Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 13:11 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Djibouti

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 5 June 2006
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Djibouti, 5 June 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d88422.html [accessed 21 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 purposes of sexual exploitation and possibly forced labor. Small numbers of girls are trafficked to Djibouti from Ethiopia, Somalia, and the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland for sexual exploitation; economic migrants from these countries also at times fall victim to trafficking upon reaching Djibouti City or the Ethiopia-Djibouti trucking corridor. A small number of girls from impoverished Djiboutian families also engage in prostitution as a means of income, and they may be victims of trafficking. Children in prostitution are found on the streets or in brothels. Individuals acting as pimps or protectors are frequently used to set up transactions; older children reportedly force younger children to engage in prostitution and then collect their earnings. Women and children from neighboring countries reportedly transit Djibouti for Arab countries, Somalia, and Somaliland 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 because the determination that it is making significant efforts is based partly on the government's commitments to undertake future steps over the coming year, particularly in regard to drafting and passing a comprehensive anti-trafficking law. To begin combating trafficking in Djibouti, the government should initiate anti-trafficking legal reform, begin to educate government officials and the general public on the issue of trafficking in persons, and establish a mechanism for providing protective services to trafficking victims, particularly through the forging of dynamic partnerships with NGOs and associations already engaged in child protection activities.

Prosecution

The Government of Djibouti showed negligible efforts to punish acts of trafficking during the reporting period. Djibouti does not have a specific law prohibiting trafficking in persons, though laws against pimping and unpaid labor could potentially be used to prosecute trafficking cases. There were no prosecutions of traffickers during the year. The Brigade des Moeurs (Vice Police) is responsible for confronting the problem of children in prostitution; the brigade conducts nightly patrols of the bars in Djibouti City for persons under 18 years of age. In 2004, the brigade arrested 412 children in prostitution; 255 of these children were Ethiopian and 152 were Somali. Children under the age of 18 arrested for prostitution are typically charged with a misdemeanor crime as opposed to the full criminal charge prostitution normally carries; these girls are usually released. Police stations were, at times, used as temporary shelters for children while they waited for expedited court hearings. The government did not provide any specialized training for government officials in trafficking recognition or in the provision of assistance to trafficking victims.

Protection

There were no government efforts to protect victims of trafficking during the reporting period. Victims could, in theory, receive the same medical care available to victims of other crimes, but there were no known cases of this happening. The government punishes trafficking victims for unlawful acts they have committed as a direct result of their being trafficked. The government also failed to offer legal alternatives to the removal of foreign trafficking victims to countries where they could face hardship or retribution. Undocumented foreign trafficking victims are deported by truck to their country of origin. Djiboutian victims are returned to their families. During the year, the police reportedly turned some street children over to two child protection NGOs for care; no further information on these activities is known.

Prevention

There is minimal understanding within the Djiboutian political hierarchy of what constitutes trafficking in persons. The government did not conduct anti-trafficking public education campaigns during the reporting period. The Labor Inspector's Bureau, which consists of one Inspector and six Controllers, lacks funding and has limited reach; the current state of labor inspection makes it nearly impossible to accurately assess labor conditions, including those potentially involving trafficking for forced labor, throughout the country. Both vulnerable Djiboutian women and Djiboutian trafficking victims could potentially take advantage of available micro-credit loans that assist poor women in starting income-generating activities.

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