U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Madagascar
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||3 June 2005|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Madagascar, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d85223.html [accessed 25 April 2014]|
Madagascar (Tier 2)
Madagascar is a source country for children trafficked internally for the purposes of sexual exploitation and possibly forced labor. The exploitation of children in prostitution is a substantial problem in the coastal cities of Tamatave and Nosy Be. Children in the capital are recruited under false pretenses for legitimate employment in coastal cities as waitresses and domestic servants; upon arrival, they are often placed into commercial sexual exploitation. A network reportedly traffics young girls aged 12 to 14 from the provinces to Antananarivo to engage in prostitution. Anecdotal information also indicates that there may be a network of traffickers recruiting children in rural areas for employment opportunities in urban centers, particularly as domestic servants.
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. Madagascar is an emerging leader in the fight against human trafficking on the African sub-continent. During the year, the government made strong progress in addressing the country's trafficking in persons problem by marshalling the political will to combat it and taking substantial steps to implement a national strategy aimed at its elimination. To further its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should improve the record keeping of legal proceedings to enable the compilation of reliable statistics and work toward passage of a comprehensive anti-trafficking law.
Madagascar has no law specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons. However, existing penal code statutes outlaw slavery and forced labor, prohibit the procurement of minors for prostitution, and bar those under the age of 18 from nightclubs and discotheques. Domestic statutes on child prostitution are inconsistent, particularly with respect to the age of consent. This weakness is being addressed by the current overhaul of trafficking-related legislation. In late 2004, the Ministry of Justice compiled all relevant pieces of legislation on children's rights, and analyzed their conformity with international conventions. Comprehensive anti-trafficking law enforcement statistics were unavailable. As Madagascar lacks a centralized database of legal cases, officials at the Ministry of Justice must call individual jurisdictions to obtain statistics on trafficking cases. At the time this report was drafted, the Malagasy Magistrates Union had been on strike for two months; many courts were closed and reliable statistics could not be obtained. The government significantly enhanced its efforts to curb child commercial sexual exploitation by dramatically increasing the enforcement of existing laws barring minors from nightclubs. The Minors' Brigade of Antananarivo, a police unit, conducted three separate raids of nightclubs, identifying 53 minors illegally present. The minors were counseled about the illegality of their activity and released into their parents' custody. In addition, three new Minors' Brigades were created in the provinces. In July 2004, police arrested a foreign women for purchasing a young Malagasy girl and forcing her to appear in pornographic films. A German national's pending sentencing on charges of pedophilia and hosting an Internet site promoting sex tourism in Madagascar was postponed due to the magistrate's strike. In June 2004, the government reported that 32 foreigners were investigated for pedophilia in the first half of the year. The government partnered with UNICEF to train 180 police officers in six provincial cities in how to recognize, investigate, and prosecute instances of trafficking.
The government bolstered its ability to assist victimized child laborers through the establishment of three Welcome Centers during the reporting period; one of the centers has opened while two others are under construction. Since July 2004, the Antananarivo center provided shelter for over 200 children occupied in the worst forms of child labor, including commercial sexual exploitation, and reintroduced many into either the educational or vocational training systems. Forty "Youth Houses," community centers that host sporting events, concerts, and other group activities to prevent youth delinquency, served as additional platforms to protect children from child sexual exploitation and labor by disseminating information about the dangers of trafficking and prostitution. In November and December 2004, the Ministry of Population trained 40 community leaders in Ivato and Majunga on the protection of children.
The government's efforts were strongest in the area of prevention. In September 2004, the President's Chief of Staff established a special inter-ministerial anti-trafficking committee that met weekly and adopted a national plan to combat trafficking and slavery. The government immediately implemented portions of the plan dealing with the prevention of children in prostitution by strengthening enforcement of laws barring minors from bars and creating shelters for at-risk children. In January 2005, combating trafficking in persons was highlighted in the government's listing of strategic goals that was published in the nation's major newspapers. Children in prostitution received top priority in the government's June 2004 National Strategy to Combat the Worst Forms of Child Labor. In July, the Ministry of Tourism co-sponsored a workshop on sex tourism that was attended by 100 government officials, NGO representatives, and journalists. All key parties in the tourist sector signed an agreement to actively support the government's efforts to combat sex tourism.
Awareness of trafficking in persons has increased through an aggressive information campaign. During the year, the government presented four local dialect sketches on prostitution, broadcast 20 educational programs on national radio stations, and initiated a national drawing, poetry, and essay contest on the theme of combating child labor. Production began on several anti-trafficking films. The Ministry of Population hosted two large screenings of the government-produced and UNICEF-funded film "Vero sy Haingo," which tells the story of two sisters, one of whom remains in school while the other is lured into prostitution. One session was followed by a televised debate featuring representatives from various ministries. In addition, approximately 15,000 high school students viewed the film in 2004.