[ Country-by-Country Reports ]

CHAD (TIER 3)   [Extracted from U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2009]

Chad is a source, transit, and destination country for children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Most trafficked children are subjected to domestic servitude, forced begging, forced labor in cattle herding, fishing, and street vending, and for commercial sexual exploitation. A 2005 UNICEF study on child domestic workers, including those in domestic servitude, in Ndjamena found that 62 percent were boys. Young girls sold or forced into marriage are forced by their husbands into domestic servitude and agricultural labor. Chadian children are also trafficked to Cameroon, the Central African Republic, and Nigeria for cattle herding. Children may also be trafficked from Cameroon and the Central African Republic to Chad’s oil producing regions for sexual exploitation. The Chadian National Army, Chadian rebel groups, and village self-defense forces conscript Chadian child soldiers. Sudanese children in refugee camps in eastern Chad are forcibly recruited into armed forces by Sudanese rebel groups, some of which are backed by the Chadian government.

The Government of Chad does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Although the Chadian government faces resource constraints, it has the capacity to conduct basic anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, yet did not do so during the last year. It showed no results in enforcing government policy prohibiting recruitment of child soldiers. Civil conflict and a heavy influx of Sudanese and Central African refugees continued to destabilize the country.

Recommendations for Chad: Pass and enact its draft law prohibiting child trafficking and criminalize the trafficking of adults; increase efforts to prosecute and punish trafficking offenders under related laws; fulfill June 2008 promises to the UN to release child soldiers and allow inspections of Chadian army camps; collaborate with NGOs and international organizations to care for trafficking victims; and increase efforts to raise awareness about trafficking.

The Government of Chad demonstrated insufficient efforts to combat trafficking through law enforcement means during the reporting period. While Chadian law does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, Title 5 of the Labor Code prohibits forced and bonded labor. While the prescribed penalty for this crime, a find of approximately $325-$665, is considered significant by Chadian standards, it fails to prescribe a sufficient penalty of incarceration. The 1991 Chadian National Army Law also prohibits the Army’s recruitment of individuals below the age of 18. A joint government-UNICEF plan to develop by 2007 a Child Code of laws that includes anti-trafficking provisions has proceeded slowly since 2004. The government did not report any prosecutions or convictions for trafficking offenses during the year. In June 2008, nine suspected traffickers were arrested, all of whom were later released. In June 2008, the deputy prefect of Goundi arrested an additional six village chiefs suspected of selling children as cattle herders. The suspects were released after paying a fine. In 2008, a UNICEF study on children trafficked for cattle herding reported that the government had not taken legal action against an employer of a child cattle herder who died as a result of the employer’s abuse. A local newspaper reported that two children were rescued after being found in chains and forced to beg by a religious leader in Massaguet. The government has taken no legal action against the teacher. Media sources, however, indicated that in 2008 the government arrested a mother and father for selling their six-year girl into domestic servitude. To date, the parents have not been prosecuted. The judiciary remained crippled by the small number of judges in the country, only 150, and their lack of basic technology to record and process cases through the criminal justice system. Law enforcement officials and labor inspectors also reported that they lack the basic means, such as transportation, to investigate trafficking cases. Some local authorities in Mandoul use intermediaries to recruit child herders, some of whom are trafficking victims. Although officials have raised the problem with the Ministry of Justice, the government has not initiated any investigations into this alleged complicity.

The Government of Chad demonstrated weak efforts to protect trafficking victims during the last year. The government did not operate shelters for trafficking victims due to limited resources. Although the government has a formal system in place through which government officials may refer victims to NGOs or international organizations for care, it provided no information on the number of victims it referred to such organizations last year. The government provided some of the materials for specific vocational training projects, such as tools for carpentry, as part of a UNICEF trafficking victim vocational training program. In response to a June 2008 visit from the UN Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict, the Chadian government pledged to release more than 60 children who had been unlawfully conscripted for service in armed groups and who were in detention and agreed to inspections of its Army’s camps to ensure that children were not being exploited. UNICEF access to Chadian Army camps and detention centers has been limited, however, and no children have been demobilized since November 2008. However, UNICEF reported that in 2008, prior to November, it demobilized 56 children. The government contributed some funding to a safe house used in UNICEF’s child solder demobilization effort. The government did not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they faced hardship or retribution. Rescued victims were not inappropriately incarcerated or fined for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.

The Government of Chad took some steps efforts to raise awareness of trafficking during the last year. In June 2008, on the Day of the African Child, the government collaborated with NGOs and international organizations by contributing some funding to raise awareness about children trafficked for forced cattle herding. During the last year, the government radio broadcast campaigns to educate parents about religious teachers who exploit their students for their labor. The Ministry of Social Action annually updates its action plan with recommended activities to combat trafficking. The government and UNICEF co-released a report in 2008 on the worst forms on child labor, including trafficking, in Chad. A 2005 Ministry of Justice order to bring Chadian law into conformance with international child labor norms has not progressed to the Presidency for signature. The Chadian government did not take steps to reduce the demand for forced labor, including the demand for conscripted child soldiers, or the demand for commercial sex acts. Chad has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.