Press Release on World Anti-Trafficking Day 30 July 2021

The phenomenon of Human Trafficking is a challenge that the Afghanistan Government is committed to cope with, but with many other challenges, the trafficking phenomenon has not been a priority focus area for development partners and Afghanistan Government until recent years. There has been legislation in effect by the Afghanistan government to counter human trafficking but implementation is not that effective. Therefore, the Government of Afghanistan does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so, even considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity.

Afghanistan’s global position on human trafficking has been inconsistent largely due to low priority among both national and international stakeholder and perhaps security related challenges to reach out to vulnerable populations at grassroots and prosecute perpetuators by national and provincial justice systems. Tier rating by U.S. State Department in its global TIP report placed tier -3 in 2021. National performance seemed to be improving in the previous years but again Afghanistan downgraded into watch list in 2021 TiP global report released in June this year. However there is hope for improvement. Recently, revision of existing legislation on counter Human Trafficking has been done that is expected to be approved by Afghan parliament in near future, which will signify significant progress towards combating trafficking in persons in Afghanistan. During the reporting period there was a government pattern of sexual slavery in government compounds (bacha bazi—a practice in which men exploit boys for social and sexual entertainment) and recruitment and use of child soldiers; therefore, Afghanistan remained on Tier 3. 

We ANCTIP as a civil society network in Afghanistan and working closely with various stakeholders including government to respond human trafficking in a coordinated way, kindly request –

1.      The Afghan government should put more focus and efforts to address bacha bazi cases as reported in 2021.

2.      Afghan Parliament should instantly work to revised legislation on counter human trafficking.

3.      Afghan government, after revision of the counter human trafficking legislation by Afghan Parliament, to take appropriate policy actions to formulate National Plan of Action (NAP) and National Referral Mechanism (NRM) that includes prevention, protection, and prosecution actions to respond need for a community awareness, protection of victims and their families and prosecute the perpetrators in a coordinated manner.

4.      The Afghan government to work with neighbors and regional countries on forming a regional cooperation agreement in combating human trafficking and helping the victims of human trafficking.

5.      The Afghan government and CSOs need to especially focus to help the victims of human trafficking through various services e.g. care centers, recovery and reintegration.

6.      The Afghan National Police to be further trained on combating human trafficking by the international community.

7.      Empower Afghan women and involve them into policy making processes at national and provincial level in order to address trafficking in persons.

8.      Provide educational and awareness raising programs for Afghan youths particularly promoting girls’ education to prevent trafficking in person.

9.      Strengthen the role of Ulema is the keys in public awareness in Jumaa speeches.

We expect role of civil society including media and international community:

10.   To help Afghan government to combat human trafficking in a best manner and to provide funding for the programs.

11.   All national and international media organizations can make a valuable contribution in combating human trafficking through various educational programs.

12.   All citizen journalists are vital to make public awareness on counter human trafficking especially Bacha Bazi through social and web media.

13.   The CSOs to increase the public awareness raising campaigns country wide.

14.   International communities – to help GOA on national survey to map out the nature and magnitude of human trafficking in Afghanistan.

Thank you for your cooperation and solidarity,

30th July 2021

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