The latest U.S. report on human trafficking has put Afghanistan in the second tier in terms of human trafficking and states that most of the victims are reported to be children.
The report, which is compiled annually by the U.S. State Department, rates 188 countries on their efforts to curb human trafficking.
“Afghanistan is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking,” the report said. “The majority of Afghan trafficking victims are children who end up in carpet making and brick factories, domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation, begging, transnational drug smuggling, and assistant truck driving within Afghanistan, as well as in the Middle East, Europe, and South Asia.”
The 2015 U.S. report illustrated Cuba, Kenya and Saudi Arabia are doing better at fighting the phenomenon, while Egypt, Ghana and Bulgaria are reported to be the worst countries in the battle.
Furthermore, the report stated that Afghan boys were also being subjected to forced labor in Iran in the construction and agricultural sectors.
“The purpose of this document is not to scold, it’s not to name and shame. It is to enlighten and to energize and most importantly to empower people. By issuing it, we want to bring to the public’s attention the full nature and scope of the $150 billion dollar illicit trafficking industry and it is an industry,” said U.S. State Secretary John Kerry.
The Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR) however acknowledged the issue facing Afghanistan and blamed it on lack of employment and security.
According to MoRR statistics, over six million Afghan refugees are living in more than 70 countries of the world. Most of these refugees, according to MoRR, are forced to hard labor work.
“In a country where 40 percent of its citizens are jobless, there would [definitely] be high human trafficking,” MoRR spokesman Islamuddin Jurat said. “Insecurity and unemployment have forced our citizens to flee the country.”
The other major concern expressed in the report was about the Afghan migrants who have been forced into sex slavery in Greece – the major route Afghans use for getting to Europe.
Meanwhile, many Afghan asylum seekers, who have paid thousands of dollars to reach Europe, are being deported to Kabul.
“I spent over 10 days in a boat,” Ali Shabani – who was expelled from Sweden – told TOLOnews. “If the European rescue boats had not helped us, we would have been dead now.”
Earlier this week, a report from Greece stated hundreds of Afghan refugees had set up camps in Athens, the Greek capital.
Pedion Areos, a park in the center of Athens, has become a makeshift migrant camp where more than 420 people are currently staying. Many Afghans in those camps were hoping to move on to Germany and other countries in Europe.