…while Ethiopia is making “significant efforts” to eliminate trafficking

The State Department's 2016 Trafficking in Persons 2016 Report also covers Djibouti, South Sudan and Sudan, all classified as Tier 3, Somalia identified as a Special Case. Kenya and Ethiopia are marked as Tier 2. On Ethiopia, the report says that although the government did not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, it was "making significant efforts to do so."  It enacted a comprehensive anti-trafficking law last year and passed a revised overseas employment proclamation improving oversight of overseas recruitment agencies and extending greater protections to potential victims. During the year, it identified more than 3,000 trafficking victims and convicted 69 traffickers. Income generating plans to support victim reintegration did not make progress but the government provided in-kind support for the efforts of NGOs and international organizations to provide assistance.

It notes the August 2015 Proclamation to Provide for the Prevention and Suppression of Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants, whose penalties are, the report suggests,  "sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes". The government also passed amendments to the Employment Exchange Services Proclamation No. 632/2009, which controls licensed labor recruitment agencies, but didn't fully implement it during the year.

It notes that in August 2015, officials approved and endorsed a five-year national action plan to combat trafficking that incorporated feedback from civil society stakeholders. The government has now established a National Committee, chaired by the Deputy Prime minister, to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts. The national committee, advised by international organizations, convened seminars to guide local officials and citizens in the establishment of anti-trafficking units and disseminated the 2015 anti-trafficking proclamation. Local government officials hosted and facilitated hundreds of community conversation sessions throughout the country, and government media carried out broadcast awareness campaigns.

The report says that up to 1,500 Ethiopians depart daily as part of the legal migration process in search of better economic opportunities and while the government has maintained its 2013 ban on the recruitment of low-skilled domestic workers to the Middle East, irregular labor migration to the Gulf has, however, increased. This will continue until bilateral work agreements with recipient countries are agreed and a revised employment exchange proclamation is issued to allow for greater oversight of private employment agencies. There has, however, been some progress on negotiating new agreements with Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, South Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates, providing for governments to commit to ethical recruitment, legal remedies against those who violate the law, and equal protection of Ethiopian workers, including equal wages for equal work, reasonable working hours, and leave.

The report also notes that government has continued to assist Ethiopians deported from Saudi Arabia since 2013 though it notes the capacity and budget constraints that limit its options. It has also been providing anti-trafficking training to diplomatic personnel. Troops going on international peacekeeping missions are also being provided with anti-trafficking training prior to deployment. The report concludes by calling for the government to increase efforts to convict traffickers, extend training for law enforcement and judicial officials, fully implement the overseas employment proclamation, improve screening procedures in the distribution of national identification cards and passports, and allocate funding for the deployment of labor attaches to overseas diplomatic missions. 

 

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