U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Gabon
|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 - Gabon, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3b2a.html [accessed 13 March 2014]|
Gabon (Tier 2)
Gabon is a destination country for children trafficked for the purpose of forced labor. Children are trafficked primarily by boat to Gabon from Benin, Nigeria, Togo, and Guinea, with smaller numbers coming from Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso and Cameroon. Girls are trafficked for domestic servitude, forced market vending, and forced restaurant labor, while boys are trafficked for forced street hawking and forced labor in small workshops.
The Government of Gabon does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Progress initiated in 2004 to prosecute traffickers has stalled. To strengthen its response to trafficking, Gabon should increase efforts to prosecute traffickers, develop a system for collecting trafficking crime and victim statistics, and further strengthen victim protection and awareness-raising efforts.
The Government of Gabon demonstrated weak anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the last year. Gabon prohibits child labor trafficking through its 2004 Law Preventing and Combating Child Trafficking, which prescribes penalties of 5 to 15 years' imprisonment and a $20,000-40,000 fine. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those for other grave crimes. Gabon also prohibits child trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. The government did not report any trafficking convictions during the year. Authorities in Gabon report that 12 to 20 trafficking cases are currently at different stages within the judicial system, but specific data on arrests and investigations is lacking. Judges are poorly educated about, and lack access to, Gabon's anti-trafficking law. The government failed to provide law enforcement officials with trafficking training, but encouraged security officials to participate in NGO and international organization training opportunities. The government purchased 10 patrol boats in 2006 to help combat maritime child trafficking into the country; the boats perform regular patrols.
The government continued to take steps to provide care for trafficking victims during the year. Gabon continued to operate three residential reception centers for trafficking victims. In Gabon's main center, 27 children were received during 2006, though not all were trafficking victims. Of these, eight children remain in the center. In July 2006, acting on a recommendation from UNICEF, the government announced that neighborhood social services centers would be mandated to provide a full range of services for trafficking victims. The government continued to fund and staff a toll-free trafficking hotline, assisted by UNICEF. While the government does not fund the repatriation of foreign victims, it coordinates and organizes repatriations with NGOs, international organizations and foreign embassies. The government actively negotiated bilateral and regional agreements to facilitate repatriation and ensure that repatriated victims are appropriately treated in their home countries. Children are not repatriated if there is no cooperation from the government of the country of origin. The Gabonese government encourages victims to participate in trafficking investigations and prosecutions. The government requires victim testimony for trafficking prosecutions and provides victim care until the prosecution's case is prepared. Victims are not inappropriately incarcerated, fined or penalized for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked.
The Government of Gabon made moderate efforts to raise awareness about trafficking during the year. Its Inter-ministerial committee to Combat Child Trafficking conducted a trafficking awareness campaign, targeting a fishing neighborhood in Libreville aimed at the employers of child victims. Public media continued to broadcast messages to combat child trafficking and child labor. The cumulative impact of public awareness efforts has been substantial, and, as a consequence, observers report that it is now unusual to see a child engaged in labor in a public market or on the streets. In early 2007 the government drafted an implementation plan for a regional accord against trafficking it had entered into in July 2006. The government contributed some financing and administrative support to international organizations to assist in planning a sub-regional anti-trafficking conference.