Trafficking in Persons Report 2015 - Country Narratives - Angola

ANGOLA: Tier 2

Angola is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Angolans are forced to labor in the agricultural, fishing, construction, domestic service, and artisanal diamond mining sectors within the country. Chinese nationals in Angola exploit Angolan children in brick-making factories, construction, and rice farming activities. Girls as young as 13 years old endure prostitution. Angolan adults use children under the age of 12 for forced criminal activity, as children cannot be criminally prosecuted. Some Angolan boys are taken to Namibia for forced labor in cattle herding, while others are forced to serve as couriers as part of a scheme to skirt import fees in cross-border trade with Namibia. Angolan women and children are subjected to domestic servitude and sex slavery in South Africa, Namibia, and European countries, including the Netherlands and Portugal.

Women from Vietnam, Brazil, and potentially other countries involved in prostitution in Angola may be victims of sex trafficking. Some Chinese women are recruited by Chinese gangs and construction companies with promises of work, but later are deprived of their passports, kept in walled compounds with armed guards, and forced into prostitution to pay back the costs of their travel. Chinese, Southeast Asian, Namibian, Kenyan, and possibly Congolese migrants are subjected to forced labor in Angola’s construction industry; conditions include the withholding of passports, threats of violence, denial of food, and confinement. At times, workers are coerced to continue work in unsafe conditions, which at times reportedly resulted in death. Chinese workers are brought to Angola by Chinese companies that have large construction or mining contracts; some companies do not disclose the terms and conditions of the work at the time of recruitment. Undocumented Congolese migrants, including children, enter Angola for work in diamond-mining districts, where some endure forced labor or sex trafficking in mining camps. Trafficking networks recruit and transport Congolese girls as young as 12 years old from Kasai Occidental in the Democratic Republic of Congo to Angola for various forms of exploitation.

The Government of Angola does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting period, the government demonstrated increased interest in trafficking in persons issues and made efforts to improve its capacity to address the crime. In 2014, the government acceded to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol and established the Inter-Ministerial Commission to Combat Trafficking in Persons—both noteworthy accomplishments. The government increased its training and capacity-building among officials by holding several seminars, roundtables, and workshops, reaching over 400 officials, and conducted awareness campaigns in government media. During the year, the government shared increased information on its efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes, reporting its investigation of 18 suspected trafficking cases, five of which it sent for prosecution. The government maintained its modest protection efforts, identifying 17 potential child trafficking victims during the year. Nonetheless, it made inadequate efforts to identify and provide protective services to adult victims. In addition, the government has never convicted a trafficking offender, despite years of ongoing reports of construction companies engaged in forced labor. While it investigated the owner of a construction company in 2014, the government did not systematically investigate abuses in the Angolan construction sector or prosecute and hold accountable those allegedly responsible for forced labor of both Angolan and foreign nationals.


Use revised penal code provisions to investigate and prosecute forced labor and sex trafficking offenses; continue to train law enforcement officials on these provisions; systematically investigate labor trafficking in the Angolan construction sector; develop systematic procedures for the identification and referral of trafficking victims and train officials on such procedures; ensure provision of shelter, counseling, and medical care to both child and adult victims either directly or in partnership with NGOs; collect and analyze anti-trafficking law enforcement data; and organize nationwide anti-trafficking public awareness campaigns.


The government continued to make minimal law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. The 1886 penal code, as amended in February 2014, prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons and prescribes penalties of eight to 12 years’ imprisonment, which are both sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes. Trafficking is criminalized in Chapter III, Articles 19, 20, and 23. Article 19 criminalizes the act of delivering, enticing, accepting, transporting, housing, or keeping of persons for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labor, or trafficking of organs, including by force, fraud, or coercion. Article 19 also makes the enticement, transport, or housing of a child for such purposes by any means a trafficking offense; in keeping with international law, it does not require the use of fraud, force, or coercion to prove a trafficking case when a child is the victim. This provision would appear, however, to overlap with Article 22, pimping of minors, which provides a lower penalty of two to 10 years’ imprisonment for promoting, encouraging, or facilitating the exercise of the prostitution of children, with enhanced penalties for the use of force, threat, or fraud of five to 12 years’ imprisonment; these penalties are not commensurate with those proscribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Slavery and servitude are separately criminalized in Article 18 with sentences of seven to 12 years’ imprisonment. The Law on the Protection and Integral Development of Children of August 2012 prohibits the exploitation of children under Article 7, and Article 33 prohibits the kidnapping, sale, trafficking, or prostitution of children; however, this law fails to define and prescribe penalties for these crimes, limiting its utility.

In 2014, the government reported on law enforcement efforts to address potential trafficking crimes, including its investigation of 18 potential trafficking cases, compared with two in the previous reporting period. Of these, the government initiated prosecution in five cases—the first anti-trafficking prosecutions initiated since 2011. These anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts appeared to focus on investigating potential child trafficking crimes involving transnational movement. The government did not report on progress to initiate prosecutions and convict suspected trafficking offenders from investigations during previous reporting periods, including the 2013 arrest of a Chinese national suspected of fraudulently recruiting children and young adults from Huila to Zaire province for construction work or the 2013 case involving 54 children intercepted en route from Huila to Namibe province, allegedly for work on tomato farms. It has never convicted a trafficking offender. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking offenses. Due to a culture of corruption, law enforcement efforts were stymied in many areas, including counter-trafficking.

Capacity building was prominent throughout the reporting period, as the government worked aggressively to train its officials on the 2014 anti-trafficking law. The government, at times in partnership with international organizations, trained over 400 officials during the year, compared with 308 in 2013. For example, in November 2014 it organized and funded a two-day seminar for 120 magistrates on combating trafficking. In July 2014, the police, in partnership with INTERPOL, organized a workshop for 34 police officials on combating trafficking; additional sessions were held for provincial police throughout the country. In addition, national police academy trainings continued to include human trafficking provisions; 144 officials received this training in 2014.

The government maintained a labor agreement with the Government of China that requires Chinese companies to follow Angolan labor laws. During the year, it collaborated with the Kenyan government on the investigation of an alleged trafficking network involving 11 Kenyan victims and a Kenyan-based construction company in Luanda; officials investigated the Luanda-based owner of the construction company, who remained under investigation but was not in police custody at the end of the reporting period. However, Angolan authorities have not sought to criminally prosecute construction companies and employers, including Chinese-run operations, for alleged forced labor abuses.


The government made minimal efforts to protect victims. The government identified and rescued 17 potential trafficking victims, compared with 21 potential trafficking victims identified the previous year. The National Institute of Children (INAC) assisted 15 child victims of sex and labor trafficking during the reporting period, providing food, shelter, education, and psychological assistance where available. In one case, the police removed a child forced to work on a farm and referred her to a child support center in Huila, which provided some legal and psychological assistance, as well as basic education to children. In a sex trafficking case, the Director of the Office Against Domestic Violence of the Department of Criminal Provincial Investigations in Cabinda provided shelter to a 14-year-old trafficking victim at her home. The child received psychological assistance and was able to go to school during her stay at the director’s home. The government did not proactively identify any adult trafficking victims in 2014, including among the large number of Chinese and foreign laborers in the Angolan construction sector, where exploitation is prevalent.

INAC oversaw child protection networks in all 18 provinces that offered health care, legal and social assistance, and family reunification for crime victims under the age of 18. The Ministry of Social Assistance and Reintegration (MINARS), the Ministry of Family and Women’s Promotion, and the Organization of Angolan Women operated 30 counseling centers, seven multipurpose shelters, and 52 children’s shelters that trafficking victims could access. Vulnerable women in safe houses receive legal counseling and some receive training; however, it was unclear whether any of these services were provided to trafficking victims during the reporting period. All government-run assistance centers are intended to provide some level of legal and psychological assistance to victims. The government coordinated with an international organization to provide an additional 11 victims with support, including shelter and repatriation to Kenya; however, the government did not provide funding or resources to support such efforts.

Law enforcement, immigration, and social services personnel generally did not make systematic efforts to identify victims and lacked a mechanism for screening individuals in prostitution or undocumented migrants. Neither documented nor undocumented foreign workers, including among the Chinese population, were screened for trafficking victimization and may have been arrested and deported for unlawful acts committed as a result of having been subjected to trafficking, including immigration and employment violations. For example, if during labor inspection workers were found to be without work permits, authorities fined employers and arrested and deported the workers. On occasions when authorities identified trafficking victims among Chinese laborers, the Angolan government routinely repatriated them to China without providing care or ensuring proper treatment upon their arrival in China. Angolan law does not provide foreign trafficking victims with legal alternatives to their removal to a country where they may face hardship or retribution. The government did not actively encourage victims to participate in trafficking investigations during the reporting period.


The government increased its efforts to prevent human trafficking. In December 2014, the government established the Inter-ministerial Commission to Combat Trafficking in Persons—under the direction of the Ministries of Justice and Human Rights and Social Assistance and Reintegration—which began oversight of national efforts to protect, assist, and reintegrate into society trafficking victims; the commission met biweekly and began development of a national action plan. In partnership with an international organization, the Ministry of Interior held an information campaign on trafficking in persons targeting border provinces. In July 2014, as part of the International Day to Combat Trafficking in Persons, the Ministry of Interior partnered with three international organizations to raise awareness among 70 representatives of government ministries, Parliament, civil society, and academia. In addition, the Female Police Officers’ Association organized a trafficking seminar for over 100 participants. Further, government media included increased reporting on trafficking in persons crimes, characterized as a matter of national concern. The government provided anti-trafficking training or guidance for its diplomatic personnel. The government did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts during the reporting period. In September 2014, the government acceded to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.