Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - The Central African Republic
|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 - The Central African Republic, 4 June 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/484f9a0a28.html [accessed 19 September 2014]|
THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (Tier 2 Watch List)
The Central African Republic (C.A.R.) is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. The majority of victims are children trafficked within the country for sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, ambulant vending, and forced agricultural, mine, market and restaurant labor. To a lesser extent, children are trafficked from the C.A.R. to Cameroon, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, for the same purposes listed above. Children may also be trafficked from Rwanda to the C.A.R. In addition, rebels conscript children into armed forces within the country. In February and March 2007, a rebel group, possibly the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army, attacked villages in southeastern C.A.R. and abducted men, women, and children for forced labor as porters, soldiers, and sexual slaves. Men and women Pygmies, unable to survive as hunters and gatherers because of depleted forests, are subjected to forced agricultural labor by Central African villagers. Authorities in the C.A.R. have a limited awareness of trafficking, and none of the nation's young, but developing, civil society organizations has an anti-trafficking focus. No comprehensive trafficking studies have been conducted and little concrete data exists. However, preliminary findings of a 2007 UNICEF-Government of the C.A.R. study on violence linked to child labor reveal that abusive child labor practices are widespread. In addition, a 2005 UNICEF study on child sexual exploitation found over 40 sex trafficking cases in Bangui and four provinces.
The Government of the C.A.R. 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. Nevertheless, the C.A.R. is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons over the previous year. Efforts to address trafficking through vigorous law enforcement measures and victim protection efforts were minimal, though awareness about trafficking appeared to be increasing in the country. The government does not actively investigate cases, work to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, or rescue and provide care to victims.
Recommendations for the C.A.R.: Enact the 2006 draft anti-trafficking law; develop procedures through which police and social workers may identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as females in prostitution and abandoned street children; train police and social workers to follow such procedures; reach out to the international community for collaboration in providing care to children in commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor; and increase overall efforts to educate the public about the dangers of trafficking.
The Government of the C.A.R. demonstrated weak law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking during the last year. Central African law does not prohibit trafficking in persons. A 2006 draft comprehensive anti-trafficking law has yet to be passed. Using laws prohibiting kidnapping, the government is prosecuting three suspected traffickers for allegedly selling a three-year-old Guinean girl. In February 2008, trial proceedings against these suspects began. In 2007, the Ministry of Justice incorporated a trafficking training into the National School for Administration and Magistrates that it had first developed in 2005. The government does not monitor immigration or emigration patterns for evidence of trafficking.
The Central African government demonstrated weak efforts to protect trafficking victims over the last year. The government reported that during the year it intercepted one trafficking victim, a three-year-old girl who was returned to her family. Government officials have also traveled with UNICEF into the interior of the country to identify, rescue, and demobilize child soldiers conscripted by rebels. Due to a paucity of resources, the government does not operate a trafficking victim shelter. While the government collaborates with NGOs and international organizations on child protection issues, it did not refer any trafficking victims to these organizations for care during the year. Two NGOs reported that the Ministry of Social Affairs sometimes provided training on general youth issues, but could not confirm that this included trafficking. The government did not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution. Victims were inappropriately incarcerated for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked; in some cases, police arrested and jailed children in prostitution rather than providing them with rehabilitation and reintegration care. The government does not implement formal procedures to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as abandoned children, street children, or females in prostitution. The government does not encourage victims to assist in trafficking investigations or prosecutions.
The Government of the C.A.R. made modest efforts to raise awareness about trafficking during the reporting period. With partial funding from UNICEF, as part of its African Children's Day celebration, the Ministry of the Family and Social Affairs conducted a trafficking awareness campaign through both government and private radio stations in June 2007, reaching more than 1.5 million listeners. The Ministries of Labor and Statistics collaborated with UNICEF during the last year to conduct a study of violence associated with child labor. A Ministry of Justice official worked with UNICEF consultants to conduct focus groups and surveys in local communities to gather data for the study. While the government in 2006 adopted a national action plan to prevent child sexual abuse, including child trafficking, the government lacks funds to implement it. The government has not taken measures to reduce demand for commercial sex acts.