Sex Trafficking in Angola
Sex trafficking and human trafficking in general are major problems in Angola. Angola serves as both the destination and the source for many sex slaves. Angola exports sex slaves to Europe, South Africa, and Namibia, and they import them from countries such as Brazil, China, Vietnam, and Kenya. Oftentimes those targeted are women and girls who are fleeing war and economic destitution in other countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in particular are vulnerable to sex traffickers. Refugee girls as young as 12 are kidnapped and forced to work as prostitutes in cities such as Luanda, Lisbon, and Amsterdam. The Angolan government has made significant efforts to crack down on sex trafficking rings, and while they still do not meet international standards there has been significant progress in combating sex trafficking and raising awareness about the issue. These efforts include setting up the Inter-ministerial Commission to Combat Trafficking in Persons which coordinates investigations and enforcement among various government and law enforcement agencies. The commission has been somewhat successful in combating trafficking but there is still much room for improvement. Angola is currently providing a safe haven for Bento dos Santos Kangamba who is wanted by the Brazilian government and INTERPOL on sex trafficking charges. Kangamba is married to the niece of former president Eduardo dos Santos and is currently living in luxurious protections in Luanda.
Human trafficking is a massive problem in the sub-Saharan Africa region in general. According the the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons report most countries in sub-Saharan Africa serve as both a source and a destination for forced prostitution and forced labor. An United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report in 2016 found that in sub-Saharan African the majority (62%) of people trafficked are children, most of whom are girls sold for the purposes of forced marriage and sexual slavery. The Global Slavery Index Estimates that 6,245,800 people are currently enslaved in sub-Saharan Africa or 13.6% of the total number of people enslaved in the world. International organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank have promoted measures to fight human trafficking in sub-Saharan Africa. These include creating and strengthening social safety net systems to protect victims, creating job opportunities to address the poverty that makes people vulnerable to modern day slavery and education efforts to inform people about human trafficking in order to raise awareness about the issue. Massive obstacles still exist in combating human trafficking however, these include the profitability of the industry, traditions of slavery, and weak or non-existent enforcement of anti-trafficking laws by sub-Saharan governments.
Sustainable Development Goals in Angola
In her article Born Free Sarah E. Mendelson talks about how combating human trafficking has not been given the attention and funding that other Sustainable Development Goals have. Sarah Mendelson argues for the “integrated programming” of anti-human trafficking efforts into Millennial Development Goal projects such as agriculture, health, and education. This would secure greater funding for anti-sex trafficking efforts and help combat it at the level that it’s actually happening. As an example she suggests that efforts to improve education could also include lessons on human trafficking and especially the sexual slavery of girls. As for the Sustainable Development Goals which have as of 2015 replaced the Millennial Development Goals, there appears to be greater awareness of the issue with language being included in the Open Working Group’s Outcome Document to actively combat human trafficking. The Outcome Document directly calls for fighting human trafficking in places such as Goal Five which calls for the end of the trafficking of women and girls. Because of this language Sarah Mendelson argues that donors and NGOs are likely to take a greater interest in fighting human trafficking which bodes well for eventually ending the practice. One area of potential disagreement is what is an actually feasible goal to achieve by 2030 with many differing arguments about what can and cannot be done to end human trafficking by that date.