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Safety and Health (Employees’ Lodging Accommodation)
Regulations of 2011 establish a minimum standard for lodging
and other living conditions provided to migrant workers. In
2011, the government established a lodging accommodation
committee to examine companies’ applications for lodging
permits, as well as a lodging accommodation unit – comprised
of offcials from the Ministries of Labor and Health and the Fire
Services Department – to enforce the regulations. Corrective
actions taken by these entities during the reporting period,
if any, are unknown. Several Mauritian statutes, including
the anti-traffcking act, the Child Protection Act, and the
Employment Rights Act of 2008 make provision for criminal
punishment for local recruitment agencies who engage in
recruitment of workers using fraudulent or deceptive offers;
the government did not investigate or shut down any local
or foreign recruitment agencies suspected of fraudulent
operations in 2011.
MEXICO (Tier 2)
Mexico is a large source, transit, and destination country for
men, women, and children subjected to sex traffcking and
forced labor. Groups considered most vulnerable to human
traffcking in Mexico include women, children, indigenous
persons, persons with mental and physical disablilitys, and
undocumented migrants. Mexican women and children are
exploited in sex traffcking within Mexico and the United States,
lured by fraudulent employment opportunities or deceptive
offers of romantic relationships. Mexican men, women, and
children also are subjected to conditions of forced labor in
agriculture, domestic service, construction, and street begging,
in both the United States and Mexico. The vast majority of
foreign victims in forced labor and sexual servitude in Mexico
are from Central and South America, particularly Guatemala,
Honduras, and El Salvador. However, traffcking victims from
the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa have also been
identifed in Mexico, some en route to the United States. There
were continued reports from civil society organizations that
organized criminal groups coerced children and migrants into
prostitution and to work as hit men, lookouts, and drug mules.
Central American men, women, and children, especially
Guatemalans, are subjected to forced labor in southern Mexico,
particularly in agriculture, domestic servitude, street vending,
and forced begging. Child sex tourism persisted in Mexico,
especially in tourist areas such as Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta,
and Cancun, and in northern border cities like Tijuana and
Ciudad Juarez. Many child sex tourists are from the United
States, Canada, and Western Europe, though some are Mexican
citizens. In some parts of the country, threats of violence from
criminal organizations impede the ability of the government
and civil society to combat traffcking effectively.
The Government of Mexico does not fully comply with the
minimum standards for the elimination of traffcking; however,
it is making signifcant efforts to do so. During the reporting
period, Mexican authorities passed constitutional reforms
on traffcking, strengthened training and awareness efforts,
and signifcantly increased traffcking convictions at both
the federal and state level, convicting at least 14 traffcking
offenders. Given the magnitude of Mexico’s traffcking problem,
however, the number of human traffcking investigations,
prosecutions, convictions, and sentences remained low,
and government funding for victim services remained
inadequate. Victim identifcation and interagency coordination
remained uneven. While Mexican offcials recognize human
traffcking as a serious problem, NGOs and government
representatives report that some government offcials tolerate
and are sometimes complicit in traffcking, undermining
anti-traffcking efforts.
MEXICO TIER RANKING BY YEAR
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Recommendations for Mexico: Continue to investigate and
prosecute trafficking offenses and convict and punish
traffcking offenders at both the federal and state level,
including for forced labor crimes; increase efforts to hold
public offcials who are complicit in traffcking accountable
through prosecution and conviction; increase funding for
specialized victim services and shelters and ensure that victims
of all forms of traffcking receive adequate protection; continue
to implement the National Program to Prevent and Combat
Traffcking in Persons and consider increasing dedicated
funding for the program; consider amending the current law
to strengthen the legal framework; increase collaboration
with NGOs to provide victim care; enhance formal procedures
to identify traffcking victims among vulnerable populations,
such as people in prostitution and undocumented migrants;
improve coordination mechanisms between federal, state,
and local authorities; increase the ability of regional and state
coalitions and specialized units to more effectively respond
to human traffcking cases through increased funding and
staff dedicated to state-level efforts; improve data collection
efforts; ensure effective protection for witnesses and victims
testifying against traffckers; and increase training on human
traffcking and victim identifcation and treatment for law
enforcement offcers, immigration offcials, labor inspectors,
prosecutors, judges, social workers, and other government
employees.
Prosecution
The Government of Mexico sustained its anti-traffcking law
enforcement efforts during the reporting period; convictions
of sex traffcking offenders increased, though the number of
convictions remained low in comparison with the number
of cases investigated. There were no reported convictions
for forced labor. Mexico’s 2007 federal anti-traffcking law
prohibits all forms of human traffcking, prescribing penalties
of six to 18 years’ imprisonment. The law includes a clause
that can render consent of victims over the age of 18 relevant,
even if threats, abduction or fraud were used, making the
prosecution of traffckers more diffcult when the victim
may have originally consented to an activity. In April 2011,
the government enacted reforms raising traffcking to the
level of a serious crime, allowing for preventive detention of
suspected traffckers, as well as establishing enhanced victim
identity protections.
In Mexico’s federal system, state governments investigate
and prosecute traffcking cases that occur wholly within
the country, except in cases that involve organized crime,
transnational traffcking, government offcials, and cases
occurring on federally-administered territory. All 32 Mexican
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states have passed some anti-traffcking penal code reforms,
though these reforms varied in content and effectiveness,
and not all of the reforms outlawed all forms of traffcking.
Eighteen states have specifc state traffcking laws, and three
have achieved convictions under these laws. Inconsistencies
among state penal codes and laws on human traffcking
caused confusion among law enforcement and problems
among inter-state prosecutions.
The federal police maintained a small unit to investigate
human traffcking and smuggling crimes, and some states
also had law enforcement units that investigated traffcking
crimes, specifcally sex traffcking. The Attorney General’s
Special Prosecutor’s Offce for Violence Against Women and
Traffcking in Persons (FEVIMTRA) handles federal traffcking
cases involving three or fewer suspects, while the Attorney
General’s Offce of the Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime
(SIEDO) investigates cases with more than three suspects.
Law enforcement coordination between different government
entities and data collection on human traffcking efforts were
weak. Offcials and NGOs reported that some investigations
and prosecutions were delayed while authorities determined
which prosecutors had jurisdiction, to the detriment of both
the criminal case and the victim. Resources and staff for these
dedicated units remained limited. Mexican authorities at the
federal and state levels convicted a total of 14 sex traffckers
during the year. There were no reported convictions for forced
labor. In 2011 FEVIMTRA investigated 67 traffcking cases:
it did not report how many prosecutions were initiated, and
did not convict or sentence any traffckers. In 2011, SIEDO
achieved its frst convictions for traffcking; four sex traffcking
offenders received sentences ranging from 14.5 to 16.5 years’
imprisonment, while other traffckers involved in the crime
were convicted in the United States. The Mexico City Attorney
General’s Offce convicted four traffcking offenders, whose
sentences ranged from six to 12 years’ imprisonment. Several
states also prosecuted human traffcking cases; authorities in
Puebla reported three convictions, while Chiapas reported two
and Yucatan reported one, with sentences ranging between
10and 14 years’ imprisonment. This represents an increase from
the previous year, when FEVIMTRA convicted one traffcker
and Mexico City prosecutors achieved four convictions.
NGOs, members of the government, and other observers
continued to report that traffcking-related corruption among
public offcials, especially local law enforcement, judicial,
and immigration offcials, was a signifcant concern. Some
offcials reportedly accepted or extorted bribes, including
in the form of sexual services, falsifed victims’ identity
documents, discouraged traffcking victims from reporting
their crimes, solicited sex from traffcking victims, or failed to
report child prostitution and other human traffcking activity
in commercial sex locations. Puebla prosecutors reported
investigating four offcials for suspected traffcking crimes,
but there were no reported prosecutions or convictions of
public offcials for traffcking complicity in 2011.
NGOs noted that some public offcials in Mexico did not
adequately distinguish between alien smuggling, prostitution,
and human traffcking offenses and that many offcials are
not familiar with traffcking laws. They also reported that
some offcials threatened to prosecute traffcking victims
as accomplices in order to force them to denounce their
traffckers. Some federal government agencies provided their
own employees with anti-traffcking training and cross-
trained offcials in other agencies, often in partnership with
NGOs, international organizations, and foreign governments,
and FEVIMTRA reported training hundreds of offcials on
traffcking in 2011. The Mexican federal government continued
to partner with the U.S. government on cross-border traffcking
investigations.
Protection
The Mexican government carried out limited efforts to identify
and assist traffcking victims in 2011, with the majority of
services available only to female sex traffcking victims. The
government continued to work in cooperation with NGOs,
international organizations, and foreign governments to
provide victim care, relying on these partners to operate or fund
the bulk of specialized assistance and services for traffcking
victims. Mexican immigration agents continued to implement
a system for identifying potential traffcking victims and
referring these victims to care providers, such as NGOs. Some
NGOs, however, were critical of the government’s ability to
identify accurately traffcking victims, and most states lacked
formal procedures for identifying traffcking victims among
other vulnerable populations, such as migrant workers and
people in prostitution. There were no comprehensive statistics
available on the number of traffcking victims identifed during
the year; FEVIMTRA reported identifying 89 victims in 2011,
while the National Institute for Migration (INM) reported
identifying 29, and authorities in Baja, California and Mexico
City identifed 13 and 29 victims respectively. This represents
a decrease from 2010, when authorities reported identifying
at least 259 victims. INM and the National Human Rights
Commission (CNDH) both had referral mechanisms for
traffcking victims, though offcials’ ability to refer Mexican
victims to care services varied in different parts of the country.
In September 2011, the president established a new agency,
Provictima, to assist victims of all crimes, and shifted funding
and facilities from other government agencies, including
FEVIMTRA, to support it. Provictima provides medical and
psychological support, as well as information and assistance
during legal processes, through 14 help centers across the
country, but does not provide shelter. Some interlocutors
noted that the lack of clarity regarding the division of
responsibilities between FEVIMTRA and Provictima, as well
as the lack of organizational structure within the new agency,
could negatively impact the quality of services provided to
traffcking victims. The lack of Provictima centers in high-
crime areas such as cities along the northern border hindered
provision of services.
FEVIMTRA continued to operate a high-security shelter in
Mexico City dedicated to female victims of sex traffcking
and other violence including kidnapping, as well as women
whose family members had disappeared or been murdered.
Victims were not allowed to leave the shelter unaccompanied;
according to the government, this was due to safety concerns.
Some NGOs reported that the shelter housed victims for up to
three months. This shelter coordinated medical, psychological,
and legal services for 97 individuals during the year: it is
unclear how many of these were traffcking victims. Mexico’s
social welfare agency maintained general shelters for children
under the age of 13 who are victims of violence, though
statistics were not maintained on how many traffcking victims
were housed in these shelters during the reporting period.
The government continued to support a national network of
shelters and emergency attention centers for female victims
of violence, but few of these shelters offered specialized care
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for traffcking victims. Some victims received services at
shelters that were operated and funded by NGOs, international
organizations, and religious groups, and offcials referred
some victims to these shelters during the reporting period.
According to NGOs, however, victim services in some regions
of the country remained inadequate in light of the signifcant
number of traffcking victims. Furthermore, some shelters for
migrants and domestic abuse victims were reportedly reluctant
to house traffcking victims due to fear of retribution from
organized crime. Authorities arrested and opened an ongoing
investigation of the director of a domestic violence shelter
in Ciudad Juarez in October 2011 that had received some
state funding. Authorities charged the director with human
traffcking, illegal detention, and sexual abuse of women
and girls reportedly held against their will in the shelter. The
government did not provide adequate shelter services for male
victims. Mexican consulates in the United States identifed
and assisted an unknown number of victims during the year,
and authorities provided limited services to some repatriated
Mexican traffcking victims.
Although authorities encouraged victims to assist in traffcking
investigations and prosecutions, many victims in Mexico
were afraid to identify themselves or seek legal remedies
due to their fears of retribution from traffcking offenders
or lack of trust in authorities. Some civil society groups
reported that local authorities threatened to arrest victims
as accomplices if they refused to testify against their traffckers.
Traditionally, prosecutions of human traffcking offenders
in Mexico have relied almost entirely on victim or witness
testimony. Traffcking victims and witnesses continued
to have little incentive to participate in the legal process,
based on the limited numbers of traffcking convictions
and sentences and on the fact that no traffcking victim was
awarded compensation for damages. Furthermore, many
victims feared for their safety, since the witness protection
program in Mexico remained nascent and did not provide
suffcient protection. Foreign traffcking victims could receive
refugee status, and an INM directive required immigration
offcials to offer foreign victims the option to stay in the
country, independent of any decision to testify against their
traffckers. However, NGOs and international organizations
reported these legal alternatives to deportation were often not
provided in practice; they noted that some offcials handed
identifed victims over to INM for deportation due to their
lack of legal status or that victims were not identifed as
such and housed in INM detention centers and subsequently
deported. Many foreign traffcking victims opted to return to
their countries of origin after giving testimony, in some cases
due to a lack of adequate shelter or information about their
rights. INM reported that 11 victims that they identifed in 2011
received legal residency in Mexico, while 13 were repatriated
and fve cases were ongoing. However, it was unclear how many
of the 98 foreign victims identifed by INM and FEVIMTRA in
2010 – whose application for residency remained pending in
early 2011 – were allowed to remain in the country.
Prevention
Federal and state governments sustained traffcking prevention
efforts last year. An inter-agency commission on traffcking
coordinated federal government efforts. The commission was
responsible for implementing the National Program to Prevent
and Combat Traffcking; the government reduced the budget
for the National Program to Prevent and Combat Traffcking to
the equivalent of $313,000 from the equivalent of $4.2 million
for budgetary reasons. NGOs and international organizations
criticized authorities for the reduction and lamented the
lack of information on the program’s implementation. The
government engaged in a variety of awareness-raising activities
using radio and television commercials, as well as other
multimedia efforts. Some states established or maintained
state-level anti-traffcking committees. CNDH also maintained
regional partnerships with NGO and government actors in
13 states, and reported training over 20,000 individuals on
traffcking in 2011, including offcials, tourism operators,
and transportation companies. Authorities raised awareness
of child sex tourism and reported investigating some cases;
however, the government reported no prosecutions or
convictions of child sex tourists, and some NGOs alleged
that some corrupt local offcials allowed commercial sexual
exploitation of children to occur. There were no reported
efforts to reduce the demand for forced labor or to punish
labor recruiters or brokers complicit in human traffcking.
MICRONESIA, FEDERATED
STATES OF (Tier 2 Watch List)
The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is a source and, to a
limited extent, a destination country for women subjected to
sex traffcking. Some reports suggest FSM women are recruited
with promises of well-paying jobs in the United States and
its territories and are subsequently forced into prostitution or
labor upon arrival. The most vulnerable groups of persons at
risk for sex traffcking in FSM include foreign migrant workers
and FSM women and girls. Pohnpei State Police have reported
the prostitution of FSM and foreign women and children to
crew members on fshing vessels in FSM, or in its territorial
waters. Some Micronesians allegedly transport women and
girls to the fshing vessels and are involved in their prostitution
in restaurants and clubs frequented by fshermen. Other
vulnerable groups include FSM nationals who travel to the
United States. In addition, the Transnational Crime Unit (TCU)
has received and investigated labor traffcking complaints
from foreign nationals on fshing boats for lack of payment
and inhuman treatment. Data on the prevalence of human
traffcking in the FSM is not available, as the government does
not collect and maintain crime data, nor has it conducted any
studies or surveys on human traffcking.
The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia does not
fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination
of traffcking; however, it is making signifcant efforts to do so.
Because the assessment of these signifcant efforts is based in
part on the government’s commitment of future actions, FSM
is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. During the current reporting
year, the FSM acceded to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol, and the
FSM congress passed new legislation that revised the country’s
criminal code to include anti-traffcking provisions. However,
the Government of the FSM did not prosecute any traffcking
cases, made no efforts to identify or assist victims of traffcking,
and failed to make substantive efforts to prevent traffcking or
increase the general public’s awareness of traffcking in 2011.