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

Afghanistan (Tier 2)

Afghanistan is a source country for women and children trafficked internally and to Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia for forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Children are trafficked internally for forced labor as beggars or into debt bondage in the brick kiln and carpet-making industries. Afghan women and girls are kidnapped, lured by fraudulent marriage or job proposals, or sold into marriage or commercial sexual exploitation within the country and in Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. Women are also exchanged to settle debts or resolve conflicts. The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission reported 150 cases of child trafficking this year, though many suspect the actual level of trafficking is higher.

The Government of Afghanistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Although the government has had an interagency working group on trafficking for two years, little discernable action has resulted due in large part to limited resources and lack of capacity. Afghanistan did not enact a trafficking law in 2005, though it continued to rely on kidnapping and other criminal laws to prosecute trafficking offenses. Afghanistan also has not taken sufficient action to address the reportedly high degree of corruption among police and border guards. Police officers, prosecutors, and judges often lack training and sensitivity to trafficking issues. As a result, the government's prosecution level is low and many cases are never heard. Afghanistan should enact a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, increase prosecutions of traffickers including corrupt government officers, and provide technical and sensitivity training for government officials.


Over the year, Afghanistan made some progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. Afghanistan does not have a specific anti-trafficking law, and relies primarily on kidnapping statutes to charge trafficking offenses. Despite reports last year that the Ministry of Justice was in the process of drafting an anti-trafficking law, none has been released or enacted. This year, Afghanistan reported 40-70 arrests of child traffickers. Four prosecutions resulted in 15 convictions, with six traffickers sentenced to jail terms ranging from eight months to 20 years and seven traffickers sentenced to death. However, the government did not report significant measures taken to investigate prosecute or otherwise curb government corruption, particularly among border guards who are widely believed to facilitate trafficking. Afghanistan should enact an anti-trafficking law, increase law enforcement action against corrupt government officials, and expand training programs for police and members of the judiciary investigating and prosecuting these cases.


The Government of Afghanistan, with limited resources, made modest improvements in its protection efforts, but deficiencies remain. The government cooperated with Saudi Arabia to repatriate children trafficked for forced begging. While the Government of Afghanistan still lacks a shelter providing medical, psychological, and legal aid to trafficking victims, there are shelters operated by NGOs. Adult victims are sometimes jailed. The government also does not encourage victims to participate in trials of their traffickers. Afghanistan should offer basic shelter services and protection for victims, and prevent the arrest and incarceration of suspected trafficking victims. The government should also ensure that victims have the opportunity to participate in the trials of their traffickers if they choose.


During the year, Afghanistan took minimal action to prevent trafficking in persons. The government's national anti-trafficking task force met, but was not active. The government disseminated information about missing children through the media and mosques and conducted limited police training to raise awareness of trafficking. Afghanistan failed to consistently and adequately screen emigrants and immigrants at the border in order to identify trafficking victims or to undertake a broad public awareness campaign on trafficking.


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