The government maintained overall efforts to prevent trafficking, while increasing targeted efforts to prevent child sex trafficking. NCCTIP, established to direct anti-trafficking efforts across government agencies and drive national policy, met six times during the reporting period. The government allocated 1.18 million Seychelles rupees ($56,490) for committee operations and programming, such as victim assistance and prevention efforts, an increase compared with 784,020 rupees ($37,490) in 2019. During the reporting period, oversight of NCCTIP shifted from the Ministry of Social Affairs to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which reportedly provided more clarity on the committee’s responsibilities. For the fourth consecutive year, the government did not hire personnel for a secretariat to support the Coordinating Committee as required under section IV of the 2014 anti-trafficking act; this continued to hinder the committee’s ability to fulfill its mandate. In April 2020, the government established the HighLevel Committee to Address Child Protection Matters (CACPM) to evaluate existing child sexual exploitation prevention measures. Based on CACPM’s recommendation, the government established the CLRC in June 2020 to review existing laws and propose legal reforms to strengthen protections for child victims of various crimes, including child sex trafficking. The government did not have a national action plan (NAP) for the fifth consecutive year; NCCTIP reportedly drafted an updated 2021-2023 NAP, which was awaiting final approval by the Ministry of Internal Affairs at the end of the reporting period. For the first time since 2016, the government conducted various national public awareness campaigns to educate the public on human trafficking. The government distributed 1,500 pamphlets and leaflets on labor trafficking – in English and French – to the international airport, seaports, relevant government agencies, and employers of migrant workers, and NCCTIP organized media sensitization targeting frontline officials. The government maintained hotlines operated by the police, immigration, and social services departments for reporting crimes, including trafficking. The employment department maintained a hotline to address concerns about forced labor and reported 900 calls during the reporting period, compared with 64 calls in 2019. The government did not provide any hotline data specific to trafficking and did not report identifying any trafficking victims via hotline calls during the reporting period.
Trafficking vulnerabilities in labor recruitment and monitoring persisted throughout the country, especially in the Seychelles International Trade Zone (SITZ). The Ministry of Employment (MOE) reported inspecting 573 work sites for indications of trafficking, compared with 237 inspections by the MOE and 501 total in 2019; however, the government did not report identifying any potential forced labor victims or reporting any potential trafficking violations for law enforcement action as a result of the inspections. The MOE continued to lack jurisdiction in the SITZ; this limited its ability to protect migrant workers and screen for trafficking, as it was considered ex-territorial and managed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The FSA reportedly denied the MOE’s requests to conduct inspections in the SITZ during the reporting period, citing pandemic-related health precautions. The inter-ministerial Special Task Force, which had a mandate to address the living and working conditions of migrant workers, was inactive during the reporting period. In accordance with the Employment Act, MOE reviewed all contracts for migrant workers to ensure compliance with its provisions, including acceptable accommodations; however, the government did not have effective policies or laws regulating or providing oversight for labor recruiters. Seizure and retention of passports by employers remained legal under Seychellois law, unless proven it was specifically for the purpose of further trafficking a person; however, in the previous reporting period, the government drafted an amendment to the immigration bill that reportedly prohibits passport retention of foreign workers. The government did not report sending the bill to parliament for the second consecutive reporting period. The government continued to utilize the labor tribunal for laborrelated complaints and continued to require a fee for migrant workers to file a complaint. In 2019, the government began drafting a new immigration bill that would require the provision of work permit cards for all citizens and foreign workers that includes anti-trafficking information and contact information for assistance; the bill was awaiting approval by the National Assembly at the end of the reporting period. The government did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.