U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea (Tier 2)
Equatorial Guinea is a transit and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation, involuntary domestic servitude, and other forced labor. Women and children are trafficked to Equatorial Guinea from West and Central Africa, principally Cameroon, Nigeria, and Benin. Women are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation in Malabo, where demand is high due to the booming oil sector. Cameroonian and Beninese children are trafficked to Malabo for exploitation as street and market hawkers; Nigerian boys are trafficked to Rio Muni (the mainland) for exploitation as agricultural workers.
The Government of Equatorial Guinea does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Over the past year the government has made a number of efforts that attest to its commitment to address Equatorial Guinea's small but significant trafficking problem. Most notably, the government passed a comprehensive trafficking law, committed $3-4 million in funding for UNICEF anti-trafficking projects, began drafting a national plan of action, and started law enforcement efforts to rescue child trafficking victims in Malabo.
The Government of Equatorial Guinea made significant progress in addressing trafficking through law enforcement measures during the reporting period. The government in September 2004 enacted a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, which was drafted by an inter-ministerial commission on trafficking that had been created in July 2004. The government did not provide comprehensive law enforcement statistics on anti-trafficking activities. However, during the year, the government enforced its law against forced labor and convicted a Beninese woman for holding a 14 year-old Beninese girl in involuntary servitude. The Ministry of Interior in early 2005 embarked on a campaign to rescue foreign children forced to sell products in the Malabo market and on the streets. A draft national plan of action, which will provide implementation guidelines for the new law, plans to empower dedicated police officers, "fiscales de menores," to fight child trafficking. There are reports of low-level law enforcement officials' facilitation of trafficking at the country's entry points, though there are no known investigations or prosecutions of official complicity in trafficking.
The government continued an inadequate level of protection and aid for victims of trafficking over the last year, though it made plans for an improved and systematic approach to victim care. A technical working group that drafted the national plan of action is preparing specific measures for protection of victims, including referrals to existing shelters run by the Catholic Church and possible government-established shelters. Equatoguinean officials recognize the government's responsibility for caring for the victims of trafficking, whether foreign or indigenous. The government has committed $3-4 million in funding for UNICEF projects that will protect child trafficking victims and other children in distress.
Equatoguinean government efforts to raise public awareness about trafficking increased significantly over the last year. The government-run radio station in late 2004 conducted a campaign to publicize the new anti-trafficking law and raise awareness of the trafficking issue in general. In June, the government observed the International Day of the African Child by staging the National Forum on the Rights of the Child and Trafficking of Minors, covered by national television and radio. The government in mid-2004 created the country's Inter-Institutional Commission on Illegal Smuggling of Migrants and Trafficking of Persons, headed by the Second Vice Prime Minister, which coordinates the government's anti-trafficking efforts.
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