The government increased law enforcement efforts. Article 160 of the penal code prohibits all forms of trafficking and prescribes penalties of three to 10 years imprisonment (up to 16 years if there are aggravating circumstances), which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those for other serious crimes, such as rape. Article 160 also encompasses illegal adoption and organ removal, crimes that fall outside the U.S. definition of trafficking in persons. Article 159 prohibits slavery and prescribes penalties of five to 15 years imprisonment. Article 175 prohibits child sex trafficking, with penalties of one to 10 years imprisonment, although it classifies these crimes as pimping rather than trafficking. Amendments to the labor code entered into force in September 2016 and extended liability for violations of labor code worker protections to employment agencies and subcontractors, including owners of companies, companies that hire temporary workers, and contractors supplying workers to companies.
In 2016, the government investigated 83 potential trafficking cases, compared with 68 total cases in 2015. Authorities did not report how many cases involved labor or sex trafficking, but noted the majority of the cases involved labor trafficking in agriculture. In 2016, authorities prosecuted 77 defendants in nine cases, a significant increase from the six defendants prosecuted in 2015. Courts convicted and sentenced 15 traffickers in 2016 (including at least four sex trafficking, one forced labor, and two domestic servitude cases), compared with four total convictions in 2015. Sentences for convicted traffickers in 2016 ranged from 18 months to eight years imprisonment, compared with eight to 20 years imprisonment in 2015. Authorities suspended five of the sentences; in three of those cases they ordered the traffickers to make payments to an NGO working to address sexual exploitation. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government employees complicit in human trafficking offenses. The national police provided training in investigations and victim identification to 107 officers across four regions, as well as additional trainings for police, judges, and prosecutors. The national rapporteur developed training programs for first responders in districts vulnerable to labor trafficking, including police, social workers, and health professionals. In October 2016, the government organized a training and technical assistance workshop for judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement personnel in cooperation with a foreign government.