Cablegate: Cote D'ivoire: 2008 Trafficking in Persons Report

DE RUEHAB #0138/01 0631613
R 031613Z MAR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Cote d'Ivoire is beginning to emerge from a
five-year crisis during which the country was divided in two,
with government forces controlling the southern half of the
country and rebel forces, known as the New Forces (NF), in
control of the north. President Laurent Gbagbo and New
Forces leader Guillaume Soro signed the Ouagadougou Political
Agreement (OPA) in March 2007 and a new government was formed
in April 2007 with Soro as Prime Minister. Although
implementation of the OPA, which is designed to be a roadmap
out of the crisis, has begun and the President and Prime
Minister have said that they are committed to holding
presidential elections in 2008, the political situation has
not yet returned to normal. The economy has stagnated as a
result of the political crisis and government revenues have
failed to keep up with rising expenditures, creating severe
budgetary pressures. 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.


A. Cote d'Ivoire is primarily a country of destination for
international trafficking of women and children. It 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. They are also trafficked from several other
countries, including primarily Nigeria as well as China,
Ukraine and the Philippines, 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 former
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 in families due to the civil conflict that divided
the country. Girls are trafficked from the former NF-held
territories to Abidjan and other cities in the south of the
country 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

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 adult
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 NGOs and
international organizations like Interpol believe that
trafficking of women for sexual exploitation is increasing
while child trafficking is starting to decrease. Several
studies to determine the scope of the problem were completed
in 2006. The GTZ/LTTE (German Technical Cooperation Office
for the Fight against Trafficking and the Worst Forms of
Child labor) and Cote d'Ivoire Prosperite, a local NGO which
provides social and health services to young girls trafficked
into prostitution, carried out a study entitled "Child
Prostitution and the Trafficking Networks in the Districts of
Yopougon and Adjame in 2006." The study, published in

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February 2007, revealed that 85 percent of the girls were
minors and that more Ivoirian girls have now been trafficked
into prostitution than foreign girls, a likely consequence of
the political crisis in Cote d'Ivoire (53 percent of the
girls in the study were Ivoirian, 33 percent Nigerian and the
rest were of other nationalities). The study also revealed
that 48 percent of the girls lived with their pimps, 17
percent with their parents and 23 percent with friends.
Twenty-nine percent had never attended school, 38 percent had
attended primary school and 28 percent had attended secondary
school. The study also assessed the 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 were
under constant threat of physical violence and police

B. Cote d'Ivoire remains a source and destination country
for child labor trafficking and a source and transit country
for trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation.
Women and girls 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, 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 surrounding areas and work for a few days or
months in order to generate enough money to pay for tickets
and identity documents and to 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
withhold travel and identity documents, threaten the victims
and use physical violence.

While international traffickers are increasingly seen as
organized crime networks, domestic child labor and sex
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.

According to various sources, persons involved in the
transnational trafficking trade are transporters and other
traffickers from the countries of origin of the children.
There is no information on who may be orchestrating any
larger network. Those receiving the victims (especially
children) are usually from the same country as the persons
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 report makes it very difficult to
infiltrate these communities clandestinely. In 2007 Interpol
reported a link between drug trafficking and trafficking in
women for sexual exploitation. They noted that Lebanese
merchants in Abidjan have heroin trafficking networks that
also transport women to Europe for prostitution.

Persons involved in internal domestic trafficking are almost
all Ivoirians 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.

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In 2007 the government continued its efforts to collect data
on child trafficking victims. As in previous years, NGOs and
government authorities attribute increased identification of
trafficked children on the training seminars held in 2006 and
2007 for law enforcement authorities that sensitized police
and border officials in identifying and reporting child
trafficking. NGOs and government also credit the creation of
village level anti-trafficking committees and the work of the
National Committee for the Fight Against Trafficking and
Child Exploitation (NCFTCE) for the detection of child labor
trafficking victims. 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.

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. Before the redeployment of the civil
administration beginning in June 2007 and the start of the
audiences foraines in September 2007 (public mobile courts to
issue birth certificates to those over age 13 who were not
registered), the lack of government presence in the north
meant that children could not receive official certificates.
Moreover, in small villages throughout the country, poor,
uneducated parents often do not even request birth
certificates for their children. Children who have never
attended school or have dropped out of school are also at
risk. The government refused to administer school exams in
the former New Forces-held zone for three years, resulting in
a higher incidence of children not attending school or
dropping out. All of these factors make the children of the
north especially vulnerable to trafficking. In January 2007,
the government administered school exams for the first time
since the rebel movement split the country in 2002 and, in
August 2007, did so concurrently in the north and south for
the first time since 2002.

In 2006, NGOs noted that Cote d'Ivoire became a country of
origin for regional child trafficking because of the crisis
and increasing poverty. In 2007, there continued to be
reports of young Ivoirian girls being sent to Gabon to work
as domestic servants.

While in recent years international pressure and press
coverage has drawn attention to child labor and trafficking
in the cocoa sector, the Ministry of Labor reports that the
most common victims of internal trafficking are young girls
brought to Abidjan to perform domestic labor. In the cocoa
sector, smaller Ivoirian farmers generally use their own
children as farm hands while Ivoirians who own larger areas
(individually or held communally) either rent land to men
from the north, Burkina Faso and other neighboring countries,
or employ such men as laborers. Children trafficked to
perform labor in the cocoa sector are most commonly found on
larger farms cultivated by persons 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
familial or kinship bonds existed. These complex
relationship patterns make it difficult to estimate the
overall magnitude of trafficked children in the cocoa sector.

Western Cote d'Ivoire hosts a significant population of
refugees and internally displaced children who may be more
vulnerable to trafficking and other forms of exploitation.
Many children in this region, 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 this region 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

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receives at least 10 percent of the child's wages.

Many Ivoirians are still grappling with the difference
between children helping their parents on family farms, and
child trafficking that involves the worst forms of child
labor, but the political will to combat trafficking in
persons appears to have grown despite the fact that the
country's leaders remain preoccupied with the political
crisis. The international press first drew the attention of
Ivoirians to the phenomenon of trafficking in Cote d'Ivoire
with reports of Malian boys working in slave-like conditions
on cocoa farms. Today, Ivoirians are much less defensive
about negative international reports about trafficking and
officials have acknowledged publicly that a problem exists
and must be dealt with. This is a welcome change from the
previous approach of dismissing negative reports as a way to
"discredit" Cote d'Ivoire.

One of the underlying causes of the ongoing political crisis
is directly related to how the cocoa sector in Cote d'Ivoire
has traditionally operated. "Allogenes" (foreigners and
native peoples from the north) form communities in the
southern and western 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,
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, which frequently have worse conditions of
poverty, to work. Given these factors, it is difficult to
classify these persons, both those brought in from other
countries as well as the children of the allogene cocoa
farmers, in standard trafficking terms.

C. President Gbagbo and Prime Minister Soro have both stated
publicly their commitment to ending the worst forms of child
labor in the cocoa sector. The government bureaucracy is
trying to address the problem of trafficking but has been
given very meager resources to work with. 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. In 2006, the Ministry of Family and
Social Affairs created an anti-trafficking unit within the
Department of Social Protection. This unit coordinates the
National Committee for the Fight against Trafficking and
Child Exploitation (NCFTCE). In 2006, the Ministry of Labor
and Public Administration created an anti-trafficking unit
within the ministry. In 2006, the Ministry of Interior
created a Department for the Fight against Child Trafficking
and Juvenile Delinquency within the division of criminal
police. In 2006 and 2007, this department worked closely
with the police unit that focuses on trafficking of women for
sexual exploitation (vice brigade). In January 2007 the
child trafficking unit took over the child protection
portfolio of the vice brigade. In 2005, the Ministry of
Agriculture 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 2007 there continued to be greater government engagement
in the fight against trafficking. The Ministry of Family and
Social Affairs through the NCFTCE maintained a staff of
professional civil servants focused solely on child
trafficking. In February 2007, the NCFTCE and the Ministry
of Family and Social Affairs adopted standard operating
procedures for all actors - NGOs, law enforcement officials,
etc. - that work in trafficking. The Ministry of Interior
maintains the department for child trafficking, child
protection, and juvenile delinquency that was created in 2006
within the criminal police division to centralize information
received from and activities carried out by the police

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throughout the country. Local government officials, as well
as judges, social workers and law enforcement officials,
continue to participate in the training workshops offered by
Interpol and GTZ, the German government's international
assistance agency. In February 2007, the Ministries of
Family and Social Affairs and Labor and Public
Administration, along with their NGO partners, proposed a
bill outlawing child trafficking and the worst forms of child
labor. The bill awaits approval by the Council of Ministers.
If the Council of Ministers approves it, the President can
sign it into law by decree. Unfortunately, the mandate of
Cote d'Ivoire's legislature expired in December 2005 and
legislative elections have not been held. The Minister of
Justice and Human Rights has stated that he prefers that such
a bill be enacted by vote in the National Assembly rather
than Presidential decree. In 2007, the government adopted a
national action plan to eliminate child labor and

D. The government's ability to address the problem of
trafficking is hampered by: lack of training of law
enforcement officials and judges, lack of financial resources
to NGOs assisting victims and law enforcement officials
charged with investigating and detecting trafficking,
corruption, and the absence of a comprehensive
anti-trafficking law. Because of the ongoing political
crisis and continuing high security-related expenditures, the
Government of Cote d'Ivoire faces a tight fiscal situation
and lacks the resources necessary to adequately support
anti-trafficking programs. Most of the programs carried out
by the government in 2007 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 has experienced negative net growth since the crisis
began in 2002. Moreover, even if positive, recent economic
growth has depended on rising oil and gas revenue, which have
a limited effect in stimulating employment and broader
development. Despite these severe budgetary problems, the
government hopes to allocate additional resources to
anti-trafficking efforts. In the 2008 budget the government
has allocated 4.3 million USD of the 7 million USD needed to
implement the Government's national action plan to eliminate
child labor and trafficking. The Minister of Labor and
Public Administration is asking for an additional 3.7 million
USD from international partners.

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 internationally-funded NGOs to learn how
to identify traffickers and treat 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 repatriation.

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
an anti-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.

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

E. The government monitors its anti-trafficking efforts
through the following organs: 1) the National Committee for

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the Fight Against Trafficking and Child Exploitation
(NCFTCE); 2) the Ministry of Interior Department of Criminal
Police's anti-trafficking unit; 3) the follow-up committee
set up to monitor the Mali-Cote d'Ivoire Anti-Trafficking
Cooperation Agreement; 4) the National Commission 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 monitor
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.

In 2007, the NCFTCE provided training to the 13 local
committees it set up in 2006 and early 2007 in villages in
Daloa, Bediala, Issia, Bouafle and Asuefry. Additional local
and regional committees were set up in other regions with the
support of GTZ and UNICEF. These committees are charged with
conducting 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 uses the information collected from the
village and sub-regional committees to track domestic child
trafficking trends.

The NCFTCE gathers information for their database on child
trafficking from the Ministry of Interior through the police
(the border police, criminal police and the division in
charge of the child trafficking, child protection and
juvenile delinquency) as well as the mayors and prefects and
sub-prefects who represent the government bureaucracy in the
interior of the country; and the Ministry of Family and
Social Affairs (social workers and specially trained


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 drafted and submitted
legislation against trafficking in persons to the National
Assembly in April 2002, but it was not adopted before the
rebellion took place in September 2002. The mandate of the
legislature ended in December 2005 and legislative elections
have not yet been held.

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 these statutes and some arrests, the
government acknowledges that an anti-trafficking law is
needed to adequately investigate and prosecute trafficking.

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 Ivoirian Penal Code: Articles 376 to 378 on
forced labor or pawning a child;

- Forced recruitment or compulsory recruitment of children

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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
of children);

- 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
and injury;

- Articles 354 to 360 of the penal code punish sexual

B. There are currently no specific penalties for trafficking
in persons for sexual exploitation.

C. There are currently no specific penalties for trafficking
in persons 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 (111 USD) to 500,000 FCFA (1,111 USD).

The government can also use the law prohibiting the denial of
a person's freedom (Article 376) which provides for
imprisonment for five to 10 years and fines of 500,000 FCFA
(1,111 USD) to 5 million FCFA (11,111 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
receives the maximum sentence when the person whose freedom
has been denied is less than 15 years old.

The government can also use the law prohibiting treating a
person as property (Article 377) which provides
for six months to three years imprisonment and fines of
30,000 FCFA (67 USD) to 300,000 FCFA (667 USD) for anyone who
leaves or receives a person as property, for whatever reason.
The prison sentence is five years when the
victim is under 15.

The government can also use the law prohibiting forced labor
or a service on a person (Article 378) which provides
for imprisonment from one to five years and fines between
360,000 FCFA (800 USD) and one million FCFA (2,222 USD) for
anyone who forces a minor into a religious or traditional
marriage or forces labor on someone.

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 (22 USD) and 100,000 FCFA (222 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 75,000 FCFA (167 USD) to 750,000 FCFA (1,667 USD) (Penal
Code Article 356).

E. There is no law criminalizing prostitution. Prostitution
is seen as legal as long as it is between consenting adults

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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 (67 USD) to 300,000
FCFA (667 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 (2,222 USD) to 10 million FCFA (22,222 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.

- Article 337 provides for punishment of two to five years of
imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 FCFA (1,111 USD) to five
million FCFA (11,111 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 (111 USD) to 500,000 FCFA
(1,111 USD) to whoever, through gestures, words, written
documents or any other means accosts or tries to accost
persons 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 (2,222 USD) to 10 million FCFA
(22,222 USD) to whoever, owns, runs and finances a building
used mainly for prostitution.

- Article 340 provides for six months to two years of
imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 FCFA (1,111 USD) to five
million FCFA (11,111 USD) to whoever knowingly puts private
property at the disposal of persons committing prostitution.

Laws regarding pimping 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
vehicles. Police also usually do not have any support to
offer victims that they rescue. In late 2007 the Ministry of
Interior transferred the responsibility for child sexual
exploitation from the Abidjan Vice Unit to the child
trafficking unit. Previous police commissioners for both
units were sensitized to the issue of trafficking in women
and children for labor and sexual exploitation. The current
police commissioner in charge of child trafficking and
protection does not even acknowledge that trafficking of
girls and or women for sexual exploitation is a major
problem. NGOs have reported that the security forces often
use their position to exploit prostitutes. A local NGO,
Movement of Nid, that operates in the Abidjan district of
Yopougon, an area frequented by prostitutes and their
clients, reports that foreign prostitutes who do not have
proper identity documents are often forced to have sex with
police to avoid going to jail. There are reports that
members of the security forces are also customers of the same
brothels that they are charged with dismantling.

F. In 2007, several traffickers and pimps were arrested and
jailed although information on their sentences was
unavailable. Very rarely does the government conduct
in-depth investigations of cases of trafficking. The police
lack the resources necessary, such as vehicles, to
effectively do their jobs. There is no information that the
government used undercover electronic means to investigate

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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
covert operations.

For example, from April 2007 to January 2008, official police
records show that a total of 135 trafficked children were
intercepted and repatriated and 12 traffickers were arrested.

In August 2007, police arrested the president of the Beninese
community in Daloa for trafficking 25 Beninese children for
work on plantations. The children were turned over to the
Beninese consulate for repatriation assistance.

G. The government, with the technical and/or financial
assistance of Interpol, ILO, and GTZ provided specialized
training for government officials in 2007.

H. Cote d'Ivoire signed in July 2005 the Multilateral
Anti-Trafficking Cooperation Agreement with nine other West
African countries. The agreement 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.

I. 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 Anti-Trafficking
Cooperation Agreement calls for extradition to signatory
countries. There is no law prohibiting Ivoirians from being

J. There is no evidence that government officials were
directly implicated in trafficking. However, there are
allegations that many law enforcement and public officials
are open to bribery and other types of corruption. No
government officials have been directly implicated in
trafficking in persons.

K. N/A

L. N/A

M. Cote d'Ivoire is not known to be a source or destination
country for child sex tourism.


A. The government does not assist foreign trafficking
victims by providing temporary or permanent residency status.
Most foreign trafficked children are returned to local
representatives of their communities, or are repatriated with
the assistance of their consulates, the International
Organization for Migration (IOM), UNICEF, or a local NGO.

B. In general, the government does not have special centers
for trafficking victims. The government seeks the help of
local NGOs that have centers and can provide shelter, medical
and psychological assistance to the victims.

C. The government does not provide funding to foreign or
domestic NGOs for services to victims. The government asks
international NGOs to give funding to local NGOs that have
the capacity to provide services to victims and encourages
international NGOs to conduct anti-trafficking campaigns.
However, the number of international NGOs and bilateral
donors with resources available for anti-trafficking programs
is limited due to bilateral and multilateral sanctions in
place against Cote d'Ivoire. The government has given both
GTZ and BICE a building and free utilities to support their
anti-trafficking activities. The government also assigns
civil servant social workers to work with the social services
NGOs. 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 child victims until they
are picked up by an NGO.

ABIDJAN 00000138 010 OF 012

D. In February 2007, the government adopted formal
procedures for identifying and caring for child labor
trafficking victims. The government and larger NGOs like
BICE and international organizations like UNICEF and IOM have
increased their coordination in the referral process but
smaller, local NGOs complain that they do not receive
information in time to aid victims and sometimes children
flee from police custody. The government is focused on child
labor trafficking particularly in the cocoa sector. There is
little special attention paid to identifying victims of
trafficking for sexual exploitation.

E. The government has no mechanism for screening trafficking
victims among commercial sex workers.

F. Government officials view trafficking as a child
protection issue. As such, the priority is to return
children to their families whether in Cote d'Ivoire or in a
foreign country. In previous years, trafficked children were
kept in police custody in centers for young delinquents
because the police officers did not have another facility
available. In 2007, there were no such reports, but the lack
of shelter for victims in police custody until NGOs took over
the cases remained a problem. Victims who do not want to be
repatriated are not deported and some NGOs provide them with
vocational training. Government officials, particularly the
police, do not see adults as victims of trafficking since
adults are able to give consent to their circumstances or are
capable of escape. 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 document fraud.

G. The government does not encourage or discourage victims
from assisting in the investigation and prosecution of
trafficking. Usually traffickers are caught "red-handed" 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.

There is no witness protection or restitution program.
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, he can file a complaint. If the victim
is a child, the police usually attempt to return him to his
family or to a community member.

H. No special protection is provided beyond what is normally
provided to witnesses in other criminal cases. The
government does not run any shelters but it has given BICE a
building that BICE has converted into a shelter for children.
However, BICE reports that the Ministry of Justice and Human
Rights has been trying to take back the building for the
Ministry's use. BICE continues to resist. If shelter or
other assistance 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 requests assistance with repatriation from IOM,
IOM and UNICEF usually share the cost. The consular
officials of the victims' countries are notified but most
embassies provide little if any support for the repatriation
of their nationals.

I. The government conducted training sessions for government
and security officials during the year with the financial and
technical support of international NGOs and Interpol. There
was continued improvement in 2007 in the law enforcement
authorities' attention to child labor trafficking. As a
result, routine government reporting of child trafficking
increased. In April 2007, Interpol and GTZ conducted the
first of two bilateral training workshops on trafficking for
Ivoirian and Ghanaian police officers. The program trained
20 officers in total. The government does not provide
training on protection to its embassies and consulates in
foreign countries.

J. There was no formal government assistance for repatriated
nationals who were victims of trafficking.

ABIDJAN 00000138 011 OF 012

K. 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 Prosperite. 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
foreign victims.


A. The government does fully acknowledge that trafficking is
a problem and, unlike in years past, in 2007 the government
was not as defensive about the issue of child labor and
trafficking in the cocoa sector. The government at high
levels has also taken an active role in publicizing the issue.

B. In early 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 funding from UNICEF and Save the Children, the Ministry
of Family and Social Affairs continues to support Community
Action Centers for Children (Centres d'Accueil Communautaire
Enfantine - CACE) under eight who are not enrolled in school
in Abidjan as well as in other towns and villages. The
purpose of these centers is to provide care for these
children while their parents are working.

The Ministry of Education continues to support the Community
Education Centers (Centres Educative Communautaire - CEC)
established in 2005. The
mandate of the CEC is: 1) to receive children removed from
the worst forms of child labor in commercial agriculture, in
particular the cocoa sector; and 2) to provide basic
education for children. In 2007, the Ministry of Education
continued to carry out its mobile school program aimed at
combating 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.

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 continues to contribute funds to the Institute
for Women's Training and Education (Institut de Formation et
de l'Education Feminine) centers around the country where
women can take literacy, cooking, and sewing courses and
learn about hygiene and homemaking.

C. The government continues to maintain relationships with
international and local NGOs involved in anti-trafficking
efforts. The Ministry of Family and Social Services is
forthcoming and well regarded for its anti-trafficking
efforts with NGOs and international organizations.
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 with larger
NGOs. Smaller NGOs have complained about coordination.
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.

D. The government is unable to adequately patrol its long,

ABIDJAN 00000138 012 OF 012

porous borders. It does not maintain publicly available
statistics on border crossings. Additionally, it has
remained difficult to know the extent of trafficking across
the borders in the northern part of the country, which has
remained under the effective control of the NF since 2002.
The border police prefer to deny entry into Cote d'Ivoire to
children traveling with persons other than their parents,
because they often have no place to put them.

However, the Ministry of Interior has instructed police and
gendarmes at various border points to arrest persons trying
to bring children into Cote d'Ivoire. In June and November
2007, ICI held five training seminars on child trafficking in
the cocoa producing regions of San Pedro, Divo, Gagnoa,
Guiglo and Daloa for a total of 137 officers of the security
and defenses forces (gendarmerie, police, customs and
forestry). In August 2007, Interpol with the financial
support of GTZ, trained 20 police prefects from ten regions
in Grand Bassam. In August 2007, GTZ and Interpol also
trained 17 members of the union of truckers in Soubre on
identifying child trafficking victims. To avoid being
apprehended, traffickers sometimes enter Cote d'Ivoire along
the coast by boat.

E. The NCFTCE coordinates the efforts of the various
agencies. The government does not have a public corruption
task force. In December 2005, then Prime Minister Banny
created a sub-ministry in charge of good governance. This
sub-ministry was eliminated in the government that Prime
Minister Soro created in March 2007.

F. The government approved a national plan of action to
address child trafficking and the worst forms of child labor
in November 2007. The plan has a 7 million USD budget
designed to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in 50
percent of all industries. Representatives from key
ministries played an active role in developing the
anti-trafficking action plan, as did several international
and local NGOs.

G. The government has made little effort to reduce the
demand for commercial sex acts. In February 2008, the
Director of Criminal Police noted to Poloff that the police
plan and occasionally execute raids of bars but they have no
statistics available.

H. N/A

I. N/A

6. (SBU) Mission point of contact is FP-04 PolOff Laura
Taylor-Kale. Direct line: (225)22-49-45-70, fax:
(225)22-49-40-20 or email:

7. (SBU) Poloff spent approximately 60 hours on the 2008 TIP
report. PolFSN Specialist spent approximately 20 hours on
the 2008 TIP report.

© Scoop Media

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