Last Updated: Friday, 25 July 2014, 12:52 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Mali

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 - Mali, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3c62.html [accessed 25 July 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.

Mali (Tier 2)

Mali is a source, transit and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Victims are trafficked from rural to urban areas within Mali and between Mali and other West African countries, most notably Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Senegal, and Mauritania. Women and girls are trafficked primarily for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation. Boys are trafficked primarily for forced labor in agriculture and gold mines and for forced begging. Mali has also acknowledged that slavery-related practices, rooted in ancestral master-slave relationships, exist in sparsely populated and remote areas of northern Mali.

The Government of Mali does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so, despite limited resources. To improve its response to trafficking, Mali should: draft and pass a law prohibiting the trafficking of adults; increase efforts to investigate, arrest, prosecute, and convict traffickers; strengthen its crime data collection system; establish a national committee against trafficking as called for in its national action plan; and increase efforts to raise public awareness about trafficking.

Prosecution

The Government of Mali demonstrated minimal anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the last year. Mali does not prohibit all forms of trafficking, though its 2002 criminal code's Article 229 criminalizes child trafficking. Trafficking of adults is not criminalized. Article 229's prescribed penalty of 5 to 25 years' imprisonment for all forms of child trafficking is sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for rape. Criminal Code Article 242, passed in 1973, prohibits slavery, prescribing a penalty of 5 to 10 years' imprisonment for slave-holders, and up to 20 years' imprisonment if the victim is younger than 15. The government investigated at least four trafficking cases and arrested three suspected traffickers, two of whom are in custody, but it did not report any trafficking prosecutions or convictions during the year. Although the press reported additional arrests, the government could not confirm them due to lack of a crime data collection system. Government personnel conducted UNICEF-funded anti-trafficking training for judges and labor inspectors. In September 2006, government personnel assisted UNICEF and the ILO in establishing 58 Regional Trafficking Committees, for a total of 344 throughout the country. These regional committees coordinate the activities of an existing network of local surveillance committees that train local community leaders to identify traffickers and report them to local law enforcement authorities.

Protection

The Government of Mali demonstrated steady efforts to provide care for trafficking victims during the year. While the government lacked the resources to operate shelters, it referred victims to three NGO shelters providing temporary care. The government did not report data on the number of victims it assisted during the year. The government is currently working with the ILO to implement a project to assist 9,000 children at risk of being trafficked or subjected to exploitative child labor. In December 2006, government personnel assisted IOM and an NGO to repatriate 27 Ivorian child victims. In October 2006, the government identified 27 victims in Niono, including 12 child victims whom the government repatriated to Burkina Faso in coordination with IOM. In January 2007, security forces rescued 11 trafficked Malian children and returned them to their homes. In March 2007, the government coordinated with IOM and NGOs to repatriate 34 Ivorian boys trafficked to Mali. The government dedicated three or four officials in each of Mali's nine provinces to work with an NGO to facilitate the repatriation or return of victims. Such officials return victims to their home communities in Mali by chaperoning them on one to three-day journeys back home. The government does not encourage victims to assist in trafficking investigations or prosecutions, though the majority of victims are children. The government does not provide victims with legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they face hardship or retribution. Victims are not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.

Prevention

The Government of Mali made minimal efforts to raise awareness about trafficking during the reporting period. Mali's 2002 National Action Plan Against Trafficking calls for a national anti-trafficking committee, which the government has yet to form, despite financial support from an international NGO. Government personnel implemented donor-funded civic education programs to increase public awareness of trafficking.

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