The government decreased its law enforcement efforts. Articles 323 and 324 of the penal code criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking and prescribed penalties of three to seven years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both for trafficking offenses involving an adult victim, and five to 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both for those involving a child victim. These penalties were sufficiently stringent; however, by allowing for a fine in lieu of imprisonment, the penalties for sex trafficking were not commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Article 343 of the penal code separately criminalized forced begging and prescribed penalties of one to three years’ imprisonment and a fine; these penalties were not sufficiently stringent. The National Assembly approved revisions to the children’s code, which was pending promulgation by the president at the end of the reporting period. Two international organizations provided technical assistance for the drafting of the revised code.
The gendarmes and OPROGEM were the lead government entities responsible for investigating trafficking cases, and the General Secretary for Special Services, Counter-Narcotics, and Combating Organized Crime could investigate transnational trafficking cases. The government did not report comprehensive law enforcement data. In 2019, with data from five out of 34 prefectures, the government reported at least three investigations, three prosecutions, and zero convictions; this was a significant decrease from 62 investigations, 54 prosecutions, and 55 convictions it reported in 2018 with data from all 34 prefectures. Due to poor record keeping and the conflation of smuggling and trafficking crimes, it is possible 2018 law enforcement data included smuggling crimes. OPROGEM investigated 29 cases of child labor, 14 of which were referred to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution; however, it is not clear whether any of the child labor cases involved forced labor. Despite the prevalence of Guinean children exploited in forced begging in Quranic schools in Guinea and surrounding countries, the government has never prosecuted a corrupt Quranic teacher for child forced begging. An NGO reported magistrates, who did not understand the serious nature of trafficking, often refused to sentence convicted traffickers to prison. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of complicit officials; however, corruption among law enforcement and the judiciary—suspected to be especially prominent among labor inspectors, customs directors, and heads of police stations—remained a concern and impeded overall anti-trafficking efforts. The government made some efforts to address official corruption more broadly by sending 13 officials to donor-funded anti-corruption training. The government did not report whether it continued the investigation, initiated in 2017, of three airport officials who were reportedly complicit in the sex trafficking of Guinean women in transit to Kuwait.
The government did not sufficiently resource OPROGEM, which continued to inhibit its ability to consistently investigate potential trafficking crimes. The last time the government dedicated a budget to OPROGEM was in 2016 when it allocated 256 million Guinean francs ($27,290). The government reported a lack of general knowledge about trafficking, and the trafficking provisions of the 2016 penal code, persisted among government officials, especially judges and prosecutors in lower courts. To address low understanding of trafficking among magistrates, the CNLTPPA led efforts to train law enforcement and judicial officials on trafficking laws and their application. The CNLTPPA, in collaboration with an international organization and a foreign donor, organized two training workshops in Conakry for 60 law enforcement and judicial officials during the reporting period. The workshops trained officials from Guinea’s three law enforcement training academies, as well as officials from half of Guinea’s prosecutors’ offices. The Ministry of Security integrated course curriculum from the training into the core curriculum of Guinea‘s two national police academies. The lack of extradition agreements with countries in Africa and the Middle East impeded prosecutions of traffickers from those countries.