Torture in  [Cote d'Ivoire]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Cote d'Ivoire]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Cote d'Ivoire]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Cote d'Ivoire]  [other countries]

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2018                   ’Ivoire.htm

Republic of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

Côte d’Ivoire is the world's largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans and a significant producer and exporter of coffee and palm oil.

Despite government attempts to diversify the economy, it is still heavily dependent on agriculture and related activities, engaging roughly 68% of the population. Since 2006, oil and gas production have become more important engines of economic activity than cocoa.

Since the end of the civil war in 2003, political turmoil has continued to damage the economy, resulting in the loss of foreign investment and slow economic growth. GDP grew by nearly 2% in 2007 and 3% in 2008. Per capita income has declined by 15% since 1999.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: CoteD'Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Trafficking within the country is more prevalent than transnational trafficking, and the majority of victims are children. Within Côte d’Ivoire, women and girls are trafficked primarily for domestic servitude, restaurant labor, and sexual exploitation. A 2007 study by the German government’s foreign aid organization found that 85 percent of females in prostitution in two Ivoirian districts were children. Boys are trafficked within the country for agricultural and service labor.   - 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 Côte d’Ivoire.  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.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page to see which aspect(s) 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.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


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


NGOs: gladiators of freedom [PDF]

L. Corradini & Asbel López, The UNESCO Courier, June 2001

[accessed 30 January 2011]

[page 40]

At five in the morning, well before most children get up to go to school, 12-year-old Abula sets out on a six-kilometre barefoot trek along a road made of mud and stone to work on a coffee plantation in Bouafle, Côte d’Ivoire.

When he gets there, wet and tired, the foreman tells him where he is to plant that day. “You have to work fast because they threaten to punish and starve us if we don’t do the set amount of work,” he says. “If we can’t work because we’re ill, we risk being physically tortured. One day I saw them torture two friends of mine who wanted to escape. Both of them ended up dead.”


*** ARCHIVES ***

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 4   Civil Liberties: 4   Status: Partly Free

2018 Edition

[accessed 20 March 2019]


Despite efforts by the government in recent years to counter the phenomenon, child labor is a frequent problem, particularly in the cocoa industry. Human trafficking is prohibited by the new constitution, however government programs for victims of trafficking—often children—are inadequate.

2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

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

[accessed 20 March 2019]

[accessed 25 June 2019]


Forced and compulsory labor continued to occur in small-scale and commercial production of agricultural products, particularly on cocoa, coffee, pineapple, cashew, and rubber plantations, and in the informal labor sector, such as domestic work, nonindustrial farm labor, artisanal mines, street shops, and restaurants. Forced labor on cocoa, coffee, and pineapple plantations was limited to children.


Children routinely worked on family farms or as vendors, shoe shiners, errand runners, domestic helpers, street restaurant vendors, and car watchers and washers. Some girls as young as nine years old reportedly worked as domestic servants, often within their extended family networks. While the overall prevalence of child labor decreased, children in rural areas continued to work on farms under hazardous conditions, including risk of injury from machetes, physical strain from carrying heavy loads, and exposure to harmful chemicals. According to international organizations, child labor was noticed increasingly on cashew plantations and in illegal gold mines, although no studies had been conducted. In 2016 UNICEF and the government undertook the Multiple Indicator Cluster (MICS) survey with a section on child labor. According to UNICEF, the child labor prevalence of 31.3 percent reported in the MICS 2016 referred to an expanded age group of children between five and 17 years old and included economic activities, household chores, and hazardous working conditions, which represented 21.5 percent.

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

[accessed 17 April 2019]

[page 335]

Children from Côte d’Ivoire are subjected to human trafficking for forced labor in domestic work within the country and North Africa. Children are also brought from neighboring West African countries to Côte d’Ivoire for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor, including in begging, cocoa production, and artisanal mining. (1; 10; 21; 16; 4; 15) IOM indicates that some parents send their boys to Tunisia so they can play soccer, but upon arrival, the boys’ identity documents are confiscated and they are subject to forced labor until they can repay the cost of their plane ticket. (26).

Chocolate's bittersweet economy

Christian Parenti, Fortune Magazine, February 15 2008

[accessed 30 January 2011]

Outside the village of Sinikosson in southwestern Ivory Coast, along a trail tracing the edge of a muddy fishpond, Madi Ouedraogo sits on the ground picking up cocoa pods in one hand, hacking them open with a machete in the other and scooping the filmy white beans into plastic buckets. It is the middle of the school day, but Madi, who looks to be about 10, says his family can't afford the fees to send him to the nearest school, five miles away. "I don't like this work," he says. "I would rather do something else. But I have to do this."

This type of child labor isn't supposed to exist in Ivory Coast. Not only is it explicitly barred by law - the official working age in the country is 18 - but since the issue first became public seven years ago, there has been an international campaign by the chocolate industry, governments and human rights organizations to eradicate the problem. Yet today child workers, many under the age of 10, are everywhere.

Human Trafficking 'Unacceptable’, Says UK Confectionary Association

Anne Thomas, Christian Today, March 15, 2007

[accessed 30 January 2011]

Nearly half the world's cocoa is harvested in the Cote D'Ivoire. As it is a hidden trade, exact figures are hard to come by. In 2000 the US State Department Human Rights report found that more than 15,000 Malian children were trafficked into this area to work as slaves both on coffee and cocoa plantations, the majority being cocoa.

"Chocolate manufacturers promised to end the use of trafficked children in harvesting the cocoa beans that make our chocolate by 2005," explained a spokesperson from Stop The Traffik, "but this has not been done. They have started several worthy initiatives but are not addressing the central issue of trafficked labour.

Planning Intervention Strategies for Child Laborers in Côte d’Ivoire [PDF]

Creative Associates International, Inc., Planning Intervention Strategies for Child Laborers in Côte d’Ivoire, Final Report, 2002 -- Prepared for: United States Agency for International Development, Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture, and Trade, Office for Education, Africa Bureau

[accessed 30 January 2011]

[page 47 picture caption]  Eleven of the reported 108 children who were, two years earlier, brought into Côte d’Ivoire to work on their Marabou’s plantation. The children receive food and housing. Their only form of education is memorizing the Koran at night. They have not received any form of wage payment for the two years since arriving in Côte d’Ivoire. The children work harvesting cocoa, coffee, corn, rice, cassavas and mangos. They said they were promised an education and would be taught a job skill. Some expressed that they would like to return home, but have no money, no idea how to get home, or where they are. The oldest is 17 and the youngest is currently 9 years old.

High human trafficking profits increases practice in Ghana

Ghana News Agency GNA, 20 Feb 2007

[accessed 30 January 2011]

Statistics from the United Nationa’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) indicated that human trafficking was rated the World’s third most profitable illicit business venture apart from drugs and prostitution.  Subsequently, the number of children trafficked from Afram Plains in the Eastern, Yeji in the Brong Ahafo, and Atitekpo in the Volta Regions countries such as The Gambia and Côte d’Ivoire in particular, for hazardous occupation had increased.

Statistics from the United Nationa’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) indicated that human trafficking was rated the World’s third most profitable illicit business venture apart from drugs and prostitution.  Subsequently, the number of children trafficked from Afram Plains in the Eastern, Yeji in the Brong Ahafo, and Atitekpo in the Volta Regions countries such as The Gambia and Côte d’Ivoire in particular, for hazardous occupation had increased.

How can something so sweet taste so wrong?

Athena Sydney

[accessed 29 August 2014]

[scroll down to Hidden Genocide]

Forty-three percent of the cocoa used in chocolate comes from Ivory Coast, which makes this African country the biggest producer of cocoa worldwide. Most of the laborers on cocoa plantations are between twelve and sixteen years old, some of them are even younger, nine years old. These young children are treated like slaves – they don’t receive any payment for their labor, and are beaten with sticks when they don’t work, or try to escape. They are locked up at night, don’t get sufficient nutrition and work eighty to one hundred hours per week. The children are separated from their families, since they are ‘purchased’ from their families in adjacent countries like Mali, Burkina Faso and Togo, and they live in constant fear on the cocoa plantations. Although it is not known how many children are enslaved in Ivory Coast, it is estimated that approximately fifteen thousand child slaves work on cocoa, cotton and coffee farms in this African country.

UNICEF: Human Trafficking Affects Every Country in Africa

PolitInfo, Geneva, Apr 23, 2004 -- This article uses material from VOA.

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

[accessed 4 September 2011]

The study describes trafficking as a dynamic phenomenon that can change from day to day depending on the changing circumstances of a country. Mr. Rossi says that for example, before the civil uprising in Ivory Coast, it was a major receiving country. But since the crisis, more people are being trafficked out of Ivory Coast to countries where they often are used as slave labor or for sexual purposes.

Drissa's Story and the Origins of Slavery in Cocoa


[accessed 30 January 2011]

DRISSA'S STORY - Once in Korhogo, in the Ivory Coast, Drissa was offered what sounded like a good job on a cocoa plantation, but when he reached the isolated farm, he was enslaved. More than 300 miles from home, far from any settlement, not even knowing where he was, Drissa was trapped. When he tried to run away he was savagely beaten. At night, along with 17 other young men, Drissa was locked into a small room, with only a tin can as a toilet.

On the plantation the work is hard. In oppressive heat, with biting flies around their heads and snakes in the undergrowth, the slaves worked from dawn till dusk tending and collecting the cocoa pods. Often given only braised banana to eat for months at a time, they developed vitamin deficiencies. Weak from hunger they staggered under great sacks of cocoa pods. If they slowed in their work, they were beaten.

'Chocolate Slaves' Carry Many Scars

Neil Tweedie, The Daily Telegraph, April 17, 2001

[accessed 30 January 2011]

Drissa is a child but does not care for chocolate so much. He still carries the marks of his time harvesting the cocoa beans from vast plantations of cacao trees in the Ivory Coast.  Numerous wounds from beatings adorn his back. Some are down to the bone. Drissa was a "chocolate slave", one of an unknown number of children from West Africa sold by their families into bondage in the Ivory Coast, the world's largest producer of cocoa.  They are paid nothing, beaten into submission and abandoned when illness makes them useless.

Labor Group Demands US Ban On Imported Ivory Coast Cocoa

Elizabeth Price, Dow Jones Newswires, May 31, 2002

[accessed 20 April  2012]

[scroll down]

A labor-rights group is threatening legal action to require the U.S. government to consider banning cocoa imports from Ivory Coast, alleging that forced child labor is employed extensively in production.

"Child slaves are used on cocoa plantations all over (Ivory Coast) without any observable programs to stop the practice," Aristide said. After talking with cocoa farmers to get an idea of their demand for labor and what type they expect to employ, he said he found that farmers are pressed to cut labor costs to maintain income as cocoa prices have plummeted. Aristide suggested that one simple solution could be for the large multinational cocoa processors to offer to pay more for cocoa beans produced on farms certified free of indentured child labor.

Slaves to chocolate: thousands of boys toil on Ivory Coast cacao farms

Current Events, a Weekly Reader publication, Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, April 26, 2002

[partially accessed 30 January 2011 - access restricted]

[accessed 11 March 2018]

Aly Diabate, from the country of Mali, was 12 years old when a slave trader promised him $150 and a bicycle for working on a cacao farm in Ivory Coast, where 43 percent of the world's cacao is grown. Instead, Aly was sold for about $35 to a cacao farmer, who regularly beat the boy with a bicycle chain and branches from a cacao tree. "The beatings were part of my life," Aly told a reporter for Knight Ridder Newspapers in 2001, after he was freed by local authorities and returned to his Mali village.

Child Slaves Caught in Glittering Traps

Corinna Schuler, National Post, 4/17/01

[accessed 30 January 2011]

Mali's modern-day slave traders do not bother with abductions any more. They lure victims with a smile. "Hey there," a stranger called, leaning out the window of a dented white mini-van as it chugged to a stop on a dirt road. Two teenage brothers looked up at the driver. He introduced himself as Solo. "You looking for work?  Years later, Moumouni and Seydou Sylla recall how eagerly they jumped. "Yes!"  And, with that, one of Mali's most notorious child traffickers had laid his trap.

Moumouni, 14 at the time, and his 16-year-old brother had left the village with dreams of paid employment and possessions their impoverished parents could not provide: a bike and a pair of American jeans.  "Then, come on," Solo beckoned. "I'll take you to someone who will give you a job. You won't even have to pay for transportation."  The next day, the Sylla brothers found themselves captive in a windowless hut -- caught in the web of smugglers who coax unknown numbers of young people out of impoverished Mali each year and sell them into hard labor in the prosperous country next door, Ivory Coast. The Sylla brothers sold for the price of a pair of shoes -- $63 apiece.  The years that followed are a blur of backbreaking labor, vicious beatings, food deprivation and dark nights in captivity.

Traffickers target boys in cocoa trade - Enslavement nearly hidden as children taken to work on Ivory Coast farms

Sudarsan Raghavan, Knight Ridder Newspapers, Sikasso, Mali, June 24, 2001

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

[accessed 4 September 2011]

Businessmen called "locateurs" wait in the little bus station in this large border town, where crammed mini-buses leave for Ivory Coast every 30 minutes. They search the crowds for children traveling alone, looking lost or begging for food.  "Would you like a great job in Cote d'Ivoire?" they ask, using the official name of the former French colony. "I can find you one."

The dusty alley behind the bus station is brimming with vendors selling everything from food to cigarettes. There are cobblers and shanty kiosks selling bootleg tapes of West African pop music. Chickens and goats abound, and dust mingles with the scent of raw meat.  There also is a dark warehouse with blackened walls and a thick wooden door covered with tin sheeting that locks from the outside. Malian officials say slave traders sometimes keep their young victims here overnight so they can't escape.

Africa: Migrants, Slavery

Australia Visa Immigration Services, Immigration Laws: May, 2001 - Number #18

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

[accessed 4 September 2011]

Mali and Slavery. There are an estimated 15,000 Malian youth ages 15 to 18 who are enslaved in the Ivory Coast, lured by smugglers who promise the youth and their parents high wages and training. Instead, most do manual labor in cocoa plantations.

According to the ILO, the best defense against the sale of children is to have local NGOs educate villagers about what really happens to their children, and to step up enforcement of laws that make recruiting and enslaving children a crime.

Scandal of Britain's Child Slaves Revealed

From the Files of The Daily Mail, 2001

[accessed 30 January 2011]

SCANDAL OF BRITAIN'S CHILD SLAVES REVEALED - Investigators also discovered a trade in girls who can be bought for £ 5 a time at a market in Abidjan. Documents can be quickly acquired through corruption - after a few minutes outside the Ministry of the Child, Welfare and the Family, a tout approached an African producer posing as a hopeful parent - $ 500 and less than 12 hours was all he needed for the paperwork to be in order, and for the stranger to become, officially, his daughter.

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

[accessed 9 September 2011]

[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.

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'ivoire.htm

[accessed 30 January 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - National armed forces and rebel groups are reported to recruit or use children in situations of armed conflict, sometimes on a forced basis.  Rebel forces are also reported to actively recruit child soldiers from refugee camps and other areas in the western part of the country.  Côte d’Ivoire is a source and destination country for trafficked children.  Children are trafficked into the country from Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania and Togo to work as domestic servants, farm laborers, and indentured servants, and for sexual exploitation.  There are also reports of Malian boys working on farms and plantations in Côte d’Ivoire under conditions of indentured servitude.  Children have been trafficked out of Côte d’Ivoire to other countries in Africa as well as to Europe and the Middle East.  Children are also trafficked from all parts of the country into Abidjan and other areas in the south for domestic service

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

[accessed 30 January 2011]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The country was a source and destination country for trafficking in women and children from Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, and Benin for the purpose of forced commercial agriculture and domestic servitude. The full extent and nature of the problem was unknown despite efforts to document and trafficking of persons in the country. There was no reliable estimate of the number of children intercepted or repatriated during the year. Trafficking in persons decreased during the year due to increased checkpoints and fewer economic opportunities in the country. However, officials at the country's border with Ghana near Aboisso turned back more busloads of children traveling without adults than in the previous year.

The country's cities and farms provided ample opportunities for traffickers, especially of children and women. The informal labor sectors were not regulated under existing labor laws, so domestics, most non-industrial farm laborers, and those who worked in the country's wide network of street shops and restaurants remained outside government protection. Internal trafficking of girls ages 9 to 15 to work as household domestics in Abidjan, and elsewhere in the more prosperous south, remained a problem. Traffickers of local children were often relatives or friends of the victim's parents. Traffickers sometimes promised parents that the children would learn a trade, but they often ended up on the streets as vendors or working as domestic servants. Due to the economic crisis, many parents allowed their children to be exploited.

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

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

[accessed 30 January 2011]

[55] While noting the efforts undertaken by the State party within its Plan of Action to fight child trafficking, the Committee remains deeply concerned at the large number of child victims of trafficking for the purpose of exploitation in the State party's agricultural, mining and domestic service sectors and other forms of exploitation.

The Protection Project - Côte d’Ivoire [DOC]

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

[Last accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Children have been trafficked to Côte d’Ivoire for forced agricultural work. Thousands of Malian children may be working on Ivorian farms. In September 2002, for example, an Ivorian national was arrested in the Sikasso area of Mali. Accompanying him were three children, whom he was allegedly attempting to bring into Côte d’Ivoire.  Child agricultural workers are exposed to dangerous pesticides and other hazards.  Furthermore, it is suspected that there is a high number of prostituted children in Côte d’Ivoire, including young Nigerian trafficking victims.

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

[accessed 30 January 2011]

U.S. Library of Congress - Country Study

Library of Congress Call Number DT545.22 .C66 1990

[accessed 18 March 2019


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 - Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)",'Ivoire.htm, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Cote d'Ivoire]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Cote d'Ivoire]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Cote d'Ivoire]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Cote d'Ivoire]  [other countries]