The Government of Tunisia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore Tunisia remained on Tier 2. These efforts included convicting the largest number of traffickers since the enactment of the 2016 anti-trafficking law and continued strong prosecution efforts in cases identified in previous reporting periods. In addition, the government continued partnering with NGOs and international organizations to ensure victims received all appropriate services and continued to regularly conduct research and analysis on government anti-trafficking efforts and trafficking trends. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. The government identified fewer trafficking victims, and access to services was conditioned on official identification from a limited number of authorities, thereby possibly delaying identification and even subjecting unidentified victims to penalization for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. Overall, services appropriate for the needs of all trafficking victims – provided directly by the government or in partnership with civil society – remained limited outside major cities, which may have prevented victims from receiving care. Despite training efforts, limited understanding of trafficking among officials and the small number of ministries that could legally identify trafficking victims slowed the process for victims to receive care.
The Government of Tunisia should :
- Continue investigating, prosecuting, and convicting traffickers and sentence convicted traffickers to significant prison terms.
- Fully implement formal procedures for all relevant officials to screen and proactively identify sex and labor trafficking victims – particularly among vulnerable groups, such as domestic workers, undocumented migrants, children experiencing homelessness, and persons in commercial sex – and train officials on their use.
- Develop procedures, especially for law enforcement, judicial, and border officials, to ensure victims are not inappropriately penalized solely for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, such as for “prostitution” or immigration violations.
- Authorize more government officials, including throughout the country, to officially identify trafficking victims to allow for more efficient access to protection services.
- Train and build the capacity of judicial and law enforcement officials on the application of the anti-trafficking law, investigative techniques, evidence collection specific to trafficking cases, witness and victim protection best practices during trial, and alternatives to victim testimony.
- Continue implementation of the NRM using a victim-centered approach to ensure officials refer all trafficking victims to the appropriate protection services and train law enforcement and judicial authorities on appropriately referring victims to care.
- Provide adequate protection services to adult and child victims of all forms of trafficking, including appropriate shelter, psycho-social, long-term, and rehabilitative services tailored specifically to trafficking victims.
- Train staff at government-operated centers for vulnerable populations to provide trafficking victims with appropriate and specialized care and increase resources for the provision of care at these centers.
- Improve coordination among government ministries to combat trafficking.
- Provide funding or in-kind support to NGOs that provide care to trafficking victims.
- Reduce the vulnerability of sub-Saharan migrants to trafficking by ceasing rhetoric from government officials that increases incidents of violence against this population and discourages cooperation with authorities on trafficking.
from 2023 Trafficking in Persons Report – U.S. Department of State
2023 Trafficking in Persons Report – United States Department of State