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Yemen remains a Special Case for the third consecutive year. The civil conflict and humanitarian crisis in Yemen deepened during the reporting period. Information on human trafficking in the country has been increasingly difficult to obtain since March when the Republic of Yemen Government ROYG had to leave and stopped controlling portions of the country. NGOs reported vulnerable populations in Yemen were at an increased risk of being subjected to trafficking due to large-scale violence driven by protracted armed conflict, civil unrest, and lawlessness.
Migrant workers from the Horn of Africa who remained or arrived in Yemen during the reporting period may have endured intensified violence, and women and children may have become more susceptible to trafficking. The international organizations and NGOs remaining in Yemen focused primarily on providing humanitarian assistance to the local population and lacked adequate resources to collect reliable data on trafficking; transit routes and entry points for humanitarian actors were increasingly dynamic and precarious, thereby impeding humanitarian support.
A vast majority of Yemenis required broad assistance and basic social services, which have collapsed. For the purposes of this report, Yemen retained Special Case status since the government continued to lack control over part of its territory.
Due to the tenuous political situation, the government faced serious challenges to combat trafficking, including substantial internal security threats, weak institutions, systemic corruption, a weakening economy, limited territorial control, and poor law enforcement capabilities. The government made no discernible anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. Government efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenders were hampered by the absence of a law criminalizing all forms of trafficking and the government's conflation of trafficking and smuggling.
Article of the penal code criminalized slavery and prescribed penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment; these penalties were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with the penalties prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape.