received 796 children, and reunited 758 of them with their parents. The government, however, did not provide any protection services to victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. There have been reports that some sex trafficking victims, including minors, may be arrested and jailed for prostitution; for example, in early 2007, two minor Yemeni sex trafficking victims were arrested and kept in a juvenile detention home for one to three months. The government does not encourage victims to assist in investigations against their traffickers, and does not offer legal alternatives to removal to countries in which they may face hardship or retribution. A hotline for trafficking victims to report abuse, established in 2005, is no longer operational. Yemen should do more to ensure that victims of sex trafficking are not punished, but are provided with protection services, including shelter, medical and psychological care, and repatriation assistance.


Yemen made modest progress in preventing trafficking in persons over the past year. The government sponsors a limited anti-trafficking public awareness campaign in targeted northern areas to educate families and local leaders on the dangers of child trafficking; according to UNICEF, this program reached as many as 4,000 families, local councils, religious leaders, and teachers in 2006. The government also cooperated with Saudi Arabia to prevent and address the cross-border trafficking of children for involuntary servitude through a bilateral governmental committee. The two governments agreed to conduct a joint study in order to tackle child trafficking in a cooperative and systematic manner, and to establish a mechanism to coordinate the return of trafficked children in order to prevent them from being re-trafficked. Yemen has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

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