Last Updated: Thursday, 24 April 2014, 11:39 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Djibouti

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 - Djibouti, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3acc.html [accessed 25 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis 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.

Djibouti (Tier 2 Watch List)

Djibouti is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and possibly for forced domestic labor. Ethiopian and Somali girls reportedly are trafficked to Djibouti for sexual exploitation; economic migrants from these countries may also at times fall victim to involuntary servitude after reaching Djibouti City or the Ethiopia-Djibouti trucking corridor. A small number of girls from impoverished Djiboutian families may also engage in prostitution as a means of income, and they may be victims of trafficking. Ethiopian women and girls may be trafficked to Djibouti for domestic servitude. Women and children from neighboring countries reportedly transit Djibouti en route to Middle Eastern countries or Somalia for ultimate use in forced labor or sexual exploitation.

The Government of Djibouti does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Djibouti is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for a second consecutive year for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons over the last year. To further its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should pass, enact, and enforce a comprehensive anti-trafficking statute; improve documentation of cases of detained minors; further educate all levels of government and the general public on the issue of trafficking in persons; and, in partnership with local NGOs, establish a mechanism for providing protective services to trafficking victims.

Prosecution

During the year, the government slightly improved its law enforcement efforts against the commercial sexual exploitation of children, although no traffickers were punished. Djiboutian authorities conducted increased patrols for children at risk of involvement in prostitution and closed down establishments facilitating prostitution. Djibouti does not have a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, though its laws explicitly criminalizing pimping, employing minors, forced labor, and debauching of a minor could be used to prosecute traffickers. During the reporting period, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice and the National Assembly formed a working group to begin drafting a national anti-trafficking law. In 2006, Djibouti's Brigade des Meurs (Vice Police) conducted nightly sweeps of the capital city after dark and preventatively detained 192 Ethiopian and Somali minors who they identified as at risk of prostitution; most were held briefly and released or deported. There were no prosecutions of traffickers during the year; however, observing a flagrant case of child prostitution, the police arrested and charged the foreign client, who then fled the jurisdiction after he was released pending trial. Djiboutian police monitored bars in Djibouti City, enforcing alcohol permits and detaining suspected pimps and females in prostitution; specific information regarding the punishment of pimps was unavailable. Police reportedly closed down bars where child prostitution was occurring; detailed information was not provided about such closures. The government did not provide any specialized training for government officials in trafficking recognition or in the provision of assistance to trafficking victims.

Protection

With few resources itself and a very small pool of local NGOs, the government has few options for meeting the needs of children used in prostitution. In 2006, the government established two shelters for at-risk Djiboutian and foreign women and children that distributed food and clothing and provided health care; educational opportunities are also provided. During the reporting period, three boys victimized by sexual exploitation were rescued from a foreign pedophile and provided with psychological counseling. After preventative detention of street children believed to be at risk of prostitution, police reportedly transferred some of them to the care of NGOs. Other non-Djiboutian children were deported to their country of origin, while Djiboutian children were returned to the care of extended family members. The government does not offer legal alternatives to the removal of foreign trafficking victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution. Moreover, the government occasionally punishes victims of trafficking for offenses committed as a result of their being trafficked.

Prevention

There is growing understanding of human trafficking within the Djiboutian political hierarchy. In March 2007, the Ministry of Information began its first anti-trafficking public awareness campaign by prominently publishing in the nation's most important newspaper an article calling for awareness of and action against trafficking, specifically involving children prostitution. In addition, the President and First Lady hosted a large event to educate the public on violence against women, including explicitly stopping the trafficking of women and children. Police verbally warned bar and night club owners that permitting child prostitution on their premises would be punished.

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