U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Cote D'Ivoire

Cote D'Ivoire (Tier 2)

Cote D'Ivoire is primarily a destination country for children trafficked from Burkina Faso, Mali, Benin, Togo, and Ghana for domestic and farm labor and a destination for women and girls trafficked from Nigeria, Liberia, and Asia for commercial sexual exploitation. It is also a country of origin for girls trafficked internally and to Europe and the Middle East for domestic servitude. An armed rebellion in September 2002 resulted in closure of the borders with neighboring countries, changing trafficking patterns and creating larger displaced and vulnerable populations.

The Government of Cote D'Ivoire does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite severely limited resources and instability. Passage of the anti-trafficking law and implementation of stiff sentences for traffickers will enhance Cote D'Ivoire's anti-trafficking efforts.


The national task force to combat trafficking has high-level government support and significant resource commitment from several agencies, including 20 Ministry of Women, Family, and Children's Affairs personnel working on child trafficking. Over the past year, the government worked closely with international organizations to regulate child labor on cocoa farms. The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture and government-supported national researchers conducted a survey on child labor to assess the scope and magnitude of the problem. The government supported public awareness campaigns focused on the exploitation of children for labor, trafficking of girls as domestics, and warning Ivorians about the dangers of private employment agencies. Cote D'Ivoire participates in an international program to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa industry, which withdraws children from hazardous work and provides income-generating activities, economic alternatives, and education. Cote D'Ivoire also participates in a regional plan of action to combat trafficking.


There is no anti-trafficking law, although one is pending in the National Assembly, but the government used other statutes, such as those against kidnapping and forced labor, to prosecute traffickers. At least nine traffickers from Cote D'Ivoire and neighboring countries were arrested and 100 children rescued in 2002. In 2001, approximately 550 Malian and Burkinabe children were rescued and 29 traffickers were arrested; those convicted received sentences ranging from 5 to 10 years in prison. There is no evidence of government complicity in trafficking, but there is corruption among low-level border officials and police. Border officials deny entry to children not traveling with their parents because there is a high likelihood they are being trafficked. Anecdotal evidence suggests the Ivorian-Malian border agreement is leading to improved border controls and a decline in child trafficking. Investigators and prosecutors participated in anti-trafficking training with INTERPOL, NGOs, and neighboring countries.


The government facilitates the repatriation of trafficking victims. Rescued children are accommodated with host families and at reception centers, receiving health and psychological counseling until source country embassies can receive them.


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