Chad is a source, transit, and destination country for children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The country’s trafficking problem is primarily internal and frequently involves children being entrusted to relatives or intermediaries in return for promises of education, apprenticeship, goods, or money, and subsequently subjected to forced labor in domestic service or herding. Children are subjected to forced labor as beggars and agricultural laborers. Some children who leave their villages to attend traditional Koranic schools are forced into begging, street vending, or other labor. Child herders, some of whom are victims of forced labor, follow traditional routes for grazing cattle and, at times, cross ill-defined international borders into Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Nigeria. Some of these children are sold in markets for use in cattle or camel herding. In some cases, child herders are subjected to forced labor by military or local government officials. Chadian girls travel to larger towns in search of work, where some are subsequently subjected to prostitution or are abused in domestic servitude. NGOs report that the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram, (which refers to itself as the Islamic State—West Africa Province), is involved in child trafficking.
The Government of Chad does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting period, the government took steps to increase its capacity to combat trafficking and sustain its progress from the previous reporting period. It regularly convened the inter-ministerial committee on trafficking and identified at least 13 trafficking victims. The government also completed during the reporting period, though has not yet published, a guide for security forces, NGOs, social workers, and civil society that outlines steps to assist suspected trafficking victims. The government continued efforts to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers by training members of the military and verifying the age of entrants at military centers. The government reported fewer prosecutions, more investigations, and the same number of convictions. The government did not provide services specific for trafficking victims and did not systematically refer victims to NGOs or international organizations for care.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHAD:
Enact legislation prohibiting all forms of trafficking in persons and prescribing sufficiently stringent punishments; strengthen enforcement of existing penalties to combat trafficking in persons; increase efforts to enhance magistrates’ understanding of managing trafficking in persons cases and punishing trafficking offenses under existing laws; continue anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, including the investigation and prosecution of suspected trafficking offenders; provide specialized anti-trafficking training to law enforcement officers and prosecutors; continue collaborating with NGOs and international organizations to increase the provision of protective services to all types of trafficking victims, including children exploited in prostitution or forced into cattle herding or domestic service; allocate regular funding to support the activities of the inter-ministerial committee on trafficking in persons, including funding for victim protection efforts; and raise public awareness of trafficking issues, particularly at the local level among tribal leaders and other members of the traditional justice system.
The government sustained modest anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. Existing laws do not specifically prohibit trafficking, though they do prohibit forced prostitution and many types of labor exploitation. Title 5 of the labor code prohibits forced and bonded labor, prescribing fines of 50,000 to 500,000 Central African CFA francs (FCFA) ($93-$928), but not imprisonment; these penalties are not sufficiently stringent to deter this form of trafficking and do not reflect the serious nature of the crimes. Penal code articles 279 and 280 prohibit the prostitution of children, prescribing punishments of five to 10 years’ imprisonment and fines up to FCFA 1,000,000 ($1,860); these penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes. Pimping and owning brothels are prohibited under penal code articles 281 and 282. The 1991 Chadian National Army Law prohibits recruitment of children younger than 18 years; punishment for those who violate this provision is at the discretion of military justice officials. Draft revisions to the penal code and a child protection code, both of which contain provisions criminalizing trafficking in persons, have not been enacted. During the last reporting period, the government drafted anti-trafficking legislation with the support of an international donor; the draft was pending final review by the Council of Ministers at the close of the reporting period. On May 21, 2015, the government, in collaboration with an international organization, inaugurated in N’Djamena the new facility for the Chadian National Police’s Child Protective Services (Brigade des Mineurs), charged with the protection of children against all forms of abuse and exploitation, including trafficking. Although the government did not collect comprehensive law enforcement data, the government reported at least six investigations, four current prosecutions, and three convictions during the reporting period, compared with five investigations, five prosecutions, and three convictions during the previous reporting period. NGOs reported local officials were sometimes complicit in trafficking. Authorities arrested the police commissioner of the city of Kelo in February 2016 on suspicion of involvement in child trafficking and held him in custody while awaiting trial at the close of the reporting period.
The government sustained minimal efforts to identify and protect trafficking victims. It did not officially report the number of victims identified or referred to protection services, although it identified at least 13 victims in the course of its investigations. Regional committees, located in eight regions in Chad, identified and referred an unknown number of victims to protective services, but these service agencies lacked adequate resources to fully investigate every case. The lack of formal victim identification procedures continued to be a problem. However, during the reporting period the government drafted a guide for security forces, NGOs, social workers, and civil society that outlines steps to assist suspected trafficking victims, such as informing the police and referring victims to social services or local NGOs. The guide also details what role different institutions have during an investigation and provides guidance on social services, health centers, and shelters, as well as information about how to reunite victims with their families when possible. Inadequate human and financial resources severely limited the government’s ability to provide adequate services to victims of all crimes, including trafficking victims. The government continued to provide limited in-kind contributions and social services to victims of crime through a joint agreement with UNICEF, though these services were not
specific to the needs of trafficking victims. Through this joint agreement, the government also provided facilities to UNICEF, which used the buildings as shelters for victims of crime, including trafficking victims. During the reporting period, these multipurpose shelters were used to provide shelter and services to an unknown number of children; the government ultimately reunited the children with their families. The government did not have a formal policy to offer temporary or permanent residency for foreign victims of trafficking. There were no reports the government punished any trafficking victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking.
The government sustained modest efforts to prevent trafficking. The inter-ministerial committee responsible for coordinating government efforts to combat trafficking met regularly throughout the reporting period. In October 2015, the Ministry of Women, Childhood Protection, and National Solidarity conducted a two-week anti-trafficking training for magistrates, in cooperation with two international organizations. The government made no discernible efforts to reduce the demand for forced labor or commercial sex during the reporting period. The government provided Chadian troops human rights training, which included anti-trafficking training, prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions, in collaboration with a foreign donor. The government did not provide anti-trafficking training or guidance for its diplomatic personnel.