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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                            

Republic of Tunisia

Tunisia has a diverse economy, with important agricultural, mining, tourism, and manufacturing sectors. Governmental control of economic affairs while still heavy has gradually lessened over the past decade with increasing privatization, simplification of the tax structure, and a prudent approach to debt. Progressive social policies also have helped raise living conditions in Tunisia relative to the region.

Tunisia will need to reach even higher growth levels to create sufficient employment opportunities for an already large number of unemployed as well as the growing population of university graduates. The challenges ahead include: privatizing industry, liberalizing the investment code to increase foreign investment, improving government efficiency, reducing the trade deficit, and reducing socioeconomic disparities in the impoverished south and west.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Tunisia

Tunisia is a source, destination, and possible transit country for small numbers of men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Several Tunisian trafficking victims were identified during the reporting period in foreign locations; two women were rescued from forced prostitution in Jordan and three men from forced labor in Italy. Some Tunisian girls are trafficked within the country for domestic servitude. A 2008 survey of 130 domestic workers in the Greater Tunis region found that 52 percent were under the age of 16; twenty-three percent claimed to be victims of physical violence, and 11 percent of sexual violence. Ninety-nine percent indicated they had no work contracts and the majority received salaries below the minimum wage. These conditions are indicators of possible forced labor. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here and possibly a full TIP Report here


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Tunisia.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Amnesty Web reality check

Internet Correspondent Chris Nuttall, BBC News, 5 February 1999

[accessed 1 January 2011]

Amnesty International has hit back at a fake site lauding the human rights achievements of Tunisia by creating a new Website to counter the claims. has "nothing to do with Amnesty International," the new site says. "It was created by supporters of the Tunisian government in an attempt intentionally to mislead the public.  "It is yet another example of the extent to which the Tunisian authorities are prepared to go in order to hide the reality of their human rights record.


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Tunisia

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 28 June 2021]


Children engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in forced labor and domestic work in third-party households. They work nearly 10 hours per day without written contracts and have no social coverage. They are victims of health problems related to the arduous nature and long hours of work and to the dangers to which they may be exposed in the performance of various household tasks and other types of work in employers’ home, begging, street vending, and seasonal agricultural work. They were also subjected to commercial sexual exploitation and used in illicit activities, including drug trafficking, sometimes as a result of human trafficking

The Ministries of Employment and Vocational Training, Social Affairs, Education, and Women, Family, Childhood, and Senior Citizens all have programs directed at both children and parents to discourage children from entering the informal labor market at an early age. These efforts include programs to provide vocational training and to encourage youth to stay in school through secondary school.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 7 May 2020]


Tunisian women and children are subject to sex trafficking and forced domestic work in both Tunisia and abroad. Refugees and other migrants are also susceptible to exploitation by traffickers. Cases of exploitation in the agriculture and textile sectors are prevalent; women often work long hours with no contracts, benefits, or legal recourse. Recent protests have called attention to the lack of economic opportunity for average Tunisians due to high inflation, high unemployment, and a lack of meaningful reform to address such issues. Protests and a general strike in Sidi Bouzid in April 2019 highlighted the continued problem of regional economic inequality, with marginalization, underdevelopment, unemployment, and deteriorating conditions plaguing the country’s interior.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 22 April 2019]

[accessed 7 May 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 974]

Children are engaged in child labor in the informal sector, predominantly in street work, including vending and garbage scavenging. (20; 15) Child migrants from sub-Saharan countries and those fleeing conflict in Libya and Syria, as well as young girls from Tunisia’s northwest region, are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking. (16; 19) Preliminary results from the National Child Labor Survey conducted by the government indicated that 7.9 percent of all children are engaged in child labor, with 63.2 percent of whom involved in hazardous work. The northwest region—consisting of the governorates of Béja, Jendouba, Kef, and Siliana—noted the highest incidence of child labor at 27.7 percent. (12) The government has not yet made the full dataset from this survey publicly available, or allowed other government agencies to access it, leaving the nature and causes of children’s involvement in specific forms of child labor unknown.

Commercial sexual exploitation of children - The situation in the Middle East/North Africa region

Summary based on the situation analysis written by Dr Najat M’jid for the Arab-African Forum against Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Rabat, Morocco, 24-26 October 2001 -- Source document (in French): Rapport sur la situation de l’exploitation sexuelle des enfants dans la région MENA, 10 septembre 2001

[accessed 1 January 2011]

SOME RESPONSES AND EXAMPLES OF ACTION AGAINST CSEC - In 1995, Tunisia introduced a Code for the Protection of Children, including a rapid reaction task force to intervene in emergencies, under the direction of the Family Judge, to ensure that the provisions of the Code are used.

The Protection Project - Tunisia [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 2009]

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRAFFICKING INFRASTRUCTURE - Tunisia’s 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) of coastline facing Italy,  combined with its proximity to Sicily and the rest of Italy, make it an ideal transit country for smuggling and trafficking in persons. Women and children make the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean believing that they will have better lives in Europe.  The corruption of public officials in Tunisia also contributes to the trafficking infrastructure. United Nations and Tunisian police officers have been found to be involved in trafficking for prostitution.

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Victims are trafficked to and through Tunisia for purposes of prostitution and domestic labor. Commercial sex tourism exists in Tunisia, though little research has been devoted to uncovering the extent of the problem.


Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 7 May 2020]


Tunisian women and children are subject to sex trafficking and forced domestic work in both Tunisia and abroad. Refugees and other migrants are also susceptible to exploitation by traffickers. Cases of exploitation in the agriculture and textile sectors are prevalent; women often work long hours with no contracts, benefits, or legal recourse.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 11 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The law prohibits trafficking in persons, and there were no reports that persons were trafficked to, from, or within the country.

In January 2004 the legislature approved amendments to the 1975 law on passports and travel documents. The law includes provisions for sentencing convicted traffickers to prison terms of 3 to 20 years, and fines of $67 thousand to $83 thousand (80 thousand to 100 thousand dinars). The amendments brought national law into conformance with the international protocol agreement on trafficking of persons. The government prepared to use provisions of the penal code to combat trafficking should the need arise. For example, traffickers could be prosecuted under laws prohibiting forced displacement of persons.

The Ministry of Interior and Local Development and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Solidarity and Tunisians Abroad were the agencies responsible for anti-trafficking efforts. Since trafficking was not deemed a problem, there were no specific government campaigns to prevent trafficking.