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Human Trafficking Trends in sub-Saharan Africa (Infographic)

African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC)

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is observed annually on January 11. #HumanTraffickingAwarenessDay

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Human trafficking and modern slavery trends and statistics in sub-Saharan Africa.

What is Human Trafficking?

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as:

  • sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or
  • the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
    A victim need not be physically transported from one location to another for the crime to fall within this definition.

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

The United States Senate designated January 11 as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in 2007. Beginning in 2010, by Presidential Proclamation, each January has been designated National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

Global Statistics on Modern Slavery

According to the 2018 Global Slavery Index,

  • There were an estimated 40.3 million individuals across the globe in modern slavery (as of 2016).
    • 71% female and 29% male
    • 24.9 million in forced labor
    • 15.4 million in forced marriage
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Modern Slavery Statistics in sub-Saharan Africa Infographic. Statistics as of 2016, from the 2018 Global Slavery Index.

Modern Slavery Statistics in sub-Saharan Africa Infographic. Statistics as of 2016, from the 2018 Global Slavery Index.

Modern Slavery Statistics in sub-Saharan Africa:

  • An estimated 7.8 million individuals are enslaved in sub-Saharan Africa, making up 19% of the total global enslaved population.
  • An estimated 9.24 million individuals are enslaved in all of Africa, making up 23% of the total global enslaved population.
  • The most common forms of slavery in sub-Saharan Africa are forced labor and forced marriage
  • Africa accounts for 8% of child sex trafficking in the world.
  • The main causes of modern slavery in sub-Saharan Africa are
    • Economy: poor economic conditions
    • Violence: violent conflict and territorial displacement
    • Crisis: humanitarian and environmental crisis.
  • The countries with the highest rates of modern slavery in sub-Saharan Africa are:
    • Eritrea (.93% of population)
    • Burundi (.40% of population)
    • Central African Republic (.22% of population)
    • Mauritania (.21% of population)
    • South Sudan (.21% of population)

What countries are considered "sub-Saharan" Africa?

Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. According to the United Nations, it consists of all African countries that are fully or partially located south of the Sahara.[1]

The UN Development Program lists 46 of Africa’s 54 countries as sub-Saharan.[2] The following countries are excluded from sub-Saharan Africa:

  • Algeria
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Tunisia
In the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, each country is placed into of four tiers, as mandated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). This placement is based not on the size of the country’s trafficking problem but on the extent of governments’ efforts to meet the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking. The data above is derived from data provided by foreign governments and other sources and reviewed by the U.S. Department of State. (From 2018 TIP Report, Page 53-55.)

In the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, each country is placed into of four tiers, as mandated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). This placement is based not on the size of the country’s trafficking problem but on the extent of governments’ efforts to meet the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking. The data above is derived from data provided by foreign governments and other sources and reviewed by the U.S. Department of State. (From 2018 TIP Report, Page 53-55.)

Human Trafficking Tier Placements, Africa

According to the 2018 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, The U.S. Department of State places each country in this Report onto one of four tiers, as mandated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). This placement is based not on the size of the country’s problem but on the extent of governments’ efforts to meet the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking

The "Tiers" are described as follows:

TIER 1

Countries whose governments fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards.

TIER 2

Countries whose governments do not fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

TIER 2 WATCH LIST

Countries whose governments do not fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards AND:

  • The absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing;
  • There is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year; or
  • The determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year.

TIER 3

Countries whose governments do not fully meet the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.

Modern Slavery in the countries ASEC serves*

Cameroon (24 = global ranking)
Total # enslaved: 157,000 (.69% of population)

Ghana (38)
Total # enslaved: 133,000 (.48% of population)

Kenya (23)
Total # enslaved: 328,000 (.69% of population)

Lesotho (41)
Total # enslaved: 9,000 (.42% of population)

Malawi (18)
Total # enslaved: 131,000 (.75% of population)

Nigeria (15)
Total # enslaved: 1,386,000 (.77% of population)

South Sudan (5)
Total # enslaved: 465,000 (1.2% of population)

Tanzania (29)
Total # enslaved: 336,000 (.62% of population)

Uganda (16)
Total # enslaved: 304,000 (.76% of population)

Zambia (33)
Total # enslaved: 92,000 (.57% of population)

*Statistics from 2018 Global Slavery Index. Learn more about where ASEC serves.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump pose for a photo with 2017 TIP Hero Vanaja Jasphine of Cameroon, whose tireless efforts have made a lasting impact on the fight against modern slavery, at the 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report Launch Ceremony, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on June 27, 2017. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump pose for a photo with 2017 TIP Hero Vanaja Jasphine of Cameroon, whose tireless efforts have made a lasting impact on the fight against modern slavery, at the 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report Launch Ceremony, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on June 27, 2017. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Stories from Catholic Sisters in Africa

A session on human trafficking helped to save my niece's life

Sr. Victoria Zimba, Sisters of the Holy Rosary, SLDI Aluma, Malawi says she would have never known about human trafficking without attending a session prepared by our ASEC Coordinator in Malawi last year. Because of this knowledge, some girls have been rescued from this horrible fate.

US Government Honors Cameroon SLDI Alumna, Rev. Sr. Vanaja Jasphine for Human Trafficking Efforts

Sr. Vanaja and her organization identify Cameroonian trafficking victims in the Middle East and bring them home. On June 27, 2017, Sr. Vanaja received an award in recognition of her unrelenting efforts to combat modern slavery.

Sources

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This article is addressing the following UN Sustainable Development Goal(s):

Reduce inequality within and among countries Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies
Amy Fedele


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