According to Egyptian state media outlet MENA, 75 people have been detained in connection with a human trafficking probe after a 14-month investigation by Egypt’s Administrative Control Authority. These 75 people reportedly include government officials, Egyptian citizens, and foreigners, who were captured in raids ranging from the Egyptian capital city of Cairo to Kafr el-Sheikh along the northern edge of Egypt. The Administrative Control Authority’s probe also charged the 75 people arrested with bribery, forging official documents, and profiting from public office in addition to the human trafficking charges.

Egypt passed a law in 2016 that was designed to crack down on a person smuggling industry along its northern border setting prison as a penalty for those who are convicted of smuggling migrants or acting as middlemen or brokers. However, the law also makes no distinction between those who assist migrants who have been trafficked and those who prey on them, as it also sets prison time as a penalty for those who shelter trafficked migrants and gather, transport, or otherwise help them on their journey.

The United States lists Egypt in tier two of its watch list for countries that are a “source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking” claiming that:

“The Government of Egypt does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite these measures, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing anti-trafficking efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore, Egypt is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. For the first time, the government conducted a nationwide data call to district courts to gather information on trafficking cases from the last five years to properly allocate training and prioritize trafficking efforts. In addition, the national anti-trafficking hotline call center was operational and its services were expanded. The Egyptian president also publicly acknowledged the vulnerability of Egyptian street children to trafficking and announced the allocation of approximately 100 million Egyptian pounds ($14 million) to address this issue. However, the government did not adequately address the needs of foreign trafficking victims and focused primarily on Egyptian victims. Moreover, it did not provide some shelter services to foreign trafficking victims in 2014. Though the government continued to partner with NGOs and international organizations to identify and refer victims to protective services, it identified a smaller number of trafficking victims in 2014, continuing the decrease from the previous reporting period. Reports indicated many officials—particularly those outside of city centers—failed to systematically identify victims among vulnerable groups, and the government had no procedures to do so. As a result, victims were routinely treated as criminals and punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking. The government prosecuted some traffickers in 2014 but failed to convict any offenders for a second consecutive year; many trafficking cases were settled out of court, failing to adequately punish offenders or serve as a sufficient deterrent to the commission of trafficking crimes.”