Issued by the State Department of U.S.A. in July , 2016
Memorandum on reply to report on human trafficking state in Egypt
Wednesday، 14 December 2016 - 02:59 PM
The State Department of U.S. A has issued a report on the situation of trafficking in human beings in the world , including the state of trafficking in human beings in the Arab Republic of Egypt , and the report has raised the grade of Egypt’s classification to the second level , which is worthy of praise , even though we still have a few comments on the report , the matter that will be dealt with and replied to by us through the next points :-
First ; Methodology of the report .
Second : Subject of the Report .
Third : Reply to the recommendations .
First : Remarks made on the methodology of the report : -
The report did not indicate the sources of the information stated therein , so that they can be verified and replied to , as it ignored the sources of the incidents it referred to , since they were brought forth in broad terms without making any mention of their sources , which makes it impossible for them to be verified or to ascertain if they are correct or not , contrary to the customary methodology of research, the matter which leads to losing confidence in what was mentioned in the report in this respect , and to casting doubts on them .
As the discrepancy prevailed in the report as to what was included therein, since it was stated sometimes in the report that the government of Egypt does not entirely comply with the low standards to eliminate trafficking in human beings , and at the same time it determines that great efforts are exerted for that to be effected .
We wished that all the positive aspects, which the American side was acquainted with during the last months , were dealt with by those who had made this report , in the same manner as they dealt with the passive aspects in detail , so that the report can be described as a balanced one . As the report has passed the details while indicating the draft of the national global strategy for combating traffic in human beings , its executive plan and the timetable of its execution . We are of the opinion that such plan complies with the international standards and was made by national experts with the active participation of all the national bodies formed which are formed therein . This plan is on the verge of being completed in the near future and achieves the most important requirements of raising the classification to the first level as set forth in the American law.
Second : Subject of the report : -
We shall deal with the paragraphs of the report placing them between two brackets and shall refute what is stated in them as follows :-
(Egypt is the country of origin , the country of crossing and the country of destination for men , women and children who are exposed to the compulsory labor and to the sexuality trafficking ) , since the aforesaid paragraph included a charge that Egypt is considered as a country of origin, of crossing and of destination for all the victims who are exposed to the compulsory labor or to the sexuality trafficking . However we make conversations about what was stated in such paragraph for being incorrect , there was no mention that the alleged crime is committed against some of those categories , but its phrases stated that all these categories are exposed to the compulsory labor and to the sexuality trafficking , the matter which we refuse and make reservations about what was mentioned therein , and our commentary extends to cover the next six paragraphs ) .
1- ( The Egyptian Children are exposed to the sexuality trafficking and to the compulsory labor as domestic servants , to the beggary in the streets and to the agricultural labor ).
2- ( Persons from Gulf States , including the Saudi Arabia , the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait purchase the Egyptian women and girls with the purpose of the " temporary marriage " or " summer marriage " , including the cases of the sexual trade , as well as for employing them in the compulsory labor. Such arrangements are often facilitated by the fathers of the victims , the mediators of marriage who reap profits from the transactions ) .
3- ( the sexual tourism , which primarily targets the children , is effected in Cairo , Alexandria and Luxor ) .
4- Men and women from the south , from the southeast of Asia and from the east of Africa are exposed to the compulsory labor being domestic servants , laborers in the field of building , cleanliness and beggary .
5- As the domestic servants from among the foreigners – who are not covered by the Egyptian Labor Code – from Indonesia , Philippines , Srilanka , Bangladesh and Ethiopia are the most ones exposed to the compulsory labor , and they suffer from the long working hours , from confiscating passports , from not giving them their wages , from privation of food and medical care , and from the bodily injury and hurting of feelings.
6- Also , the women and girls , including the women refugees and immigrants from Asia , from the south of Sahara in Africa , and from the Middle East suffer from the sexuality trafficking in Egypt ) .
The report discussed the Egyptian labor abroad generalizing that they are exposed to the compulsory labor , and setting the fields of labor in numbers. As the report stated that that takes place in the neighboring countries , according to what was set forth in the next paragraph (The Egyptian men are exposed to the compulsory labor in the field of building, agriculture and service work of the low wages in the neighboring countries ) . On our part , we clarify that such matter , if its correctness has been established , comes under the responsibility of the countries where it takes place according to the allegations of the report , Additionally , we think that the charges can not be haphazardly brought against citizens of other countries without an evidence . As the individual cases , in which some of the Egyptian laborers are exposed to such incidents in these countries , remain in a limited extent as compared to the number of the laborers existing therein . We confirm that these incidents , if any , are followed up by the Egyptian competent authorities represented in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs , the Ministry of Migration , to take the legal procedures towards those who commit such crimes against Egyptian citizens .
The report also handled the Egyptian unaccompanied children establishing that: (In 2015, it was mentioned in the media that Egyptian immigrant children, who aren’t accompanied with their families, and who are selling merchandise in markets and streets in Italy, are subject to sexual abuse and compulsory labor). And from our side, we have been acquainted with such reports, but it can't be generalized upon all Egyptian unaccompanied children, though we would like to confirm that such matter is being followed by Egyptian authorities - represented by the ministry of foreign affairs- and the Italian side. This can be written down as notes by the Italian authorities, on its land such crimes – if they are true- are committed.
It was mentioned in the report :( the Syrian refugees, who settled in Egypt, are increasingly liable to exploitation, including children compulsory labor, sexual trafficking, bargain marriage from girls- which can lead to sexual abuse, sexual trafficking and compulsory labor). And from our side we firmly reject, what was mentioned in the report concerning this matter. We would like to explain that Egypt hosted and still hosting hundred thousands of Syrian refugees , and didn't receive or bargain like others to receive assistance , and didn't put the in refugee camps like many other countries , who claim to be considerate of human rights rules. Egypt hosted them and enabled them to practice business, shared food and medications and opened the schools to their children, but instead of being thanked, it was accused falsely and subjectively.
The report considered that (African illegitimate Migrants and asylum seeker, who pass by Egypt in their way to Europe are increasingly subject to exploitation during this immigration road).
(Since 2011till 2013, several cases of compulsory labor, sexual slavery, smuggling, kidnapping and blackmailing of African migrants in Sinai by criminal groups were found.
However, the international organizations noticed that the flow of those Migrants has nearly stopped in Sinai in 2015, partially due to continuation of Egyptian military operations.
Some narrative reports refer that such criminal groups have moved from Sinai to Egyptian borders with Libya, where the migrants stay liable to same violations, including trafficking). In order to comment on the above paragraphs, we prefer that the report be more accurate in monitoring what was noted in it. In the report it was referred to the existence of cases of compulsory labor, sexual slavery, smuggling and kidnapping of African migrants in Sinai, but the sources of such information are unknown , so it can't be credited or replied to. We see that such incidents – if it was committed – they are committed by the terrorist groups, which are besieged and eliminated by the armed forces and Egyptian police. The last paragraph has dealt with what was called narrative reports concerning the movement of such crimes to the western borders with Libya , we would like to reserve what was mentioned in it , whereas such reports is referred to as narration . it may be true or lies , we can't confirm its reality. We hope that the coming reports based on facts and authenticated information, and not just reports derived from stories and novels in order to reply it definitely.
The report includes: (the Egyptian government doesn't meet the minimum standards to eliminate the trafficking completely, despite the great efforts, which were made and despite that the government recognized larger number of human trafficking victims comparing to the period mentioned in the former report, the protection services have decreased) . We fully reject this paragraph of the report, and we see that the Egyptian government is doing its best and not the minimum. The committee informed the American side with detailed reports via the Egyptian ministry of foreign affairs, explaining the efforts made by the committee\s members – National authorities' representatives. The rapporteurs declared that that the Egyptian government has made great efforts, and we don't know and we inquiring with the rapporteurs: can any country eliminate a crime completely? The answer comes soon: this can't be done, because crime is connected with existence of humans, but the governments can be asked about its efforts to prevent it, punish its offender and help the victims.
The report states that: "While the only shelter provided for the human trafficking victims by the government is permanently closed since May 2015, and it is not clear whether those victims received sufficient protection services in the other facilities managed by the government. In addition, governmental officials referred more than 300 victims to receive services in the reception centers run by the government or shelter houses run by NGOs". We reiterated the above said in our meetings with the American side that the Social Security Ministry allocates a number of centers allocated to the battered women to receive the victims of human trafficking. We informed the American side of the model of victims who received care in certain cases, and they were given to their families after receiving the required help. We wonder about the method of how the American side can be reassured as to provision of assistance to the victims. We have a reservation on the drafting of the sentence which gives the reader the implied meaning that the only shelter provided for victims has been closed while the truth is that the term of the Memorandum of Understanding between the National Council for Childhood and Maternity and International Organization for Migration concerning the shelter. Moreover, the Ministry of Solidarity and the National Council for Childhood and Maternity are having arrangements to organize receiving the victims under a Memorandum of Understanding currently being prepared. Also, the Council uses several civil society organizations to help in such matter to optimize the role of the civil society and to complete the role of the national governmental entities.
(Many officials also failed to determine the identity of the victims on a regular basis among vulnerable groups and the government does not have any written procedures to do so , and as a result, the authorities continued to deal with the of faceless trafficking victims as criminals and punished for their illegal actions that committed as a direct result of their exposure to human trafficking . the government continued to prosecute trafficking offenders and convicted three criminals in 2015 , however , it continued to settle several cases of trafficking outside the court , and not to punish offenders adequately ) we reject categorically and we would like to clarify that the term formulation need to be corrected where as the editors formulated it in a form affirming evidence existence with them related to the failure of the officials in determining the identity of the victims on a regular basis and we do not know where it was ascertained that .
It has been persisting in this matter by mentioning the Egyptian authorities have continued to deal with the faceless as criminals and we would like to note that even in the most notorious democratic countries and in defense of human rights, if a person has seized without identification papers and non-citizen so he has to prove the fact of his position and how he entered the territory of that country and he also has to prove that he was the victim and the officials have to help him to do so by good treatment and encourage him to making his statements as Egyptian law no 64 of 2010 on combating human trafficking which we provide translated copy to American side c refers in its article no 21 of releasing the victim from the criminal and civil responsibility for any crime committed as victim . The report also echoed the allegations of continued settlement many cases out of court and we request from the US side to provide us with those cases in details so that we can answer them in cooperation with representatives of the judicial and security entities (the committee members) The report pointed to condemn three criminals in 2015 and we would like to the report clarify the number of cases that have been getting them and it's being dealt with it in front of the Egyptian judicial authority and area not be reached to the final result without entering in a details we find it important from our point of view, because it highlights the size of the current prosecution compared to previously.
And on the phrase ( Although the government has made some efforts to prevent trafficking the shortfall in the budget hampered the government's efforts to provide an effective protection to the trafficking victims so that it is depend on an international donor assistance) we point out here that the Egyptian government provide as much as its capacity the appropriate amount of money to help the victims and the Committee technical Secretariat have been prepared a resolution draft for establishing a fund to help the victims in accordance with Article No. 27 of law No. 64 of 2010 on combating human trafficking , that provides for the establishment of that fund and follows by the Prime Minister and Article 1 of the law identified its tasks and the system of its work and issued proposed decree thereof by the President of the Republic and the follow –up of the procedures continued , that on the other hand we emphasize the fact that depending on an international donor is the right on Egyptian authorities at the same time those entities that helping the Egyptian government have to fulfill its responsibilities towards the victims that criminal and that shall be deemed as a denial for our genuine duty with helping the victim but it is an assistant factor helping and strengthen the same .
Third: the recommendations response it has been mentioned in the report under an address the recommendations for Egypt and has outlined recommendations in details of the prosecution then protection and at last prevention, and we will respond the outlined recommendations then we shall refer to the detailed recommendations as follows:
A- Outlined recommendations:
A recommendation on increasing the investigations, prosecutions and condemn all forms of trafficking and punish offenders adequately. As well as the identification of victims of persons were arrested on charges of prostitution and street children of foreigners and immigrants. To answer it we would like to clarify that the report forget that the questioning of victims and referral for trial are conducted by the Public Prosecution which is a genuine division from the judiciary Divisions has a full independence and the public prosecution with its effective role in disclosing the Truth and to identify the victims and identify and identify the criminals in those forms that the report mentioned it and in other forms of trafficking issues human and the Egyptian government can not be directed and the convictions issued by the independent national judiciary,
which does not accept interference in its judgments and the judgments issued according to the discretion of the judge without any intervention and withdraw to respond to what was stated on the guarantee of not to punish the victims of human trafficking on illegal actions that committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking and encourage victims of trafficking to assist in the investigations and prosecution of their traffickers and emphasize that this matter is guaranteed under Article 21 of law No. 64 of 2010 on combating human trafficking.
Accordingly the victim hasn’t any criminal and civil responsibility on any criminal of human trafficking criminals, Article 23 of the same law on the rights of the victim and to listen to him and protect him as well as his right in a legal assistance without accessing in general rules in provide such assistance.
As it mentioned recommendations to allocate sufficient resources to provide services to victims and financing facilities that runs by the government and to support and provide a legal basis and clear and support the efforts of non-governmental organizations that would like to stress that the government is doing so the Commission is following with the gentlemen members specialists to strengthen these efforts to improve the services provided to the victims and on the use of national mechanism to refer victims human trafficking of vulnerable groups, those recommendations are already in place has been discussed in the framework of our comments on the former US report that we have listed a reminder has made it clear that the best proof of application is the creation of a unit to prevent trafficking in children, the national Council for Childhood and motherhood to play the role of coordinator of him national assignment to support victims of human trafficking and adopted by the national Committee to combat human trafficking according to the law 64 of 2010 and its implementing regulations in accordance with the decision of the Commission dated 15/2/2015 to entrust the preoccupations screening process of the victim and enlighten their rights guaranteed in the law to the unit for combating trafficking in human Beings of the national Council for Childhood and motherhood and be a role helping authorities Manage your involved in cases of legal and physical terms .
The formation of the members of a referral mechanism includes several concerned parties:
1- A coordinating national committee
2- National council for childhood and motherhood
3- Line of consultation (16021)
4- Public prosecution
5- International cooperation Department
6- Ministry of Justice
7- Ministry of Interior (National Security)
8- Human trafficking crimes unit (vice squad)
9- Combating human trafficking crimes unit
10- Ministry of health and population
11- Recover of victims unit (El-Ahly Bank Hospital)
Also identified the ways and mechanisms of work and unity of the national referral mechanism, such as the use of the ways and modern procedures for the early identification of potential victims for the purpose of preventing their exploitation, contact with persons who are vulnerable to human trafficking with the concerned authorities , thereby Provision of a telephone hot line for reporting cases of being trafficked for the liberation of the record of the proceedings and the transition of the Victim , the existence of quick transport for the enforcement of the law to ensure that access to the victim quickly and interviewed and identified, the Full coordination between the bodies concerned within the unit in the exchange of information and the distribution of roles, each according to its competence to avoid duplication of efforts and to preserve the security of the victim and the confidentiality and not to disclose its name and place ,strengthen the channels of communication between the law enforcement bodies authorized to deal with crime, complete knowledge of the steps which pass the victim, strengthen the capacity of officials who deal with persons who are likely to be victims of trafficking in their identification and identified such as staff assigned to enforcement the law , officers borders and ports and the staff of the consulate , the prosecutors and the plaintiffs ,the provision of oral and written translation for the victims who have others nationalities , the registration of information and preparation of central data and analysis of the information to use it in the efforts of the prevention and fight ,the provision of necessary medical care for the victim expeditiously , Provide places hosted by victims and separate and isolated from the whereabouts of the culprits and favor to receive victim, the preparation of the file to manage the situation to document and record the information " name of victim , the place of residence , work , details of process or the human trafficking which faced , the position medical of victim and their needs and follow the situation to prevent falling Human trafficking victims again ,
On the report to continue the training of government officials on the law against trafficking of human beings, the increasing the awareness campaigns, the increasing of the training for all the concerned of such cases, the enhancing capacities in such field and we remain the cooperation with international parties in this field and then it is plausible recommendation.
B - The recommendations in details
First: legal proceeding
In the report, the government has made progress in enforcement of human trafficking law and the report addressed the affirmative sanctions for this crimes explaining it appropriate enough, also this report addressed number of cases which in known by the American side by the committee Noting increased on the previous report, the report praised the training of the National Center for Judiciary Studies Department of the Ministry of Justice to their excellencies the prosecutors new members, We would like to emphasize that the Committee is which addressed the Center in this regard in the context of enhancing the efficiency of the members of the Public Prosecutor in achieving the issues of trafficking in human beings , The report had not been any investigations or convictions for government staff complicated in crimes of trafficking in human beings and we would like to point out that no one is above the legal accountability, in the case of it was proven that one of the officials complicated in those crimes or others, the public prosecutor will take legal proceedings as a standard to direct the accusation and if ranging guilty be transmitted criminal .
In the report that the law enforcement officials and the judiciary are lack good understanding of the law on the fight against trafficking in human beings, and that had been the settlement of some issues of trafficking outside the court , we strongly reject the report in this context and do not know from where he got the report that concept and circulated it to all the officers and members of the Public Prosecutor and the judges, in particular, the report discuss that the Egyptian government had done a training sessions for nearly five thousand people from the judges and officials of law enforcement agencies and others which cuts the contradiction in the report and look what was stated from cases are settled out of courts to follow up with the concerned national parties .
The report praised the efforts made to identify the victims, but it returned and described the reduction of the provision of services, and refers to the centers designated to receive the victims, provide them with assistance, the report did not declare how is described the reduction of delivery of services to the victims so that it can respond to them in details , the report addressed the number of potential victims through what is reported to the hotline of the National Council for Motherhood Criticizing the lack of written procedures to guide officials to identify victims of trafficking , the national mechanism of the referral misses the procedures of the operation clearly , the report went on what it called a lack of awareness among the private policing and judicial bodies for the cases of trafficking outside the urban areas and this had already been touched upon in our report and then transmit it to prevent recurrence .
Concerning to what is reported on punishment of some victims for their committed actions, and that foreign victims have been subjected to detention and deportation. Therefore we wonder if author of the report has documentary examples for the facts he stated, and can we be provided with such facts to take the necessary action? Does he himself investigate and determine the truth of matters in order to affirm what are concluded in the report.Report truly praises the National Council For Childhood & Motherhood efforts and describes the council as a leading body in Anti- human trafficking efforts, however it continues and determines that there is no sufficient financing, that in turn leads to impeding of council ability to provide services to victims justifying that the government is not granting a financial support to Civil Society Organizations. Then he comments saying that governing Act of Civil Society Organizations stands in the way of obtaining the approvals & legal licenses to receive the financial support that has hampered the efforts of providing services for the victims.
For our part, we affirm that National Council for Childhood & Motherhood has sufficient financing to support the victims and to provide appropriate services to them according to the terms of Anti- Human trafficking Act, . Reacting to what is stated; Civil Society Organizations Act stands in the way of obtaining the approvals & licenses, we peruse the abovementioned Act, it is proved to us that such matter shall not be prohibited and all the organizations receiving the financial support have to behave the road determined by law to receive financing, have to clarify its sources and ways of exchange that will be done in frame of full transparency and state follow-up for arrival of subsidies to beneficiaries , that is the right of the state and duty thereof . We wish that the authors of report would refer to the provision of Act no.84 /2002 on issuance of civil institutions & associations Act specially article 17 that stipulates; "the association has entitled to receive Fund that may be raised from the natural & legal persons by the administrative body approval as shall be determined by the executive regulation of Act. In all cases any association should not receive any fund from overseas whether from any Egyptian or foreign persons, from any foreign body or whom they represent inland, it also should send any of what was mentioned to the persons or the organizations overseas only after Minister of social affairs permission with the exception of the books , pamphlets, and technical & scientific journals "
Article 62 of the same Law states that" civil institutions may receive fund from others after Minister of social affairs agrees to it and to the terms that may be determined by fund provider " in other words , the Act did not prohibit receiving foreign funding , however that shall be limited by some regulations , that shall affirm the invalidity of what the report concluded and that the drafter did not peruse the abovementioned provisions "
The report positively deals with the efforts of National Council For Childhood & Motherhood and Civil Society Organizations in assisting victims and that the government continued to operate many utilities that may assist victims. The report also praises Ministry of health efforts, but at the same time it criticizes justly the failure to provide an accurate calculation for the numbers of whom the service was provided, then the report commends Ministry of Justice efforts to establish a clinic working all the day for female victims and battered children to protect and assist them in collecting evidences to prosecute the perpetrators.
The report states that however the service shall be provided by government & non –Governmental organizations, some victims attempt to resort to their embassies and we have no objection as the report has acknowledged the availability of services provided by the Egyptian government. And because some victims have decided to resort to their embassies, that remains legal right which they can appeal to. Concerning to what is reported on non-submission of legal alternatives to foreign victims to remove them to countries where they may face difficulties or may become vulnerable to retaliation. We would like to comment on that; by virtue of article 22/2010 the states should ensure protection of the victims and retuning them to their homeland rapidly and safely. Article 25 of the same Act stipulates that ministry of justice shall co-ordinate with the competent authorities to facilitate safe returning of victims to their original country, thus the text is very clear as the victims originally should return to their homeland , that was described by Act as Safe Return . But if there are fears caused by that the victim may be revenged from, thus he(she) through co-operation with competent international organization, can be removed to a country in which his (her) safety can be established.
The report concluded, as a part of its commentary on the protection, that the law should ensure the witness protection but as the same time, it shall not provide any protection for witnesses during the report. We would like to affirm that the committee has inquired formally from office of the public prosecutor in this respect; the response is that no reply has been received, during the period that witnesses need protection.
The report also pays attribute to, justly, Government efforts that are, among them: finalizing National Strategy to combat and prevent trafficking in human beings, the strategy that the report describes that it shall provide a comprehensive national framework to deal with trafficking cases and it shall govern the period from 2015 to 2020, the cases that await ratification by the cabinet . We would like to correct what is reported in respect of the strategy time-frame, that will be during the period from 2016 to 2021 and that the strategy has been approved in the current month after including the suggestions of the bodies' representatives and that it will be sent to cabinet after that.
Positively the report numerates Government efforts in operating a hot line to inform against the violations of trafficking in human beings and also the violations of the children's Act, and in providing legal advice and assisting the victims . The Report also makes mention of the role of the National council for Childhood and Motherhood in carrying out Awareness-raising campaigns and also Ministry of Foreign Affairs initiatives relating of the cases of trafficking in human beings and illegal immigration in the numerous regional committees that effect upon the Horn of Africa and Europe.
Also the report also refers to dozens of seminars that have been held in order to deal with the risks of temporary & summer marriage and sex tourism and also refers to the courses that have been held to Egyptian forces before deploying its troops in the peacekeeping missions and to their diplomats.
The report also refers to presidential decree in December on allocation of five hundred Egyptian pounds for street children. However the report mentions that It is not clear if the mentioned funding has been already allocated to the concerned ministries or not yet and we reaffirm to US side that funding has been transferred to the Ministry of Social Solidarity which sets up an integrated framework to expand it to limit such problem .
Negatively the report deals with Government efforts to reduce the demand for the work of commercial sex or forced labor, mentioning that Government has not exerted the needed effort to reduce it.
The efforts that were mentioned in the report are just simple part of what Egyptian State has offered and we still have much to do and we hope to be supported by international community s in implementing the national strategy on the ground in the framework of its International Responsibilities . We emphasize the importance of solidarity among World Nations in fighting crimes of trafficking in human beings and also we absorb an important fact; that whoever pays no consideration to assist other states in confronting the same, he (she) will reap as he (she) sows as Fighting Crimes is an indivisible issue and relates to the rights of peoples to live in security, peace and tranquility. Undermining the crime in any part of the world is to undermine it in all parts of the world, which eventually became a result of the revolution in communications and information, a small village.
We confirm that Egypt was and still open to the forms of joint cooperation for preventing and suppressing such crimes and for helping their victims, and therefore Egypt supports any effort to consolidate such cooperation and to overcome any of its difficulties Our approach remains based upon our firm conviction in human rights beginning with our accession to international human rights covenants, and ending with enactment of Constitution entrenching such covenants and of legislation that conveys such principles to a reality to be touched and experienced by the Egyptian People.
This is the outcome of the examination
Dated on: 29/8/2016
Justice Dr./ Ashraf Hegazy
Chairman of the Technical Secretariat of the National Coordinating Committee for combating and preventing trafficking in human beings
Head of technical bureau of the human Rights Sector