U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ethiopia

Ethiopia (Tier 2 Watch List)

Ethiopia is a source country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced domestic and commercial labor. Ethiopian children and adults are trafficked internally from rural areas to urban areas, principally for involuntary domestic servitude, and also for prostitution and forced labor, such as street vending. A small number of young women are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation to Lebanon. There are reports that women may be trafficked onward from Lebanon to Europe.

The Government of Ethiopia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite severe resource constraints. Victim protection is virtually non-existent, and the failure to obtain a single conviction in nearly 100 trafficking-related cases warrants Tier 2 Watch List status and sends a clear message to traffickers that they can operate with impunity. Ethiopia should take steps to enact comprehensive trafficking legislation, convict and punish alleged traffickers, and provide basic protection services to meet the needs of victims.


Ethiopia lacks comprehensive trafficking legislation. However, the government began the process of strengthening trafficking-related penal code provisions. The criminal code narrowly defines traffickers as those who seduce, entice, or otherwise induce women and children to engage in acts of prostitution. Ethiopian law falls particularly short in that it fails to address internal trafficking and trafficking for forced labor. Despite 80 to 100 trafficking-related arrests in previous years, the government has failed to win a single conviction. In October 2003, police arrested five men suspected of trafficking children from Ethiopia's southern region. These cases are pending. No government official has been implicated in trafficking, but allegations of official collusion in trafficking are reportedly under investigation. Through airport controls, the government monitors immigration and emigration patterns for evidence of trafficking. In 2003, airport immigration officials rescued and repatriated several Burundians and Tanzanians being trafficked onward to the Middle East via the Addis Ababa airport.


Minimal government assistance is available to trafficking victims. In 2003, the Ethiopian Consulate in Beirut increased its efforts to dispense limited legal advice and provide temporary shelter to victims.


In 2003, the IOM, with administrative support from the Ministry of Education, conducted about 400 anti-trafficking training and awareness sessions at schools and universities. A government committee is vested with authority to address trafficking issues. The government monitors the operations of five international labor migration firms, which are required to provide counter-trafficking training in their initial screening and pre-departure counseling programs.


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