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Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                             gvnet.com/humantrafficking/BurkinaFaso.htm

Burkina Faso

One of the poorest countries in the world, landlocked Burkina Faso has few natural resources and a weak industrial base. About 90% of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, which is vulnerable to periodic drought. Cotton is the main cash crop.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: BurkinaFaso

Burkina Faso is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Most victims are children, trafficked within the country from rural areas to urban centers such as Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso, for domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, and forced labor in gold mines and stone quarries, and the agriculture sector. Burkinabè children are also trafficked for the same purposes to other West African countries, most notably to Côte d’Ivoire, where many are subjected to forced agricultural labor, including on cocoa farms.   - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out the more recent 2020 country report here or an even-more recent TIP Report here

 

 

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Burkina Faso.  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.

HOW TO USE THIS WEB-PAGE

Students

If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include possible precursors of trafficking such as poverty. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

Teachers

Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

*** FEATURED ARTICLES ***

Nigerian ladies rescued from prostitution syndicate’s den in Burkina Faso

Chris Anucha and Matthew Dike, Daily Sun, February 2, 2006

[access information unavailable]

Tony was said to have promised to take Rita and Lovina to Germany, to meet their elder sister who resides in that country, but the journey ended up in Burkina Faso where he told them they were brought to the country for prostitution.

Children saved from 'slavery'

Agence France-Presse AFP, Ouagadougou, 2004-05-08

www.news24.com/Africa/News/Children-saved-from-slavery-20040507

[accessed 24 January 2011]

Police in Burkina Faso have rescued about 30 victims of child traffickers, aged between eight and 17, on the west African country's border with Mali, a police officer said on Friday.

The traffickers had managed to win the confidence of the children's parents by convincing them that the youngsters were to be taken to Mali to study the Qu'ran, a police officer told reporters.

The official daily Sidwaya reported that the real fate of such victims, snatched in several provinces in Burkina Faso, was to work on agricultural plantations during the day and left to forage for their own food at night.

 

*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burkina Faso

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

www.state.gov/reports/2020-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/burkina-faso/

[accessed 13 May 2021]

PROHIBITION OF FORCED OR COMPULSORY LABOR

Forced child labor occurred in the agricultural (particularly cotton), domestic labor, and animal husbandry sectors, as well as at gold panning sites and stone quarries. Educators forced some children sent to Quranic schools by their parents to engage in begging (see section 6, Children). Women from other West African countries were fraudulently recruited for employment and subsequently subjected to forced prostitution, forced labor in restaurants, or domestic servitude in private homes.

PROHIBITION OF CHILD LABOR AND MINIMUM AGE FOR EMPLOYMENT

Child labor took place in the agricultural sector or in family-owned small businesses in villages and cities. There were no reports of children younger than age 15 employed by either government-owned or large private companies. Children also worked in the mining, trade, construction, and domestic labor sectors. Some children, particularly those working as cattle herders and street hawkers, did not attend school. Many children younger than 15 worked long hours. A study by the International Labor Organization reported that children working in artisanal mining sometimes worked six or seven days a week and up to 14 hours per day. Street beggars often worked 12 to 18 hours daily. Such children suffered from occupational illnesses, and employers sometimes physically or sexually abused them. Child domestic servants worked up to 18 hours per day. Employers often exploited and abused them. Criminals transported Burkinabe children to Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, and Niger for forced labor or sex trafficking.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

freedomhouse.org/country/burkina-faso/freedom-world/2020

[accessed 8 July 2020]

G4. DO INDIVIDUALS ENJOY EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY AND FREEDOM FROM ECONOMIC EXPLOITATION?

Burkina Faso is a source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking. Child labor is present in the agricultural and mining sectors. Women from neighboring countries are recruited by traffickers and transported to Burkina Faso, where they are forced into prostitution.

According to the US Department of State’s 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report, Burkina Faso has worked to combat human trafficking through expanded efforts to convict perpetrators and protect victims of trafficking. However, the country fell short in key areas, including comprehensive data reporting and the identification and referral of adult victims.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

www.dol.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ilab/ChildLaborReport_Book.pdf

[accessed 15 April 2019]

www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/ILAB/child_labor_reports/tda2017/ChildLaborReportBook.pdf

[accessed 24 April 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 208]

Children in Burkina Faso engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in commercial sexual exploitation and artisanal gold mining. Children also perform dangerous tasks in cotton harvesting. (1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6) Table 1 provides key indicators on children’s work and education in Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso is a destination, transit point, and source for child trafficking to and from other West African countries. (36; 40; 41; 42; 43) The practice of confiage, which involves sending a child to live with a relative or friend to attend school in a larger town or city, may place children at risk of internal human trafficking. (28) Child labor in artisanal gold mining is particularly acute and often exposes children to dangerous chemicals used in the gold extraction process, such as cyanide and mercury. (4; 5; 44; 45; 46; 47).

Child slavery in Burkina Faso, including boy domestic slaves; protection from the authorities and NGOs; possibility of emancipation, particularly when a young boy given to a family as a payment of a debt reaches the age of majority (2004-2006)

Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Symbol: BFA101075.FE, Publication Date: 20 February 2006

www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,IRBC,,BFA,456d621e2,45f146f3b,0.html

[accessed 24 January 2011]

www.refworld.org/docid/45f146f3b.html

[accessed 5 September 2016]

Many sources indicated that child forced labour is still a problem in Burkina Faso (Country Reports 2004 28 Feb. 2005, intro. and Sec. 5; AFP 5 Jan. 2006). Country Reports 2004 reported that "security forces ... intercepted 644 trafficked children in 2003," and that "trafficked children were subject to violence, sexual abuse, forced prostitution, and deprivation of food, shelter, schooling, and medical care" (28 Feb. 2005, Sec. 5). The same source also indicated that "organized child trafficking networks existed throughout the country," and that "one study identified eight networks in Ouagadougou and seven in Bobo-Dioulasso" (Country Reports 2004 28 Feb. 2005, Sec. 5). Between 2000 and 2003, "at least 2000 children are known to have been involved in the illegal trade in Burkina Faso" (United Nations 6 Apr. 2004). More recent information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

NGOs Work To Eradicate Human Trafficking, Help Victims

U.S. Department of State, Washington DC, June 12, 2007

iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/article/2007/06/20070605161941bcreklaw0.5122492.html#axzz3CMfHlohT

[accessed 5 September 2014]

japan2.usembassy.gov/e/p/2007/tp-20070613-07.html

[accessed 29 May 2017]

U.S.-funded nongovernmental organizations around the world are working to prevent human trafficking, provide resources to victims and arrest and prosecute child-sex offenders. From Africa to Europe to Asia, initiatives are raising worldwide awareness of the illegal practice of human trafficking.

PREVENTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING - The anti-trafficking network in Burkina Faso includes representatives of truckers' unions, security forces and social action and religious groups who identify and report suspected trafficking situations.

The Protection Project - Burkina Faso

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

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

[Last accessed 2009]

www.protectionproject.org/country-reports/

[accessed 13 February 2019]

A Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Burkina Faso has been labeled “a theatre of child labor.”  Children from other African countries are trafficked to Burkina Faso for prostitution, as domestic workers or street vendors, and for agricultural work, particularly in banana and coffee plantations.  Minors from Burkina Faso are trafficked to Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria to work on cocoa farms.

Burkina Faso: Government Tackles Rising Number of Abandoned Children

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, 6 April 2004

www.irinnews.org/report/49418/burkina-faso-government-tackles-rising-number-of-abandoned-children

[accessed 8 March 2015]

According to government statistics, there were 2.1 million orphans and abandoned children in Burkina Faso last year. They accounted for nearly 18 percent of the country's 11.8 million population.  The government blames the rising number of helpless children on AIDS, poverty and child trafficking.

Children, separated from their families by unscrupulous individuals who promise the impoverished parents that the child will have better life with another family, end up with no one to protect them. Many are little more than unpaid domestic slaves. - htsc

Child trafficking projects in West Africa - Burkino Faso

Stop Child Trafficking, 01.06.2005

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

[accessed 4 September 2011]

Their luggage is next to nothing. Because when the young boys and girls from the south of Burkina Faso leave their villages, there is not much to take. They finally set out to earn some money – for a cycle, a wedding, or to support the family. The youngsters are headed towards the Ivory Coast, where their dreams are supposed to come true by working on plantations. However, no one has told them about men who will deceive them and sell them as slaves. If at all they return, it is only empty-handed.

Labour standards violated in Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali

AFROL News, 30 June 2004

www.afrol.com/articles/13491<<CAUTION: Virus Alert

[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.

Africa: AIDS, Migrants

Australia Visa Services, Immigration Laws: July, 2001 - Number #21

migration.ucdavis.edu/mn/more.php?id=2421_0_5_0

[accessed 21 July 2013]

CHILD TRAFFICKING - In a high-profile campaign by the government of the Ivory Coast, 97 victims of child trafficking were return to their homes in Burkina Faso. Some of those returned say they are neither children nor slaves. The returnees say that they were picked at random by police. One young man says he is 24 and not a slave, he has been working with papers in the Ivory Coast since 1999.

Since January, 350 alleged child slaves have been returned. The Ivorian government agrees that child slavery is a problem but denies it is widespread on the cocoa plantations. It claims that the children, traffickers and their sponsors are all foreigners and that Ivorian farmers are not to blame. The country has tightened its borders controls, especially with Mali and Burkina Faso, whose nationals account for two-thirds of the workers in cocoa and coffee plantations.

Child Labour Persists Around The World: More Than 13 Percent Of Children 10-14 Are Employed

International Labour Organisation (ILO) News, Geneva, 10 June 1996

www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/press-and-media-centre/news/WCMS_008058/lang--en/index.htm

[accessed 9 September 2011]

www.scribd.com/document/366840945/Child-Labour-Persists-Around-the-World

[accessed 30 January 2019]

"Today's child worker will be tomorrow's uneducated and untrained adult, forever trapped in grinding poverty. No effort should be spared to break that vicious circle", says ILO Director-General Michel Hansenne.

Among the countries with a high percentage of their children from 10-14 years in the work force are: Mali, 54.5 percent; Burkina Faso, 51; Niger and Uganda, both 45; Kenya, 41.3; Senegal, 31.4; Bangladesh, 30.1; Nigeria, 25.8; Haiti, 25; Turkey, 24; Côte d'Ivoire, 20.5; Pakistan, 17.7; Brazil, 16.1; India, 14.4; China, 11.6; and Egypt, 11.2.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - 2002

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 4 October 2002

www1.umn.edu/humanrts/crc/burkinofaso2002.html

[accessed 24 January 2011]

[54] While welcoming the efforts undertaken by the State party to combat child trafficking through a national program and, in particular, the adoption of a travel document with five other countries of the region, the Committee is deeply concerned at the number of trafficked children who are exploited in the State party and in neighboring countries.

*** EARLIER EDITIONS OF SOME OF THE ABOVE ***

2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 20 April 2018

www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2017/af/276973.htm

[accessed 18 March 2019]

www.state.gov/reports/2017-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/burkina-faso/

[accessed 25 June 2019]

PROHIBITION OF FORCED OR COMPULSORY LABOR

The law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor. The law considers forced or compulsory any labor or service provided by an individual under the threat of any type of sanction and not freely offered. The government did not effectively enforce applicable laws. Forced child labor occurred in the agricultural (particularly cotton), informal trade, domestic labor, restaurant, and animal husbandry sectors, as well as at gold panning sites and stone quarries. Educators forced some children sent to Quranic schools by their parents to engage in begging (see section 6, Children). The government did not have a significant, effective program in place to address or eliminate forced labor. Women from other West African countries were fraudulently recruited for employment in the country and subsequently subjected to forced prostitution, forced labor in restaurants, or domestic servitude in private homes.

PROHIBITION OF CHILD LABOR AND MINIMUM AGE FOR EMPLOYMENT

Children also worked in the mining, trade, construction, and domestic labor sectors. According to a 2012 UNICEF study, 20,000 children worked as servants, gold washers, or diggers in the gold mining sector. Some children, particularly those working as cattle herders and street hawkers, did not attend school. Many children under age 15 worked long hours. A study by the International Labor Organization reported that children working in artisanal mining sometimes worked six or seven days a week and up to 14 hours per day. Street beggars often worked 12 to 18 hours daily. Such children suffered from occupational illnesses, and employers sometimes physically or sexually abused them. Child domestic servants earned from 3,000 to 6,000 CFA francs ($5.50 to $11) per month and worked up to 18 hours per day. Employers often exploited and abused them. Criminals transported Burkinabe children to Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, and Niger for forced labor or sex trafficking.

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

2009-2017.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61556.htm

[accessed 7 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The country was an occasional source for women who traveled to Europe to work as domestics but subsequently were exploited sexually. The country was a transit point for trafficked children, notably from Mali, who often were trafficked to Cote d'Ivoire. Malian children also were trafficked into the country. Destinations for trafficked children from the country included Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Benin, and Nigeria.

Trafficked children were subject to violence, sexual abuse, forced prostitution, and deprivation of food, shelter, schooling, and medical care. Organized child trafficking networks existed throughout the country, and during the year security forces dismantled four such networks. Child trafficking networks cooperated with regional smuggling rings.

According to the 2004-05 report by the Protection of Infants and Adolescents office, security forces intercepted 921 trafficked children, more than half of whom were girls; 158 were destined for international trafficking.

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/burkina-faso.htm

[accessed 24 January 2011]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Studies indicate that a significant proportion of trafficking activity is internal.  Children are trafficked into Burkina Faso’s two largest cities, Bobo-Dioulasso and Ouagadougou, to work as domestic servants, street vendors, in agriculture, and in prostitution.  Children from Burkina Faso are trafficked into Côte d’Ivoire to work on cocoa plantations and also to Benin, Ghana, Mali, and Nigeria.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery – Burkina Faso", http://gvnet.com/humantrafficking/BurkinaFaso.htm, [accessed <date>]