Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Egypt
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||4 June 2008|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Egypt, 4 June 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/484f9a13c.html [accessed 13 March 2014]|
EGYPT (Tier 2 Watch List)
Egypt is a transit country for women trafficked from Uzbekistan, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, and other Eastern European countries to Israel for sexual exploitation, and is a source for children trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation and domestic servitude, although the extent to which children are trafficked internally is unknown. Some of Cairo's estimated one million street children – both boys and girls – are exploited in prostitution. In addition, wealthy men from the Gulf reportedly travel to Egypt to purchase "temporary marriages" with Egyptian women, including in some cases girls who are under age 18, often facilitated by the females' parents and marriage brokers. Some Egyptian cities may also be destinations for sex tourism. Children were also recruited for domestic and agricultural work; some of these children face conditions of involuntary servitude, such as restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse.
The Government of Egypt does not fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but is making significant efforts to do so. Egypt is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for the third year in a row because it has not provided evidence of increasing efforts to investigate and prosecute traffickers over the last year. However, in July 2007, the government established the "National Coordinating Committee to Combat and Prevent Trafficking in Persons," which improved inter-governmental coordination on anti-trafficking initiatives. Also, the committee charged the National Center for Criminological and Social Research to undertake a comprehensive study of the trafficking situation in Egypt, and the National Committee for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) formed a special anti-trafficking unit. Nonetheless, the government did not report prosecuting any confirmed cases of trafficking, and continued to lack a formal victim identification procedure to identify and protect trafficking victims.
Recommendations for Egypt: Increase law enforcement activity against trafficking; institute and apply a formal victim identification procedure to ensure that trafficking victims are not punished or otherwise treated as criminals for acts committed as a result of being trafficked; provide in-kind or financial support to NGOs providing protection services to victims; and implement a comprehensive public information campaign to educate the public on the definition and dangers of trafficking.
Egypt made no discernible efforts to punish trafficking crimes during this reporting period. The Egyptian penal code does not prohibit all forms of trafficking. The Anti-Prostitution Law of 1961 prohibits commercial sexual exploitation of those under 21 years old and the use of coercion, threats, or abuse to induce a person into prostitution. Penalties prescribed for these crimes range from one to seven years' imprisonment; these are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes. Child domestic workers are not protected by labor laws as other child laborers are, but the constitution prohibits forced labor through Article 13. The government reported that it investigated acts of trafficking under current laws, but did not report any prosecutions, convictions, or punishments for confirmed trafficking offenses. Authorities arrested only one person during the reporting period for forcing children to beg. It is important for Egypt to use its existing laws to investigate, prosecute, and punish those who facilitate trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation or forced child labor.
Egypt did not increase its services to trafficking victims during the reporting period. However, the NCCM established an anti-trafficking unit as a framework to provide these services in the future, and to provide training on how to treat victims of trafficking. Due to resource constraints, the government does not offer protection services to victims of domestic servitude, though it operates a hotline for children to report complaints of abuse. Egypt continues to lack a formal victim identification procedure, so victims of trafficking may be punished for acts committed as a result of being trafficked. For example, credible reports indicate that police sometimes arrest street children for prostitution or forced begging, and treat them as criminals rather than victims. In prisons or detention centers, law enforcement officers may further mistreat these victims through verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. Foreign victims are not offered legal alternatives to removal to countries in which they may face hardship or retribution. The government does not actively encourage victims to assist in investigations against their traffickers. It is recommended that Egypt institute and apply a formal mechanism to identify victims, and refer them to protection services offered by local NGOs. It is particularly important that the government ensure that victims, especially minors, are not punished for acts committed as a result of being trafficked, such as prostitution or vagrancy.
During the year, Egypt made modest progress in preventing trafficking in persons. In July, state-owned television channels began airing United Nations-produced public service announcements on trafficking for forced labor. The Ministry of Social Solidarity also operated drop-in shelters for street children; these shelters may have prevented some street children from being exploited for prostitution or forced labor. The government, however, did not take measures to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts in Egypt. Similarly, Egypt did not undertake any public awareness campaigns targeting citizens traveling to known child sex tourism destinations.