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Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                      gvnet.com/humantrafficking/Congo.htm

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo - a nation endowed with vast potential wealth - is slowly recovering from two decades of decline. Conflict that began in August 1998 has dramatically reduced national output and government revenue, increased external debt, and resulted in the deaths of more than 5 million people from violence, famine, and disease.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a source and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Much of this trafficking occurs within the country’s unstable eastern provinces and is perpetrated by armed groups outside government control. Indigenous and foreign armed militia groups, notably, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), various local militia (Mai-Mai), and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), continued to abduct and forcibly recruit Congolese men, women, and children to serve as laborers, porters, domestics, combatants, and in sexual servitude. CNDP recruiters, fraudulently promising high-paying employment, enlisted Congolese men and boys from Rwanda-based refugee camps, as well as Rwandan adults and children from towns in western Rwanda, for forced labor and forced soldiering in the DRC.   - 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 the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  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 ARTICLE ***

The international community must immediately address ongoing conflict, military occupation, lawlessness, and impunity for ongoing acts of genocide and crimes against humanity, including widespread sexual violence, in DRC

Keith Harmon Snow, Survivors' Rights International (SRI), Press Release: June 2, 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 4 September 2011]

EQUATEUR PROVINCE: Eyewitnesses reports from different parts of Equateur indicate both transient soldiers and resident DRC government FAC (Forces Armee Congolaise) soldiers looting and destroying property; confiscating and occupying homes and schools; conscripting and brutalizing males for forced labor; raping women and girls; and abducting women and girls for prolonged periods of sexual slavery.

 

*** ARCHIVES ***

Eastern Congo: Kidnapped Boy Returns From Slavery

World Food Programme, Dungu, 18 March 2009

www.wfp.org/stories/kidnapped-boy-returns-from-slavery

[accessed 30 January 2011]

Dieudonné Nzatala hugged the son he’d given up for dead and wept. Children taken by the LRA are rarely seen again. If children do return, they are often mentally and spiritually damaged. Many are forced to bear arms, rape, loot and kill. The young girls usually come back pregnant. Dieudonné, his wife and their four remaining children held an impromptu funeral for 17-year-old Dagumba.

SEARCH FOR FRESH RECRUITS - On the morning of September 17 a group of LRA fighters flooded into Duru in search of food, supplies and fresh recruits. “One hundred and eight children were taken from Duru,” Dieudonné said. “Sixty from that one school alone.”  The students were forced to walk north for two days, into the bush of Garamba National Park near the Sudanese border where the LRA had their camps.  “They told us they wanted to train us as soldiers,” Dagumba said during an interview at the Ugandan army camp where he is receiving medical treatment for his swollen feet. Instead, Dagumba says, he was made to work as a slave – hoeing fields, carrying loads and building shelters in the LRA camp.

The international community must immediately address ongoing conflict, military occupation, lawlessness, and impunity for ongoing acts of genocide and crimes against humanity, including widespread sexual violence, in DRC

Keith Harmon Snow, Survivors' Rights International (SRI), Press Release: June 2, 2004

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

[accessed 4 September 2011]

EQUATEUR PROVINCE: Eyewitnesses reports from different parts of Equateur indicate both transient soldiers and resident DRC government FAC (Forces Armee Congolaise) soldiers looting and destroying property; confiscating and occupying homes and schools; conscripting and brutalizing males for forced labor; raping women and girls; and abducting women and girls for prolonged periods of sexual slavery.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 6   Civil Liberties: 6   Status: Not Free

2009 Edition

www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2009/congo-democratic-republic-kinshasa

[accessed 26 June 2012]

Human Rights Overview by Human Rights Watch – Defending Human Rights Worldwide

www.hrw.org/africa/democratic-republic-congo

[accessed 30 January 2011]

Preventing the Use of Child Soldiers: the Role of the International Criminal Court

Shelly Whytman, Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Botswana, Groupe de recherche et d'information sur la paix et la sécurité GRIP, 18/05/2004

www.docin.com/p-438620489.html

[accessed 18 July 2013]

[page 3]

THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO - It has been reported by UNICEF that as many as one-third of the DRC’s children have been forced to take up arms.  According to the United Nations, the armed forces using child soldiers within the DRC are:  the DRC Government Forces (FAC), the Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC), the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD), the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD)-National, the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD)-ML, Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), Lendu Militias, Patrick Masunzu’s forces, Ex-FAR/Interahamwe, and Mai Mai militias.

Child Soldier Use 2003: A Briefing for the 4th UN Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict: CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE (DRC)

Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, January 2004

www.hrw.org/reports/2004/childsoldiers0104/6.htm

[accessed 30 January 2011]

GOVERNMENT FORCES - The Congolese Armed Forces (FAC) continued to have children in their ranks despite commitments to demobilization.  Only 280 FAC child soldiers had been released by August 2003, out of a total of 1,500 children scheduled for demobilization from July 2001. According to Amnesty International, the Congolese Government appeared not to be actively recruiting child soldiers into the regular armed forces, but it provided military support to armed groups such as Mai-Mai and the Rassamblement congolais pour la dmocratie-mouvement de libration (RCD-ML), which continued to recruit child soldiers. From January 2003, the Mai-Mai, most of whom are aligned to the government, continued to recruit and use child soldiers. Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers (Coalition) members in DRC detected heavy recruitment of children by the Mai-Mai between March and August 2003 in Walungo, Mwenga, Shabunda, Fizi and Buyankiri, in South-Kivu.

Children at War

Anayat Durrani, IN FOCUS, Planned Parenthood® Federation of America, 11.18.03

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

[accessed 4 September 2011]

"We were told to kill people by forcing them to stay in their homes while we burned them down," says 15-year-old Kalami, a six-year veteran serving in one of the armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. "One day, my friends and I were forced by our commanders to kill a family, to cut up their bodies... My life is lost. I have nothing to live for."

From schoolboy to soldier

Hamilton Wende, BBC News, Ituri Province DRC, 20 September, 2003

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/3123794.stm

[accessed 30 January 2011]

I met Manja just after he had walked in alone out of the rain. He carried nothing with him but a sleeveless nylon jacket and his memories.

"I heard that there were other boys without parents who were living here," Manja says in the high-pitched voice of a 12-year-old.   "I decided to leave the militia and join them. I left my gun there. I told them I was suffering, but they said I had to stay, so I went away secretly."   He walked for two days to reach the safety of this centre.   "I left in the evening, just before sunset. I came here all the way on foot, but sometimes other civilians gave me a lift on a bicycle."

"I was farming," Manja told us. "One day I went away to the market. There was fighting in my village that day, and everybody scattered. When I came home there was no-one, everybody was gone."   He joined a group of people heading south, fleeing from their Lendu attackers.   He found himself utterly alone, without anyone willing, or able, to help him.   "I don't know where my father and mother are," he said. "I had nothing to eat. I joined the gunmen to get food.

Sham demobilisation hides rise in Congo's child armies

Rory Carroll, Africa correspondent, The Guardian, 9 September 2003 -- Accounts collated by Amnesty International

www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/sep/09/congo.rorycarroll

[accessed 30 January 2011]

Armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo have stepped up their recruitment of child soldiers in expectation of the civil war continuing despite the peace accord, Amnesty International says.  Boys and girls as young as eight are being mobilised in their thousands to murder and plunder -undermining the hope that after five years the conflict is winding down, its report, Children at War, says.

The Use of Child Soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Human Rights Watch

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

[accessed 4 September 2011]

President Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo has used child soldiers to support his military since 1996. As the rebel leader of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (ADFL), he recruited thousands of young child soldiers, known as "Kadogo," or "the little ones," to support his military campaign against the Mobutu government. Despite pledges from the Congolese government to demobilize children from the FAC since the end of the 1996-1997 war and the establishment of several fledgling demobilization programs, the Kabila government has continued to recruit children as young as seven years old for military service. While no reliable statistics were available regarding the number of child soldiers, the total number is likely to be at least several thousand.

Amnesty International Labels Recruitment of Child Soldiers War Crime, Says Demobilization Efforts Ineffective in DRC

Ryan M. Taylor, U.S. Newswire, New York, Sept. 9, 2003

article.wn.com/view/2003/09/09/Amnesty_International_Labels_Recruitment_of_Child_Soldiers_W/

[accessed 5 September 2014]

In a new report released today Amnesty International (AI) criticized demobilization of child soldiers in eastern Congo as timid and ineffective, claiming that among certain rebel groups demobilization is merely a public relations ploy that often ends in the re-recruitment of those recently demobilized.

The Protection Project - Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) [DOC]

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

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

[Last accessed 2009]

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRAFFICKING INFRASTRUCTURE - Sexual violence was used as a weapon of war by nearly all the factions involved in the conflict in the eastern DRC. Groups frequently and systematically raped women and girls in order to terrorize communities into accepting their control or to punish them for giving real or supposed aid to opposing forces. Combatants abducted women and took them to base camps, where they were forced to be sex slaves or domestic servants. Rape and other sexual crimes were not carried out solely by armed groups in the DRC; police, government authorities, and common criminals were “taking advantage of the prevailing climate of impunity and the culture of violence against women and girls.”

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/congo-brazzaville.htm

[accessed 30 January 2011]

CURRENT GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND PROGRAMS TO ELIMINATE THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR - The Ministry of Family Affairs and Labor began to implement an action plan against sexual exploitation of persons, and the Government has attended regional meetings on trafficking and sought to coordinate with neighboring governments to address the problem.

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/2005/61563.htm

[accessed 30 January 2011]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – There was no information available on reports from late 2004 that persons were recruiting children in South Kivu for use as child soldiers.

Internal trafficking for forced labor and forced sexual exploitation occurred and child prostitution were reported. The majority of reported trafficking occurred in the northeast and east.

In eastern parts of the country, armed groups operating outside government control continued to kidnap men, women, and children and force them to provide menial labor and sexual services for members of armed groups  In addition armed groups abducted children to serve as combatants in areas under their control.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 29 September 2006

www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/898586b1dc7b4043c1256a450044f331/2a3dc64e60de1887c125722700438d40/$FILE/G0644909.doc

[accessed 27 February 2011]

[79] While noting with appreciation the ratification by the State party of relevant ILO Conventions, as well as the adoption of an appropriate legislative framework, the Committee is concerned at the lack of data on the issue of economic exploitation of children. The Committee is also concerned at information according to which children, in particular indigenous children, are exploited economically. Finally, the Committee is concerned at reports that children, in particular from the Democratic Republic of Congo and indigenous children, are recruited to clean sewers and latrines manually, which is extremely hazardous to their health.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 8 June 2001

www1.umn.edu/humanrts/crc/congo2001.html

[accessed 30 January 2011]

[64] The Committee is deeply concerned at the direct and indirect impact of the armed conflict on almost all children in the State party. The Committee is concerned at the deliberate killing of children by armed forces of the State party, armed forces of other State parties that have participated in the conflict and by other armed groups, and by the continuing impunity for such acts constituting very serious violations of children's rights. The Committee is concerned at, inter alia, the recruitment and use of children as soldiers by the State party and by other actors in the armed conflict, including children under 15. The Committee notes with appreciation the creation of a special bureau for the demobilization and re-integration of child soldiers (DUNABER), but is concerned about the effectiveness of this bureau.

[66] The Committee joins the State party in expressing concern at the prevalence of child labour, especially in informal sectors which frequently fall outside the protections afforded by domestic legislation (see paragraph 87 of the State party's report). The Committee is deeply concerned at the use of children to work in the Kasaï mines, in locations in Lubumbashi and in other dangerous work environments.

[68] The Committee is deeply concerned by information, including for example in the State party's report, of the trading, trafficking, kidnapping and use for pornography of young girls and boys within the State party, or from the State party to another country, and that domestic legislation does not sufficiently protect children from trafficking.

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