[ Human Trafficking, Country-by-Country ]

South Sudan (Tier 3) Extracted in part  from the U.S. State Dept 2023 TIP Report

The Government of the Republic of South Sudan does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and, even considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on the government’s anti-trafficking capacity, is not making significant efforts to do so; therefore South Sudan remained on Tier 3. Despite the lack of significant efforts, the government took some steps to address trafficking, including convening its anti-trafficking inter-ministerial task force and conducting training activities in partnership with international organizations. However, during the reporting period there was a government policy or pattern of employing or recruiting child soldiers. Government security and law enforcement officers continued to forcibly recruit and use child soldiers and did not hold any members of the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) or South Sudan National Police Services (SSNPS) criminally accountable for these unlawful acts. Authorities did not report investigating or prosecuting any trafficking crimes for the eleventh consecutive year. The government did not report identifying or assisting any trafficking victims and continued to penalize victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.

Prioritized Recommendations

Cease all unlawful recruitment or use of children by government forces (and associated militias) and immediately demobilize all child soldiers under the command or influence of government forces and affiliated militias and, in partnership with international organizations, provide adequate protection and reintegration support.

Investigate and prosecute suspected traffickers, including complicit government officials.

Train law enforcement and social workers to identify trafficking victims, particularly among vulnerable groups such as children, individuals in commercial sex, and IDPs.

Ensure victims are not inappropriately penalized solely for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.

Provide additional financial and staffing support to the SSPDF’s Directorate of Child Protection to facilitate efforts to identify perpetrators of unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers and refer cases to civilian courts.

Draft, finalize, and implement victim identification screening and referral procedures in partnership with international organizations and civil society.

Train law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges – including officials serving on the Gender Based Violence and Juvenile Court – on the 2008 Child Act, 2008 Penal Code, and 2018 Labor Act.

Increase funding and resources for the anti-trafficking inter-ministerial taskforce.

Amend the 2008 Penal Code or pass a comprehensive anti-trafficking law to criminalize adult sex trafficking and prescribe penalties that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with other grave crimes, such as rape.

Accede to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its TIP Protocol.