2006 U.S. State Department report on trafficking in persons in Yemen [Archives:2006/957/Front Page]

June 22 2006

WASHINGTON, June 5 – Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice launched the sixth “Annual Trafficking in Human Rights Report.” The following is part of the report that concerns Yemen.

The Report

Yemen is a source country for children trafficked internally for sexual exploitation and to Saudi Arabia for forced begging, unskilled labor or street vending, as well as a possible receiving destination for Iraqi women trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Children often are lured by family members or trusted adults with promises of well-paying jobs in Saudi Arabia or in the Yemeni cities of Aden and Sana'a. Estimates reflect that the age of children trafficked for forced begging ranges from seven to 16, with the majority being between ages 12 and 14. The number of child victims of sex trafficking is believed to be in the low hundreds.

The Yemeni government doesn't comply fully with the minimum standards for eliminating such trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Yemen expanded upon last year's progress by continuing to train security forces, working with UNICEF and International Organization for Migration (IOM) to raise awareness of trafficking among parents of small children in rural and border areas and establishing a database to collect information on child trafficking.

However, the country should take steps to prevent incarcerating and prosecuting child victims of sex trafficking. It also should improve measures to effectively screen prostitutes and women entering the country for signs of sex trafficking.


Yemen's government has improved its efforts to prosecute child labor trafficking cases, but it should do more to increase prosecuting corrupt officials and traffickers of women and girls for sexual exploitation. In addition to absence of prosecutions against sex traffickers, Yemen reportedly detains and prosecutes child victims of commercial sexual exploitation under its prostitution laws.

Although it lacks a specific anti-trafficking law, the country employs other provisions in its criminal code to prosecute traffickers. This year, the government reported 19 child trafficking convictions, up from two prosecutions last year, with 14 more investigations pending. Despite reported corruption among low-ranking government representatives, the country hasn't prosecuted any officials for trafficking involvement.


Yemen has continued its progress in protecting child trafficking victims, particularly those repatriated from Saudi Arabia. The government has opened one fully operational reception center in Haradh region, providing victims with social services, limited medical care and family reunification services. The center received more than 300 children in its first six months.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs also operates four additional but smaller reception centers in the country's northern regions. Additionally, the Ministry of Interior runs 10 specialized “rooms” to house repatriated children. Over the past year and with the help of UNICEF and IOM, Yemen has trained 51 government officials in shelter management and trafficking victim assistance.

However, the Yemeni government provides no protection for sex trafficking victims and therefore, should improve its efforts to screen girls and women arrested and prosecuted for prostitution to determine if they are trafficking victims.


With UNICEF and IOM assistance, Yemen has increased its trafficking prevention efforts over the past year. The government launched an information campaign to distribute print materials, videos and radio messages to educate parents and local leaders about the dangers of child trafficking.

The Ministry of Human Rights also circulated information about a hotline it operates, particularly in areas where child trafficking is prevalent. Additionally, with equipment provided by UNICEF, the Yemeni government created a database for information collected on child trafficking at border crossings, resulting in monthly reports from the Ministry of Interior.

Yemen also continues to require visas for Iraqis entering the country to prevent trafficking of Iraqi women and girls and to identify potential victims.