Last Updated: Thursday, 24 April 2014, 11:39 GMT

2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Togo

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 27 June 2011
Cite as United States Department of State, 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Togo, 27 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e12ee3fc.html [accessed 24 April 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.

Togo (Tier 2)

Togo is a source and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The majority of Togolese victims are exploited within the country; children from rural areas are brought to the capital, Lome, and forced to work as domestic servants, roadside vendors, and porters, or are exploited in prostitution. Togolese girls and, to a lesser extent, boys are transported to Benin, Gabon, Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and subsequently forced to work in agricultural labor. An NGO shelter in Cote d'Ivoire reported caring for three Togolese children during the year. Children from Benin and Ghana are recruited and transported to Togo for forced labor. Trafficking offenders are both women and men, and are often Togolese, Beninese, or Nigerian. Some reports indicate Togolese women are fraudulently recruited for employment in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Europe, where they are subsequently subjected to domestic servitude and forced prostitution.

The Government of Togo does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government sustained moderate efforts to prosecute and punish trafficking offenders and protect trafficking victims. However, it did not make progress in completing and enacting legislation to prohibit trafficking crimes committed against adults, and limited resources restricted the government's ability to accurately track prosecution and protection data and disseminate it throughout government ministries.

Recommendations for Togo: Increase efforts to convict and punish trafficking offenders, including using existing statutes to prosecute trafficking crimes committed against adults; complete and enact the draft law prohibiting the forced labor and forced prostitution of adults; train law enforcement officials to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as women in prostitution and children in workplaces, and refer them to protective services; develop a system within the Ministry of Social Affairs to track the number of victims referred to NGOs or returned to their families; ensure that the plan of action to establish a commission to coordinate anti-trafficking activities sets forth a clear division of responsibilities and budget allocations between the new committee and the National Committee for the Reception and Social Reinsertion of Trafficked Children (CNARSEVT); in coordination with NGOs, complete the transfer of the Oasis Center to the government and ensure sufficient funds are allocated to operate it; and increase efforts to raise public awareness about the dangers of trafficking.

Prosecution

The Government of Togo sustained modest anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the year. Togolese law does not prohibit all forms of trafficking, such as the sex trafficking of adults, and laws against forced labor are inadequate with regard to definitions and prescribed penalties. The 2007 Child Code prohibits all forms of child trafficking and prescribes penalties of two to five years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent, but not commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Unlike the country's 2005 Law Related to Child Smuggling, the 2007 Child Code provides a strong definition of trafficking and prohibits child prostitution and forced labor. The child smuggling law prescribes sentences of three months' to 10 years' imprisonment for abducting, transporting, or receiving children for the purposes of exploitation. Article 4 of the 2006 Labor Code prohibits forced and compulsory labor, but its prescribed penalties of three to six months' imprisonment are not sufficiently stringent, and its definition of forced or compulsory labor includes broad exceptions which may allow some forced labor offences to be excluded. No action was taken during the year to enact revisions of the Penal Code that would include provisions prohibiting all forms of trafficking of adults. During the reporting period, 14 trafficking offenders were arrested for allegedly forcing children to work in agricultural labor and domestic service, including three women who were apprehended while transporting 24 girls into Benin to force them into domestic service. Five trafficking offenders were prosecuted and convicted under the 2005 Law Related to Child Trafficking; these five traffickers, and 10 others who were convicted during the previous year, remained in prison awaiting sentencing at the close of the reporting period. Nine suspected trafficking offenders awaited trial. During the year, the government instituted a new policy of prosecuting trafficking offenses in the region in which the suspect was apprehended, rather than transferring the case to Lome, but courts have not yet implement this practice. In March 2010, the Ministry of Social Action and National Security (MSA) provided training on the country's Child Code, including how to differentiate trafficking crimes from other forms of child exploitation, to law enforcement and judicial personnel in two regions. Although there were reports that traffickers bribed border guards to avoid immigration controls, no government officials were investigated, prosecuted, or convicted for trafficking-related complicity during the reporting period.

Protection

During the past year, the government sustained its efforts to provide modest protection to child victims, but it did nothing to protect adult victims. The government did not put in place measures to identify trafficking victims among individuals in prostitution, but it took steps to proactively identify child victims of forced labor, and in November 2010, the MSA provided training to police, gendarmes, lawyers, and customs officials on how to identify trafficking victims. Although the government did not have specialized resources for trafficking victims, the MSA continued to run both a toll-free helpline, Allo 111, which received 380 trafficking-related calls during the year, and the Tokoin Community Center, which provided immediate shelter to child victims before they were referred to NGO shelters for additional care. Forty-eight victims identified through Allo 111 were referred by the Ministry of Social Affairs to the Tokoin Community Center during the year, but as there was no formal referral system, the Director for the Protection of Children sometimes had to respond to calls personally or solicit funding from NGOs to transport the children to the shelter on an ad hoc basis. In 2010, the government provided $45,000 to an NGO which cared for 24 trafficking victims, referred by the government, and the MSA reported reuniting 24 girls with their families. The government did not offer temporary or permanent residency status to foreign victims who faced hardship or retribution in their native country. According to NGOs, trafficking victims were not detained, fined, or jailed for unlawful acts committed as a result of being trafficked. There was no formal process, however, to encourage victims to assist in the prosecution of trafficking offenders, and it is not known whether any did so during the year.

Prevention

The Government of Togo increased its efforts to prevent trafficking during the year. In August 2010, the Ministry of Social Affairs, in partnership with a local NGO, conducted a weeklong radio awareness campaign in targeted regions about the dangers of child trafficking. CNARSEVT, a national anti-trafficking committee comprised of government and NGO representatives that focuses on the reintegration of child victims, received a budget allocation of approximately $20,000 for the year, which it used to fund administrative costs and victim protection efforts. In December 2010, the government hosted a Gabonese delegation to discuss establishing a bilateral agreement to extradite suspected traffickers and repatriate victims; however, no action was taken as a result of this meeting. The government reported that it began to take steps to establish a new commission to coordinate anti-trafficking activities and that it plans to take over supervision of an NGO-run shelter; however, these initiatives were not completed during the reporting year. During the reporting period, the government increased the number of labor inspectors whose responsibilities included identifying trafficking victims from 26 to 62, but this did not result in any arrests, and it took no discernible measures to decrease the demand for commercial sex acts. The government provided anti-trafficking training to Togolese troops prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions.

Search Refworld

Countries