Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Human Trafficking Report 2015 - Seychelles Tier 2

James Michel
Seychelles is a source country for children subjected to sex
trafficking and a destination country for foreign men and women
subjected to labor and sex trafficking, respectively. Seychellois
girls and, according to some sources, boys are induced into
prostitution—particularly on the main island of Mahe—by peers,
family members, and pimps for exploitation in nightclubs, bars, guest
houses, hotels, brothels, private homes, and on the street. Young
drug addicts are also vulnerable to being forced into prostitution.
Foreign tourists, sailors, and migrant workers contribute to the
demand for commercial sex in Seychelles. Eastern European
women have been subjected to forced prostitution in private
homes. Migrant workers—including those from China, Kenya,
Madagascar, and various countries in South Asia—make up
20 percent of the working population in Seychelles and are
primarily employed in the fishing and construction sectors. Migrant
workers are subjected to forced labor in the construction sector.
NGOs report migrant workers face exploitative conditions in fish
processing plants, and fishermen aboard foreign-flagged fishing
vessels in Seychelles’ territorial waters and ports are subjected to
abuses indicative of forced labor, including nonpayment of wages
and physical abuse.
The Government of Seychelles does not fully comply with the
minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however,
it is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting
period, the government adopted anti-trafficking legislation and
began implementation of the 2014-2015 national action plan.
The national anti-trafficking committee, in collaboration with
international donors, began the development of a victim assistance
tool and conducted an extensive national awareness campaign
on trafficking. However, the government did not report any
prosecutions or convictions of trafficking offenders and did not
identify any trafficking victims. The government deports migrant
workers working for state-owned or private companies for
participating in strikes to protest poor employment conditions
without conducting comprehensive investigations and screenings
to identify if the individuals were victims of forced labor.
Use the newly adopted anti-trafficking legislation to investigate and
prosecute trafficking offenses and convict and punish trafficking
offenders; amend the penal code to harmonize the duplicative and
contradictory sections addressing sexual offenses—particularly
those related to the exploitation of children in prostitution—to
ensure the prohibition of and sufficiently stringent punishment for
the prostitution of all persons under 18 years of age and the forced
prostitution of adults; provide specialized training to government
officials—including members of the national committee on human
trafficking, law enforcement officials, social workers, and labor
inspectors—on how to identify victims of trafficking and refer
them to appropriate services; implement the national action plan
to combat human trafficking and dedicate appropriate resources
towards its implementation; provide adequate resources to labor
inspectors to conduct regular and comprehensive inspections of
migrant workers’ work sites and inform the migrant workers of
their employment rights; institute a standardized contract governing
the employment of domestic workers within private homes;
and continue awareness campaigns on trafficking to increase the
understanding of the crime among the local population and the
large number of foreign tourists and migrant workers entering
the country.
The government demonstrated minimal efforts to identify and
protect victims. It did not identify or provide protective services to
any trafficking victims. There are no shelters or protective services
specifically for trafficking victims in the country. The Department
of Social Affairs provided counseling to women in prostitution,
some of whom may have been victims of forced prostitution.
The national anti-trafficking committee began the development
of a victim assistance tool, which will include standard operating
procedures and victim identification and referral mechanisms; the
tool was not finalized at the end of the reporting period. There
were no reports of victims being penalized for unlawful acts
committed as a result of being subjected to trafficking; however,
the lack of formal identification procedures likely resulted in some
victims remaining unidentified in the law enforcement system.
Additionally, migrant workers who strike are considered to be in
breach of their work contracts and can be deported at the will of
their employers. Several migrant workers who gathered to protest
a variety of abuses relating to their employment were deported
during the reporting period; these deportations took place without
conducting comprehensive investigations or screenings to identify
if the individuals were victims of forced labor.
The government increased prevention efforts. The national
anti-trafficking committee served as a coordinating body for
collaboration and communication on trafficking matters; the
committee met regularly during the reporting period, but did not
receive a dedicated budget and relied on ad hoc funding from
various government agencies. As a result, the implementation of
the 2014-2015 national action plan was slow and many activities
remained in early planning stages. The government conducted
a two-month nationwide media campaign to raise awareness
on trafficking; the campaign was funded by an international
organization. As part of this campaign, the Ministry of Home
Affairs and Transport developed a website to educate the general
public on how to identify and report trafficking offenses. The
Ministry of Labor and Human Resource Development employed
11 labor inspectors responsible for conducting inspections of
all workplaces in the country and one labor officer assigned to
inform all migrant workers of their employment rights; government
officials acknowledged this number was inadequate and inspectors
lacked basic resources to perform their duties adequately. Despite
several complaints by migrant workers, primarily in the construction
sector, about poor working conditions, nonpayment of salaries,
and retention of passports, the government has never identified
a case of forced labor in the country. The government made no
discernible efforts to decrease the demand for commercial sex acts
or forced labor during the reporting period. The government did
not provide anti-trafficking training or guidance for its diplomatic