Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Mali
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||4 June 2008|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Mali, 4 June 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/484f9a2ac.html [accessed 18 May 2013]|
MALI (Tier 2)
Mali is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children 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, to a lesser extent, sexual exploitation, and boys are trafficked for forced begging and forced labor in agriculture and gold mines. Mali may be a transit country for victims, primarily adults, trafficked from other African countries through Mali to North Africa and Europe. Although slavery is illegal in Mali, slavery-related practices, rooted in historical master-slave relationships, continue in some rural areas of the country.
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. The government's law enforcement efforts slightly increased from last year with the conviction of a trafficker, while protection efforts remained steady and prevention efforts continued to be limited.
Recommendations for Mali: Draft, pass, and enact a law prohibiting the trafficking of adults for purposes of labor and sexual exploitation; increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, convict, and punish trafficking offenders; develop a system for collecting data on trafficking crimes and the number of victims rescued or assisted by government authorities; establish a national committee against trafficking as called for in the government's national action plan; and increase efforts to raise public awareness about trafficking.
The Government of Mali demonstrated slightly increased law enforcement efforts to convict and punish traffickers during the last year. Mali does not prohibit all forms of trafficking, though its 2002 criminal code's Article 229 criminalizes child trafficking. The prescribed penalties under Article 229, which are five to 25 years' imprisonment, are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for rape. Criminal Code Article 242, passed in 1973, prohibits slavery, prescribing penalties of five to 10 years' imprisonment for slave-holders, and up to 20 years' imprisonment if the victim is younger than 15. Mali does not otherwise prohibit the trafficking of adults. In November 2007, Mali convicted one child trafficker, imposing a sentence of five years' imprisonment. Because the convicted individual had already served two years of pre-trial detention, his sentence was subsequently reduced to three years. Three Ivoirians are also in prison and awaiting trial for trafficking children through Mali. Authorities are investigating four additional suspects for sexually exploiting minors. The government provided training sites and logistical assistance to NGOs that provided customs officers, police, and border guards with trafficking training. During the year, Mali cooperated with U.S. and French officials to investigate one case of child trafficking in Europe. Mali also shares law enforcement information with neighboring Guinea, Senegal, and Cote d'Ivoire pursuant to cooperative anti-trafficking agreements with these nations. In 2007, the government added a segment on child trafficking to the standard training curriculum at the national police academy.
The Government of Mali demonstrated moderate efforts to protect trafficking victims in the last year. Due to a lack of resources, the government does not provide direct services to victims, but relies instead on victim shelters operated by NGOs. Officials from the Ministry for the Promotion of Women, Children and Families (MPFEF) posted throughout the interior of the country work with NGO counterparts to care for trafficking victims and return them to their families. The MPFEF, police, and customs also work with their counterparts from neighboring countries to facilitate the repatriation of non-Malian trafficking victims. The government also continued to provide in-kind assistance, such as land, buildings, and personnel, to NGOs providing services to trafficking victims. The Malian government was able to provide only partial data for the number of trafficking victims referred to civil society organizations in the last year. According to the MPFEF, as of June 2007, twenty-six Malian child trafficking victims were repatriated to Mali from neighboring countries, 39 Malian child trafficking victims were intercepted by police and returned to their families, and 69 children of other nationalities were intercepted in Mali and repatriated to their countries of origin. A local NGO responsible for caring for trafficking victims and locating their families reported that Malian authorities referred approximately 100 Malian and non-Malian children for assistance during 2007. Of these, 60 children were returned to their families.
The government encourages victims to assist in trafficking investigations or prosecutions by asking them to provide testimony about their traffickers. Mali does not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution. Victims are not inappropriately incarcerated or fined for unlawful acts committed as a result of being trafficked.
The Government of Mali made minimal efforts to prevent trafficking and raise awareness of trafficking during the last year. The government has participated in NGO-sponsored trafficking awareness campaigns to encourage border police and bus, taxi, and truck drivers to report suspected trafficking cases to authorities. The government also supported awareness campaigns by providing free air-time on the government-run television station. In the last year, the government adopted a national framework for combating the worst forms of child labor. During the year the Malian police force's "morals brigade" periodically raided prostitution rings in Bamako to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.