U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Cameroon
|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 - Cameroon, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d837c.html [accessed 13 July 2014]|
Cameroon (Tier 2 Watch List)
Cameroon is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Most trafficking is internal and children are at greatest risk. Traffickers use fraudulent marriage proposals to lure women to Europe, principally France and Switzerland, for exploitation in prostitution. Children are trafficked to the United Kingdom for commercial sexual exploitation. Girls are trafficked internally from Anglophone areas to Francophone cities such as Douala and Yaounde to work in exploitative conditions as domestics, street vendors, or prostitutes. Children are also trafficked for forced labor on cocoa plantations. Children trafficked between Nigeria and Gabon transit Cameroon. Cameroon is a destination country for Nigerian children trafficked and exploited in commercial agriculture, prostitution, and street vending, or in small shops.
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. Cameroon is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to fight trafficking, particularly in the area of law enforcement. The government lacks an approved national strategy for combating trafficking and has no system for collecting data on trafficking-related or any other type of crime. Without case information, it is difficult to gauge national efforts to combat trafficking and prosecute traffickers. Cameroon should coordinate national efforts, develop a system to collect case data, and educate officials and communities about the signs and dangers of trafficking.
The government was unable to provide information regarding investigations, prosecutions, and convictions specifically related to trafficking during the reporting period. Law enforcement operations lacked central monitoring or coordination. Cameroon had no comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation but penal code provisions prohibit slavery, sexual assault, pimping, and use of persons to secure loans, with sentences ranging from six months to 20 years in prison. The government provided no specialized anti-trafficking training to officials, due in large part to a lack of resources. Corruption is a problem throughout Cameroon but the government made efforts to combat this through anti-corruption agencies in most ministries.
Over the last year, government assistance was available to identified trafficking victims, both citizens and foreign nationals, and included temporary residency status, shelter, and medical care. The government worked with the ILO to remove 450 children from cocoa plantations and educate another 100 children at risk of forced labor on the plantations as part of a project targeting education and retraining assistance to child cocoa workers and their parents. The government lacked the resources to fund NGO assistance to trafficking victims; child victims were referred to government centers sponsored by the Ministry of Social Affairs, to local NGO centers, or to shelter in orphanages until they could be reunited with their families. Officials did not treat victims as criminals and families of victims could file civil suits against traffickers.
The government's prevention efforts during the reporting period were inadequate, though it worked well with NGOs and international organizations that funded and implemented some prevention programs. The Ministry of Social Affairs, with UNICEF funding, completed a study in April 2004 on child trafficking in the Adamaoua, Far North, North, and South Provinces. The study pointed to the urgent need for anti-trafficking measures to prevent the development of organized trafficking in the regions surveyed. The Government of Cameroon signed a partnership agreement with ILO in October 2004 to further build trafficking awareness among the public and coordinated with ILO on a program focused on street children vulnerable to trafficking. The Ministry of Education continued to collaborate with the ILO to work with high school students on trafficking prevention.