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The army continued to require anti-trafficking training for soldiers, while widely distributed military publications featuring articles on human trafficking to raise awareness among military officers.PROTECTION The government increased efforts to identify and refer trafficking victims to protection services and continued to work with NGOs to provide services to victims; however, victims remained highly vulnerable to punishment for crimes committed as a direct result of being subjected to trafficking.The Ministry of Social Affairs also signed contracts with NGOs for the NGOs to provide protection to vulnerable children.

Among the 51 cases, 14 involved visa holders and four were referred to judicial or law enforcement authorities for further investigation.The government did not directly provide protection services to trafficking victims but continued to work in cooperation with NGOs to provide essential victim services.A longstanding MOU between the government and an NGO required DGS to refer victims to an NGO-run safe house and provide security for the location.Moreover, Lebanon's sponsorship system, which places a significant amount of power in the hands of employers of foreign workers, remained a significant impediment to authorities identifying and protecting trafficking victims.RECOMMENDATIONS FOR LEBANON Ensure trafficking victims are not arrested, detained, deported, or prosecuted for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to trafficking, such as immigration or prostitution violations; screen all detained domestic workers for potential trafficking victims in detention centers; take steps to establish greater oversight over visa holders allowed in the country, a program that contributes to the vulnerability of women to sexual exploitation; increase investigations, prosecutions, and convictions of offenders under the anti-trafficking law, and investigate employers and recruitment agents who withhold workers' passports, travel documents, or wages for potential trafficking crimes; implement procedures to identify and refer to protection services trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as illegal migrants, women holding visas, domestic workers, and Syrian refugees; continue to work in partnership with NGOs to screen for, identify, and provide protection services to victims, including witness support during criminal proceedings; provide training for judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officials, and diplomatic personnel about the crime of trafficking and application of the anti-trafficking law; prohibit and penalize the withholding of workers' passports and travel documents, and reform the sponsorship system to ensure workers are not bound to abusive employers and allow workers, including visa holders, freedom of movement; formally establish the victim assistance fund; adopt and implement the draft national action plan; and enact the labor law amendment extending legal protections to foreign workers and the draft law providing increased labor protections to domestic workers.

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