U.S. Department of State 2002 Trafficking in Persons Report - Benin

Benin (Tier 2)

Benin is a source, transit, and destination country for internationally trafficked persons, mostly children. Trafficking also occurs within Benin, where children from poor rural and less-literate families are sent away to work as domestic and commercial helpers for wealthier relations or employers. Many of these children end up in indentured servitude, subjected to physical and sexual abuse. Beninese children are trafficked to Ghana, Gabon, Nigeria, and Cote D'Ivoire, while children from neighboring Niger, Togo, and Burkina Faso, are trafficked to Benin. Some Beninese women are trafficked to European countries for prostitution.

The Government of Benin does not yet fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. While Benin does not have laws that specifically address trafficking in persons, related laws can be used against traffickers. The government actively investigates trafficking cases and experienced some success in intercepting and arresting traffickers over the course of the past year. However, the government does not systematically encourage victims to testify or file suit, and has not prosecuted cases against traffickers to conclusion. Due to a lack of resources and trained investigative personnel, Benin's land borders with Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria are not well monitored. The government is unable to provide protection to the victims of trafficking, but it cooperates with international organizations and NGOs providing these services. To help prevent trafficking, the government has supported information campaigns in rural villages for the past several years. These initiatives include films and posters explaining to largely illiterate village audiences the physical and psychological dangers children may be exposed to by traffickers. In other related preventive efforts, the government is working on making primary education free for all females (ultimately to be extended to all children) and rural economic diversification to provide road building and the provision of water and sanitation. Benin is one of the West African countries participating in an international program to reduce trafficking in children.


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