U.S. Department of State 2006 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 forced labor and sexual exploitation. Women and girls are trafficked for domestic servitude and used in prostitution. Boys are trafficked for agricultural labor on cocoa and palm oil plantations, in mines and for combat. Internal trafficking is prevalent, with children in refugee zones increasingly vulnerable to being trafficked. Internationally, Ivoirian women and children are trafficked to Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Syria and Libya. Other victims are trafficked to Cote D'Ivoire from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Liberia, North Africa, Ukraine, China, and the Philippines.

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. Nearly four years of civil conflict has left the nation paralyzed by in-fighting among political factions and with an extreme budget shortfall. Despite these challenges, the government has demonstrated some political will to combat trafficking. To strengthen its response to trafficking, the government should pass its draft anti-trafficking legislation, increase law enforcement and victim protection efforts within its capabilities, and ensure that police are not complicit in trafficking.


The Government of Cote D'Ivoire demonstrated minimal efforts to combat trafficking through law enforcement during the reporting period. A law prohibiting trafficking drafted in 2002 still awaits adoption at the National Assembly. The government arrested two traffickers and prosecuted one trafficking case using a kidnapping statute. The government rarely investigates trafficking cases. Police report being unable to investigate brothels exploiting alleged trafficking victims because of a lack of vehicles. NGOs report, however, that Ivoirian police are themselves often the exploiters of women used in prostitution. In 2005 Cote D'Ivoire's National Committee for the Fight Against Trafficking and Child Exploitation (NCFTCE) took the lead in drafting a regional multi-lateral anti-trafficking agreement it entered into with eight other countries.


During the reporting period, the Government of Cote D'Ivoire made significant efforts to protect trafficking victims. Though lacking its own shelters, the government contributed a building and utilities to a local NGO for a shelter, as well as nine civil servants to staff the shelter. In addition, the government provided modest funding to a local NGO that provides reintegration services to trafficking victims. The government rescued 17 Burkinabe children trafficked to Cote D'Ivoire and cooperated with UN and Burkinabe authorities to repatriate them to Burkina Faso. In addition, the Minister of Labor, in collaboration with the West African Project Against Abusive Child Labor in Commercial Agriculture (WACAP), withdrew 6,270 children from hazardous work on farms, enrolled another 1,224 children vulnerable to becoming victims of hazardous labor in alternative education programs, and provided income-generating activities to parents. While officials often refer victims to indigenous NGOs for assistance, on several occasions victims were treated as criminal violators and kept in juvenile detention centers. Moreover, some trafficking victims have been punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked – prosecuted for offenses such as prostitution or document fraud.


Cote D'Ivoire made significant efforts to prevent trafficking over the last year. The Minister of Labor signed a National Action Plan to combat the worst forms of child labor with strategies for providing education, shelter, and repatriation services to trafficking and child labor victims. In addition, the Ministry of Labor collaborated with WACAP to educate 21,000 farmers about child labor exploitation and started a data bank to track the number of children in worst forms of labor. In June 2005, the government organized an ILO-funded trafficking awareness seminar for local communities in Bondoukou, a source region for trafficking victims. In 2006, the government reinstated a Child Labor Task Force that had disbanded during civil conflict.


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