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2007 State Department report on human trafficking in Ethiopia
ETHIOPIA (Tier 2)
Ethiopia is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Rural children and adults are trafficked internally to urban areas for domestic servitude and, to a lesser extent, for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor, such as in street vending, traditional weaving, or agriculture. Ethiopian women are trafficked primarily to Lebanon and Saudi Arabia for domestic servitude; other destinations include Bahrain, Djibouti, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, the U.A.E., and Yemen. Small percentages of these women are trafficked into the sex trade after arriving at their destinations. Small numbers of men are trafficked to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States for low-skilled forced labor. Some Ethiopian women have been trafficked onward from Lebanon to Turkey and Greece.
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. While Ethiopia's ongoing efforts to detect cases of child trafficking within the country are notable, its weak record of prosecuting these crimes is a continued cause for concern. To further its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should improve the investigative capacity of police and enhance judicial understanding of trafficking to allow for more convictions of traffickers.
While the government's efforts to investigate trafficking cases significantly increased during the reporting period, prosecution of cases referred to the prosecutor's office remained inadequate. Ethiopia's penal code prohibits all forms of trafficking for labor and sexual exploitation; those violating these statutes face from 5 to 20 years' imprisonment, punishments that are sufficiently stringent and exceed those prescribed for other grave crimes. Proclamation 104/98, which governs the work of international employment agencies, was revised in 2006 and awaits parliamentary ratification. During the year, 925 cases of child trafficking were reported to the police, a significant increase over the previous year. Of these, 67 cases were referred to the prosecutor's office. In September, one trafficker was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison and a $596 fine for forcing two children into domestic servitude. Twenty-three cases are pending prosecution, and the remaining 43 were closed for lack of evidence or absconded defendants. During the year, police in Awassa and Shashemene apprehended at least 10 traffickers traveling with children intended for sale to farmers in the Oromiya region. Some local police and border control agents are believed to accept bribes to overlook trafficking.
Though the government lacks the resources to provide material assistance to trafficking victims, a joint police-NGO child victim identification and referral mechanism operates in the capital. The Child Protection Units (CPUs) in each Addis Ababa police station rescued and collected information on trafficked children that facilitated their return to their families; the CPUs referred 240 trafficked children to IOM and local NGOs for care in 2006. Local police and administrators assisted in the repatriation of trafficked children to their home regions. The government did not provide financial or other support to NGOs that cared for victims. Ethiopian officials abroad received no training on recognizing or responding to human trafficking and remain largely uninformed of the issue. Ethiopia's consulate in Beirut, for example, dispensed limited legal advice to victims and referred them to church and NGO partners for assistance. While authorities did not detain or prosecute repatriated trafficking victims, they made no effort to interview returned victims about their experiences in the Middle East.
Ethiopia's efforts to prevent international trafficking increased, but measures to increase awareness of internal trafficking were lacking. In 2006, the Ministry of Labor (MOLSA) licensed 19 additional employment agencies to send workers to the Middle East. In mid-2006, its counselors began offering a pre-departure orientation, providing 8,359 prospective migrants with information on the risks of irregular migration. MOLSA, in conjunction with the Ethiopian consulate in Lebanon, verified and approved labor contracts for 8,200 workers; some of these contracts reportedly originated from black market brokers rather than legitimate migrants independently securing employment. In late 2006 and early 2007, police apprehended several illegal "employment agents" attempting to deceive potential migrants with fraudulent job offers from the Middle East; the cases are under investigation. The inter-ministerial counter-trafficking task force met monthly during the second half of the year and, in November 2006 and January 2007, conducted two three-day training workshops in Addis Ababa and Nazareth for 105 participants, including high court judges, national labor bureau personnel, and police commissioners. It also gave three 25-minute awareness-raising interviews on national radio. National radio aired IOM's weekly anti-trafficking program and, in December, national television aired a documentary highlighting the problem of trafficking. Ethiopia has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
Source: State Department
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