U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Sudan

Sudan1 (Tier 3)

Sudan is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and, at times, sexual exploitation. Sudan may also be a transit and destination country for Ethiopian women trafficked for domestic servitude. Young Sudanese boys from the country's eastern Rashaida tribe are trafficked to the Middle East, particularly Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, for use as camel jockeys. Small numbers of Sudanese girls are reportedly trafficked within Sudan for domestic servitude, as well as for commercial sexual exploitation in small brothels in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. The terrorist rebel organization "Lord's Resistance Army" (LRA) continues to abduct and forcibly conscript small numbers of children in Southern Sudan for use as cooks, porters, and combatants in its ongoing war against the Government of Uganda; some of these children are then trafficked across borders into Uganda or possibly the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Sudanese children are utilized by rebel groups in Sudan's ongoing conflict in Darfur; the Sudanese Armed Forces and associated militias reportedly continue to utilize children in this region. Vulnerable boys often perceive that voluntarily attaching themselves to an armed group, whether a rebel militia or the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), is their best option for survival. Forcible recruitment of adults and particularly children by virtually all armed groups involved in Sudan's recently ended North-South civil war was commonplace; thousands of children now require demobilization and reintegration into their communities of origin.

During the decades of civil war, thousands of Dinka women and children were abducted and subsequently enslaved by members of two Baggara tribes (Missiriya and Rezeigat). An unknown number of children from the Nuba tribe were similarly abducted and enslaved during the same time period. Motivations behind this form of warfare were complex, but the end result was capture through raiding and abduction; rapid transport of victims from Bahr el Ghazal to locations in northern Sudan; and subjection of abductees to various forms of forced labor without remuneration, as well as, at times, physical and sexual abuse. Often, a complete cultural reorientation accompanied such enslavement, involving such practices as renaming, involuntary female circumcision, forced religious conversion, and forbidding the use of native languages. Many of those who were abducted and enslaved remained with their abductors in South Darfur and West Kordofan; some were married into the abductor's family; others were sold or given to third parties, including in other regions of the country; and some ultimately escaped from their captors. Due to the cessation of the North-South conflict and the ongoing peace process, there were no known new abductions of Dinka by members of Baggara tribes during the year. However, inter-tribal abductions of a different nature, as are historically common among East African tribes, continue in Southern Sudan and warrant further investigation.

The Government of National Unity (GNU) of Sudan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. While Sudan demonstrated initial progress on a number of fronts, most of these efforts were not sustained. In addition, protective efforts did not extend to all types of trafficking victims and the Committee for the Eradication of Abduction of Women and Children's (CEAWC) efforts to return victims of slavery were stalled for part of the year by a lack of funding. To improve its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should take steps to provide protective services to all types of trafficking victims found within the country; demobilize all child soldiers from its ranks, as well as those of allied militias; publicly acknowledge the link between abductions and slavery, and denounce the continuation of this practice in the country; establish a comprehensive policy framework for identifying, verifying, retrieving, and reintegrating abductees that is developed and agreed to by all affected parties in the north and the south; strengthen the leadership, professional management, and accountability of CEAWC at the state and local levels; and continue, as was demonstrated during the January/February returns, to work closely and transparently with the international community to adequately verify and document cases of enslavement of individuals from all affected tribes.


The national government's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts were almost non-existent over the reporting period. The Sudanese Criminal Code neither specifically outlaws trafficking nor covers all of the worst forms of trafficking in persons, though Articles 162 through 164 of the Sudan Criminal Code outlaw abduction, luring, and forced labor. No trafficker has ever been prosecuted under these articles. In November 2005, the GNU reported that Emirati agents attempted to recruit 100 Sudanese children to race camels in the United Arab Emirates, but the Ministry of Interior denied the children's applications for exit visas. In October 2005, the Government of Uganda and the GNU expanded their agreement permitting Ugandan military operations on Sudanese territory. The revised agreement allows Ugandan forces to use air support and operate north of the "red line" that previously limited Ugandan pursuit of LRA rebels. During the year, the LRA reportedly continued to receive support through the continued presence of the Sudan Armed Forces' military garrison and intelligence agents in Juba. During the reporting period, the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), through both the President and the Vice President, publicly delivered several ultimatums to the LRA to leave Southern Sudan.

During the reporting period, the GoSS drafted a comprehensive Children's Act that prohibits the sale or exchange of children, as well as the recruitment and use of child soldiers under the age of 18. Additional draft legislation, entitled the Children in Armed Forces Act, creates a legal framework to criminalize the act of recruitment of children and allow for the civilian prosecution of perpetrators; the bills are slated for presentation to the GoSS Assembly in April 2006.


The national government's victim protection efforts were extremely limited over the reporting period, producing mixed results. Protective efforts did not extend to all types of trafficking victims found within the country. Disagreements remain between the government and NGOs over the application of international legal standards for returning trafficked individuals to their areas of origin, as well as the definition of a child.

The GNU, through the National Council of Child Welfare (NCCW), signed an agreement with a Qatari NGO that enabled the repatriation of 212 Sudanese child camel jockeys from Qatar, most through informal traditional channels. While the NCCW's efforts to repatriate children from the U.A.E. are ongoing, governmental procedures and policies, such as income generation projects, that would protect children and prevent re-victimization were lacking during the reporting period; 285 children were repatriated in mid-to-late 2005. During the year, an NCCW-NGO team conducted three field visits to follow-up with reintegrated children. In March 2006, the NCCW signed an agreement with UNICEF that established a plan of action for repatriating additional child camel jockeys from the U.A.E. Under the agreement, the NCCW is tasked with coordinating the return of victimized children, advocating locally against the use of child camel jockeys, and initiating legal reform; the recent enactment of this agreement renders an evaluation of its impact impossible.

In December, the North Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) Interim Authority and UNICEF jointly held a child advocacy meeting with commanders of 15 militias and other armed groups (OAGs) to familiarize them with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement's (CPA) guidelines for the removal of child soldiers and prepare them for the upcoming survey of child soldiers within their ranks. According to the United Nations Mission in Sudan, the OAGs agreed to fully support the removal of children. In February 2006, the GNU established, as mandated by the CPA, the inter-ministerial National DDR Coordination Council, a body with responsibility for policy formation, as well as oversight, coordination, and evaluation of the plans and processes of the Northern and Southern Sudan sub-commissions. In February 2006, President Bashir issued a Presidential Decree that established the Northern Sudan DDR Commission and mandated it with design, implementation, and management of the DDR process at the northern sub-national level. To date, the national government has made no concrete progress in demobilizing or caring for child soldiers because it denies their existence in the Sudanese Armed Forces.

The Southern Sudan DDR Commission has not yet been established to replace the South Sudan DDR Interim Authority; the GoSS had not paid the salaries of the DDR Interim Authority staff to enable a full commencement of operations. Nevertheless, during the period, the SPLA continued to cooperate with the international community to demobilize associated children, some of whom had been used as soldiers; in August 2005, 205 children were released in Western Upper Nile. In conjunction with UNICEF, the SPLA has informally released thousands of children from its ranks since 2001. In December 2005, SPLA commanders from Western Upper Nile and Nuba Mountains attended a training session to prepare for the first official demobilization of children associated with the armed forces under the CPA. In February 2006, the SPLA commenced the formal removal and demobilization of children from its ranks (which include other recently incorporated armed groups) in Unity State with the technical support of UNICEF. To date, the South Sudan DDR Interim Authority has demobilized and reunified 142 children through the formal process.

Because of an agreement between the GNU and the Government of Uganda, Ugandan children who escape or are captured from LRA forces are delivered by the SPLA to Department of Social Welfare offices in Juba or Torit for repatriation by an international organization. The same agreement applies to Sudanese children captured in Uganda; in late-2005, three Sudanese children formerly abducted by the LRA were returned to southern Sudan through this mechanism.

According to CEAWC, approximately 694 victims of abduction and slavery were collected from the northern states of South Darfur and South Kordofan and returned to the Bahr el Ghazal region of southern Sudan during the reporting period. This number of returned victims represents a dramatic decrease compared to the 2,708 CEAWC rescues from the previous year. NGOs and international organizations maintain that some of the individuals included in the reported 694 victims were not rescued from situations of slavery, but instead were internally displaced persons residing in the north. These retrieval and transport missions took place in June 2005 and January/February 2006; between June and January, the GNU did not provide CEAWC with the necessary funding for the transport and reunification of previously identified abductees with their families. As a result, thousands of people continued to remain in prolonged situations of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Although the GNU provided funding for this most recent movement, it did not provide additional funding for further return efforts. During the period, CEAWC permitted UNICEF to observe some of its operations to return abducted southerners. In the latest round of repatriations, in January and February 2006, there were noticeable improvements in CEAWC's methods of returning abductees, including no known cases of forced returns and improved provisions and condition of the convoys. CEAWC reportedly delivered former abductees to their villages where their families received them. NGOs, however, have reported that the few returnees who were not reunited with their families remained extremely vulnerable, and faced food shortages and a lack of health care.


The national government took steps to prevent trafficking for the purpose of child camel jockeying during the reporting period, but made no effort to prevent other forms of trafficking in persons. An NCCW-NGO team conducted three field visits to raise tribal awareness of the dangers of camel jockeying. According to observers, this awareness raising has done little to stop the practice, as dire economic circumstances force families to rely on their children's work for survival. The NCCW and a consultant, with NGO funding, produced a booklet entitled "Together to Protect Children from Violence" that highlighted the illegality of using children for camel jockeying and sexual exploitation. The NCCW is distributing 2,000 copies of the booklet to its chapters in each state, as well as in schools. In November, the NCCW held a public workshop on the possibility of proposing legal reforms to criminalize trafficking children for camel jockeying and to evaluate the repatriation process. An inter-ministerial committee screened travel by children to the Gulf countries when their families applied for exit visas, and a team of doctors performed medical exams to verify age in some exit visa cases.

1 A wide array of grave human rights violations, including incidences of sexual violence perpetrated against women in the Darfur region, continue to occur unchecked in Sudan. The government's progress in combating these issues is covered in great detail in the Department of State's annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.


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