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Despite the lack of ificant efforts, the government took some steps to address trafficking, including convening its anti-trafficking inter-ministerial task force consistently, cooperating with an international organization to release approximately child soldiers, and launching a nation-wide awareness campaign. However, during the reporting period there remained a government policy or pattern of employing or recruiting child soldiers.
Authorities did not report investigating or prosecuting any forced labor or sex trafficking crimes for the ninth consecutive year. The government made negligible efforts to proactively identify and protect trafficking victims, did not report identifying any victims incontinued to arrest and imprison child sex trafficking victims, and continued to indiscriminately arrest and imprison individuals for prostitution violations without screening for indicators of trafficking.
Cease all recruitment and use of children by government forces and associated militias and immediately release all child soldiers under the command or influence of government forces and affiliated militias and, in partnership with international organizations, transfer them to appropriate civilian rehabilitation and reintegration programs.
The government continued to demonstrate negligible law enforcement efforts to hold traffickers able. The Penal Code, Child Act, and Labor Act criminalized some forms of sex trafficking and labor trafficking. The criminal code did not explicitly criminalize adult sex trafficking and conflated human trafficking with smuggling by requiring movement across borders. The government reported authorities did not investigate, prosecute, or convict any traffickers for the ninth consecutive year.
Inthe government contributed logistical support for an international organization to provide training for the Directorate of Nationality, Passports, and Immigration on human trafficking indicators, compared with partnering with the same organization to train approximately 30 officials in However, most police and judicial officials continued to lack a basic understanding of trafficking in persons and frequently conflated human trafficking and migrant smuggling. Officials estimated customary courts handled 80 percent of all cases due to capacity limitations of statutory courts, further limiting ability for accused sex and labor traffickers.
In Decemberthe government inaugurated the Gender Based Violence and Juvenile Court, although authorities did not report it trying any human trafficking cases. This specialized court—located in Juba—provides dedicated and expedited trials for gender based violence and juvenile cases, which may include cases involving trafficking in persons. In Februarythe Taskforce completed a legal framework gap analysis, with technical assistance from an international organization, to examine existing laws and identify articles that law enforcement can use to complement the Penal Code until a comprehensive TIP law is developed.
Corruption and official complicity in trafficking crimes remained ificant concerns; however, the government did not report investigating, prosecuting, or convicting government employees complicit in human trafficking offenses. Despite the ongoing recruitment and use of child soldiers by the SSPDF, SSNPS, and allied militias, the government has never held an offender criminally or administratively able for such crimes.
The lack of resources for basic operations, a dearth of trained judicial officials, and corruption throughout the justice sector continued to impede law enforcement efforts. The government decreased protection efforts. Officials did not report identifying any victims during the reporting period, compared with identifying 19 potential victims in International organizations stated the government may have identified some victims during the reporting period, but pandemic-related movement restrictions limited access and verification throughout much of the country. Members of the National Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration Commission NDDRC and other government officials cooperated with an international organization to demobilize and release approximately child soldiers during the reporting period; international organizations provided psychosocial and reintegration assistance for the children following their release.
Government officials noted many SSPDF officers did not meet their annual training requirements to increase their awareness of international standards and obligations around child soldier recruitment and use due to ongoing conflict, poor communication, and general lack of capacity. Despite ongoing reports government forces continued to recruit and use child soldiers, officials did not report opening any inquiries into complicit officers. Social stigma and fear of punitive law enforcement actions continued to discourage victims—particularly those subjected to sex trafficking—from reporting crimes to law enforcement officers.
The government has not passed any laws or policies to protect victims from prosecution for unlawful acts traffickers compelled them to commit, although the Minister of Gender reported opening special protection units during the reporting period at police stations in all 10 states, with six in Juba. Officials did not report providing services to any victims of trafficking. Security forces and law enforcement continued to lack a formal mechanism to identify potential victims, resulting in officials indiscriminately arresting individuals in commercial sex without screening, including known child sex trafficking victims.
The government did not provide specialized services for trafficking victims or legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they would face hardship or retribution, nor did it offer legal assistance or other mechanisms to encourage victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking crimes. The government increased efforts to prevent trafficking. In coordination with an international organization, the government convened the Taskforce, co-chaired by the Ministries of Interior and Justice, multiple times during the reporting period.
During the reporting period, the Taskforce launched the first phase of its nationwide awareness-raising campaign in partnership with an international organization. The awareness raising initiative included education and training components, and it lasted between five and seven days in each state. Government security forces actively continued to recruit child soldiers, at times by force, and did not fully implement the existing action plan to demobilize child soldiers currently within the forces. In addition, poor command and control among SSPDF units and ongoing instability throughout the country hindered implementation.
Authorities did not make efforts to address the labor exploitation of South Sudanese nationals working abroad or foreign nationals within South Sudan. Officials did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in South Sudan, and traffickers exploit victims from South Sudan abroad. South Sudanese women and girls, particularly those from rural areas or who are internally displaced, are vulnerable to domestic servitude throughout the country.
Male occupants of the household sexually abuse some of these women and girls while traffickers force others to engage in commercial sex acts. Prominent South Sudanese individuals in state capitals and rural areas sometimes force women and girls into domestic servitude. South Sudanese and foreign businesspeople exploit South Sudanese girls in sex trafficking in restaurants, hotels, and brothels in urban centers—at times with the involvement of corrupt law enforcement officials.
South Sudanese individuals coerce some children to work in construction, market vending, shoe shining, car washing, rock breaking, brick making, delivery cart pulling, gold mining, begging, and cattle herding. South Sudanese and foreign business owners recruit men and women from neighboring countries—especially the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Republic of the Congo, and Uganda—as well as South Sudanese women and children, with fraudulent offers of employment opportunities in hotels, restaurants, and construction, and they force them to work for little or no pay or coerce them into commercial sex.
An international organization reported Eritrean, Ethiopian, and Kenyan business owners recruited and exploited their compatriots, who enter South Sudan with valid visas and travel documents, to exploit them in forced labor or sex trafficking. The closure of restaurants and hotels in Juba due to COVID restrictions resulted in job losses particularly affecting migrant women, who became more vulnerable to sexual exploitation by business owners. Reports of child, early, and forced marriages rose with an increase in food insecurity, due to bride prices serving as an alternative source of revenue for families.
An international organization reported criminal networks use traders and trucks transporting goods and produce to bypass COVIDrelated movement restrictions and move trafficking victims throughout the country. Child, early, and forced marriage remains a nationwide problem, with families forcing some girls into marriages as compensation for inter-ethnic killings; husbands and their families may subsequently subject these girls to sexual slavery or domestic servitude. East African migrants transiting through South Sudan to North Africa remain vulnerable to forced labor and sex trafficking.
Violent conflict continued throughout the year, resulting in approximately 1. These groups, including orphaned children, are at increased risk of trafficking and other forms of exploitation within South Sudan and neighboring countries due to sometimes limited access to formal justice and support networks. Unaccompanied children in camps for refugees or internally displaced persons are particularly vulnerable to abduction by sex or labor traffickers.
Inter-ethnic abductions and abductions by external criminal elements and armed groups remain common, especially in Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile states; traffickers exploit some abductees in forced labor or sex trafficking. An international organization estimated government and opposition-affiliated forces have recruited more than 19, child soldiers since the start of the conflict inand armed groups continued to recruit and use children during the reporting period.
Experts assess there are currently between 7, and 19, child soldiers within South Sudan as of February Government forces—including SSNPS—use children to fight and perpetrate violence against other children and civilians, to serve as bodyguards, staff checkpoints, and in other security support roles.
According to the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan ed inthe parties committed to refrain from the recruitment or use of child soldiers by armed forces or militias in contravention of international conventions. Governmental and non-governmental groups continued to retain, recruit, and use child soldiers during the reporting period, with observers reporting armed groups used 48 percent of children in combat roles. Experts note more children fight on behalf of locally organized armed groups rather than formally organized groups with centralized command and control structures.
Observers reported armed groups used young boys to guard or raid cattle, a key source of income for many South Sudanese. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites. South Sudan. Share Share this on:. Maarten St.
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