Yemen Trafficking in persons

Factbook > Countries > Yemen > Transnational Issues

Trafficking in persons: current situation: Yemen is a source and, to a lesser extent, transit and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and women and children subjected to sex trafficking; trafficking activities grew in Yemen in 2014, as the country’s security situation deteriorated and poverty worsened; armed groups increased their recruitment of Yemeni children as combatants or checkpoint guards, and the Yemeni military and security forces continue to use child soldiers; some other Yemeni children, mostly boys, migrate to Yemeni cities or Saudi Arabia and, less frequently Oman, where they end up as beggars, drug smugglers, prostitutes, or forced laborers in domestic service or small shops; Yemeni children increasingly are also subjected to sex trafficking in country and in Saudi Arabia; tens of thousands of Yemeni migrant workers deported from Saudi Arabia and thousands of Syrian refugees are vulnerable to trafficking; additionally, Yemen is a destination and transit country for women and children from the Horn of Africa who are looking for work or receive fraudulent job offers in the Gulf states but are subjected to sexual exploitation or forced labor upon arrival; reports indicate that adults and children are still sold or inherited as slaves in Yemen
tier rating: Tier 3 – Yemen does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; weak government institutions, corruption, economic problems, security threats, and poor law enforcement capabilities impeded the government’s ability to combat human trafficking; not all forms of trafficking are criminalized, and officials continue to conflate trafficking and smuggling; the status of an anti-trafficking law drafted with assistance from an international organization remains unknown following the dissolution of the government in January 2015; the government did not report efforts to investigate, prosecute, or convict anyone of trafficking or slavery offenses, including complicit officials, despite reports of officials willfully ignoring trafficking crimes and using child soldiers in the government’s armed forces; the government acknowledged the use of child soldiers and signed a UN action plan to end the practice in 2014 but made no efforts to release child soldiers from the military and provide them with rehabilitative services; authorities failed to identify victims and refer them to protective services; the status of a draft national anti-trafficking strategy remains unknown (2015)

Definition: Trafficking in persons is modern-day slavery, involving victims who are forced, defrauded, or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. The International Labor Organization (ILO), the UN agency charged with addressing labor standards, employment, and social protection issues, estimates that 12.3 million people worldwide are enslaved in forced labor, bonded labor, forced child labor, sexual servitude, and involuntary servitude at any given time. Human trafficking is a multi-dimensional threat, depriving people of their human rights and freedoms, risking global health, promoting social breakdown, inhibiting development by depriving countries of their human capital, and helping fuel the growth of organized crime. In 2000, the US Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), reauthorized in 2003 and 2005, which provides tools for the US to combat trafficking in persons, both domestically and abroad. One of the law�s key components is the creation of the US Department of State�s annual Trafficking in Persons Report, which assesses the government response (i.e., the current situation) in some 150 countries with a significant number of victims trafficked across their borders who are recruited, harbored, transported, provided, or obtained for forced labor or sexual exploitation.
Countries in the annual report are rated in three tiers, based on government efforts to combat trafficking. The countries identified in this entry are those listed in the 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report as Tier 2 Watch List or Tier 3 based on the following tier rating definitions:


Tier 2 Watch List countries do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but are making significant efforts to do so, and meet one of the following criteria:

1. they display a high or significantly increasing numbof victims,

2. they have failed to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons, or,

3. they have committed to take action over the next year.


Tier 3 countries neither satisfy the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking nor demonstrate a significant effort to do so. Countries in this tier are subject to potential non-humanitarian and non-trade sanctions.

Source: CIA World Factbook - This page was last updated on July 9, 2017

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