Cablegate: Cote D'ivoire: 2007 Tip Report
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUHAB #0227/01 0610735
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 020735Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WAHDC 2650
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHBS/MEMBASSY BRUSSELS 0312
RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA 029
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 0054
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HS WASHDC
RUEAWJB/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUEHCDEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WAHDC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 13 ABIDJAN 000227
STATE FOR G/TIP, G, INL, DRL, PRM, F/RSA; DEPT FOR USAID
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KRM PHUM KWMN SMIG KFRD ASEC PREF ELAB
SUBJECT: COTE D'IVOIRE: 2007 TIP REPORT
REF: SECSTAE 202745
1. (SBU) Since a September 2002 coup atempt that evolved
into a civil war, Cote d'Ivoir has been partitioned in two
with the governmentmaintaining control of the south and the
rebel Nw Forces controlling the north. Tensions between he
two sides have lessened through internationalmediation
efforts starting in 2003 but the peace rocess remains
stalled and elections were postponed in October 2006. The
economy has stagnated as a result of the crisis and
government revenues have declined, creating severe budgetary
pressures. The government of Cote d'Ivoire has necessarily
focused on ending the conflict, reunifying the country,
disarming and demobilizing former combatants, and organizing
elections. Despite these challenges, the government has
demonstrated political will and dedicated some limited
resources to combating TIP. In addition, available
information indicates that the overall magnitude of
international trafficking to Cote d'Ivoire has decreased
since civil war broke out in 2002, because of the
partition of the country, tighter security at borders, and
decreased economic opportunities.
2. (SBU) Overview of Cote d'Ivoire's activities to eliminate
trafficking in persons (Para 27, Reftel):
A. Cote d'Ivoire is primarily a country of destination for
international trafficking of women and children. Cote
d'Ivoire is also a transit country and a country of origin to
countries in Europe. Boys are trafficked from Ghana, Mali
and Burkina Faso to work in the agricultural sector,
particularly, cocoa, coffee, pineapple and rubber
plantations; from Guinea to work in the mining sector; from
Togo to work in construction; and from Benin to work in
carpentry. Girls are trafficked from Ghana, Togo and Benin
to work as domestic servants and street vendors and from
several countries including Nigeria primarily and China,
Ukraine and the Phillipines to work as waitresses and
prostitutes in street-side restaurants.
Domestic trafficking for labor on plantations, low wage
service labor and sexual exploitation is more prevalent than
international trafficking and it occurs in both the New
Forces (NF)-controlled zone as well as the government zone.
Girls are more at risk of being trafficked domestically than
boys because of their lower school enrollment and increasing
poverty due to the civil conflict that divides the country.
Girls are trafficked from the northern FN-held territories to
Abidjan and other cities in the south to work as domestic
servants and waitresses and are frequently pushed into
prostitution by their employers. Women and girls are more at
risk of being trafficked than boys.
Sources of available information on TIP include local and
international NGOs, the police and defense forces, the
Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Family and Social
Services, and other embassies. We have no reports of men
being trafficked in or to Cote d'Ivoire. Internally, victims
are more likely to come from the north, and to a lesser
extent, from the west, than from southern or eastern Cote
There are no reliable estimates as to the extent or magnitude
of the trafficking problem in Cote d'Ivoire, but several new
studies to determine the scope of the problem were carried
out in 2006. The GTZ/LTTE (German Technical Cooperation
Office for the Fight against Trafficking and the Worst Forms
of Child labor) and a local NGO, Cote d'Ivoire Prosperity,
which rehabilitates young prostitutes, carried out a study on
entitled "Child Prostitution and the Trafficking Networks in
the Districts of Yopougon and Adjame in 2006." The study,
published in February 2007, revealed that 85% of the girls
were minors and that more Ivorian girls have been trafficked
into prostitution now than foreign girls, a likely
consequence of the ongoing civil conflict in Cote d'Ivoire
(53% of the girls in the study were Ivorian, 33% Nigerian and
the rest other nationalities). The study also revealed that
48% of the girls lived with their pimps, 17% with their
parents and 23% with friends. Twenty-nine percent had never
attended school, 38% had attended primary school and 28% had
attended secondary school. The study also assessed the
ABIDJAN 00000227 002 OF 013
living conditions of the girls. Sixty-nine percent worked
every day of the week and had more than 10 clients a day and
their pimps kept most of the money they earned. The girls in
the study also lived in environments plagued by alcohol, drug
abuse and rape and under constant threat of physical violence
and police roundups.
ILO funded and carried out through their Office of Statistics
and the National Institute of Statistics a national study of
child trafficking patterns. The study, which was completed
in May 2006, has not been published yet.
In 2006 there was marked improvement in the law enforcement
authorities' attention to trafficking; as a result, routine
government reporting of child trafficking has increased. In
June 2006 Interpol and GTZ conducted a training workshop on
trafficking in Abengourou for thirty police officers from ten
key agricultural regions in Cote d'Ivoire (Abengourou,
Daoukro, Sinfra, Soubre, San Pedro, Aboisso, Oume, Agboville,
Adzope and Agnibilekrou). The National Committee for the
Fight Against Trafficking and Child Exploitation (NCFTCE), a
joint Ministerial committee that is chaired by the Ministry
of Family and Social Affairs, recruited staff including a
lawyer and a social worker to build a database for a project
(funded by the US Department of Labor and the International
Labor Organization (ILO)) on child trafficking and
exploitation through village level child protection
committees. In December 2006 and January 2007 the National
Committee set up 13 committees in villages in Daloa, Bediala,
Issia, Bouafle and Asuefry. Thirty additional committees are
being set up in other regions. These committees will be
charged with doing a census of the school enrollment and
employment status of all children at risk of being trafficked
and informing the NCFTCE through sub-regional child
protection committees. The sub-committees are also
responsible for reporting cases of children being trafficked
from the village. The NCFTCE will use the information
collected from the village and sub-regional committees to
track domestic child trafficking trends.
The NCFTCE plans to gather information for their database on
child trafficking from the Ministry of Security (the border
police, criminal police and the newly created Division in
charge of the Child Trafficking and Juvenile Delinquency);
the Ministry of Interior (mayors and prefects and
sub-prefects who represent the government bureaucracy in the
FN-held territories); and the Ministry of Family and Social
Affairs (social workers and specially trained educators).
B. Women and children were trafficked from Nigeria and Ghana
mainly for sexual exploitation in Abidjan and larger towns.
A smaller number of women and children are trafficked from
North Africa, the Ukraine, China, and the Philippines to
become prostitutes. Sometimes, the women are promised jobs
in restaurants or hair salons but are then forced into
prostitution. Frequently, these girls and women come to
Abidjan and its surroundings and work for a few days or
months in order to generate enough money to pay for tickets,
identity papers, and reimburse traffickers. If they earn
enough money and if the trafficker allows it, the women go on
to other destinations, usually European countries such as
Spain, the Netherlands, and Italy. The victims often live in
hotels or brothels and can only go out in public under the
surveillance of their procurer (pimp). Traffickers often
threaten the victims and use physical violence.
While international traffickers can be loosely organized,
domestic traffickers are often related to the victim by blood
or ethnic ties. The trafficker might be a distant relative
capitalizing on the system throughout West Africa known in
Cote d'Ivoire as "confiage" that encourages communal raising
of children. The traffickers deceive parents with promises
of schooling, money, or an apprenticeship for the child.
Parents are often proud to say their child is in Abidjan
working or are too overwhelmed by the number of children they
have to feed to worry about parting with one. If their child
returns with money, they frequently overlook the emotional
and physical damage.
In 2006 more child victims of trafficking were discovered by
authorities than in previous years, to which NGOs and
ABIDJAN 00000227 003 OF 013
government authorities attribute the training seminars in
2006 for law enforcement authorities that have sensitized
police and border officials to identifying and reporting
child trafficking. As a result of increased law enforcement
awareness, traffickers have also altered their methods of
bringing children into the country in the south, preferring
to bring children in small groups or individually on foot at
night rather than in large groups by bus or train. Some
traffickers make children de-board buses and cross the border
on foot in order to avoid detection by security and defense
forces. Once they have crossed the borders they re-board
their buses. In June 2006 police arrested a Togolese child
labor trafficker in Abengourou who had made thirteen children
aged 10-17 walk from Togo to Cote d'Ivoire (over 200 km) for
two weeks, beating them if they complained of fatigue. The
trafficker fed the children bread and canned sardines and
made them sleep in the bush. The judge who heard the case
was so appalled by the trafficker's cruelty that he sentenced
him to a year of imprisonment and a fine of 200,000 FCFA
(about 4000 USD), which is considered a heavy punishment.
The children were repatriated with the help of GTZ.
In other new trends observed in 2006, young Ghanaian and
Togolese boys were trafficked into Cote d'Ivoire by boat to
work for fishermen along the Ivorian and Ghanaian coasts and
children were trafficked in humanitarian convoys traveling
between Cote d'Ivoire and either Burkina Faso or Mali through
Ghana. These convoys, meant to maintain trade links between
government-controlled south Cote d'Ivoire and countries
bordering it to the north have carried trafficked children.
Traffickers pay the drivers 150,000 FCFA (300 USD) and bribe
the members of the Ivorian military escorting the convoys.
In 2006, eighty children who had traveled on humanitarian
convoys from Burkina Faso were caught in Soubre.
The most vulnerable group for internal trafficking are
children from the poorest parts of the country who do not
have birth certificates, making it easier for traffickers to
conceal their identity. Without a government presence in the
north, children cannot receive official certificates.
Moreover, in small villages in both the rebel and government
zones, poorer uneducated parents often do not even request
birth certificates for their children. Children who have
never gone to school, or have dropped out of school are also
at risk. The government refused to administer school exams
in the NF zone for three years, resulting in a higher
incidence of children not going to school or dropping out.
All of these factors make the children of the north
especially vulnerable to trafficking.
In 2006 NGOs noted that Cote d'Ivoire became a country of
origin for regional child trafficking because of the civil
conflict in the north and increasing poverty. There were
reports of young Ivorian girls being sent to Gabon to work as
domestic servants and at least one girl was found and
repatriated in 2006.
While in recent years, international pressure and press
coverage has drawn attention to child labor and trafficking
in the cocoa sector, it appears that the most common victims
of trafficking are young girls brought to Abidjan to perform
domestic labor. In the cocoa sector, smaller Ivorian farmers
generally use their own children as farm hands while larger
areas owned by Ivorians (either individuals or held
communally) rent land to men from the north, Burkina Faso and
other neighboring countries. Children trafficked to perform
labor in the cocoa sector are most commonly found on larger
farms cultivated by people from neighboring countries or
distant regions of Cote d'Ivoire who exploit the system of
confiage to bring children in from their own countries to
work the farms. There were reports of children who, once
interviewed apart from the farmers, revealed that, indeed,
the farmers were not their real parents, though frequently
they had familial or kinship bonds. These complex
relationship patterns make it difficult to estimate the
overall magnitude of trafficked children in the cocoa sector.
A study conducted by the ILO and the UNHCR in 2004 revealed
that in western Cote d'Ivoire within the Refugee Welcome Zone
(ZAR), refugee and displaced children are increasingly
becoming victims of trafficking and other forms of
ABIDJAN 00000227 004 OF 013
exploitation. Many children, in order to provide for
themselves or their families, do not attend schools and are
exposed to an increasing range of situations where they are
easily exploited. The traffickers in the ZAR often recruit
young girls of their own ethnic group to become domestic
servants. Children are also recruited to work in mines or
palm oil plantations. The trafficker usually receives at
least 10% of the child's wages.
Ivorians are still grappling with the problem of child
trafficking and slave labor but there is political will to
combat trafficking in persons, though the highest levels of
the Ivorian government are currently preoccupied primarily
with the political crisis. The international press first
drew the attention of Ivorians to the phenomenon of
trafficking in Cote d'Ivoire with reports of Malian boys
working as slaves in cocoa farms. Ivorians are becoming less
defensive about negative international reports about
trafficking and officials are acknowledging the problem
rather than dismissing reports as a way to "discredit" Cote
The roots of the ongoing political problem play a role in
this question: "allogenes" (foreigners and outsiders from the
north) form communities in the southern cocoa belt on land
rented from southerners. Allogene communities often do not
have schools or clinics and their children often do not go to
school and remain unregistered and in general fall outside
the orbit of regular government services. Planters in
allogene communities are known to bring relatives, often
minors, from their home regions to work. Given these
factors, it is difficult to classify these, both those
brought in from other countries as well as the children of
the allogene cocoa farmers, in standard trafficking terms.
While the political leadership is hampered by the ongoing
political conflict, the government bureaucracy is trying to
address the problem with the meager resources at its
disposal. In 2006 there was greater government engagement in
the fight against trafficking. The Ministry of Family and
Social Affairs through the NCFTCE recruited more staff. In
February 2007, the NCFTCE and the Ministry of Family and
Social Affairs conducted a workshop aimed at adopting
standard operating procedures for all actors - NGOs, law
enforcement officials, etc. - that work in trafficking. In
October 2006, the Ministry of Security created a department
for child trafficking and juvenile delinquency within the
criminal police division to centralize information received
from and activities carried out by the police in all
government-controlled areas. Local government officials as
well as judges, social workers and law enforcement officials
have willingly participated in the training workshops offered
by Interpol and GTZ. Finally, although the political crisis
has severely crippled the government's law-making ability, in
February 2007 the ministries of Family and Social Services
and Labor, Civil Service and Administrative Reform along with
their NGO partners have proposed a new anti-trafficking and
child labor bill which now awaits Cabinet approval. Once the
Cabinet approves, the President can sign it into law by
Presidential decree. If he chooses to wait, it would need to
be adopted by the National Assembly, whose mandate expired in
December 2005, and elections for which have now been twice
C. Lack of training in anti-trafficking of law enforcement
officials and judges, lack of financial resources, corruption
and the absence of an anti-trafficking law limit the
government's ability to address the problem of trafficking.
Because of the ongoing crisis, the government of Cote
d'Ivoire faces an extreme budget shortfall and lacks the
resources to adequately support anti-trafficking programs.
Most of the programs carried out by the government in 2006
were funded by international organizations such as the ILO,
UNICEF, GTZ and ICI (International Cocoa Initiative).
Despite official figures showing modest economic growth in
2004, 2005 and 2006, Cote d'Ivoire may have experienced zero
or negative net growth over this period. Moreover, even if
positive, recent economic growth has depended on rising oil
and gas revenue, which has a limited effect in stimulating
employment and broader development. The country remains
partitioned in two and the government struggles to provide
ABIDJAN 00000227 005 OF 013
social services even in the areas it does control.
Despite these severe budgetary problems, the government does
hope to allocate additional resources to anti-trafficking
efforts. In late 2006, the ministries of Family and Social
Affairs and Labor, Civil Service and Social Reform drafted
and adopted a national action plan to fight child trafficking
and child labor. The plan will cost three billion FCFA to
implement (six million USD). The Minister of Economy and
Finance has promised to grant one billion FCFA (two million
USD) to begin implementing this plan but has not, as yet,
allocated the funding.
The government has managed to devote some human resources to
various anti-trafficking programs and hopes to strengthen the
capacity of law enforcement officials and judges in
anti-trafficking efforts. The government continues to send
police officers, gendarmes, and other officials to attend
seminars hosted by NGOs to learn how to identify traffickers
and treat the victims. Local officials have participated in
the implementation of programs and have also devoted social
workers from their offices to neighborhood watch groups and
local NGOs engaged in the fight against trafficking in
persons. The government has also provided office space to
NGOs working on anti-trafficking and child labor issues.
Nonetheless, the government still does not have shelters for
trafficked children or funding for their care and
Few trafficking cases are prosecuted and judges still have
not been systematically trained and sensitized to the issue
of trafficking and the laws at their disposal. The lack of a
trafficking law hampers the government's law enforcement
capabilities because many law enforcement officials simply
repatriate the children and do not press charges against the
traffickers. In May 2006, the Ministry of Civil Service,
Labor and Administrative Reform and GTZ completed a legal
manual on trafficking and the worst forms of child labor in
Cote d'Ivoire to clearly show judges and prosecutors the laws
that can be applied in trafficking cases. In one case, a
police officer who arrested a trafficker gave the judge a
copy of the manual to help the judge to try the case and
sentence the trafficker.
Corruption is endemic at all levels of government in Cote
d'Ivoire and is also an obstacle to the fight against
trafficking. A local NGO reported to the NCFTCE that
Nigerian traffickers bribe defense and security forces in
order to traffic Nigerian girls into the country for
D. The government now follows and supports anti-trafficking
efforts through the following organs: 1) the NCFTCE; 2) the
aforementioned Ministry of Security's anti-trafficking
department; 3) the follow-up committee set up to monitor the
Malian-Cote d'Ivoire Anti-Trafficking Cooperation Agreement;
4) the National Coordination for Child Protection (CNPE)
created in October 2005 to serve as a think tank and an
implementation body aimed at improving and reinforcing the
protection of children against abuse, trafficking and
economic and sexual exploitation; and 5) the National
Follow-Up Commission set up in July 2006 to followup on the
implementation of the July 2005 Multilateral Anti-Trafficking
Cooperation Agreement between ten West African countries.
The government shares information about its anti-trafficking
efforts available through these five bodies and through
regional and international organizations. It also publicizes
its efforts during events like the World Day against Child
Labor on July 31st. At the government's 2006 event, the
Minister of Civil Service, Labor and Administrative Reform
outlined all of the national-level activities carried out by
the government and international and local NGOs to fight
child trafficking and labor.
3. (SBU) PREVENTION (Para 28, Reftel)
A. The government does fully acknowledge that trafficking is
a problem and unlike in years past, the government has not
been defensive about the issue of child labor and trafficking
in the cocoa sector. The government has also taken an active
role in publicizing the issue at high levels.
ABIDJAN 00000227 006 OF 013
B. There are nine ministries involved in anti-trafficking
efforts with the Ministry of Family and Social Affairs
operating as the lead; in 2006, many of these ministries
created specific anti-trafficking units. The Ministry of
Family and Social Affairs created in 2006 an anti-trafficking
unit within the Department of Social Protection. This unit
coordinates the NCFTCE. The Ministry of Civil Service, Labor
and Administrative Reform created in 2006 an anti-trafficking
unit within the Ministry of Labor. The Ministry of Security
created in 2006 a Department for the Fight against Child
Trafficking and Juvenile Delinquency with the division of
criminal police. This department works closely with the
police brigade that focuses on trafficking of women for
sexual exploitation. The Ministry of Agriculture in 2005
created a unit in charge of coordinating the fight against
trafficking, child labor and exploitation in the cocoa
industry. Within the Ministry of Education, the Autonomous
Department for Literacy handles all the Ministry's
trafficking and child labor prevention programs. Within the
Ministry of Interior, the prefects and the sub-prefects
represent the government outside of the district of Abidjan.
They take the lead in all regional and local government
anti-trafficking initiatives. In the Ministry of Justice,
the Department for Child and Youth Affairs handles matters
related to child trafficking.
In 2006 there was better cooperation than in previous years
between the Ministry of Family and Social Affairs, which
focuses on child protection; the Ministry of Civil Service,
Labor and Administrative Reform, which focuses on the
elimination of child labor and the worst forms of child
trafficking; and the Ministry of Security.
C. In June and July 2006, the Ministry of Family and Social
Affairs and the NCFTCE held public awareness campaigns in
Daloa, Bediala, Issia, Bouafle, Assuefry and Tanda targeting
children at-risk of being trafficked and industries that
employ child labor. They also organized training sessions
for six sub-prefects, four judges, 15 security and defense
officers, 10 Muslim and Christian village chiefs and 10
priests and imams, five primary school inspectors and 20
primary school headmasters, nine heads of central government
administrations, 100 community leaders, one chairman of a
trade association, three agricultural cooperatives, two
leaders of artisan associations and four transportion trade
D. The Ministry of Labor, the ILO and USAID completed the
"West African Project against Abusive Child Labor in
Commercial Agriculture" (WACAP) in September 2006. That
program aimed to increase farmers' awareness, improve
schooling for children, and provide better social services to
families. Nothing yet has replaced it, although cocoa
industry groups are working with the Prime Minister's
Coordination Committee against the Worst Forms of Child
Agricultural Labor to institute a system to monitor and
combat the worst forms of child labor. This system would
synergize with existing child labor sensitizing campaigns
financed and managed by GTZ and a variety of international
NGOs (STCP, Winrock, IFESH, among others).
In December 2006 and January 2007, the Ministry of Family and
Social Affairs and the NCFTCE set up 13 village level
anti-trafficking and child protection committees. They also
gave school supplies to 280 at-risk children to allow them to
attend primary school. The ministry and the NCFTCE also set
up five sub-regional committees. Twenty-five additional
village protection committees are being planned.
Using UNICEF and Save the Children funding, the Ministry of
Family and Social Affairs continues to support community
action centers for children (CACE) under eight who are not
enrolled in school, in Abidjan and in several villages and
town in the hinterland. The purpose of these centers is to
provide care for these children while their parents are
The Ministry of Education continues to support the Community
Education Centers (CEC) established in 2005. The main
missions of the CEC are: 1) to receive the children withdrawn
ABIDJAN 00000227 007 OF 013
from the worst forms of child labor in commercial agriculture
and in particular in the cocoa sector; and 2) to provide
basic education for children. The Ministry of Education
continued in 2006 to carry out its mobile school program
aimed at fighting against the worst forms of child labor as
well as protecting the children working in the sub-regions of
Abengourou, Soubre, Oume, Divo and San Pedro.
At the end of 2006, a total of 6,931 children attending the
special primary education programs created in the villages
and labor settlements had been removed from the farms with
3,046 of them succeeding in being integrated in the formal
school system. The others were able to learn a trade and
benefit from a social and professional reintegration program.
In addition, the Ministry of Education drafted a
sensitization textbook on child labor and child trafficking
and built 6 new primary schools in the sub-regions where the
project was located.
With the financial assistance of the ILO, in March 2006 the
Autonomous Literacy Department of the Ministry of National
Education in the 10 districts of Abidjan as well as in Grand
Bassam, Bonoua and Dabou initiated a program aimed at
preventing, sensitizing, and providing with basic education
and social and professional reinsertion training to 1,200
child labor victims and children at risk of being trafficked.
Among the 1,200 participants, 237 were victims of
trafficking and 394 were at high risk of being trafficked.
The National School for Civil Servants, with the help of the
ILO, continues to include a course on child labor as part of
the curriculum for Workplace Inspectors.
The government also continues to contribute money to the
Institut de Formation et de l'Education Feminine (Institute
for Female Training and Education) centers around the country
where women can take literacy, cooking, and sewing courses
and learn about hygiene and homemaking.
E. The government continues to have good relationships with
international and local NGOs involved in anti-trafficking
efforts. The Ministry of Family and Social Services is
forthcoming and well regarded in its anti-trafficking
interactions with NGOs and other international organizations.
The international NGOs fund most of the activities carried
out by government ministries and agencies, local NGOs and
Interpol. Most local NGOs and international organizations
that are involved in the anti-trafficking fight (except for
ILO) are members of the NCFTCE and cooperation is good.
Since the government does not have shelters around the
country, officials often ask local NGOs for assistance in
offering shelter as well as medical and psychological
assistance to recovered trafficking victims.
F. The government is unable to adequately patrol its long,
porous border. It does not maintain publicly available
statistics on border crossings. Additionally, it is
difficult to know the extent of trafficking across the
northern, ex-rebel-held borders due to the partition of the
country. In late February 2007 PolOff learned anecdotally on
a trip to Odienne with a United Nations humanitarian
delegation that the FN had caught in mid February and
continue to detain a Malian trafficker with five children
headed to plantations further south. In the south, buses
carrying children being trafficked from Ghana to Cote
d'Ivoire are routinely turned away. The border police prefer
to deny entry into Cote d'Ivoire to children traveling with
people who are not their parents, because they often have no
place to put them. To avoid being apprehended, traffickers
sometimes enter Cote d'Ivoire along the coast by boat.
However, the Ministry of Security has instructed police and
gendarmes at various border points to arrest people trying to
bring children into Cote d'Ivoire. In June 2006 Interpol, in
cooperation with GTZ, held a national training seminar on
child trafficking in Abengourou for 30 defense and security
forces officials (gendarmerie, police, customs and forestry)
responsible for border security. The seminar was followed by
four workshops aimed at sharing the findings of the
Abengourou seminar using officers trained at the Abengourou
seminar with a broader group of more than 300 defense and
ABIDJAN 00000227 008 OF 013
security force members operating in areas known as vulnerable
G. The NCFTCE coordinates the efforts of the various
agencies. The government does not have a public corruption
task force but in December 2005, the Prime Minister created a
sub-ministry in charge of good governance.
H. The government finalized its national action plan in May
2006 and is waiting for inter-ministerial approval (Council
of Ministers) and a budget. Representatives from key
ministries played an active role in developing the
anti-trafficking action plan, as did several international
and local NGOs.
4. (SBU) INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF TRAFFICKERS (Para
A. Cote d'Ivoire does not have a specific law prohibiting or
punishing trafficking in persons. There is no specific law
against slavery. The government, however, has drafted and
submitted legislation against trafficking in persons to the
National Assembly. Given the current political crisis, it is
unclear when the National Assembly will be able to act on the
proposed law. The government did not enact any new
legislation during the year. In January 2007 the NCFTCE
drafted a new bill specifically prohibiting trafficking in
persons and child labor. The bill has yet to receive Cabinet
The government can prosecute traffickers under the law
prohibiting kidnapping of children (Penal Code, Article 371).
The government can also use the law prohibiting the removal
(alienation) of a person's freedom (Article 376), receiving
or leaving a person as a financial security (Article 377), or
imposing labor or a service on a person (Article 378).
Mistreatment, torture, and starvation of minors are also
punishable (Article 362). These laws are used in trafficking
cases. Despite this list of statutes and some arrests, the
proposed anti-trafficking law is needed to adequately cover
the full scope of the problem.
In May 2006, in a study entitled "Legal Study of Trafficking
and the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Cote d'Ivoire", the
Ministry of Civil Service, Labor and Administrative Reform
and GTZ asked a judge to compile all the laws that can be
used to try traffickers and those who exploit children's
labor. The study highlighted the following laws:
- All the forms of slavery or similar practices such as
selling, trafficking children, practicing indentured
servitude, bondage, forced labor or compulsory labor are
punishable by the Ivorian Penal Code: Articles 376 to 378 on
forced labor or pawning a child;
- Forced recruitment or compulsory recruitment of children
with a view to using them in armed conflicts is forbidden by
the Military Code;
- Using, recruiting or offering children for prostitution
purposes, for pornographic films, pictures or spectacles is
punished by the penal code, specifically articles 335 to 337
on pimping and inciting minors to vice (sexual exploitation
- Physical violence against minors, depriving minors of food
and care, attempt against children's freedom and life,
kidnapping children are punished by the Penal code. Articles
362, 370 and 371 of the Penal Code and the law relating to
kidnapping are most frequently used in trafficking cases;
- Article 345 of the penal code punishes physical violence
- Articles 354 to 360 of the penal code punish sexual
B. There are currently no specific penalties for trafficking
people for sexual exploitation.
C. There are currently no specific penalties for trafficking
ABIDJAN 00000227 009 OF 013
people for labor exploitation although there are penalties
for forced labor. The government can prosecute traffickers
under the law prohibiting kidnapping of children (Penal Code,
Article 371) which states that anyone who, without fraud or
violence, kidnaps or tries to kidnap a minor can be punished
with one to five years' imprisonment and a fine of 50,000
FCFA (100 USD) to 500,000 FCFA (1,000 USD).
The government can also use the law prohibiting the removal
(alienation) of a person's freedom (Article 376) which
provides for imprisonment for five to 10 years and fines of
500,000 FCFA (1,000 USD) to 5 million FCFA (10,000 USD) for
anyone who enters into a contract in order to alienate,
either for free, or for money, the freedom of a third person.
The defendant gets the maximum sentence when the person
whose freedom has been alienated is less than 15 years old.
The government can also use the law prohibiting leaving a
person as a financial security (Article 377) which provides
for six months to three years imprisonment and fines of
30,000 FCFA (60 USD) to 300,000 FCFA (600 USD) for anyone who
leaves or receives a person as a financial security, for
whatever reason. The prison sentence is five years when the
person left as financial security is under 15.
The government can also use the law prohibiting imposing
labor or a service on a person (Article 378) which provides
for imprisonment from one to five years and fines between
360,000 FCFA (720 USD) and one million FCFA (2,000 USD) for
anyone who forces a minor into a religious or traditional
matrimonial union or imposes labor on someone which he did
not willingly offer to do.
The government can also use the law prohibiting mistreatment,
torture, or starvation of minors (Article 362) which provides
for imprisonment of one to five years and a fine of between
10,000 FCFA (20 USD) and 100,000 FCFA (200 USD) against
anyone who commits violence against a minor or a person who
is unable to protect himself or herself because of his/her
physical or mental state, or voluntarily deprives that person
of food or care to such an extent as to endanger the person's
D. Rape is punishable by five to 20 years imprisonment
(Penal Code Article 354). The sentence becomes life
imprisonment if the perpetrator has one or more accomplices
or is the father, an older relative or a person who has
responsibility for the victim's upbringing, or if the victim
is under 15 years of age. The penalty for statutory rape or
attempted rape of either a girl or a boy under the age of 15
is one to three years in prison and a fine of the equivalent
of 150 USD to 1,500 USD (Penal Code Article 356).
E. There is no law against prostitution as long as it is
between consenting adults and in private. Soliciting a
client is a crime, as is procuring (pimping), even if the
prostitute is an adult. Operating an establishment that is
mainly for prostitution is a crime. The police brigade
charged with combating sexual exploitation uses Articles 334
through 341 to arrest traffickers and pimps involved in the
sexual exploitation of girls and minors (attempts against
good public moral conduct).
- Article 334 provides for one month to two years of
imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 FCFA (60 USD) to 300,000
FCFA (600 USD) to anyone who engages in commercial
pornographic activities and the penalties are double if the
offense is committed against a minor.
- Article 335 makes pimping (whoever helps, assists and
protects or knowingly protects somebody else who commits
prostitution, even if the person is an adult) punishable by
one to five years of imprisonment and a fine of one million
FCFA (2,000 USD) to 10 million FCFA (20,000 USD).
- Article 336 doubles these penalties if the crime is
committed against a person who is under 21; if the crime is
carried out with threats, constraint, blows, or abuse of
authority; if the offense is committed with a firearm; or
committed by the father, mother or any other person having
authority over the person.
ABIDJAN 00000227 010 OF 013
- Article 337 provides for punishment of two to five years of
imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 FCFA (1,000 USD) to five
million FCFA (10,000 USD) for anyone who violates good moral
conduct by inciting, favoring or facilitating vice and
corruption among under 18 years old people of either sex.
- Article 338 provides for imprisonment for 15 days to three
months and a fine of 50,000 FCFA (100 USD) to 500,000 FCFA
(1,000 USD) to whoever, through gestures, words, written
documents or any other means accosts or tries to accost
people of either sex in order to incite them to vice.
- Article 339 provides for two to five years of imprisonment
and a fine of one million FCFA (2,000 USD) to 10 million FCFA
(20,000 USD) to whoever, owns, runs and finances a building
used mainly and partly for prostitution.
- Article 340 provides for six months to two years of
imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 FCFA (1,000 USD) to five
million FCFA (10,000 USD) to whoever knowingly puts private
property or a private place at the disposal of people
The laws on procuring are not well-enforced. While police
officers often receive reports of brothels operating with
trafficked women and children, they say that they are
constrained from following up on these reports by a lack of
police cars. Police also usually do not have any support to
offer victims they rescue. In January 2007 the Minister of
Security publicly stated that there were too many prostitutes
on the streets of Abidjan. The police vice brigade charged
with combating sexual exploitation and morality arrested
dozens of prostitutes, but because prison guards were on
strike, the police were forced to release them.
NGOs have reported that the security forces often use their
position to exploit prostitutes. The local NGO, Movement of
Nid, that operates in the district of Yopougon, an area
frequented by prostitutes and their clients, reports that
foreign prostitutes who do not have the proper identity paper
are often forced to have sex with police to avoid going to
jail. The security forces are also frequently customers of
the same brothels that they are charged with dismantling.
F. In 2006 several traffickers and pimps were arrested and
jailed although information on their sentences was
For example, four buses carrying Burkinabe, Malian and
Beninese children trafficked to work in farms in Soubre were
stopped and about 61 children aged 9 to 17 were found. Two
traffickers were arrested and jailed.
In 2006, the Abidjan police vice brigade arrested and brought
before the Public Prosecutor 13 men from Nigeria, Ghana and
Burkina for pimping.
One Nigerian trafficker was arrested and brought before the
public prosecutor for using a room for prostitution purposes
On April 4, 2006, the Abidjan police unit in charge of the
fight against child trafficking and juvenile delinquency
arrested and jailed two Nigerian traffickers. The
17-year-old victims who had been trafficked to Cote d'Ivoire
for sexual exploitation were handed over to a Nigerian NGO,
the Esan Family, for repatriation assistance.
On August 28, 2006, the child trafficking police unit
arrested two Nigerian traffickers who had brought in four
Nigerian girls for prostitution. The girls were handed over
to the Esan Family for assistance in repatriation back to
Nigeria and the two traffickers were arrested and jailed.
On January 16, 2007, the child trafficking police unit
arrested two Nigerian traffickers, including one woman.
G. According to various sources, the people involved in the
transnational trafficking trade are transporters and other
traffickers from the countries of origin of the children.
ABIDJAN 00000227 011 OF 013
There is no information on who may be orchestrating any
larger network. The people receiving the victims (especially
children) are usually people from the same country as the
people being trafficked. The police anti-trafficking
department and the police brigade for sexual exploitation are
aware of the possible existence of Moroccan and Asian sex
trafficking networks. To date they have not fully
investigated, citing the extremely closed nature of the Arab
and Asian communities in Abidjan, which they say makes it
very difficult to infiltrate these communities clandestinely.
The people involved in internal domestic trafficking are
almost all Ivorians, and are usually known to the children's
parents. The traffickers are not known to work in large
groups or networks. There are no reports that employment,
travel and tourism agencies or marriage brokers are used to
traffic individuals. There are no reports indicating that
profits from trafficking in persons are being channeled to
other persons or entities.
There is no evidence that government officials are directly
implicated in trafficking in persons.
H. Very rarely does the government conduct in-depth
investigations of cases of trafficking. As mentioned
elsewhere, the government's ability to devote resources to
trafficking has diminished since the onset of the rebellion.
Furthermore, police officers have very few resources
available, usually not even a government vehicle, to conduct
their official duties. There is no information that the
government used undercover electronic means to investigate
trafficking (or any other crime) or have offered immunity
from prosecution to potential witnesses. There is no
procedure, code, or law prohibiting police from engaging in
I. Unlike in previous years, the government with the
technical and/or financial assistance of Interpol, ILO, GTZ
and Save the Children did provide specialized training for
government officials in 2006.
J. The multilateral agreement mentioned in section 27A calls
for cross-border cooperation in the investigation of child
trafficking networks and the prosecution of traffickers. At
the time of this report, however, there had not been any
instances of international cooperation on trafficking.
K. The government has not extradited suspected traffickers.
To date, authorities arrest, try, and require traffickers to
serve their sentence in Cote d'Ivoire before sending them out
of the country. The multilateral agreement referred to in
section 22A calls for extradition to signatory countries.
There is no law prohibiting Ivorians from being extradited.
L. There is no evidence that government officials were
directly implicated in trafficking. However, as many law
enforcement and public officials are open to bribery and
other corruption, some government officials may have been
complicit in trafficking.
N. Cote d'Ivoire is not known to be a source or destination
country for child sex tourism.
O. The government has ratified the following international
- ILO Convention 182 concerning the prohibition and immediate
action for the elimination of the worst forms of child labor
- ILO Convention 29 on forced or compulsory labor (November
- ILO Convention 105 on forced or compulsory labor (May 5,
- The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of
the Child (CRC) (1991). The Council of Ministers signed the
Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child
ABIDJAN 00000227 012 OF 013
Prostitution, and Child Pornography at the end of 2004 and it
must now go to parliament.
- The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in
Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN
Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, has not
been signed or ratified.
5. (SBU) PROTECTION AND ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS (Para 30,
A. The government, in general, does not have special centers
for victims. The government seeks the help of local NGOs
that have centers and can provide shelter, medical and
psychological assistance to the victims. However, government
practices have evolved in recent years. Historically, police
have sent rescued children to the police academy in Abidjan.
More frequently, the police now call the Ministry of Family
and Social Services or an NGO to take care of the child.
With funds provided by the USDOL through ILO, the Ministry of
Family and Social Affairs sent out a team to the countryside
in February 2007 to assess government social centers in order
to begin rehabilitating these centers for shelters in areas
where anti-trafficking programs already exist. The ICI has
also promised funding for this effort.
B. The government does not provide funding to foreign or
domestic NGOs for services to victims. The government asks
international NGOs to give money to local NGOs that have the
capacity to provide services to the victims and encourages
international NGOs to conduct anti-trafficking campaigns.
The government has given both GTZ and BICE a building and
free utilities to support their anti-trafficking activities.
The government has also assigned two civil servant social
workers to work with the social services NGO Abel Community
in Grand Bassam. In Bonoua, the mayor and deputy mayor have
assigned their assistants to work with the watch groups and
provided an office and a room to accommodate the child
victims until they are picked up by Abel Community.
C. In February 2007, the government adopted formal
procedures for identifying and caring for child victims of
D. Trafficking victims are not usually held in detention
centers or arrested, but some are prosecuted on a
case-by-case basis for offenses such as illegal prostitution
or documentary fraud. On several occasions, trafficked
children were kept in police custody in centers for young
delinquents because the police officers did not know where
else to keep them. Victims who do not want to be repatriated
are not deported and some NGOs provide them with vocational
E. The government does not encourage or discourage victims
from assisting in the investigation and prosecution of
trafficking. Usually traffickers are caught "red-handed"
("flagrant delit") so victims do not need to appear in court.
In less clear-cut cases, the absence of a law against
trafficking complicates the legal procedure and limits the
tools available to victims, prosecutors and law enforcement
authorities for recourse.
There is no program of witness protection or program of
restitution. Moreover, foreign victims who are material
witnesses in court cases against former employers must leave
the country if they cannot find other employment. If the
victim is an adult, the victim can file a complaint. If the
victim is a child, the police usually attempt to return the
child to his/her family or to a community member.
F. No special protection is given beyond what is normally
given to witnesses in other criminal cases. The government
does not run any shelters but it has placed a building at the
disposal of BICE that they have converted into a shelter for
children. If shelter or other benefits are needed for
victims, the government refers the case to an NGO. NGOs
provide food, psychological counseling, medical care and
repatriation assistance. If the government asks
International Organization for Migration (IOM) to assist with
repatriation, usually IOM and UNICEF share the cost. The
ABIDJAN 00000227 013 OF 013
consular officials of the victims' home countries are
notified but most embassies provide little if any support for
the repatriation of their nationals.
G. The government conducted training sessions for government
and security officials during the year with the financial and
technical support of international NGOs and Interpol. The
government does not provide training on protection to its
embassies and consulates in foreign countries.
H. There was no formal government assistance for repatriated
nationals who were victims of trafficking.
I. Several international organizations and NGOs work on
trafficking issues in Cote d'Ivoire, including Save the
Children UK and Sweden, UNICEF, GTZ, BICE, IOM and the ILO.
Local NGOs include Afrique Secours Assistance (ASA), the Abel
Community, the Movement of Nid, the Amigo Doume Foundation,
and Cote d'Ivoire Prosperity. As noted above, the government
cooperates with NGOs but provides little material support to
these NGOs due to a lack of funding.
International NGOs provide the majority of funding to local
NGOs to assist victims of trafficking. Services include
counseling, literacy courses, medical care, reuniting victims
with their families in Cote d'Ivoire, and repatriating
END TRAFFICKING RESPONSES.
6. Mission point of contact is FS O4 PolOff Laura
Taylor-Kale. Direct line: (225)22-49-45-70, fax:
(225)22-49-40-20 or email: Taylor-KaleLD@state.gov.
Estimated number of hours spent by PolOff and PolFSN
Specialist on the 2007 TIP Report is 120 hours.