U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Benin
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||5 June 2006|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Benin, 5 June 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d87822.html [accessed 23 July 2014]|
Benin (Tier 2)
Benin is a source, transit, and destination country for children trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. According to the ILO, the vast majority of Beninese victims are trafficked within Benin, while most of the remaining victims are trafficked to Nigeria, Gabon, Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana, and Niger. A much smaller number of victims are trafficked to Benin from Niger, Togo, and Burkina Faso. Children are trafficked as domestic servants, plantation laborers, and street vendors, and for work in commercial enterprises, the handicraft industry, and construction.
The Government of Benin does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. To strengthen its response to trafficking, the government should promulgate and enforce its anti-trafficking legislation and increase protection and prevention efforts.
The Government of Benin has demonstrated increased efforts to combat trafficking through law enforcement in the last year. The National Assembly passed a law prohibiting child trafficking in January 2006, though the government still needs to promulgate the law before it can be enforced. The Ministry of Justice established a new statistical unit that has begun to collect trafficking crime statistics. From January to October 2005, the government used older statutes to prosecute 83 trafficking cases, 20 of which have resulted in convictions and prison terms of three months to one year. The government is working with UNICEF to form a steering committee responsible for overseeing the drafting of a Children's Code to provide increased legal protection to children. Benin signed a bilateral agreement with Nigeria in June 2005 and a multilateral agreement with eight other West African nations in July 2005. The Police Minors' Protection Brigade (BPM) actively investigates trafficking, but is handicapped by a lack of resources. While the government has not initiated trafficking training for law enforcement, the BPM participated in a UNICEF-sponsored training.
The Government of Benin continued to provide minimal protection to trafficking victims over the last year. Although the government does not operate its own shelter, police and ministry officials work with NGOs and international organizations to provide victims with care. Most victims are first taken into custody by the BPM, where they are interviewed before being referred to NGO shelters for care. These interviews are conducted by law enforcement officials without the involvement of skilled counselors. Law enforcement authorities intercepted 140 victims in 2005 and repatriated 15 victims to Togo and Nigeria. The Ministry of the Family also cooperates with international organizations, NGOs, and a network of 1,141 local anti-trafficking committees throughout the country to provide victim care. For example, the Ministry works with UNICEF to help reintegrate repatriated Beninese victims at a vocational training center. However, a shelter built in Benin by a foreign donor over a year ago with the capacity to hold 160 victims remains unused. Victims are not punished for crimes directly related to being trafficked.
The Government of Benin continued to make limited efforts to raise public awareness about trafficking. The government has collaborated with UNICEF to hire a consultant to assist with drafting a national action plan to combat child trafficking. While the inter-ministerial committee to combat trafficking has not met regularly, the government plans to restructure and strengthen this committee in 2006. The government has collaborated with NGOs and international organizations to raise awareness about trafficking. For example, the Ministry of Labor, together with ILO-IPEC and seven domestic union organizations, sponsored campaigns to educate employers to respect child labor laws.