Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, October 13th, 2019

Trafficking in Person: Afghanistan Downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List

Trafficking in Person:  Afghanistan Downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List

KABUL - Afghanistan was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List for not making significant effort to eliminate trafficking, but is making significant efforts to do so, the US State Department said in its annual report on Trafficking in Person (TIP) on Sunday.
These efforts include investigating some allegations of official complicity in trafficking and establishing five new Child Protection Units (CPUs) to prevent the recruitment of children into the Afghan National Police (ANP), the report said.
It added other efforts of the Afghan government were partnering with an international organization to finalize and publish standard operating procedures (SOPs) for victim identification and referral to care.
However, the Afghan government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, the report said, adding Afghan security forces continued to unlawfully recruit and use child soldiers and exploit boys in bacha bazi with impunity.
Members of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan Local Police (ALP) reportedly recruited boys specifically for bacha bazi by enticing them and by promising food and money.
Authorities continued to refer the majority of trafficking cases to mediation in lieu of criminal prosecution and penalized sex trafficking victims for “moral crimes.”
Sex trafficking victims reported prosecutors and judges solicited sexual favors from them while investigating their cases.
Officials conflated trafficking and smuggling, could not confidently identify trafficking victims, and relied on NGOs and foreign donors for nearly all victim assistance. Therefore Afghanistan was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List.
Recommendations:
Cease the unlawful recruitment and use of children by Afghan security forces and demobilize children from all armed groups with adequate protection and reintegration support.
• Issue a directive to law enforcement to pursue criminal investigations in cases of human trafficking, including bacha bazi.
• Increase criminal investigations an
prosecutions of trafficking—especially of law enforcement and military officials allegedly complicit in trafficking—and convict and adequately sentence perpetrators.
• Cease support to non-state armed groups that recruit and use child soldiers.
• Cease penalization of victims for unlawful acts their traffickers forced them to commit, including “moral crimes.”
• Significantly increase training for judicial officials on the anti-trafficking provisions in the new penal code, the prohibition on mediation to settle sex trafficking cases per the 2009 Elimination of Violence Against Women Act, and ensure judges have sufficient copies of the penal code.
• Disseminate, and conduct widespread training on, the SOPs for victim identification and referral to services.
• Strengthen law enforcement’s capacity to address trafficking, including increased training and resources for the Ministry of Interior (MOI)’s provincial anti- trafficking/smuggling units.
• Dedicate resources for trafficking victim shelters and services, including for male victims.
• Amend Chapter 5 of the penal code to increase the penalties for bacha bazi in line with penalties prescribed for other forms of trafficking.
• Raise awareness of trafficking at the local level, including its definition, law enforcement and social service resources available, and community prevention   efforts.
• Ensure all ministries support the High Commission for Combating Crimes of Abduction and Human Trafficking/Smuggling (high commission) and its sub-committee and contribute to data collection efforts. (Pajhwok)