Last Updated: Thursday, 31 July 2014, 17:47 GMT

2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Chad

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 27 June 2011
Cite as United States Department of State, 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Chad, 27 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e12ee8b3c.html [accessed 1 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Chad (Tier 2 Watch List)

Chad is a source and destination country for children subjected to conditions of forced labor and sex trafficking. The country's trafficking problem is primarily internal and frequently involves family members entrusting children to relatives or intermediaries in return for promises of education, apprenticeship, goods, or money. Selling or bartering children into forced domestic service or forced herding is used as a means of survival by families seeking to reduce the number of mouths they need to feed. Child trafficking victims are primarily subjected to forced labor as herders, domestic servants, agricultural laborers, or beggars. Some sources report that children in religious schools (madrassahs) are forced to beg for long hours for the benefit of their teachers and may be denied food or physically punished if they do not collect enough money. Child cattle herders – some of whom are victims of forced labor – follow traditional routes for grazing cattle and at times cross ill-defined international borders into Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), and Nigeria. There continue to be reports of child herders being employed by military officials or local government officials. Underage Chadian girls travel to larger towns in search of work, where some are subsequently subjected to prostitution or are abused in domestic service. Some girls are compelled to marry against their will, only to be forced by their husbands into domestic service or agricultural labor.

In previous years, Chadian and Sudanese children were unlawfully conscripted, including from refugee camps, to engage in armed conflict, and used as combatants, guards, cooks, and look-outs. The government's conscription of children for military service, however, reportedly ceased during the reporting period, and a government-led, UNICEF-coordinated process to identify and demobilize remaining child soldiers in military installations and rebel camps continued. An unknown number of children may remain within the ranks of the Chadian National Army (ANT); UNICEF believes the number to be decreasing as recruitment has stopped and remaining children who might have been in the military in previous years would now be reaching adulthood. Sudanese children in refugee camps in eastern Chad were forcibly recruited by Sudanese rebel groups.

The Government of Chad does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite some improvements, the government did not show evidence of increasing efforts over the previous year; therefore, Chad is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. During the reporting period, the Government of Chad reportedly ended all child conscription into its national army and continued to engage in efforts to demobilize remaining child soldiers from rebel forces. The government also co-hosted a conference on child soldiers, at which Chad and five other countries signed a declaration committing to ending child soldiering in their countries. By the end of the reporting period, the government and UNICEF had finalized a UN Children and Armed Conflict Action Plan with steps for Chad to take prior to being delisted from the UN state sponsors of child soldiers list. The government, however, made fewer efforts to address the forced labor of children in cattle herding, domestic service, and begging, or to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of Chadian children. The government did not enact legislation prohibiting trafficking in persons. The government undertook limited anti-trafficking law enforcement and victim protection activities. The country faces severe challenges including lack of communication and infrastructure and a rudimentary judicial system that relies largely on traditional forms of justice. Its resources are further constrained by the large numbers of refugees from neighboring states.

Recommendations for Chad: Pass and enact penal code revisions prohibiting child trafficking; consider drafting and enacting penal code provisions that would criminalize the trafficking of adults; increase efforts to enhance magistrates' understanding of and capability to prosecute and punish trafficking offenses under existing laws; demonstrate increased anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, including the investigation and prosecution, where appropriate, of suspected trafficking offenders; continue taking steps to ensure the end of child conscription and the demobilization of any remaining child soldiers from the national army and rebel forces; continue collaborating with NGOs and international organizations to increase the provision of protective services to all types of trafficking victims, including children forced into cattle herding, domestic servitude, or prostitution; take steps to raise public awareness of trafficking issues, particularly at the local level among tribal leaders and other members of the traditional justice system; and draft a national plan of action to combat all forms of trafficking in Chad and identify resources to implement it.

Prosecution

Chad made limited law enforcement efforts against trafficking in persons during the reporting period, due largely to its weak judicial system. Existing laws do not specifically address human trafficking, though forced prostitution and many types of labor exploitation are prohibited. Title 5 of the Labor Code prohibits forced and bonded labor, prescribing fines of $100 to $1,000; these penalties fail to prescribe imprisonment and, as such, are not sufficiently stringent to deter trafficking crimes or reflect their serious nature. Penal code Articles 279 and 280 prohibit the prostitution of children, prescribing punishments of five to 10 years' imprisonment and fines up to $2,000 – penalties that are sufficiently stringent, but not commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Pimping and owning brothels are also prohibited under Penal code Articles 281 and 282. The 1991 Chadian National Army Law prohibits recruitment of children below the age of 18; punishment for those who violate this provision is conducted at the discretion of military justice officials, rather than via civilian court processes. Draft revisions to the penal code to prohibit child trafficking and provide protection for victims have not yet been enacted, but are under active consideration by the Supreme Court. Chad does not currently have the capacity to collect or report arrests, prosecutions, convictions, or sentencing data for trafficking offenses during the reporting period. One international organization, however, reported that four people, including parents and intermediaries, in southern Chad were convicted and sentenced to six months' imprisonment for offenses related to child cattle herding. Throughout the reporting period, the Ministry of Justice, in partnership with UNICEF, conducted training for regional technical committees charged with overseeing the rights of children. In addition, in November 2010, Ministry of Social Action conducted training for 47 military officials around the country to sensitize them on issues of child soldiers. The government did not prosecute military officials for previous unlawful conscription or use of child soldiers or any other government official suspected of complicity in trafficking offenses, although some military officials reportedly were subject to military discipline.

Protection

Chad was unable to take adequate steps to ensure that all victims of trafficking received access to protection services during the reporting period, though local NGOs who implement government programs reported a significant increase in government referrals and citizen requests for services in 2010. The government, in partnership with international and non-governmental organizations, continued to assist demobilized child soldiers, identified within the country some of whom may have been forcibly conscripted. In July 2010, the government facilitated the release of 45 child soldiers by rebel groups into UNICEF's care, including 30 children from the northwestern Tibesti-based Movement pour la Democratie et Justice au Tchad (MDJT), with whom the government had recently signed a peace agreement, and an additional 15 presumed children affiliated with the Front Populaire pour la Renaissance Nationale (FPRN). Among these children were the first group of female child soldiers who entered the UNICEF-led rehabilitation and reintegration process. The Ministry of Social Action operated a transit center in Moussouro for demobilized child soldiers, where they received basic food and clothing before being transferred to longer-term, NGO-operated rehabilitation and reintegration centers. The government provided in-kind assistance to these NGO centers. Other victims of trafficking, however, received few protection services.

The government used local-level committees comprised of law enforcement, judicial, and social service officials to identify and refer trafficking victims to protection services where available. These committees – located in N'Djamena, Abeche, and southern towns – encourage victims to file charges against and assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers. Chadian authorities did not formally report any victims as being identified or referred to protection services during the reporting period, although government officials sometimes protected children personally. UNICEF, however, reported that as a result of awareness raising programs local communities recovered 227 child cattle herders and reunited them with their families, returned them to school, or provided them with vocational training. The government did not arrest or detain trafficking victims, or prosecute or otherwise penalize identified child victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. While the National Committee to Fight Trafficking drafted a "Guide for the Protection of Child Victims of Trafficking" that officials could use to promote the protection of children, due to weak state entities and a lack of capacity, the government could not allocate any resources, beyond salaries and time for attendance, of government officials, for training regarding the identification and treatment of trafficking victims during the reporting period.

Prevention

Chad made limited efforts to prevent human trafficking during the year, beyond those related to child soldiers. In June, Chad co-hosted with UNICEF a regional conference to eliminate the use of child soldiers in armed conflict; six countries – including Chad, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, and Sudan – signed the N'Djamena Declaration, which committed governments to, inter alia, end unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers, implement relevant regional and international instruments on child rights and child protection, cooperate with one another and international institutions, provide rehabilitation assistance to victims, develop a follow-on working group to implement their pledges, and harmonize national legislation with these commitments. In partnership with the UN, the government also developed an official action plan to end the use of child soldiers in Chad. The government served as a partner of UNICEF and UNFPA in its campaigns against forced labor of children. Chad's first lady, as the government's representative on public outreach programs related to children, traveled around the country, meeting with communities to instruct them on their rights and identify for them the various local government officials and UN agency representatives responsible for providing protection and assistance.

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