Slavery in Angola




Angola is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. Angolans are forced to labour in the agricultural, fishing, construction, domestic service, and artisanal diamond mining sectors within the country. Chinese nationals in Angola exploit Angolan children in brickmaking factories, construction, and rice farming activities. Girls as young as 13 years old endure prostitution.


Angolan adults use children under the age of 12 for forced criminal activity, as children cannot be criminally prosecuted. Some Angolan boys are taken to Namibia for forced labour in cattle herding, while others are forced to serve as couriers as part of a scheme to skirt import fees in cross-border trade with Namibia. Angolan women and children are subjected to domestic servitude and sex slavery in South Africa, Namibia, and some European countries.


Women from Vietnam, Brazil, and potentially other countries involved in prostitution in Angola may be victims of sex trafficking. Some Chinese women are recruited by Chinese gangs and construction companies with promises of work, but later are deprived of their passports, kept in walled compounds with armed guards, and forced into prostitution to pay back the costs of their travel.


Chinese, Southeast Asian, Namibian, Kenyan, and possibly Congolese migrants are subjected to forced labour in Angola’s construction industry; conditions include the withholding of passports, threats of violence, denial of food, and confinement. At times, workers are coerced to continue work in unsafe conditions, which at times reportedly resulted in death. Chinese workers are brought to Angola by Chinese companies that have large construction or mining contracts; some companies do not disclose the terms and conditions of the work at the time of recruitment. Undocumented Congolese migrants, including children, enter Angola for work in diamond-mining districts, where some endure forced labour or sex trafficking in mining camps. Trafficking networks recruit and transport Congolese girls as young as 12 years old from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Angola for various forms of exploitation.


The Government of Angola does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government has never convicted a trafficking offender, despite years of ongoing reports of construction companies engaged in forced labour.




The 1886 penal code, as amended in February 2014, prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons. Chapter III Article 19 criminalizes the act of delivering, enticing, accepting, transporting, housing, or keeping of persons for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour, or trafficking of organs, including by force, fraud, or coercion. Article 18 separately criminalizes slavery and servitude with sentences of seven to twelve years’ imprisonment.


Article 7 of the Law on the Protection and Integral Development of Children 2012 prohibits the exploitation of children. Article 33 prohibits the kidnapping, sale, trafficking, or prostitution of children. This law fails to define and prescribe penalties for these crimes, limiting its power.


The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking offenses. Due to a culture of corruption, law enforcement efforts were stymied in many areas, including counter-trafficking.


In December 2014, the government established the Inter-ministerial Commission to Combat Trafficking in Persons—under the direction of the Ministries of Justice and Human Rights and Social Assistance and Reintegration—which began oversight of national efforts to protect, assist, and reintegrate into society trafficking victims.



Slavery in Angola