Country Study
6 of 167Prevalence Index Rank

Somalia

  • 121,900 Estimate number living in Modern Slavery
  • 1.13% Estimate percentage of population living in Modern Slavery
  • 67.07/100 Vulnerability to Modern Slavery
  • NO DATA Government Response Rating
  • 10,787,000 Population
  • $435[1] GDP (PPP)

Prevalence

How many people are in modern slavery in Somalia?

Somalia is one of a group of 5 countries, assessed to have the highest rates of modern slavery in Sub-Saharan Africa. These countries included Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. The forms of modern slavery prevalent in Somalia include the use of child soldiers in armed conflict,[2] child marriage,[3] forced labour, and commercial sexual exploitation.[4] As at 5 June 2015, 819 cases of children being recruited and used in conflict were formally recorded; these child soldiers were recruited by the organised militant group, al-Shabaab.[5] Organised militant groups such as al-Shabaab maintain a heavy presence in the country, and actively promote many forms of modern slavery, such as through recruiting children into militias, and promoting the marriage of fighters with school girls.[6]


Country Findings of Prevalence

121,900

Estimate number enslaved


The ramifications of the 1991 civil war that ravaged Somalia are still in effect; affecting everything from the economy and political stability to government infrastructure. However, the situation is reported to be steadily improving, since Somalia began collaborating with the IMF in 2013.[7] Although reliable data is difficult to locate, the Somali economy has been in a growth period since the economy expanded by 3.7% in 2014, a growth attributed to positive changes in agriculture, construction, and telecommunication industries.[8] A long term plan was implemented to transition the current political system into a Western democracy, however there has been little success in the plan thus far.[9] Furthermore, recent attacks by al-Shabaab in 2015 forced African Union peacekeeping officers to withdraw from strongholds in the country, with over 120 soldiers killed in the months of June - September 2015.[10]

Somalia is both a source and a transit country for migrants and refugees escaping from Eritrea, Ethiopia, and also refugees escaping violence in the country itself. For example, in 2015, more than 10,500 Somali's arrived by sea in Italy.[11] Somalian migrants also travel via other routes seeking access to protection (eg: via Sudan to enter the north of Ethiopia).[12] For the past decade at least, Somalia has been a jumping off point for Ethiopian, Eritrean and Somali migrants seeking passage by sea to Yemen (which then provided an entry either to labour markets in Yemen or in neighbouring Saudi Arabia). This is a dangerous voyage characterised by extreme risk and well documented abuses. With the current conflict in Yemen, the direction of travel has reversed to an extent, with migrants seeking to flee Yemen travelling to the Horn of Africa.[13] However, movement from Yemen to the Horn of Africa decreased in the second quarter of 2016.[14] Movement in the opposite direction (Somalia to Yemen) is again on the rise.[15]

Piracy remains an issue in Somalia. The stretch of waters between Somalia and Yemen is the most dangerous in the world, and is patrolled by Operational Atlanta, a multi-national anti-piracy force. In 2013, the United Nations expressed concern about the incidence of children working on pirate boats despite the incidence of piracy falling to the lowest level since 2006.[16] Ports have also been targeted for Al?Shabaab and other attacks.[17]

Uzbekistan is the world’s sixth largest producer of cotton. During the annual cotton harvest, citizens are subjected to statesanctioned forced labour. Monitoring by international organisations has meant the government has begun to take steps to improve the situation, however, reports from the 2015 harvest estimate that over one million people were forced to work.

Photo credit, Simon Buxton/Anti-Slavery International

Vulnerability

What factors explain or predict the prevalence of modern slavery in Somalia?

In purely quantitative terms, Somalia's score on vulnerability is comparable to South Sudan.


Average Vulnerability Score

67.07/100


CountryCivil & Political ProtectionsSocial, Health, & Economic RightsPersonal SecurityRefugees & ConflictMean
Somalia73.0364.8255.9774.4667.07

Income per capita in Somalia is estimated at $435 - it is the fifth poorest country in the world.[18] Terrorism is rampant throughout the Horn of Africa particularly in Somalia and Kenya, with attacks being perpetrated by al-Shebaab.[19] Corruption is also prevalent in all levels of government in Somalia[20] ; in 2013, the UN reported that 80 per cent of all withdrawals from the government fund were for private purposes.[21] In Puntland, government officials have contributed and assisted piracy.[22] Instability pervades the community; with over one million internally displaced persons and continuing migration towards Ethiopia.[23] Many civilians have been forcibly moved by continued internal conflict between clans, government and al-Shebaab, where they face persistent abuse in refugee camps.[24]

From the 'Less than Human' series. A large cargo boat is seen in Songkla Port, Thailand. 09/03/2014. Photographer Chris Kelly worked undercover to expose the link between prawns being sold in big name supermarkets, and the slaves who live and work on Thai fishing boats miles out to sea.

Photo credit, Chris Kelly

Government Response

How is the Somalia Government tackling modern slavery?

Somalia is one of only 6 countries globally that the Global Slavery Index does not try to measure "government responses". The reason being is there is effectively no single government with control of the whole country, but rather at least 3 different government-like entities.


Government Response Rating

NO DATA


Somalia, faced severe political instability and internal violence, including losing control of areas within their borders, consequently reducing their capacity to combat modern slavery. In Somalia, the government only controlled the capital of Mogadishu and a small number of surrounding areas. Consequently, reliable data on the steps taken by the government to combat modern slavery was unavailable.

Rajshahi, Bangladesh, January 2013. Dipa is 13 years old and has been engaged in prostitution for five months. She used to go to school, but stopped in class three after her family could no longer afford to send her. Her two sisters are also engaged in prostitution, but clients prefer to visit Dipa as she is the youngest of the three. She gets between four or five clients and earns about 1,200 Taka (US$15) a day.

Photo credit, Pep Bonet/ NOOR

Footnotes

  1. "Somalia Overview", The World Bank, accessed 09/02/16:  http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/somalia/overview
  2. “Somalia 2015/2016", Amnesty International, accessed 09/02/16:  https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/africa/somalia/report-somalia/
  3. “Somalia”, Girls Not Brides, accessed 30/09/16:  http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/child-marriage/somalia/
  4. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Trafficking in Persons Report: Somalia Country Narrative, (United States Department of State, 2015), accessed 30/09/16:  https://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/countries/2015/243530.htm
  5. “Somalia 2015/2016", Amnesty International, accessed 09/02/16:  https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/africa/somalia/report-somalia/
  6. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Trafficking in Persons Report: Somalia Country Narrative, (United States Department of State, 2015), accessed 30/09/16:  https://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/countries/2015/243530.htm
  7. International Monetary Fund, Somalia Country Report, 2015, accessed 30/09/16:  https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2015/cr15208.pdf
  8. International Monetary Fund, Somalia Country Report, 2015, accessed 30/09/16:  https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2015/cr15208.pdf
  9. "In Somalia, Stability Is a Distant Promise", Stratfor Intelligence, February 1,2016, accessed 30/09/16:  https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/somalia-stability-distant-promise
  10. "In Somalia, Stability Is a Distant Promise", Stratfor Intelligence, February 1,2016, accessed 30/09/16:  https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/somalia-stability-distant-promise
  11. Sahan Foundation and IGAD Security Sector Program, Human Trafficking and Smuggling on the Horn of Africa-Central Mediterranean Route, 2016, accessed 30/09/16:  http://igad.int/attachments/1284_ISSP%20Sahan%20HST%20Report%20%2018ii2016%20FINAL%20FINAL.pdf
  12. As above. 
  13. Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, Regional mixed migration summary for July 2016 covering mixed migration events, trends and data for Djibouti, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Puntland, Somalia, Somaliland and Yemen, 2016, accessed 09/02/16:  http://regionalmms.org/monthlysummary/RMMS_Mixed_Migration_Monthly_Summary_July_2016.pdf
  14. Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, Regional Mixed Migration in the Horn of Africa and Yemen in 2016: 2nd Quarter trend summary and analysis, 2016, accessed 09/02/16:  http://regionalmms.org/trends/RMMS%20Mixed%20Migration%20Trends%20Q2%202016.pdf
  15. Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, Pushed and Pulled in Two Directions: An Analysis of the Bi­Directional Migrant Flow Between the Horn of Africa and Yemen, 2016, accessed 09/02/16:  http://www.regionalmms.org/images/briefing/Pushed_and_Pulled.pdf
  16. United Nations Security Council, Resolution 2125 (2013), accessed 09/02/16:  http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/2125(2013)
  17. See for example, "Al-Shabab ‘retakes’ key Somalia port city of Merca", BBC News, 5 February 2016, accessed 09/02/16:  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-35502016
  18. "Somalia Overview", The World Bank, accessed 09/02/16:  http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/somalia/overview
  19. African Development Bank Group, OECD Development Centre and United Nations Development Programme, African Economic Outlook 2016, 2016, accessed 30/09/16:  https://www.afdb.org/fileadmin/uploads/afdb/Documents/Publications/AEO_2016_Report_Full_English.pdf
  20. See, "Somalia", Transparency International, accessed 09/02/16:  https://www.transparency.org/country/SOM
  21. "Somalia", Freedom House, accessed 30/09/2016:  https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2015/somalia
  22. As above. 
  23. "Protection of civilians should be central to Somali government’s state-building efforts", Human Rights Watch, September 26, 2016, accessed 30/09/16:  https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/09/28/protection-civilians-should-be-central-somali-governments-state-building-efforts
  24. As above. 

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