2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Guinea
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||19 June 2012|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Guinea, 19 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fe30cc62.html [accessed 2 February 2015]|
GUINEA (Tier 2)
Guinea is a source, transit, and, to a lesser extent, a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The majority of Guinea's trafficking victims are children, and incidents of trafficking are more prevalent among Guinean citizens than foreign migrants residing in Guinea. Girls are often subjected to domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation, while boys are forced to beg on the streets, to work as street vendors or shoe shiners, or to labor in gold and diamond mines. Some Guinean women and men are subjected to forced labor in agriculture. Smaller numbers of girls from Mali, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Guinea-Bissau migrate to Guinea, where they are subjected to domestic servitude and likely also to commercial sexual exploitation. Children are sent to the coastal region of Boke for forced labor on farms and to Senegal for education in Koranic schools, some of which exploit students through forced begging. Some Guinean boys and girls are subjected to forced labor in gold mining in Senegal, Mali, and possibly other West African countries. Guinean women and girls are subjected to domestic servitude and forced and child prostitution in Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire, Benin, Senegal, Greece, and Spain. Reports indicate that Chinese and Vietnamese women are subjected to forced prostitution in Guinea and that some Guinean woman who migrate to the Middle East and Europe are subjected to forced prostitution and domestic servitude.
The Government of Guinea does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Since Guinea's first democratic election in December 2010, the government has experienced limited funding, endemic corruption, and austerity measures. Due to funding difficulties, the country's criminal courts, which handle major crimes such as human trafficking, have not convened since 2009. However, the Government of Guinea did achieve a trafficking conviction in 2011 under charges of child abduction, which was prosecuted in a lower court. The government also investigated a significant number of trafficking cases in 2011, compared to no investigations in the previous reporting period, and identified an increased number of child trafficking victims. The government struggled, however, to provide adequate protection to trafficking victims, and its overall prevention efforts remained weak.
Recommendations for Guinea: Increase efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, and convict and punish trafficking offenders; work towards gaining capacity for the criminal courts to convene; educate prosecutors on trafficking-related statutes that can be pursued through the lower courts until the criminal courts convene; train law enforcement officials and magistrates on anti-trafficking statues in the child code and the existing penal code; finalize and adopt the implementing text for the child code; increase prescribed penalties for the sex trafficking of adults; provide specialized training to border officials to recognize trafficking victims and to refer them to protective services; investigate allegations of corruption among border officials; implement the 2012-2013 national action plan; develop stronger partnerships with NGOs and international organizations, where possible, to care for victims and develop systemic referral practices for victim care; enhance partnership and information-sharing mechanisms among government agencies involved in combating trafficking; and increase efforts to raise public awareness about trafficking.
The Government of Guinea demonstrated notable progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the past year. It significantly increased its investigations of suspected trafficking crimes during the reporting period; however, only 13 of 59 cases were submitted to the courts for prosecution. Guinean law does not prohibit all forms of trafficking, including forced prostitution of adults and debt bondage. Article 337 of the 1998 penal code prohibits individuals from entering into agreements that deprive third parties of their liberty, prescribing penalties of five to 10 years' imprisonment and confiscation of any proceeds from the crime. Articles 385-396 of the 2009 Child Code prohibit all forms of child trafficking and prescribe penalties of five to 10 years' imprisonment and the confiscation of any proceeds from the crime. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The government initiated 59 new trafficking investigations, submitted 13 cases to the courts, and successfully convicted one trafficking offender during the reporting period: a significant increase compared to no anti-trafficking law enforcement activity in 2010. Twelve cases remain pending at the close of the reporting period. The non-functioning of the criminal courts during the reporting period greatly inhibited the government's efforts to secure trafficking convictions. In June 2011, the court of appeal of Kankan confirmed a decision by the justice of the peace of Macenta convicting a trafficking offender under Article 340 (child abduction) of the penal code for kidnapping a six-year-old girl with intent to transport her to Mali. The trafficking offender was sentenced to one year's imprisonment and forced to pay a fine equivalent to $70 along with court fees. The prosecutor chose to pursue child abduction charges, as these offenses would not require a hearing before the criminal court. In September 2010, the government imprisoned a Koranic teacher for nearly burning alive a four-year-old child for eating, without permission, the peanuts he was forced to grow for the teacher. His prosecution was delayed pending a determination of the child's medical condition. The Ministry of Security's Office for the Protection of Gender, Childhood and Morals employed approximately 56 police investigators throughout the country to investigate allegations of human trafficking and child labor; the number of trafficking cases this unit investigated during the reporting period is unknown. The government did not provide any specialized training to its officials on the recognition, investigation, and prosecution of human trafficking. Border guards allegedly were involved in trafficking-related corruption, although the government took no known action to address these allegations.
The government's protection of trafficking victims remained limited and difficult to assess during the reporting period. Government funding for all social programming was constrained by austerity measures taken to avoid fiscal insolvency. The government reported that the Ministry of Social Affairs, in collaboration with local citizens, rescued 30 children in 2011 – an increase from 2010 – but did not specify the nature of the crimes committed against the children. The government reported its security forces either delivered these children to local NGOs or returned them to their homes. The government did not provide trafficking victims with direct access to legal, medical, or psychological services, and did not provide direct or in-kind support to foreign or domestic NGOs that assisted victims; it did, however, refer on an ad hoc basis an unknown number of child victims to NGOs that provided such services. The government reported that it operated rudimentary, multipurpose care stations at military bases for child victims prior to their being referred to NGOs, but the services such stations provided were unclear. NGOs reported that local ad hoc systems of police referral of victims to NGOs functioned well in certain areas of the country, and an unknown number of potential victims to NGOs and international organizations were referred for assistance. The Ministry of Social Affairs' section for at-risk children provided assistance to a few hundred children, a small number of whom may have been trafficking victims; however, it did not indicate the type of assistance provided. Although it is legally available, the government did not provide temporary or permanent residence status to victims from countries where they would face retribution or hardship; it is unclear if any of the 30 identified victims were offered or requested such immigration relief. The child code contains provisions allowing NGOs to bring cases to court on behalf of victims, and the government reported that a victim could file a civil suit against a trafficking offender provided the victim is older than 12 years of age; however, this did not happen during the reporting period. There was no evidence that the government encouraged trafficking victims to participate in the investigation or prosecution of their traffickers during the year. It is not known whether any trafficking victims were prosecuted for violations of other laws.
The Government of Guinea did not conduct any trafficking prevention campaigns during the reporting period, although the Ministry of Social Affairs updated the National Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons to cover through 2013. The National Committee to Fight against Trafficking in Persons (CNLTP) met sporadically throughout 2011. Despite the involvement of numerous government ministries in combating trafficking, the ability to share information among agencies remains limited, and NGO observers stated that the CNLTP is chronically understaffed, poorly trained, and underpaid. Despite having a widespread problem with child labor in Guinea, the government did not implement any social programs to prevent children from entering exploitative work situations, and according to NGOs, labor inspectors lacked the capacity to adequately conduct child labor investigations. The government did not take steps to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.