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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

United States Praises Malawi, Morocco for Anti-Trafficking Gains

US State Department-Washington DC

Michelle Austein

Two African governments received praise for progress in fighting human trafficking and two countries were cited for doing enough in the State Department's 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report.

In its annual report to the U.S. Congress, released June 5, the State Department evaluated foreign governments' efforts to eliminate human trafficking. The report groups nations in one of four categories based on their efforts to control human trafficking, to prosecute those involved, and to support and assist victims of these crimes.

Governments that meet standards established in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 are placed in Tier 1. Tier 2 comprises countries that are demonstrating commitment to address their problems but have not yet achieved international standards. Tier 2 "Watch List" includes countries that show signs of falling backwards, while governments not making significant efforts to meet the standards are placed in Tier 3. (See related article.)


Two Tier 1 countries, Malawi and Morocco, were praised for taking steps to prevent human trafficking in 2005.

Despite limited resources, Malawi made significant progress, particularly in the areas of prosecuting traffickers and educating the public to recognize human trafficking. Malawi, with support from international donors also produced and distributed 10,000 posters and 20,000 pamphlets to schools, welfare agencies, hospitals and youth clubs to educate the public about the issue.

Morocco fully complies with the minimum standards for eliminating trafficking, according to the report. Its international anti-trafficking cooperation "reflects the government's strong commitment to addressing the trafficking problem," the report said.

In February, Moroccan officials dismantled a large international network that was trafficking and smuggling migrants from India. Seventy suspects, including a police officer, were arrested.


Sudan and Zimbabwe - both Tier 3 countries -- were cited for not doing enough to fight human trafficking.

Even though Sudan demonstrated initial progress on a number of fronts, "most of these efforts were not sustained," the report said. During the country's recently ended civil war, adults and children were forced to join armed groups.

To improve its anti-trafficking efforts, the Sudanese government should take steps to provide protective services to all types of trafficking victims and remove child soldiers from armed groups.

Zimbabwe showed "little political will" to address its trafficking problem during the past year, the report said. Zimbabwean children are trafficked internally for forced agricultural labor, domestic servitude and sexual exploitation. Trafficked women and girls are lured out of the country by false job or scholarship promises.

To further its anti-trafficking efforts, the report said, Zimbabwe should improve anti-trafficking legislation and launch a broad public awareness campaign.

Algeria, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Libya, Mauritania, South Africa, and Togo were among the countries listed on the reports Tier 2 "Watch List."


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