U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Gabon
|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 - Gabon, 5 June 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d88a13.html [accessed 26 May 2015]|
Gabon (Tier 2)
Gabon is a destination country for children trafficked from Benin, Togo, Nigeria, and Guinea, with smaller numbers coming from Sierra Leone, Liberia, Burkina Faso, and Cameroon, for the purpose of labor exploitation. Girls work in domestic servitude, market vending, and restaurants, while boys work in small workshops and street vending. Victims are typically trafficked into the country by boat, arriving on deserted beaches where their likelihood of detection is small.
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. To strengthen its response to trafficking, the government should increase efforts to prosecute traffickers and assist in repatriating foreign victims.
The government continued strong law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking over the last year. Gabonese law has prohibited child trafficking for labor exploitation since 2004; this law, however, does not specifically proscribe trafficking for sexual exploitation. The government has not reported any convictions under the trafficking law; however, between March 2005 and January 2006, the police arrested 22 traffickers. After their investigation, 15 of these cases were dropped, some due to difficulties in obtaining victim testimonies. Five of the arrested traffickers remain in police custody under investigation and two are being prosecuted. To combat maritime child trafficking into Gabon, the government in January 2006 purchased 10 patrol boats for its gendarmerie and navy. During the reporting period, active law enforcement measures reduced the number of child victims forced to sell products in the marketplace. The government has not provided any specialized training on recognizing, investigating, or prosecuting trafficking, but officials participated in trafficking law enforcement training provided by NGOs and international organizations.
The Government of Gabon continued making significant efforts to protect trafficking victims over the last year. In July 2005, police sweeps targeting children who worked illegally resulted in the rescue of approximately 100 children, many of whom are believed to be trafficking victims. The government continued to fund a victim reception center providing educational, medical, and psychological services. Victims stay in the center until their families are located and arrangements are made for their repatriation. Twenty-one trafficking victims passed through the reception center in 2005. Security forces continued to screen victims based on age, placing victims 16 years old and under in the government's center; older victims with a Catholic charity; and Nigerian victims with the Nigerian Embassy. On occasion, victims were housed in jails overnight, but they were not confined in cells and were separated from criminal detainees. The government continues to fully fund and staff a 24-hour hotline it operates in cooperation with UNICEF. The government has no budget for victim repatriation. The government did not punish victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked.
The Government of Gabon continued an aggressive campaign to raise awareness of trafficking. The Ministry of Justice continued to organize "town hall" meetings throughout the country to publicize Gabon's anti-trafficking law. Government-controlled media covered trafficking issues extensively and broadcasted U.S.-funded anti-trafficking messages. The government worked with UNICEF in ongoing efforts to place anti-trafficking posters in schools and other public venues. Government officials cooperated with NGOs and diplomatic missions to share information and develop programs to combat trafficking.