Cablegate: Report On Child Labor and Forced Labor
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHAB #0053/01 0341503
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031502Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0084
INFO ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 10 ABIDJAN 000053
DOL/ILAB FOR LAYLA STROTKAMP, RACHEL RIGBY, AND TINA MCCARTER
DRL/ILCSR FOR SARAH MORGAN
G/TIP FOR LUIS CDEBACA.
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EAGR EIND ETRD ECON PHUM SOCI KTIP IV
SUBJECT: Report on Child Labor and Forced Labor
REF: A) 09 STATE 131997; B) 08 STATE 43120; C) 08 ABIDJAN 366
D) 09 ABIDJAN 36; E) 09 ABIDJAN 457
1. In response to ref A and in accordance with the Trafficking
Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2005 and the
Trade and Development Act (TDA) of 2000, post provides the
following information on child labor and forced labor in Cote
2. In a June 2008 response to the Department's request for
information related to the TVPRA (ref B), post reported on relevant
labor issues in the production of a number of commodities: cocoa,
coffee, rubber, palm oil, commercial fruit (primarily bananas,
pineapples, and papayas), rice, cotton, diamonds, gold, and fish
(ref C). Subsequently, post submitted additional information
related to labor in gold mining (ref D).
3. In September 2009, the Department of Labor's Bureau of
International Labor Affairs (ILAB) placed Ivoirian cocoa and coffee
appear on the TVPRA list. Therefore, per ref A instructions, this
cable does not address labor issues in the cocoa or coffee sector
as they relate to TVPRA.
4. In order to develop more information on other Ivoirian goods
that post believes might be produced by forced labor or child labor
in violation of international standards, post consulted with
representatives of the following organizations: the International
Labor Organization's International Program on the Elimination of
Child Labor (ILO-IPEC), the International Organization for
Migration (IOM), Save the Children UK, the International Cocoa
Initiative Foundation (ICI), the Ministry of Agriculture, and the
Payson Center for International Development at Tulane University
(which, under a U.S. Department of Labor contract, researches and
reports on child-labor issues in the Ivoirian and Ghanaian cocoa
5. Based on these discussions, post does not believe there have
been any significant changes in labor practices or government
response to them since post's submission of ref C in June 2008.
Additionally, we are unaware of any publications or studies of
child labor or forced labor in the production of any Ivoirian
commodities--with the exception of cocoa-- since 2007. In fact,
there is a general dearth of information on labor practices in any
sector of the Ivoirian economy other than cocoa.
6. In response to ref A, post provides the following information
with regard to TDA. Post's responses are keyed to ref A outline.
2A) PREVALENCE AND SECTORAL DISTRIBUTION OF EXPLOITIVE CHILD LABOR:
1. In what sectors (not related to the production of goods)
were children involved in exploitive labor (such as domestic
ABIDJAN 00000053 002 OF 010
service, street vending, and/or child prostitution)?
Children worked in the informal sector as apprentices, laborers,
shoe shiners, porters, street vendors, and car washers or watchers.
Boys were sometimes employed to assist with trash collection and
removal, and young girls were commonly employed as domestic
servants in private homes. There were reports that some minors
engaged in child prostitution for survival.
2. Since DOL uses standardized data in its reporting, Posts
are not requested to obtain child labor or education statistics.
However, Posts are requested to determine if the government
collected or published data on exploitive child labor during the
period, and, if so, whether the government would provide the data
set to DOL for further analysis.
The Ministry of Labor is currently compiling data collected by the
Ivoirian National Institute of Statistics for a report it will
publish on all activities implemented by the government, NGOs, and
other partners on child trafficking and child labor for the
2000-2009 period. The report will also feature recommendations for
2010-2013. Ministry of Labor representatives had not yet decided
on whether the data set would be shared with outside partners;
however, in the past, official reports have been made available to
2B) LAWS AND REGULATIONS: Please answer the following questions
using the standards provided in paras 27 and 28. Please note that,
with the exception of newly enacted laws, DOL is not requesting
information on the laws and regulations themselves (in most cases
DOL already has these), but rather
for post's analysis and evaluation of adequacy, improvement over
time, and gaps. This is a key change from DOL taskings in previous
1. What new laws or regulations were enacted in regard to
exploitive child labor over the past year? If applicable, were the
changes improvements in the legal and regulatory framework?
There were no new laws or regulations enacted in regard to
exploitive child labor over the past year.
2. Based on the standards in paras 27 and 28, was the
country/territory's legal and regulatory framework adequate for
addressing exploitive child labor? Examples of indicators of an
inadequate framework include instances in which children have been
found working in hazardous conditions, but the sector in which they
were working is exempted from minimum age laws; cases in which boys
are being exploited as prostitutes, but the law only prohibits
female prostitution; or cases in which there are prohibitions
against exploitive child labor, but penalties are too weak to serve
The country's legal and regulatory framework is inadequate for
addressing exploitive child labor, as there are no specific laws
which prohibit child trafficking or the worst forms of child labor.
A draft law intended to prohibit these abuses was submitted to the
National Assembly for adoption in April 2002. However, the law was
not adopted before a failed coup d'etat-turned-rebellion split the
country in half in September 2002. The draft bill continues to
remain stalled at the Council of Ministers, which must review it
before the National Assembly votes on it; furthermore, the National
Assembly's mandate expired in 2005.
2C) INSTITUTIONS AND MECHANISMS FOR ENFORCEMENT- hazardous child
labor and forced child labor: Posts are requested to answer the
ABIDJAN 00000053 003 OF 010
following questions for both hazardous child labor and forced child
labor (see definitions, paras 24 and 25). Posts are requested to
respond with two distinct sections (i.e., Post should answer all
questions one time for "hazardous child labor" and one time for
"forced child labor"). Responses regarding hazardous child labor
should be entitled "2C, Section I: Hazardous child labor," with
responses numbered 1-14. Responses regarding forced child labor
should be entitled "2C, Section II: Forced Child Labor," with
responses numbered 1-14. If information about enforcement
activities is from a period other than 2009, please indicate the
time period to which the data refers. In cases where information is
not available, please indicate whether the government does not
collect/maintain the information or whether information is
maintained but the government was unwilling to provide it.
1. What agency or agencies was/were responsible for the
enforcement of laws relating to hazardous child/forced child labor?
The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior are the two
primary ministries responsible for enforcing laws related to
hazardous and forced child labor.
2. If multiple agencies were responsible for enforcement,
were there mechanisms for exchanging information? Assess their
Both the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior are
members of the National Committee against Trafficking and
Exploitation of Children, which was created in 2000 and serves as a
coordinating body among the nine ministries working on enforcing
child protection measures, including protecting children from
hazardous labor and forced labor. As many of these ministries have
their own cell or office dedicated to combating the worst forms of
child labor and child trafficking, they tend to work on projects
within their own ministry, rather than taking them to the National
Committee for inter-ministry action. The National Committee is
currently suffering from a lack of strong leadership: despite its
mandate to meet a minimum of three times per calendar year, the
committee has not met since June 2008.
3. Did the country/territory maintain a mechanism for making
complaints about hazardous and forced child labor violations? If
so, how many complaints were received in the reporting period?
Legally established companies may raise issues of child labor with
government inspectors when they visit - usually once per year.
There are no labor inspectors solely dedicated to addressing child
4. What amount of funding was provided to agencies
responsible for inspections? Was this amount adequate? Did
inspectors have sufficient office facilities, transportation, fuel,
and other necessities to carry out inspections?
The Ministry of Labor spent 92 million CFA (approximately $204,000)
on inspections in 2009. Ministry of Labor representatives reported
that the amount was inadequate: many inspectors did not have a
means of transportation they could use to visit inspection sites.
Out of 29 inspection offices, only 10 had vehicles. Sometimes,
these vehicles could not be used, because no money was budgeted for
fuel. Office facilities in the government-controlled south were in
disrepair; many offices in the former rebel zone (which is still de
facto controlled by the Forces Nouvelles) need to be rebuilt.
5. How many inspectors did the government employ? Was the
number of inspectors adequate?
ABIDJAN 00000053 004 OF 010
The government employs 200 inspectors, all of whom report to the
Ministry of Labor. Although regional labor inspectors routinely
visit legally established companies at least once a year, no labor
inspectors are solely dedicated to addressing child labor.
6. How many inspections involving child labor were carried
out? If possible, please provide breakdown of complaint-driven
versus random, government-initiated inspections. Were inspections
carried out in sectors in which children work? Was the number of
In 2009, 1,549 inspections were carried out. With the exception of
agro-industry, no inspections were specifically carried out in the
agricultural sector, a sector which is reportedly the most likely
to employ child labor. In all of these inspections, the child
labor aspect was considered.
7. How many children were removed/assisted as a result of
inspections? Were these children actually provided or referred for
services as a result (as opposed to simply fired)?
The Ministry of Labor did not have statistics on how many children
were removed and/or assisted as a result of labor inspections.
Ministry representatives said that some children working as
domestic servants were removed from employment by labor inspectors
and referred for services. In these cases, the Ministry of Labor
reported that these children also received compensation for their
8. How many child labor cases or "prosecutions" were opened?
The Ministry of Justice does not maintain any statistics on legal
9. How many child labor cases were closed or resolved?
Please see Question 8.
10. How many violations were found or "convictions" reached?
Please see Question 8.
11. What is the average length of time it took to resolve child
As Cote d'Ivoire has no law penalizing either hazardous or forced
child labor, there is no history of cases available to determine an
average length of time in which child labor cases were resolved.
12. In cases in which violations were found, were penalties
actually applied, either through fines paid or jail sentence
served? Did such sentences meet penalties established in the law?
ABIDJAN 00000053 005 OF 010
Please see Question 11.
13. Did the experience regarding questions 7 through 10 above
reflect a commitment to combat exploitive child labor?
Cote d'Ivoire has prepared a draft law intended to prohibit the
worst forms of child labor, including hazardous labor and forced
labor, which it submitted to the National Assembly for adoption in
April 2002. The draft bill continues to remain stalled at the
Council of Ministers.
14. Did government offer any training for investigators or
others responsible for enforcement? If so, what (if any) impact
have these trainings had?
Although the Ministry of Family ordinarily works with international
NGOs to provide training on trafficking to police, this year,
there were no training sessions for law enforcement. The
International Cocoa Initiative paired with the Ministry of Justice
to train 25 judges on prosecuting traffickers in March of 2009.
2D) INSTITUTIONAL MECHANISMS FOR EFFECTIVE ENFORCEMENT- child
trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation of children, use of
children in illicit activities: Because agencies responsible for
enforcement of other worst forms of child labor are usually police
units, Ministries of Justice or related Ministries rather than
labor inspectorates, Posts are requested to answer questions 1-13
below for child trafficking; commercial sexual exploitation of
children (CSEC) - such as prostitution, pornography, etc.; and the
use of children in illicit activities. Posts are requested to
respond with three distinct sections (i.e. Post should answer all
questions one time for "child trafficking," one time for "CSEC,"
and one time for "the use of children in illicit activities (use of
children).") Each section should be entitled as follows and include
responses to each question: "2D, Section I: Child trafficking,"
responses 1-13; "2D, Section II: Commercial Sexual Exploitation of
Children," responses 1-13, and "2D, Section III: Use of Children in
Illicit Activities," responses 1-13.
Note that all answers below are provided for trafficking cases
only. Cote d'Ivoire, which has spotty law enforcement statistics,
only keeps some statistics on trafficking cases. CSEC and children
in illicit activities are not categories that the government uses
or keeps statistics on.
1. Did the country/territory have agencies or personnel
dedicated to enforcement of child trafficking/CSEC/use of children
in illicit activities? How many investigators/social
workers/dedicated police officers did the government employ to
conduct investigations? If there were no dedicated agencies or
personnel, provide an estimate of the number of people who were
responsible for such investigations. Was the number of
Cote d'Ivoire's Ministry of Interior operates an Anti-Trafficking
Unit within the National Police. There is no cell specifically
dedicated to CSEC or children in illicit activities. Within the
Anti-Trafficking Unit, there are four full-time police officers and
one police chief who investigate cases. The police are assisted by
two social workers. The police chief of the Anti-Trafficking Unit
said neither the number of investigations, nor the number of
personnel is adequate to properly investigate cases. He believes
that a minimum of 25 staff members should be dedicated to
2. How much funding was provided to agencies responsible for
investigating child trafficking/CSEC/use of children in illicit
ABIDJAN 00000053 006 OF 010
activities? Was this amount adequate? Did investigators have
sufficient office facilities, transportation, fuel, and other
necessities to carry out investigations?
In 2009, the Anti-Trafficking Unit received approximately 8,000
Euros in funding from Interpol to carry out an anti-trafficking
raid in the southwest of the country. However, the money barely
covered necessities such as transportation arrangements for the
police squad and food for the children who were intercepted during
the raid. Investigators had no office facilities, computers,
printers, cameras, vehicles or fuel to properly conduct the raid.
The office received no other funds in 2009.
3. Did the country/territory maintain a hotline or other
mechanism for reporting child trafficking/CSEC/use of children in
illicit activities violations? If so, how many complaints were
received in the reporting period?
No official government hotline exists to report cases of child
trafficking/CSEC/or use of children in illicit activities. Only
the Abidjan branch of the International Catholic Office for
Children (BICE), an international NGO headquartered in Europe,
operates a free hotline the public can call to report cases of
4. How many investigations were opened in regard to child
trafficking/CSEC/use of children in illicit activities? Was the
number of investigations adequate?
The Anti-Trafficking Unit reported 19 trafficking cases in 2009.
Only two of these cases were referred to the Ministry of Justice.
Police commonly state that the number of investigations is
inadequate, and they could catch more traffickers if more staff and
resources were made available.
5. How many children were rescued as a result?
Four children suspected of being trafficked were intercepted by
police in June 2009 and referred to BICE for care and repatriation.
Twenty children suspected of being trafficked were rescued in the
June 2009 Interpol-funded raid. Fifteen of these children were
referred to the German development agency GTZ; five were reunited
with their parents.
6. How many arrests were made or other kinds of prosecutions
According to the Anti-Trafficking Unit, police arrested 19 persons
in conjunction with trafficking-related cases and two people were
sentenced to jail.
7. How many cases were closed or resolved?
Currently, post is not aware of any closed or resolved cases.
8. How many convictions?
Post was not able to obtain any statistics on convictions before
the February 1 deadline for this report, as the Ministry of Justice
ABIDJAN 00000053 007 OF 010
must call all 25 legal jurisdictions and ask them to review all
2009 legal case files for trafficking cases. We are following up on
the two traffickers reportedly sentenced to jail time.
9. Did sentences imposed meet standards established in the
Not applicable. There is no law prohibiting trafficking or child
10. Were sentences imposed actually served?
11. What is the average length of time it takes to resolve cases
of child trafficking/CSEC/use of children in illicit activities?
As Cote d'Ivoire has no law penalizing child trafficking, there is
no history of cases available to determine an average length of
time in which these cases were resolved.
12. Did the government offer any training for investigators or
others responsible for enforcement of child trafficking/CSEC/use of
children in illicit activities? If so, what was the impact (if any)
of these trainings?
On June 12 and 13, the government conducted an evaluation workshop
on child trafficking and the worst forms of child labor for defense
and security forces working at checkpoints in Daloa, Dimbokro,
Divo, Gagnoa, Guiglo, San Pedro, and Yamoussoukro.
13. If the country/territory experienced armed conflict during
the reporting period or in the recent past involving the use of
child soldiers, what actions were taken to penalize those
responsible? Were these actions adequate or meaningful given the
Not applicable. In 2007, Cote d'Ivoire was removed from the list
of countries featured in the UN Secretary General's Report on
Children in Armed Conflict.
2E) GOVERNMENT POLICIES ON CHILD LABOR:
1. Did the government have a policy or plan that specifically
addresses exploitive child labor? Please describe.
The Ivoirian government adopted the National Action Plan against
Child Trafficking and the Worst Forms of Child Labor in September
2007. Developed by the Ministry of Family and the Ministry of
Labor, the National Action Plan is based on five key objectives: a)
reinforcing the judicial and legal mechanisms related to
trafficking and the worst forms of child labor; b) conducting a
series of studies to determine the extent and nature of the
problem; c) reinforcing and improving prevention activities; d)
improving the reinsertion and repatriation of child victims; and e)
reinforcing human, material, and financial resources dedicated to
combating the worst forms of child labor and child trafficking.
ABIDJAN 00000053 008 OF 010
2. Did the country/territory incorporate exploitive child
labor specifically as an issue to be addressed in poverty
reduction, development, educational or other social policies, such
as Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, etc? Please describe.
The January 2009 Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) for Cote
d'Ivoire discusses four priority areas the government needs to
address in order to reduce poverty. Under the third priority,
"well-being for all," the PRSP recommended improvements in the
protection and re-integration of vulnerable children, including
those who are victims of child labor, exploitation, and trafficking
and encouraged the government to provide the necessary financial
resources to implement the National Action Plan.
3. Did the government provide funding to the plans described
above? Please describe the amount and whether it was sufficient to
carry out the planned activities.
The National Action Plan calls for 3,490,000,000 FCFA
(approximately $7.75 million) in funds to implement its objectives.
However, the government has not yet made this money available to
implementing partners so that work can begin.
4. Did the government provide non-monetary support to child
labor plans? Please describe.
The government was heavily reliant for NGOs for training and
expertise and provided little non-monetary support, with the
exception of staff time, to child labor plans.
5. Provide any additional information about the status and
effectiveness of the government's policies or plans during the
reporting period in regard to exploitive child labor.
In 2009, the government continued existing programs against
exploitive child labor. Additionally, it launched a program to
remediate child labor in the cocoa sector (ref E).
6. Did the government participate in any commissions or task
forces regarding exploitive child labor? Was the commission active
In 2009 the GOCI joined with the Government of Ghana to create a
joint working group to address child labor in the cocoa sector.
The group has made progress in addressing technical and statistical
issues with regard to measurement of the problem.
7. Did the government sign a bilateral, regional or
international agreement to combat trafficking?
In July 2005, Cote d'Ivoire signed the Multilateral Cooperation
Agreement to Combat Child Trafficking in West Africa with nine
other countries in the region. The agreement calls for
cross-border cooperation in the investigation of child trafficking
networks and the prosecution of traffickers.
2F) SOCIAL PROGRAMS TO ELIMINATE OR PREVENT CHILD LABOR:
ABIDJAN 00000053 009 OF 010
1. Did the government implement any programs specifically to
address the worst forms of child labor? Please describe. (Please
note that DOL will not consider anti-poverty, education or other
general child welfare programs to be addressing exploitive child
labor unless they have a child labor component.)
Yes, the GOCI launched its child-labor remediation program in the
cocoa sector. Under this program, the GOCI provides a package of
services and infrastructure improvements to targeted villages in
the cocoa-growing regions of the country. GOCI officials report
that they have begun work in ten cocoa villages and intend to
complete work in an additional 20 villages in the near term.
2. Did the country/territory incorporate child labor
specifically as an issue to be addressed in poverty reduction,
development, educational or other social programs, such as
conditional cash transfer programs or eligibility for school meals,
etc? Please describe.
Post is not aware of any such efforts.
3. Did the government provide funding to the programs
described above? Please describe amount and whether it was
sufficient to carry out the planned activities.
The GOCI used funding from taxes and fees on cocoa exports to fund
the child-labor eradication program in the cocoa sector. The
package of services and infrastructure services in each village is
valued at approximately USD 60,000. GOCI officials have assured
post that funding is available for the 30 villages that have been
selected for the program to date.
4. Did the government provide non-monetary support to child
labor programs? Please describe.
The GOCI has devoted a great deal of staff time to the cocoa
child-labor issues, in accordance with the Harkin-Engel Protocol.
5. Provide any additional information about the status and
effectiveness of the government's activities during the reporting
period in relation to the programs described above. If the programs
involved government provision of social services to children at
risk of or involved in exploitive child labor, please describe and
assess the effectiveness of these services.
Post has no information on the effectiveness of the cocoa
child-labor remediation plan.
6. If the government signed one or more bilateral, regional
or international agreement/s to combat trafficking, what steps did
it take to implement such agreement/s? Did the agreement/s result
in tangible improvements? If so, please describe.
Under the 2005 Multilateral Cooperation Agreement to Combat Child
Trafficking in West Africa, the Ivoirian government pledged itself
to a number of anti-trafficking resolutions agreed to by all nine
signatory West African nations. However, most of the pledges
remain unimplemented. As NGOs often point out, the Ivoirian
government is quick to ratify agreements, but extremely slow to
apply international standards. The resulting gap between
international norms and the national reality is a source of serious
human rights violations, according to the 2008 Annual Human Rights
Report prepared by the National Human Rights Commission of Cote
ABIDJAN 00000053 010 OF 010
2G) CONTINUAL PROGRESS:
1. Considering the information provided to the questions above,
please provide an assessment of whether, overall, the government
made progress in regard to combating exploitive child labor during
the reporting period. In making this assessment, please indicate
whether there has been an increase or decrease from previous years
in inspections/investigations, prosecutions, and convictions;
funding for child labor elimination policies and programs; and any
other relevant indicators of government commitment.
The GOCI's new cocoa child-labor remediation program is a
significant step forward. It represents a clear plan to address
this important, high-visibility issue. Given the GOCI's difficult
fiscal situation and the priority the GOCI is placing on holding
presidential elections, however, the Government's ability to fund
programs for the protection of vulnerable children is limited.
However, the GOCI has partnered with GTZ, UNICEF, other
international organizations, and the private sector to address
child-labor issues and to provide more services for vulnerable