Chad – 2020 Trafficking In Person Report – Country Narrative (Final)

Chad (Tier 2 Watch List)

The Government of Chad does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. These efforts included convicting one trafficker for the first time under its recent 2018 law and adopting a formal Road Map to implement its 2018 National Action Plan. However, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period. Officials investigated no trafficking crimes; did not identify any trafficking victims; did not carry out any sensitization activities despite a lack of trafficking awareness hindering the country’s anti-trafficking response; and did not report finalizing its national anti-trafficking committee as required by the country’s 2018 trafficking law. Therefore, Chad was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List.

PRIORITIZED RECOMMENDATIONS:

While respecting due process, vigorously investigate and prosecute suspected traffickers according to Chad’s anti-trafficking Law 006/PR/18.Develop formal standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the identification and referral of trafficking victims to medical care, and train security services, law enforcement, and civil society to implement the SOPs.Formally establish and adequately staff the National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons (NCCTIP) and include civil society, NGOs, and international organizations in its activities.Incorporate human trafficking awareness into basic training for law enforcement and judicial officials to increase their understanding of trafficking in persons, in coordination with international organizations and donors.Establish a specialized anti-trafficking unit in the Judicial Police to ensure officers effectively investigate suspected trafficking crimes under the country’s 2018 trafficking law.Include trafficking components for all new magistrates and prosecutors in the Ministry of Justice’s Justice Training College in N’Djamena.Increase the provision of protective services to all trafficking victims, in coordination with NGOs and international organizations.Beginning in N’Djamena, use local community radio stations to raise public awareness of human trafficking and incorporate tribal leaders and other members of the traditional justice system into sensitization campaigns.

PROSECUTION

The government decreased overall law enforcement efforts. Law 006/PR/2018 on Combatting Trafficking in Persons criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Article seven of Law 006/PR/2018 prescribed penalties of four to 30 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 250,000 to five million Central African CFA francs (CFA) ($430 to $8,650); these penalties were sufficiently stringent and, with regard to sex trafficking, commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape.

The government did not collect comprehensive law enforcement data on trafficking in persons and did not report investigating or prosecuting any traffickers, compared with investigating multiple cases involving 82 suspects and prosecuting two of those suspects in 2018. In February 2020, courts reportedly convicted the one trafficker for forcing multiple victims to work in Chad’s northern gold mines and sentenced the trafficker to three years in prison and a 200,000 CFA ($350) fine. The government did not convict any traffickers during the previous reporting period. Observers maintained law enforcement officers may have investigated, and judicial officials may have tried, trafficking crimes under other statutes during the reporting period, such as rape or labor violations; however, the government did not report those statistics. Additionally, observers noted some communities resolved issues, including criminal offenses, through customary or traditional law as opposed to the codified judicial system.

Authorities did not report investigating, prosecuting, or convicting government officials complicit in human trafficking offenses, despite experts noting officials were complicit in trafficking crimes and corruption during the reporting period, including reports of government-affiliated security forces profiting from illicit activity, such as forced labor in cattle herding throughout the country’s rural areas and along its borders. In 2019, the government provided in-kind support for a donor-funded training for 68 law enforcement and judicial officials on the 2018 trafficking law. Authorities did not report providing anti-trafficking training to officials during the previous reporting period.

PROTECTION

The government decreased efforts to protect victims. The government did not screen for trafficking indicators or identify any victims during the reporting period, compared with identifying 21 trafficking victims in 2018. Contrary to previous reports, the government has not developed comprehensive written victim identification and referral procedures to guide front-line officials. NCCTIP policy directed officials to refer suspected child trafficking cases to the Child Protection Brigade, to investigate and report the cases to the Ministry of Justice, and cases involving adult victims to police. The government did not report officials referring any cases to the Ministry of Justice or police during the reporting period.

The Ministry of Women, Family, and National Solidarity, in partnership with an international organization and local NGOs, operated transit centers that served as temporary shelters throughout the country. The shelters provided temporary housing, food, and education to victims of gender-based violence and other crimes, including potential victims of trafficking. Officials did not report providing services to trafficking victims in these shelters during the reporting period. Services continued to be limited to urban areas and largely inaccessible to much of Chad’s rural population.

The government did not have a formal policy to offer temporary or permanent residency for foreign victims of trafficking and did not report identifying any foreign victims. While there were no reports the government penalized any trafficking victims for unlawful acts their traffickers compelled them to commit, authorities may have arrested some victims due to the lack of formal victim identification and referral procedures as well as officials’ limited understanding of the crime.

PREVENTION

The government maintained negligible efforts to prevent trafficking. Law 06/PR/2018 designated the NCCTIP as the lead entity on addressing trafficking; however, the government has not yet officially established or staffed the NCCTIP; the president had not signed the decree creating the NCCTIP at the end of the reporting period. The government adopted an anti-trafficking Road Map in 2019 to implement its 2018 National Action Plan; officials did not report executing any of the Plan’s proposed actions during the reporting period. The government did not independently research trafficking in Chad, exacerbating a general lack of understanding of the issue in the country.

The government continued to make no discernible efforts to raise awareness on trafficking or reduce the demand for commercial sex acts during the reporting period. A lack of identity documentation remained a risk factor for trafficking in Chad, and the government continued to implement the 2013 birth registration policy requiring universal issuances of uniform birth certificates; however, officials did not widely enforce the policy due to limited resources. The government did not provide anti-trafficking training or guidance for its diplomatic personnel.

TRAFFICKING PROFILE

As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Chad, and traffickers exploit Chadian victims abroad. The country’s trafficking problem is primarily internal. Families frequently entrust their children to relatives or intermediaries to receive education, apprenticeship, goods, or money; some of those relatives or intermediaries subsequently force or coerce the children to work in domestic service or cattle herding. Criminals force children to beg in urban areas, and traffickers exploit minors as agricultural laborers on farms; in northern gold mines and charcoal production; and as domestic workers across the country. In the Lake Chad region, community members exploit some children in catching, smoking, and selling fish. Some religious leaders coerce children who leave their villages to attend traditional Quranic schools—known as Mouhadjirin—into forced begging, street vending, or other forced labor.

Cattle herders force some children to work along traditional routes for grazing cattle and, at times, cross ill-defined international borders into Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Sudan, and Nigeria. Traffickers in rural areas sell children in markets for use in cattle or camel herding. In some cases, military or local government officials exploit with impunity child herders in forced labor. Criminal elements subject some rural Chadian girls who travel to larger towns in search of work to child sex trafficking or domestic servitude. Illicit networks may force adult and child refugees, as well as internally displaced persons in Chad, to take part in commercial sex. Experts note Chad hosted approximately 440,000 refugees and more than 170,000 internally displaced persons as of December 2019; these populations may be vulnerable to trafficking based on their economic instability and lack of access to support systems. The Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram and its offshoot Islamic State-West Africa forcibly abducted minors to serve as child soldiers, suicide bombers, child brides, and forced laborers. Community-based armed groups tasked with defending people and property in rural areas have likely recruited and used children in armed conflict.