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

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

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

Gabonese Republic (Gabon)

Gabon enjoys a per capita income four times that of most sub-Saharan African nations, but because of high income inequality, a large proportion of the population remains poor. Gabon depended on timber and manganese until oil was discovered offshore in the early 1970s. The oil sector now accounts for more than 50% of GDP.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Gabon

Gabon is a destination country for children and young adults trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation.

Girls are primarily trafficked for domestic servitude, forced market vending, forced restaurant labor, and commercial sexual exploitation, while boys are trafficked for forced street hawking and forced labor in small workshops. Children reportedly are also trafficked to Gabon from other African countries for forced labor in agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing, and mining. Inc

Reports also indicate that some indigenous Pygmies are subjected to slavery-like conditions, without effective recourse in the judicial system.   - 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 Gabon.  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 ***

Written statement from Anti-Slavery International for agenda item 13 of the provisional agenda

UN Economic and Social Council, Commission on Human Rights, 56th Session, Geneva, 20 March- 28 April 2000

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 5 September 2011]

Traffickers promise good money and training in order to persuade the parents to send their children abroad. However, after the children arrive in Gabon neither the child nor their parents are paid for the work they do. The children interviewed in Gabon often told harrowing stories of their journey from Bénin to Gabon and many complained of bad working conditions and being deprived of food once they arrived. Over half of the children interviewed said that they had been beaten by their employers.  Even where children are rescued from these conditions, they are likely to encounter feelings of alienation from their own family and culture and must undergo a long and difficult task of reintegration.

 

*** ARCHIVES ***

War is Boring: U.S. Navy Renders Aid to Gabonese Trafficking Victims

David Axe, World Politics Review, Libreville Gabon, 22 Apr 2009

www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/3638/war-is-boring-u-s-navy-renders-aid-to-gabonese-trafficking-victims

[partially accessed 6 February 2011 - access restricted]

It's a crisis that intersects with another. Across Africa, but especially in the central part of the continent, boys are sold, coerced or kidnapped into military service in both government and rebel armies. Many of these child soldiers also flee their captors, especially during combat, and end up homeless on the streets of major cities, where aid groups struggle to find and care for them.   Children represent a major commodity in a dark economy of violence and exploitation that is perhaps most prominent in West and Central Africa.   Escudero described Gabon as an importer of child slaves, "either for cheap manual labor or to work in people's homes or factories. Often these kids win up on streets, if they've been abused at home or mistreated where they're working."

Gabon cracks down on child trafficking

Mail & Guardian Online, South Africa, 01/04/2005

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

[accessed 5 September 2011]

Child trafficking to Gabon gained momentum in the 1970s, when the country's oil wealth made it a magnet for the nationals of poorer neighbouring states. According to the ministry of social and family affairs, there are currently about 25 000 exploited children in Gabon -- about half of whom come from Togo, Nigeria and Benin.

Rights-Gabon: Hopefully, the Beginning of the End for Child Traffickers

Antoine Lawson, Inter Press Service News Agency IPS, Libreville, 24 February 2005

Click [here] to access the article.  Its URL is not displayed because of its length

[accessed 16 July 2013]

For the first time in its history, the country is to try persons accused of these crimes.  Eight nationals from Benin and Togo who have been indicted for trafficking and exploitation face imprisonment of up to five years if convicted - and fines of between 200 and 2,000 dollars. These penalties are stipulated in a law aimed at protecting children against exploitation that was adopted in 2002, but which has yet to be enforced.

The Protection Project - Gabon [DOC]

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

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

[Last accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Children are trafficked primarily for domestic labor,  as well as for work as street and market vendors.  The majority of children trafficked from Togo and Benin are girls, and most of the children coming from Nigeria are boys.  Traffickers taking children into Gabon commonly pose as their parents or caretakers.  Children are often taken to Gabon under the guise of going to school there. However, after arriving in Gabon, the children are denied any education and are forced to work for their “host” families. Then, when the anticipated date of graduation from the promised school approaches, the families accuse the children of stealing money and kick them out into the street. 

In addition, children from Nigeria may be trafficked to Gabon for prostitution  and menial labor.  Some of the Togolese girls initially trafficked to Gabon as housemaids are driven into prostitution there if they manage to escape from domestic servitude.

Child labor is extremely widespread. An estimated 53,000 of the 132,000 children living in Gabon are forced to work.  According to another report, an estimated 5,000 are foreign children working in Gabon.

GABON: Laws fail to curb child trafficking racket

Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Libreville, 4 February 2005

www.irinnews.org/report/52911/gabon-laws-fail-to-curb-child-trafficking-racket

[accessed 9 March 2015]

Gabon passed a law against trafficking and child exploitation in 2002, but the first police roundup of child traffickers and their victims only took place on the 24 January - nearly three years later.  The authorities arrested 60 young people from Benin, Togo, Nigeria, Ghana and Niger, along with 20 of their suspected adult employers, who were all immigrants from West Africa themselves.  The youths, ranging in age from eight to 26, were taken into care prior to being reunited with their families.  But to the disappointment of childrens' rights activists, the "uncles" and "guardians" to whom they were forced to surrender their earnings, were released from custody three days later.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 6   Civil Liberties: 4   Status: Partly Free

2009 Edition

www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2009/gabon

[accessed 26 June 2012]

UNICEF: War fuels Africa human trafficking

Jonathan Fowler, Associated Press, Geneva, April 23, 2004

www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-93762330.html

[partially accessed 6 February 2011 - access restricted]

"Every country represents a different problem," Rossi told reporters at a meeting of African Union ministers in Benin. "But at the national level in Africa there is a lack of capacity to collect data."

Nigeria and Gabon are the major destinations for individuals trafficked from neighboring countries in West Africa, including strife-hit Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

WEST AFRICA: Traffickers hold thousands of children, women in bondage

Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Lagos, 12 November 2003

www.irinnews.org/report/47211/west-africa-traffickers-hold-thousands-of-children-women-in-bondage-continued

[accessed 9 March 2015]

Most children and women rights activists say much will not be achieved towards eradicating human trafficking without first dealing effectively with widespread poverty in West Africa because poverty is the single major cause of the trade.  Sharp losses in revenue by cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon have actually become an incentive for farmers to take in cheap, child labourers to cut costs, the activists say.  Among the poorer countries in the region, relatively affluent countries such as Cote d’Ivoire and oil-rich Nigeria and Gabon remain attractive destinations for parents to send their children to work in the care of intermediaries.

West Africa: Stop Trafficking in Child Labor

Human Rights Watch, New York, April 1, 2003

www.hrw.org/en/news/2003/04/01/west-africa-stop-trafficking-child-labor

[accessed 6 February 2011]

Girls interviewed by Human Rights Watch were told to board ships for Gabon, where they worked as housemaids or in markets. In a September, 2001 case documented in the report, a boat ferrying hundreds of trafficked girls sank off the coast of Cameroon, killing nine. Other cases document girls being treated as virtual slaves, forced to work day and night peddling goods in the market, fetching water, and caring for young children. Most endured beatings and psychological abuse, including death threats and warnings they would never see their parents again.

Children’s testimony from Borderline Slavery: Child Trafficking in Togo

Human Rights Watch Testimonies, April 2003

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

[accessed 5 September 2011]

ON THEIR RECRUITMENT BY CHILD TRAFFICKERS - My friend had an aunt in Gabon, and she came and saw the conditions we were living in. She said she had a good job in Gabon, so I should accompany her there and work with her. My mother was very seriously ill, and my friend’s aunt said that when we got to Gabon, she would find me a job as a trader so that I could send money to my mother for medicine…I was willing to go because of how she spoke about it. She never said how much money I would be making. - Dado K., age twenty-nine, trafficked to Gabon when she was sixteen

Modern-Day Slavery? - The scope of trafficking in persons in Africa

Kathleen Fitzgibbon, African Security Review, Vol 12 No 1, 2003

www.popline.org/node/232382

[accessed 16 July 2013]

INTRODUCTION - Chikezie is a 13-year-old from Nigeria who was in fourth grade when a man from his area promised his family to educate him. Upon arrival in Libreville, Gabon, he was forced to hawk water and nylon bags for his ‘master’, who beat him when he did not earn as much as expected. His ‘master’ also burned him with a hot iron. Chikezie escaped to the Nigerian embassy in Gabon, which assisted his repatriation. He is now at home studying to be a chemist.

TYPES AND EXTENT OF TRAFFICKING IN AFRICA - TRAFFICKING FOR FORCED LABOUR - The ILO also estimates 200,000 to 300,000 children are trafficked each year for forced labour and sexual exploitation in West and Central Africa. ….. UNICEF estimates 25,000 foreign children are working in markets and farms in Gabon; 7,000 of them are likely trafficking victims.

Rogue Voyage of a 21st Century African Slave Ship

Austin Baynow, Strategy Page, April 19, 2001

www.strategypage.com/on_point/20010419.aspx

[accessed 6 February 2011]

The West African child slave traffic works like this: Smugglers coax families in flat-broke countries like Benin and Togo into "giving up" their kids. They promise education and a better life. The going price for a child: $15. The smugglers sell the boys to plantations in wealthier places like the Ivory Coast and Gabon. If they're lucky, the girls end up as household workers. Many girls end up in brothels.

African "slave ship" highlights spread of child slavery

Trevor Johnson, World Socialist Web Site, 19 April 2001

www.wsws.org/articles/2001/apr2001/slav-a19.shtml

[accessed 6 February 2011]

On March 30, the MV Etireno set sail from Benin for Gabon. The manifest of the Nigerian-registered ship said it was carrying 139 passengers. It had room for 200. The ship was turned away from Libreville, Gabon, after the Transport Ministry issued a press statement claiming there were 250 Nigerian children aboard, destined to be used as slave labour.

Written statement from Anti-Slavery International for agenda item 13 of the provisional agenda

UN Economic and Social Council, Commission on Human Rights, 56th Session, Geneva, 20 March- 28 April 2000

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

[accessed 5 September 2011]

Traffickers promise good money and training in order to persuade the parents to send their children abroad. However, after the children arrive in Gabon neither the child nor their parents are paid for the work they do. The children interviewed in Gabon often told harrowing stories of their journey from Bénin to Gabon and many complained of bad working conditions and being deprived of food once they arrived. Over half of the children interviewed said that they had been beaten by their employers.  Even where children are rescued from these conditions, they are likely to encounter feelings of alienation from their own family and culture and must undergo a long and difficult task of reintegration.

New Global Treaty to Combat "Sex Slavery"

United Nations Department of Public Information, DPI/2098, February 2000 -- Tenth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders

books.google.com/books/about/New_Global_Treaty_to_Combat_sex_Slavery.html?id=oQF1PAAACAAJ

[accessed 3 September 2014]

CHILDREN SOLD OR KIDNAPPED - According to Anti-Slavery International, children aged 8 to 15 years are "recruited" or kidnapped from backward villages of the poorest countries in Africa, such as Benin or Togo, and sold as slaves to households, plantations or brothels in neighbouring countries, including Nigeria and Gabon.

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/gabon.htm

[accessed 6 February 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Children are also reported to be trafficked into Gabon from Equatorial Guinea.  Children who are purchased in Benin, Togo and Mali for as little as USD 14 may be sold to commercial farms in Gabon and Côte d’Ivoire for up to USD 340.  A social practice known as “placement” is also reported to be a problem.  According to tradition, poor families send their children to more affluent homes where the children receive an education in exchange for performing various services for their host families.  However, the practice has degenerated, and placed children are allegedly trafficked or subjected to commercial sexual exploitation

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/2005/61570.htm

[accessed 6 February 2011]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Children (especially girls), primarily from Benin and Togo, worked as domestic servants or in the informal commercial sector. Nigerian children, also victims of trafficking, worked in the informal commercial sector as mechanics. Trafficked children generally worked long hours, were subjected to physical abuse, received inadequate food, and received no wages or schooling. No statistics were available on the number of trafficking victims in the country, but estimates ranged from 3 thousand to 25 thousand.

SECTION 6 WORKER RIGHTS – [d] An unknown number of children‑‑primarily foreign‑‑worked in marketplaces or performed domestic duties; many of these children were reportedly the victims of child trafficking. Such children generally did not attend school, received only limited medical attention, and often were exploited by employers or foster families.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1 February 2002

www1.umn.edu/humanrts/crc/gabon2002.html

[accessed 6 February 2011]

[59] While noting the criminalization of trafficking of children in a recent Act of 2001 and the establishment of a national inter-ministerial committee to fight against trafficking in children, and the serious commitment of the State party with regard to this issue, the Committee is deeply concerned at the large number of trafficked children, particularly children coming from abroad, who are still exploited, mostly in the informal labour market, or enslaved.

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