U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Cameroon
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||12 June 2007|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Cameroon, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3a423.html [accessed 18 September 2014]|
Cameroon (Tier 2)
Cameroon is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Most victims are children trafficked within the country, with girls trafficked for domestic servitude, to work as nannies, or for sexual exploitation. Both boys and girls are trafficked within Cameroon for forced labor in sweatshops, bars, restaurants, and on tea plantations. Children are trafficked to Cameroon from Nigeria, Chad, the Central African Republic, Congo, Benin, and Niger for forced labor in agriculture, street vending and spare-parts shops. Cameroonian children are trafficked to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea for domestic servitude, and forced market and agricultural labor. Cameroon is a transit country for children trafficked between Gabon and Nigeria, and from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia. Cameroonian women are sent by sex trafficking rings to Europe, primarily France, Germany, and Switzerland. There are also reports that a religious leader in Cameroon's Northern Province holds slaves within his locked compound.
The Government of Cameroon does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so, despite limited resources. To strengthen its response to trafficking, the government should pass its draft law prohibiting trafficking of adults, increase its law enforcement efforts and develop a system for collecting trafficking crime data, investigate reports of slavery, strengthen efforts to rescue and care for victims, increase trafficking awareness-raising initiatives, and adopt its draft national action plan to combat trafficking.
The Government of Cameroon made weak law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking during the last year. Cameroon does not prohibit all forms of trafficking, though it criminalizes child trafficking and slavery through its 2005 anti-child trafficking law, which prescribes a penalty of 20 years' imprisonment – a punishment sufficiently stringent and more severe than that for rape. The government continued to draft a law prohibiting trafficking of adult women. In November 2006, police arrested nine individuals for trafficking 16 Nigerian children from Nigeria through Cameroon en route to Saudi Arabia. According to NGOs, the government may have prosecuted or convicted traffickers during the year; however, it did not report this due to its lack of a crime data collection system. Eight traffickers whose cases have been pending since 2005 are still awaiting trial. The government does not provide trafficking training to law enforcement officials.
The Government of Cameroon demonstrated minimal efforts to protect trafficking victims over the last year. The government continued operating temporary shelters in all 10 provincial capitals of the country. These shelters provided care to victims while officials located their families. The government also continued to refer victims to NGOs and private orphanages for assistance. In 2006, the government began recruiting 60 social workers it plans to train by 2008 to work in its trafficking victim centers. In November 2006, police rescued 16 Nigerian children being trafficked through Cameroon to Saudi Arabia, referred them to a Cameroonian NGO, and are conducting investigations to locate the children's families in Nigeria. The government does not encourage victims, most of whom are children, to participate in investigations or prosecutions. Cameroon provides short term residency, a limited legal alternative to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution. Victims are not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
The Government of Cameroon made insufficient efforts to raise awareness about trafficking during the reporting period. With NGOs and the ILO, the government in June 2006 jointly organized a conference, concert and exhibit commemorating the World Day Against Child Labor. In September 2006, the Ministry of Social Affairs launched a radio campaign on 18 stations throughout the country to educate the public about the dangers of child labor exploitation.