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

Afghanistan (Tier 3)

Afghanistan is a country of origin and transit for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and labor. Internal trafficking of women and children for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor also occurs. Afghanistan was under two different governments during this period: the Taliban and the Afghan Interim Authority (AIA). Until December 22, 2001, when the AIA took over there was no functioning central government. During most of 2001, the Taliban, a Pashtun-dominated fundamentalist Islamic movement, controlled approximately ninety percent of the country. Taliban forces were responsible for disappearances of women and children, many of whom were trafficked to Pakistan and the Gulf States. Under the Taliban, women and girls were subjected to rape, kidnapping, and forced marriage. Since the AIA took over, there are reports that Afghan women and children have been trafficked to Pakistan and the Middle East for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. There have been numerous reports that impoverished Afghan families have sold their children for purposes of forced sexual exploitation, marriage, and labor.

Neither the Taliban nor the AIA have complied with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, nor did either make significant efforts to do so. The AIA was only in power for a short portion of the reporting period and a severe lack of resources and minimal governmental infrastructure have hindered the AIA from taking steps to prosecute traffickers or protect victims. During its tenure, the Taliban not only failed to take steps to combat trafficking, but also participated in trafficking. The Taliban's militia and religious police were responsible for internal security in areas under Taliban control. Justice was administered in the absence of formal legal and law enforcement institutions. With no functioning nationwide judicial system, many municipal and provincial authorities relied on some interpretation of Islamic law and traditional tribal codes of justice. After the Taliban was ousted from power, the Bonn Agreement called for the establishment of a Judicial Commission to rebuild the domestic justice system in accordance with Islamic principles, international standards, the rule of law, and Afghan legal traditions. Presently there is no protection provided to victims of trafficking. In terms of prevention, the AIA has allowed girls access to school.


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