U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Cote D'Ivoire

Cote D'Ivoire (Tier 2)

Cote D'Ivoire is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Available information indicates that the overall magnitude of trafficking in Cote D'Ivoire has diminished in the past few years. Ivoirian girls are trafficked within the country for exploitation as domestic servants, street vendors, and prostitutes, and occasionally are lured to Europe where they are forced into commercial sexual exploitation after being deceived by false marriage proposals. Children from Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, and Benin are trafficked to Cote D'Ivoire for agricultural and domestic labor exploitation. Nigerian and Ghanaian women and children, as well as some females from Algeria, Morocco, China, and the Philippines, are trafficked to Abidjan and other large towns for sexual exploitation. Some of these women also transit Cote D'Ivoire destined for Western Europe.

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. Since civil war broke out in September 2002, the country has been divided, with the government maintaining control of the south and the ex-rebel New Forces controlling the north. The government's focus is ending the conflict, reunifying the country, and reversing the deterioration of the economy. Despite these challenges, the government demonstrated political will and dedicated some resources to combating trafficking. To further its efforts, the government should continue establishing watch groups to rescue child trafficking victims, pass the comprehensive anti-trafficking law, and investigate commercial sexual exploitation in the cities.


Despite ongoing conflict, the government made progress in bringing traffickers to justice over the last year. A much-needed comprehensive law against trafficking in persons remained in draft form, though under consideration by the National Assembly. The existing penal code prohibits abduction, receiving a person as a financial security, and forced labor. Many courts in the north have ceased to function as most judges and administrative officials have fled the conflict. In the south, the public prosecutor received eight trafficking cases during the year; five people were convicted. The police also presented five pimps to a judge for prosecution in 2004. In March 2004, the Ministry of Family Affairs and the National Committee Against Trafficking (NCFTCE) trained 22 trainers (security forces, judges, and social workers) to identify and handle cases of trafficking. The Ministry of Security instructed border officials to arrest those bringing others' children into the country. Buses carrying Ghanaian children suspected of being trafficked were routinely denied entry in the south.


Though it relied on NGO-run centers for primary care of most trafficking victims, the government, at all levels, was actively engaged in victim protection activities during the year. In 2004, police repatriated 30 female Nigerian trafficking victims with the help of the Nigerian Embassy in Abidjan. The Governor of Abidjan provided $10,200 to an NGO to further its shelter, medical, and psychological assistance to 37 foreign trafficking victims, eight of whom were repatriated. The government also assigned a civil servant to help the Abel Community of Grand Bassam establish ten neighborhood watch groups in villages between Abidjan and Ghana. In Bonoua, the mayor and his deputy assigned their assistants to work with these groups; they also provided offices and temporary shelter for 85 child trafficking victims. The government also assisted an NGO in creating ten similar watch groups in the southwest of the country. In 2004, 65 children were rescued and 60,000 people were sensitized to this program.


During the year, the government took limited steps to prevent trafficking. The Ministry of Family employed 20 staff dedicated to working on child trafficking issues. In March 2004, the government finalized its national action plan against trafficking in persons and submitted it to UNICEF and ILO; the major activities have been approved for funding. The NCFTCE adopted a national training plan in October 2004 that addresses the training of judges, defense forces, NGOs, bus drivers, journalists, and radio personalities in the southern part of the country. However, implementation was put on hold due to increased instability. Several ministries continued implementation of a program to keep forced child labor out of the country's cocoa plantations by sensitizing farmers in 64 field schools.


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