Cape Verde is a source country for children subjected to forced labor and, at times, sex trafficking within the country and a source for persons trafficked to Brazil, Portugal, and other countries in Europe for forced transport of drugs. Migrants from Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Nigeria, and Guinea may receive low wages and work without contracts – creating vulnerabilities to forced labor in Cape Verde's construction sector. West African migrants may transit the archipelago en route to situations of exploitation in Europe. Cape Verdean children labor in domestic service, often working long hours and at times experiencing physical and sexual abuse – indicators of forced labor. Past reports indicate that boys and girls – some of whom may be foreign – are exploited in prostitution in Santa Maria, Praia, and Mindelo. Sex tourism – at times involving prostituted children – is a growing problem in Cape Verde. In 2010, an Italian national was convicted for the sexual abuse of three minors in commercial sex in Santa Maria on the island of Sal. Children are also used in the commission of crimes within the country, including the forced transport of drugs. Street children are vulnerable to street crime and, on rare occasions, prostitution. Cape Verdean adults and children are tricked or forced into transporting drugs to or within Brazil and Portugal. In December 2011, a Swiss court sentenced a Cape Verdean woman to 22 months' imprisonment for recruiting 143 Brazilian women for forced prostitution in Switzerland.

The Government of Cape Verde does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the year, the government investigated 44 cases of child sexual abuse, some of which may have included trafficking offenses. The Cape Verdean Institute for Children and Adolescents (ICCA) made concerted efforts to protect child victims of sexual abuse, including children in prostitution, and to prevent and raise awareness of the worst forms of child labor, including trafficking. Despite these efforts, the government did not prosecute or convict trafficking offenders during the year, including child sex trafficking crimes that occurred within the country. Furthermore, it did not make efforts to identify any trafficking victims in 2011, reduce the demand for commercial sex acts, or address sex tourism involving children.

Recommendations for Cape Verde: Draft comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, including a broad definition of trafficking in persons that does not rely on evidence of movement, but rather on exploitation, consistent with the 2000 UN TIP Protocol; ensure Cape Verdean law prohibits facilitating the prostitution of children ages 16 and 17; train law enforcement officials to use existing laws to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses; develop and implement procedures for the identification of trafficking victims amongst vulnerable populations; compile anti-trafficking law enforcement data; and launch a nationwide anti-trafficking public awareness campaign.


The Government of Cape Verde demonstrated modest efforts to combat human trafficking during the year. It did not, however, prosecute or convict any trafficking offenders. Cape Verdean law does not specifically prohibit all forms of trafficking, though several existing statutes cover certain forms. Article 14 of the labor code prohibits forced labor and Article 271 of the penal code outlaws slavery, both of which prescribe sufficiently stringent penalties of six to 12 years' imprisonment. Article 148 of the penal code outlaws facilitating prostitution of children under the age of 16 and prescribes sufficiently stringent penalties of between two to eight years' imprisonment for victims under 14 and one to five years for victims aged 14 or 15. These penalties are not commensurate with penalties for other grave crimes, such as rape. The penal code does not prohibit and punish those who exploit children aged 16 and 17 in prostitution. There is no evidence that the government charged any suspected traffickers under these laws during the year. The National Police reported 44 cases of child sexual abuse and 79 cases of violence against minors in 2011; it is unknown whether any of these included child trafficking offenses. The government did not provide any specialized training for officials on the identification or prosecution of trafficking offenses. There were no reports of trafficking-related corruption in Cape Verde during the year.


The government made modest efforts to protect trafficking victims. Although the government did not report its identification or protection of trafficking victims, several government facilities that provide care to vulnerable children may have assisted trafficking victims during the year. Two ICCA-run Centers for Child Emergencies in Praia and Mindelo provided temporary care to child victims of sexual abuse, violence, and abandonment. In 2011, the government established five additional emergency centers on the islands of Sal, Sao Nicolau, Bao Vista, Fogo, and Sao Tiago. In March 2011, the ICCA opened a reception center on the island of Sao Antao, which provided food and psychological support to children in need, including victims of sexual abuse. The ICCA continued its Nôs kasa project that aims to reduce the vulnerability of street children to sexual abuse and child labor through the operation of six day centers on the islands of Santo Antao, Sao Vincente, Sao Nicolau, Fogo, Boa Vista, and Santiago, which host children during the day and provide counseling. The government lacked formal procedures for the identification and referral of trafficking victims. However, the ICCA's network for the protection and prevention of sexual abuse of children and adolescents, comprised of the Judicial Police, the National Police, the National Prosecutor, the Directorate General of Tourism, and the Office of Health for Praia, coordinated the referral of child victims of sexual abuse to care and their support throughout the court processes. Disque Denuncia, the government's hotline for the reporting of cases of child abuse, served as a referral system, coordinating efforts between the Attorney General's Office, the Judiciary Police, the National Police, hospitals, and Offices of Health and School; during the year, 12 calls involved child sexual abuse, though it is unknown whether these or other calls related to human trafficking. Cape Verdean law does not provide for legal alternatives to the removal of foreign trafficking victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution.


The government made modest efforts to prevent trafficking during the reporting period through various efforts directed towards the elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including child trafficking. During the year, the government ratified the ILO Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention 182 and began drafting a list of hazardous forms of work, both of which include forms of trafficking, including child prostitution. In 2011, the Ministry of Youth, Employment, and Human Resources Development partnered with the Directorate of Labor, ICCA, and the General Labor Inspectorate to begin to domesticate the convention into the national legal framework. In June 2011, in celebration of the World Day Against Child Labor and the Day of the African Child, the ICCA raised awareness of child labor on the island of Santo Antao through theater, music, games, and speeches. During the year, the government implemented its 2007-2011 National Plan of Action for the Elimination of Child Labor, which aims to eradicate the worst forms of child labor, including some forms of trafficking. The government, in partnership with the ILO, is carrying out a regional project to prevent and eliminate child labor; as part of this effort, in September and October 2011, the Ministry of Youth, Employment, and Human Resource Development trained officials to identify victims of the worst forms of child labor and promote coordination between the ICCA and labor inspectorates. Labor inspectors also received training on child labor as part of this partnership with the ILO in June and July 2011. The government did not identify any child labor violations during the reporting period and did not remove any children from situations of child labor. During the year, it developed a National Immigration Strategy to manage migration flows, regulate migrant access to the labor market, develop a model employment contract for immigrant workers, and lay the groundwork to identify and address their labor exploitation by strengthening the coordination between inspection divisions, labor unions, NGOs and migrant associations. In May 2010, the Sal District Court sentenced an Italian national to a three year suspended sentence, following his conviction for the commercial sexual exploitation of three children in Santa Maria on the island of Sal. In 2011, the government did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts or to address sex tourism.


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