U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Democratic Republic of the Congo
|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 - Democratic Republic of the Congo, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d83ac.html [accessed 31 January 2015]|
Democratic Republic of the Congo (Tier 2)
Democratic Republic of the Congo is a source country for men, women and children internally trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. The vast majority of the trafficking occurs in northeastern and eastern Congo, regions that are mostly outside effective transitional government control. Armed groups continued to abduct and forcibly recruit Congolese men, women, and children to serve as laborers, porters, domestics, combatants, and sex slaves. The government estimated that 30,000 children were associated with armed groups within the country. Civilians were forced to provide labor for armed groups and the Congolese military (FARDC). There were confirmed reports of children in prostitution in brothels across the country. During the year, a number of personnel from the UN peacekeeping mission to the Congo (MONUC), were accused of sexually exploiting women and girls.
The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government made substantial progress in combating trafficking in 2004, particularly in the area of prosecution and law enforcement. To further its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should continue demobilizing child soldiers and sustain momentum in prosecuting perpetrators of human rights abuses, including trafficking, in the eastern part of the country.
During the year, the government demonstrated increased commitment and attention to undertaking trafficking-related law enforcement activities. The country's criminal justice system – police, courts, and prisons – was decimated following years of war and remains extremely weak. Although there is not a specific law prohibiting trafficking in persons, existing laws prohibit slavery, forced labor, rape, and prostitution of children under the age of 14. In 2004, the government investigated and/or prosecuted a number of traffickers for recruiting soldiers, operating forced labor camps, and committing rape. In May, FARDC arrested former Mundundu-40 Commander Biyoyo for unauthorized recruitment of soldiers, including minors. Biyoyo, however, was granted provisional release and is thought to have fled the country. The government and MONUC worked to break up known forced labor camps in Ituri. The judicial team in Ituri District collected 31 testimonies of victims that confirmed repeated, systematic and massive human rights violations by Ngiti militia, including slavery and sexual servitude. The government, with MONUC's assistance, arrested Ituri militants accused of such violations. By October 2004, over 50 persons were in government custody awaiting trial; however, 31 escaped with the help of prison guards. Courts in South Kivu reached convictions in 57 of 60 cases of sexual violence over the last year and a half, with sentences ranging between ten months and 20 years imprisonment and included reparations to victims and their families.
The Ministry of Defense and the national demobilization commission, CONADER, worked closely with NGOs, international organizations, and civil society entities to demobilize and reintegrate children associated with armed groups. Services provided included identification and separation from adult militia members, discharge, relocation to temporary transition centers, and family reunification or placement in foster homes. The FARDC made significant efforts to demobilize and reintegrate back into their communities children associated with armed groups. An estimated 5,000 children have been released from the FARDC and armed groups since October 2003. However, many former rebel groups only nominally affiliated with the FARDC still contain large numbers of children. Moreover, some rebel groups forcibly recruited and re-recruited previously demobilized child soldiers. The Ministry of Social Affairs chairs CONADER's technical steering group on issues related to child soldiers. The government has no resources to provide relief to other types of trafficking victims.
Prevention efforts remained the weakest facet of the government's anti-trafficking efforts. CONADER participated with a number of other organizations in the development of a national public awareness campaign regarding the use of child soldiers. The government supports such programs, but is not in a position to provide resources or execute them on its own. There is no formal coordination or communication between various government agencies on trafficking in persons.