U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Madagascar
|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 - Madagascar, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3c426.html [accessed 12 July 2014]|
Madagascar (Tier 2)
Madagascar is a source country for children trafficked internally for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Trafficking of rural children is suspected for forced mining, domestic servitude, prostitution, and forced labor for traveling fruit vendors. A child sex tourism problem exists in coastal cities, namely Tamatave, Nosy Be, and Diego Suarez, with a significant number of children prostituted; some were recruited in Antananarivo, the capital, under false pretenses of employment as waitresses and maids before being exploited in the commercial sex trade on the coast. Child sex trafficking with the complicity of family members, taxi and rickshaw drivers, friends, tour guides, and hotel workers was reported.
The Government of Madagascar 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 advances in legislative reforms that protect children from sex trafficking while punishing their exploiters and took steps to punish foreign tourists who allegedly exploited children in Madagascar. To further enhance its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should pass and enact a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, institute an official process for law enforcement officials to refer trafficking victims for assistance, and investigate and prosecute public officials suspected of colluding with traffickers or accepting bribes to overlook trafficking crimes.
Madagascar's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts improved during the reporting period. Madagascar's laws do not prohibit trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, but traffickers are currently prosecuted under various provisions prohibiting procurement of minors for prostitution, pedophilia, pimping, and deceptive labor practices. In 2006, the Ministry of Justice finalized, and a government committee vetted, a draft law that, when enacted, would protect child victims of sexual exploitation and criminally punish the adult exploiters of children in prostitution. The Ministry also wrote a decree listing prohibited forms of child labor, including prostitution, domestic slavery, and forced labor. A commission began working on a bill to bring domestic laws into line with the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime, including stiff penalties and extradition provisions that would apply to traffickers. In Nosy Be, two French sex tourists were charged with statutory rape of children during the reporting period; they were convicted and subsequently deported. In late 2006, a Swiss tourist was sentenced to five years in prison for pedophilia. To enforce a regulation barring minors from nightclubs, the police in major cities conducted an average of one round-up of youth in these clubs per month and counseled detained minors before returning them to their parents. Whether because of corruption often rooted in economic hardship, pressure from the local community, or fear of an international incident, local police and magistrates in tourist areas often hesitated to prosecute foreign pedophiles; officials reported significant pressure from parents who used profits from their children's sexual exploitation to support the family. The Ministry of Justice conducted training sessions for 100 magistrates on legal instruments to address trafficking. The State Secretary of Public Security (SSPS) trained 744 law enforcement officials on the rights and protection of minors.
The government sustained its adequate efforts to assist trafficking victims, rescuing 90 victims of forced child labor and commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) during the year. Of the 50 victims placed at its Welcome Centers in Antananarivo and Tamatave, 36 children were reintegrated into the educational system. Another 20 children were selected for remedial education, while 20 older children were selected for vocational training and job placement with export companies. The centers' physicians provided medical and counseling services to victims, while labor inspectors taught job search skills. In September, a third center opened in Tulear. The government did not penalize trafficking victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked and encouraged them to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their exploiters. The Ministries of Justice and Population collaborated to establish two counseling centers for child exploitation victims. The Ministry of Population and UNICEF provided joint technical assistance to 11 child protection networks comprised of government institutions, law enforcement officials, and NGOs that provided counseling and rehabilitation to children in prostitution and forced labor. A network in Diego Suarez, for example, handled cases of child prostitution from the initial complaint through the trial, including medical assistance and legal advice for victims.
Awareness of trafficking continued to increase through a number of aggressive information campaigns. In August, the Ministry of Justice screened films on CSEC in the capital, including the trafficking of rural children to urban centers. The Ministry of Tourism conducted awareness training at cultural events for 250 tourism industry personnel, as well as for women and children at risk of being trafficked in seven different locations throughout the country. The Ministry of Communication distributed posters carrying messages against sex tourism to 150 post offices and a film on the dangers of child prostitution to schools throughout the country. The SSPS conducted programs on child exploitation and prostitution for 17,700 students, 75 administrators, 22 teachers, and 100 parents. It also educated 35 hotel managers and 24 "red zone" neighborhoods in Antananarivo on child protection legislation. The Ministry of Education conducted workshops on the worst forms of child labor at 152 schools and 87 parent associations, and produced newspaper articles, radio programs, and television spots. The Ministry of Youth and Sports distributed fliers, posters, and banners on delaying early sexual initiation and available counseling that reached over 78,000 young people.