Torture in  [Benin]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Benin]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Benin]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Benin]  [other countries]
 

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                          gvnet.com/childprostitution/Benin.htm

Republic of Benin

The economy of Benin remains underdeveloped and dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production, and regional trade. Growth in real output has averaged around 5% in the past seven years, but rapid population growth has offset much of this increase. Inflation has subsided over the past several years.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Benin

Benin is a source, transit, and, to a lesser extent, a destination country for children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. A UNICEF study found that in 2006 more than 40,000 children were trafficked to, from, or through Benin. Ninety-three percent of victims were Beninese and 92 percent were trafficked within the country. Forty-three percent of children trafficked were subjected to domestic servitude. Of those trafficked internally, 86 percent were underage girls.   - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   [full country report]

 

 

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Benin.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to verify their authenticity or to validate their content.

*** FEATURED ARTICLES ***

Scale of African slavery revealed

BBC News, 23 April, 2004

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3652021.stm

[accessed 23 January 2011]

COMPLICITY - Much of this trade in children often has the tacit collaboration of the victims' own families where it is seen not so much as criminal activity but as a way for a large family to boost its poor income.

The story of Joseph in Benin is fairly typical.  When he was 13 years old, a stranger arranged with his parents for him to go to neighbouring Togo for a better life.  However, he was put to work from 0500 to 2300 each day as a domestic help and was regularly beaten.  It took him three years of saving money to be able to phone home and be rescued by an uncle. Now 16 years old, he is back in school.  "I was so happy to see my little brother again when I returned home to Benin," he says.

African "slave ship" highlights spread of child slavery

Trevor Johnson, World Socialist Web Site, 19 April 2001

www.wsws.org/articles/2001/apr2001/slav-a19.shtml

[accessed 23 January 2011]

Although there may be a superficial resemblance to the African slave trade of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the driving forces behind this modern form of slavery are entirely new. The roots of today's slave trade are to be discovered in the way that capitalism has developed in Africa during the last few decades.

The conditions of extreme poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa have attracted transnational corporations (TNCs), which can profit from Africa's rich mineral resources and other primary products by exploiting the plentiful cheap labour needed to produce and process them. The TNCs are able to sell these products in Europe and America for many times more than they cost to produce.

 

*** ARCHIVES ***

Report by Special Rapporteur [DOC]

U.N. Economic and Social Council, Commission on Human Rights, Fifty ninth session, 6 January 2003

www.unhchr.ch/Huridocda/Huridoca.nsf/0/217511d4440fc9d6c1256cda003c3a00/$FILE/G0310090.doc

[accessed 23 January 2011]

[28] Action to combat trafficking has been mobilized since the well-publicized case in April 2001 of the Etireno, a Nigerian-registered ship thought to be carrying some 200 children from Benin being trafficked to be sold as slaves.  Although the ship was found to contain only adults with accompanying children seeking work in Gabon, the incident raised awareness of an existing trade in children, which often uses ships to transport them.  The trafficking of children in Benin is attributed to the permeable nature of the borders, poverty and ignorance on the part of parents and the Government; UNICEF and NGOs are organizing national awareness-raising campaigns.

The Protection Project - Benin

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

www.protectionproject.org/human_rights_reports/report_documents/benin.doc

[accessed 2009]

NEW WEBSITE at www.protectionproject.org/country-reports/

[accessed 22 February 2016]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Benin, along with Togo, has one of the greatest problems with child trafficking of all the countries in West and Central Africa.  Child labor and sexual exploitation are the predominant forms of trafficking. For example, children are trafficked from Benin to Gabon for domestic servitude.  Also, many children who are trafficked from Benin to other neighboring West African countries are forced to work in agricultural plantations and mines.  Children are trafficked from Benin to Côte d’Ivoire to work on plantations, as servants, or on the streets in prostitution. 

In September 2003, a total of 116 Beninese boys between 5 and 17 years old were repatriated from Nigeria,  and an additional 74 children were repatriated in October 2003.  These children had been sold into bonded labor to work in about seven granite quarries in Ogun, Osun, and Oyo states in southwestern Nigeria.  They had been exploited for months or in some cases years. According to the children repatriated in October, at least 13 other victims died in the 3 months before their rescue.  Authorities of Benin and Nigeria also believe that up to 15,000 more children from Benin could be exploited in similar conditions in southwestern Nigeria, and they have launched a third rescue mission.  

A tradition involving the use of female slaves, known as trokosi or “wives of the deity,” is a modern-day form of slavery that originated in the Ewe and Dangme peoples in south and east Ghana, and also in Togo and Benin. Under this tradition, young virgins are brought to a shrine to compensate for a crime or transgression committed by their families, perhaps even generations earlier. The girls live as slaves to the priest. If a girl dies, the family sends a new one to replace her. The trokosi work in the household, clean the shrine, and are used as sex slaves.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 2   Civil Liberties: 2   Status: Free

2009 Edition

www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2009/benin

[accessed 26 June 2012]

Scale of African slavery revealed

BBC News, 23 April, 2004

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3652021.stm

[accessed 23 January 2011]

COMPLICITY - Much of this trade in children often has the tacit collaboration of the victims' own families where it is seen not so much as criminal activity but as a way for a large family to boost its poor income.

The story of Joseph in Benin is fairly typical.  When he was 13 years old, a stranger arranged with his parents for him to go to neighbouring Togo for a better life.  However, he was put to work from 0500 to 2300 each day as a domestic help and was regularly beaten.  It took him three years of saving money to be able to phone home and be rescued by an uncle. Now 16 years old, he is back in school.  "I was so happy to see my little brother again when I returned home to Benin," he says.

Labour standards violated in Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali

AFROL News, 30 June 2004

www.afrol.com/articles/13491

[accessed 23 January 2011]

Although Benin, Burkina Faso and Mali have ratified the core Conventions on Forced Labour, the practice does exist, Ms Kwateng denounces. "Many women and children are trafficked for forced prostitution, forced labour on plantations and domestic work," she adds.  Moreover, many Beninese, Burkinabe and Malian children are reported to be sold to neighbouring countries - like Togo and Côte d'Ivoire - and forced to work on plantations or in domestic work under harsh and dangerous conditions while receiving very low pay, if any at all.

74 additional trafficked children repatriated from Nigeria to Benin

UNICEF Press Centre, 16 October 2003

www.unicef.org/media/media_15016.html

[accessed 23 January 2011]

Another group of 74 trafficked children, between the ages of 4 and 17 years old, was repatriated to Benin on Wednesday, 15 October.  Like the first group of 116 children who were repatriated on 26 September, these children worked in Nigerian quarries in Abeokuta.

This is the second repatriation in 2 weeks of Beninese trafficked children coming from Nigeria. On 26 September, 116 children were handed over at the border under the same conditions.

According to Nigerian sources, there might be thousands of Beninese children exploited in Nigeria.

In The Northwest: Bully for those combating worldwide slave trade

Joel Connelly, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 20, 2003

www.seattlepi.com/connelly/144536_joel20.html

[accessed 23 January 2011]

Nigeria (Tier 2) has just rescued 74 child workers -- as young as age 4 -- who were kidnapped from their native Benin and forced to work in granite pits. Thirteen children in the group had reportedly died.

Human trafficking remains huge -- about 6,000 children remain at work in Nigeria's granite pits.

Traffickers hold thousands of children, women in bondage

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Lagos, 12 November 2003

www.irinnews.org/report/47205/west-africa-traffickers-hold-thousands-of-children-women-in-bondage

[accessed 8 March 2015]

Silinu Sogbonsi was five years old when unknown men seized him as he walked home from school in Selinu, a little town in the southeast of Benin, near the Nigerian border. Blindfolded, he was pushed him into a waiting car which sped away.  For several days, Sogbonsi was hustled along by his captors on motorbikes through bush paths and on buses along highways.  Finally he arrived in a little village he was to identify as Alamutu, near Abeokuta city in southwest Nigeria. Here Sogbonsi joined other children, aged five to 15 on a daily routine to dig up granite for their masters from the stone quarries that litter the area.  The children, who earned 50 naira (US $0.38) a week, each worked 12-16 hours, crushing enough gravel to generate 35,000 naira ($269). Every evening a lorry delivered the gravel to construction sites in Nigeria's southwest region.

LABOUR: Nigeria, Benin Join Forces to Fight Child Trafficking

Toye Olori, Inter Press Service News Agency IPS, LAGOS, Oct 8, 2003

www.ipsnews.net/interna.asp?idnews=20511

[accessed 23 January 2011]

www.ipsnews.net/2003/10/labour-nigeria-benin-join-forces-to-fight-child-trafficking/

[accessed 5 September 2016]

The children, all males and malnourished, were part of the inmates of about seven child-slave camps discovered in the western Nigerian States of Ogun, Oyo and Osun, in a major breakthrough by security operatives fighting cross-border crimes, especially child trafficking and forced child labour.

Ship Discovered With Human Cargo

Orando Yanquoi, ExpoTimes (Freetown), Accra, Ghana, April, 2001

www.diastode.org/Nouvelles/usnews190.html

[accessed 23 January 2011]

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1281391.stm

[accessed 17 January 2016]

250 children have been discovered aboard a ship in the Gabonese port. The children who were allegedly sold to human traffickers by their parents or guardians were taken to Gabon where they were to be resold into child labour or slavery of all kinds.

According to Zardzo, the children aboard the ship are between the ages of 9,10,and 11, who are able to help government in the relocation of their parents or guardians.  These children are said to have hailed from the two West African countries of Togo and Benin.

African "slave ship" highlights spread of child slavery

Trevor Johnson, World Socialist Web Site, 19 April 2001

www.wsws.org/articles/2001/apr2001/slav-a19.shtml

[accessed 23 January 2011]

Although there may be a superficial resemblance to the African slave trade of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the driving forces behind this modern form of slavery are entirely new. The roots of today's slave trade are to be discovered in the way that capitalism has developed in Africa during the last few decades.

The conditions of extreme poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa have attracted transnational corporations (TNCs), which can profit from Africa's rich mineral resources and other primary products by exploiting the plentiful cheap labour needed to produce and process them. The TNCs are able to sell these products in Europe and America for many times more than they cost to produce.

Rogue Voyage of a 21st Century African Slave Ship

Austin Baynow, On Point, Strategy Page, April 19, 2001

www.strategypage.com/on_point/20010419.aspx

[accessed 23 January 2011]

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

On April 17, the Etireno limped back into Cotonou. Upon examining the ship, local authorities said it was "uncertain" if slaves had been aboard.

Realists wondered if an even greater evil had occurred, with the human evidence drowned at sea.

Modern Slavery - Human bondage in Africa, Asia, and the Dominican Republic

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco, Infoplease, April 18, 2001

www.infoplease.com/spot/slavery1.html

[accessed 23 January 2011]

SLAVE TRADING ON AFRICA'S WEST COAST - The slave trade in Africa was officially banned in the early 1880s, but forced labor continues to be practiced in West and Central Africa today. UNICEF estimates that 200,000 children from this region are sold into slavery each year. Many of these children are from Benin and Togo, and are sold into the domestic, agricultural, and sex industries of wealthier, neighboring countries such as Nigeria and Gabon.

Africa: Illegal Aliens

Australia Visa Services, Immigration Laws: September, 1997 - Number #23

Sources: Newton Kanhema, "Jobur's immigrant street hawkers vow to fight back," Africa News, August 20, 1997

"Child Slave Trade in Africa Highlighted by Arrests," New York Times, August 10, 1997. Audrey d'Angelo

"Fewer skilled emigrants this year," The Star, August 6, 1997

migration.ucdavis.edu/mn/more.php?id=1327_0_5_0

[accessed 22 July 2013]

SLAVE CHILDREN - The New York Times on August 10, 1997 reported that the slave trade in children seems to be increasing in Central Africa, as well-dressed traders travel to poor rural areas in Benin and offer parents money, from $20 to $40, in exchange for their children, promising that the ones they take away will end up rich and successful.

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

www.dol.gov/ilab/media/reports/iclp/tda2004/benin.htm

[accessed 23 January 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Benin is a source, destination and transit country for the trafficking of children.  Children from Benin are trafficked into Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, the Gulf States, and Lebanon; children from Burkina Faso, Niger, and Togo are sold into servitude in Benin.  Trafficked children often work as agricultural workers, domestic servants, market vendors, commercial sex workers, and in rock quarries.  Nigerian police reported in 2003 that between 6,000 and 15,000 trafficked Beninese children worked in Nigeria, many on cocoa farms.  Children are also trafficked within Benin for forced labor in construction, commercial enterprises, handicrafts, and street vending.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61554.htm

[accessed 23 January 2011]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The traditional practice of vidomegon, in which poor, often rural, families placed a child in the home of a more wealthy family to avoid the burden the child represented to the parental family, increasingly involved abuse. While originally a voluntary arrangement between two families, the child often faced forced labor, long hours, inadequate food, and sexual exploitation. Approximately 90 to 95 percent of the children in vidomegon were young girls. Children were sent from poorer families to Cotonou and then sometimes on to Gabon, Cote d'Ivoire, and the Central African Republic to help in markets and around the home. The child received living accommodations, while the child's parents and the urban family that raised the child split the income generated from the child's activities.

Children were trafficked to Ghana, Nigeria, and Gabon for indentured or domestic servitude, farm labor, and prostitution. In addition, children were taken across the border to Togo and Cote d'Ivoire to work on plantations. Children from Niger, Togo, and Burkina Faso have been trafficked to country for indentured or domestic servitude. Trafficked children generally came from poor rural areas and were promised educational opportunities or other incentives.

According to a 2000 UNICEF study, four distinct forms of trafficking occurred in the country. "Trafic‑don" was when children were given to a migrant family member or stranger, who turned them over to another stranger for vocational training or education. "Trafic‑gage" was a form of indentured servitude, in which a debt was incurred to transport the child, who was not allowed to return home until the debt was repaid. "Trafic‑ouvrier" involved children of ages 6 years to 12 years, who worked as artisans, construction laborers, or agricultural or domestic workers. This was the most common variant, estimated to be 75 percent of the total traffic of the three provinces UNICEF surveyed in 2000. Finally, "trafic‑vente" was the outright sale of children.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) [DOC]

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 20 October 2006

www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/898586b1dc7b4043c1256a450044f331/af244100fbf1ad36c125723a003fa4ab/$FILE/G0644845.doc

[accessed 23 January 2011]

[71] While welcoming the ongoing efforts by the State party to combat child trafficking, including the new Law on the Suppression of Trafficking in Children, the National Policy and Strategy on Child Protection, and the National Study on Child Trafficking, the Committee is concerned at the information that a high number of children under 18, especially adolescent girls, are still being trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation and domestic labour in other countries.

[67] The Committee is deeply concerned at the prevalence of child labour among young children under the age of 14, at the traditional practice of domestic servants or vidomégons, and at the increased number of children working in the informal sector.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 4 June 1999

www1.umn.edu/humanrts/crc/benin1999.html

[accessed 23 January 2011]

[33] While the Committee notes the efforts of the State party, it remains concerned at the increasing incidence of sale and trafficking of children, particularly girls, and the lack of adequate legal and other measures to prevent and combat this phenomenon. In the light of article 35 and other related articles of the Convention, the Committee recommends that the State party review its legal framework and strengthen law enforcement, and intensify its efforts to raise awareness in communities, in particular in rural areas. Cooperation with neighboring countries through bilateral agreements to prevent cross-border trafficking is strongly encouraged

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Torture in  [Benin]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Benin]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Benin]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Benin]  [other countries]