U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Burundi
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||3 June 2005|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Burundi, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d836c.html [accessed 24 April 2014]|
Burundi (Tier 2)
Burundi is a source country for children trafficked for the purpose of forced child soldiering. The country is emerging from a 12-year civil war in which government and rebel forces used approximately 3,200 children in a variety of capacities, including as cooks, porters, spies, sex slaves, and combatants. There are reports that the government army and two former rebel groups – the CNDDFDD (Nkurunziza) and the CNDD (Nyangoma) – still have a small number of children in their ranks. While there were unconfirmed reports that these two rebel groups recruited boys in 2004, there were no reports that the army recruited child soldiers. The one rebel faction that remains outside the peace process, the PALOPEHUTU-FNL, continued to recruit and use child soldiers.
The Government of Burundi does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the year, the government continued to demobilize large numbers of child soldiers and launched extensive public awareness campaigns to ease their reintegration into local communities. To further its efforts to combat trafficking, the gov-ernment should continue cooperating fully with the international community to demobilize all remaining child soldiers from its military ranks and reintegrate them into their home communities. It should also continue to educate local communities to encourage acceptance of returning combatants, and take steps to bring to justice those who continue to forcibly conscript and utilize child soldiers.
Burundi has no law specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons, but laws against kidnapping, slavery, smuggling, and prostitution effectively outlaw trafficking in persons. Trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation can be prosecuted under anti-slavery legislation and carries a penalty of up to life imprisonment or death. During the year, the government investigated and prosecuted one case of alleged trafficking of Congolese refugee women to Lebanon. Although the investigation and subsequent court proceedings ultimately determined it to be a case of smuggling for domestic work, the government demonstrated commitment to vigorous anti-trafficking law enforcement by working closely with Lebanese authorities to investigate and bring this case to trial.
During the year, the National Structure for Child Soldiers (SNES) continued the implementation of its national plan for ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers. In 2004, the government and each of the six former rebel factions that have joined the peace process pledged to demobilize child soldiers from their ranks and began to do so. The Burundian Minister of Defense signed a decree committing the armed forces to demobilizing all children. As of February 2005, 2,920 child soldiers, including 33 girls, had been officially demobilized from the military, the Guardians of the Peace (GP) militia, and the six former rebel groups. The government, in cooperation with international organizations and NGOs, provided medical, psycho-social, educational, and other material support to demobilized child soldiers and facilitated their reintegration into civilian society. The SNES worked with the army, the GP, and the former rebel groups to compile information on the numbers of child soldiers by location and force affiliation.
The depth and scope of preventative measures increased substantially over the reporting period. In 2004, the SNES, with assistance from UNICEF, the World Bank, and NGOs, conducted numerous public awareness campaigns to combat the recruitment and use of child soldiers. At the national level, the SNES aired media campaigns on public and private radio stations, and held public seminars to raise awareness of the issue of child soldiers among military and government officials, church groups, youth associations, civil society groups, and students. At the local level, it provided comprehensive training to leaders in each of Burundi's communes, who in turn advocated locally against the recruitment of child soldiers and held public seminars on children's rights and reintegrating child soldiers into local communities. The government also supported a program to assist internally displaced children in attending school; these children are particularly vulnerable to conscription as child soldiers. International financial and technical support was a key element to the success of all of these programs.