U.S. government downgrades Ethiopia’s human trafficking score, says ‘corruption and official complicity in trafficking crimes’ still high under Abiy Ahmed

The United States government on Thursday released its 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report, announcing that it had downgraded Ethiopia to “Tier 2 Watch List.”

The report said in Ethiopia, “corruption and official complicity in trafficking crimes remained significant concerns, inhibiting law enforcement action.”

“Officials did not report taking any actions to address internal trafficking crimes, including domestic servitude and child sex trafficking, despite the scale of the problem. Therefore Ethiopia was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List,” the report said.

The report said the government of Ethiopia did not “demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, even considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity.”

For instance, it significantly decreased the number of trafficking investigations and prosecutions and did not convict any traffickers at the federal level during the reporting period while overall law enforcement efforts across regional-level actors also decreased.

The report added that the government of Ethiopia did not also report officially identifying any trafficking victims or referring any trafficking victims to protection services in the past one year.

Additionally, officials did not report disseminating or implementing standard operating procedures for victim identification or the national referral mechanism for the second consecutive year.

The report concluded that the government of Ethiopia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking although it is making significant efforts.

Those efforts included “partnering with international organizations and foreign donors to train police, prosecutors, and judges on trafficking crimes; continuing efforts to raise awareness of trafficking risks among vulnerable populations in rural communities; and conducting meetings of the newly established National Council and National Partnership Coalition.”

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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