U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Cameroon
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||14 June 2004|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Cameroon, 14 June 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d7ed28.html [accessed 26 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This 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.|
Cameroon (Tier 2)
Cameroon is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Women are lured to Europe by fraudulent marriage proposals offered through Swiss and French prostitution networks or marriage brokers. In July 2003, British police uncovered an international child trafficking ring sending Cameroonian children to the United Kingdom to work in the sex industry. Girls are internally trafficked from the Francophone Grand North and from the Anglophone northwest to the Francophone cities of Douala and Yaounde to work as domestics, street vendors, or prostitutes. Children are also internally trafficked to work on cocoa bean plantations. Cameroon is a destination country for Nigerian and Beninese children trafficked to work in commercial agriculture, bars, auto parts shops, prostitution, or as street vendors. It is also a transit country for the movement of children between Nigeria and Gabon.
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. The country lacks a central repository for crime statistics and regional law enforcement bodies are not required to report cases to a central authority. It is believed that authorities prosecuted several trafficking cases during the year, but actual rates are difficult to determine since traffickers can be prosecuted under various sections of the penal code and there is no system for tracking outcomes. Cameroon should adopt specific anti-trafficking legislation and establish a repository of trafficking crime information.
Cameroon's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts are sporadic. A national action plan and legislation to fight child labor, including child trafficking, remains in draft form. Until this legislation is passed, courts prosecute traffickers using various provisions of the Penal Code that address related crimes, such as slavery, prostitution, and violations of minimum age requirements for workers. Four individuals were arrested for their involvement in trafficking a group of six children to Yaounde. One of these individuals was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison. Police also intervened to protect a group of 12 victims of child trafficking, however no traffickers were arrested following this incident.
Non-governmental organizations provide most of the assistance and protection for trafficking victims. The government provides minimal victim assistance – such as temporary residency, shelter, and medical care – through nine centers for abandoned children funded and staffed by the Ministry of Social Affairs. The government engages with NGOs to locate victims' families.
The Ministries of Social Affairs, Labor, and Women's Affairs; the General Delegation for National Security; and, the National Gendarmerie annually allocate funds to support anti-trafficking programs. In 2003, the government sponsored a three-day conference on sex tourism that was attended by hotel managers and travel agencies. The Ministry of Social Affairs conducted seminars in four provinces to discuss the sexual exploitation of children. Frontier police began requiring parental authorization for children traveling without their parents. The government, in conjunction with the ILO, launched a campaign to educate foreign tourists and law enforcement officers about the dangers of child trafficking. Anti-trafficking embarkation-disembarkation cards are now distributed to passengers on international flights leaving Yaounde. The government also supports the creation of anti-trafficking clubs in Cameroon's high schools.