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

Egypt (Tier 2)

Egypt is a transit country for women and girls trafficked from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union into Israel for forced prostitution. According to various sources, hundreds of women and underage girls, particularly from Moldova, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, are deceived or forced to journey through Egypt's Sinai desert into Israel at the hands of tribal smugglers. They are trafficked into forced prostitution in Israel. Undocumented migration into Egypt from sub-Saharan Africa is common.

The Government of Egypt does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Egypt appears in this report for the first time as the result of new information that depicts a significant trafficking problem. The government has shown growing awareness of trafficking over the last year. The Ministry of Justice in early 2004 initiated an effort to draft and enact comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation in accord with international standards. Under the terms of the 1983 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, Egyptian border security forces are restricted in their operations along the Sinai border with Israel, where many trafficking victims transit. Despite these restrictions, Egypt should take additional steps to identify, rescue, and care for trafficking victims who seek to transit the country. It should also vigorously investigate and prosecute the traffickers behind this trade, and improve its coordination with governments of source countries.


Although Egypt lacks an anti-trafficking law, the government made some efforts to prosecute traffickers for other crimes over the past year. Police do not assign a priority to detecting and investigating trafficking cases, as the Egyptian Government does not consider trafficking a significant problem in Egypt. There were no reported arrests or prosecutions of trafficking crimes during the last year, and no trafficking victims were identified. In December 2003, a court convicted an Egyptian for the extraterritorial offenses of manslaughter and aiding illegal immigration for his role in the deaths of 353 persons, some of who may have been trafficking victims, who were on a boat en route to Australia. In September 2002, Egyptian police rescued three Moldovan women who had been abducted from a hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh and were being trafficked into Israel. The Bedouin tribal smugglers involved were prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced to 25 years in jail.


The government generally does not offer trafficking victims any assistance or shelter. Repatriation of trafficking victims is ad hoc. Egypt should engage the IOM to assist with victim repatriation efforts, and adopt a uniform protection policy.


The Egyptian Government conducts few anti-trafficking prevention activities, though consular and immigration officials were given information to assist in detecting illegal immigration and trafficking.


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