U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Cameroon
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||11 June 2003|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Cameroon, 11 June 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d7bc29.html [accessed 22 May 2015]|
Cameroon (Tier 2)
Cameroon is a source, transit, and destination country for children who are trafficked for forced labor to and from neighboring countries such as Benin, Chad, Gabon, Niger, Mali, and Nigeria. A majority of the children are trafficked internally to urban centers for indentured or domestic servitude. Women are trafficked for prostitution to European countries, including France and Switzerland.
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 severely limited resources. Cameroon could step up its prevention efforts and more vigorously prosecute traffickers to conviction.
The government's anti-child labor action plan was finalized in 2002. The inter-agency anti-trafficking group, comprised of 10 ministerial agencies, supported public awareness raising programs throughout the year. The government provides free public education, micro-credit projects for vulnerable portions of the population such as women and young girls, and outreach to parents in rural areas at high risk for trafficking. Cameroon is part of a regional effort to reduce trafficking in children and participates in an international program to reduce the worst forms of child labor, including trafficking. This program lays out a timeline with set goals.
Although it has no trafficking law, Cameroon has laws prohibiting slavery and trafficking into prostitution, and the government investigates trafficking cases. The Penal Code "prohibits reducing a person to or maintaining a person in slavery, or engaging, even occasionally, in trafficking in human beings."
Forced or compulsory labor is also prohibited.
Several cases are currently under investigation, and a few are in court. Penalties for trafficking include a prison sentence ranging from 15-20 years and asset forfeiture. The police plan to implement an anti-trafficking training in late 2003, and are in the process of creating a minors' unit. Border officials are giving more scrutiny to unaccompanied minors. Cameroon is working with Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Chad, and Congo-Brazzaville to develop a sub-regional instrument to govern anti-trafficking actions on border control, extradition, and penalties. Corruption remains a problem.
The government provides temporary residence status, shelter, and medical care to trafficking victims, and works closely with NGOs, opening a home for distressed child victims in December 2002. Children are placed in public or private institutions where they receive education, medical care, and counseling assistance. Cameroon also provides in-kind assistance to NGOs working to help trafficking victims, such as tax concessions, and duty-free importation privileges.