[ Human Trafficking, Country-by-Country ]

BURKINA FASO (Tier 2 Watch List) Extracted in part  from the U.S. State Dept 2023 TIP Report - Burkina Faso

The transition government of Burkina Faso does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. The transition government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore Burkina Faso was upgraded to Tier 2. These efforts included the transition government reporting prosecutions and convictions of traffickers for the first time in four years and identifying significantly more trafficking victims. The transition government drafted and approved an anti-trafficking NAP and signed a handover protocol for the transfer of children allegedly associated with armed groups, including potential trafficking victims, to protection actors. However, the transition government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. Substantial personnel turnover related to the September 2022 consolidation of military power hindered Burkina Faso’s ability to maintain consistent anti-trafficking efforts and accurately report on those efforts for this reporting period. Officials did not effectively screen vulnerable populations for trafficking indicators and likely inappropriately detained unidentified trafficking victims for offenses committed as a direct result of being trafficked. Shelter services, especially for adult victims, remained insufficient. The transition government did not report any trafficking investigations and courts issued fully suspended sentences to most convicted traffickers. The national anti-trafficking committee did not meet or coordinate anti-trafficking activities. The transition government did not investigate or hold officials accountable for complicity in trafficking crimes.

Prioritized Recommendations

Increase efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes – including the forced recruitment or use of children and official complicity in trafficking crimes – while respecting due process; seek adequate penalties for convicted traffickers, which should involve significant prison terms, as prescribed in the 2018 penal code.

Fully implement the handover protocol for children associated with non-state armed groups in collaboration with international organizations; cease inappropriately detaining children for offenses committed as a direct result of being trafficked and prioritize reintegration of children allegedly associated with armed groups.

Increase the quantity and quality of services available to all victims, including adults, in coordination with civil society.

Empower the national anti-trafficking committee to coordinate the transition government’s anti-trafficking response and implementation of its 2023-2025 NAP, including by providing financial and in-kind resources and convening regular meetings.

Standardize and train front-line officials throughout the country on SOPs to identify victims among vulnerable populations, such as IDPs, labor migrants, children associated with non-state armed groups, and women in commercial sex, and refer trafficking victims to protective services.

Increase nationwide trafficking data collection and sharing on law enforcement and victim identification efforts.

Train law enforcement, prosecutors, and the judiciary on investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases using the 2018 anti-trafficking law.

Increase oversight of labor recruitment agencies and hold fraudulent labor recruiters criminally accountable.

Increase public awareness campaigns on all forms of trafficking, including child forced begging and trafficking that does not involve movement, in collaboration with civil society.