U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Madagascar

Madagascar (Tier 2 Watch List)

Madagascar is a source country for children trafficked internally for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Child prostitutes from poor districts and surrounding rural areas are prevalent at tourist destinations. An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 minors are engaged in prostitution in the tourist areas of Nosy Be and Toamasina. Some child prostitutes are encouraged or facilitated by family members or third parties who, for a fee, locate clients, mediate disputes, or act as an interpreter.

The Government of Madagascar does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Madagascar is included in this year's report based on newly available information indicating it has a significant trafficking problem. It is being placed on Tier 2 Watch List as a result of poor prosecution efforts and inadequate protection measures. The government lacks clear, comprehensive trafficking legislation, and has no national plan to combat trafficking in persons and sex tourism. Passage of anti-sex tourism and anti-trafficking laws would enhance Madagascar's law enforcement and prevention efforts. The government also needs to increase its investment in protection programs for victims, such as expanding shelter capacity and vocational skills training for victims.


Madagascar's law enforcement efforts against trafficking remain weak, though the government is initiating reforms. Early in 2004, the Ministry of Justice launched a comprehensive review of Malagasy law to bring it into conformity with commitments made under international conventions. Madagascar has no law that specifically prohibits trafficking in persons. Domestic statutes on prostitution are inconsistent, particularly on the age of consent. A regulation bars minors from nightclubs and subjects offending owners to fines and jail terms, but it is not consistently enforced. Traffickers are liable for prosecution under several provisions of the Malagasy Penal and Labor Codes, including a provision prohibiting pedophilia or the procurement of minors for prostitution. In October 2003, a German national was arrested and charged with pedophilia and with hosting an Internet site promoting sex tourism in Madagascar. The court ordered the man deported in December, but his deportation is not confirmed. Also in 2003, five people were convicted of pimping and received prison terms ranging between two and 10 years. In 2003, the government failed to provide full statistics on trafficking-related prosecutions.


The government's protection efforts are inadequate. The Ministry of Labor established a "Welcome Center" in Antananarivo to provide shelter and professional sewing skills to approximately 40 street children, some of whom had been engaged in prostitution. Plans are being formulated to build a network of centers in all six provinces of the country.


The government continued efforts to raise awareness of the sex tourism issue. In December 2003, the government, in conjunction with two international organizations, released its first report on child prostitution in Madagascar. The report included the results of a series of studies conducted by government ministries. The Ministry of Tourism established a committee to coordinate a strategy for combating sex tourism and the government established an inter-ministerial working group for children's issues. In addition, there are several small-scale initiatives supported by local government officials. These efforts offer after-school sports and craft opportunities to children, especially girls who are vulnerable to trafficking.


This 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.