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Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                  

Democratic Republic of Madagascar

Agriculture, including fishing and forestry, is a mainstay of the economy, accounting for more than one-fourth of GDP and employing 80% of the population. Exports of apparel have boomed in recent years primarily due to duty-free access to the US.

Poverty reduction and combating corruption will be the centerpieces of economic policy for the next few years.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Madagascar

Madagascar is a source country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Children, mostly from rural areas, are trafficked within the country for domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation, forced marriage, forced labor for traveling vendors, and possibly forced labor in mining, fishing, and agriculture. Some child sex trafficking occurs with the involvement of family members, friends, transport operators, tour guides, and hotel workers. A child sex tourism problem exists in coastal cities, including Tamatave, Nosy Be, and Diego Suarez, as well as the capital city of Antananarivo; - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009  Check out a later country report here and possibly a full TIP Report here


CAUTION: The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Madagascar.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



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 precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. 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.


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


Gem industry in need of regulation

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Ilakaka, 17 September 2003

[accessed 19 February 2011]

One of the most disturbing aspects of Madagascar's gem industry has been the use of children to work in the mines. A report by the International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), a branch of the International Labour Organisation, has warned that children as young as eight are being used in mines - because they can get into the cramped spaces in the mines more easily than an adult.

The report noted that children are often exposed to very serious dangers and can, for example, die of suffocation if the mine caves in.  Dominique Rakotomanga, who works for IPEC in the capital, Antananarivo, told IRIN: "This is a really big problem, especially in Ilakaka. We are trying to raise awareness about the problem, find alternative ways for the children to make a living, and ensure that they don't miss out on their education. But because of the poverty here and elsewhere, it is very tempting for them to work underground."


*** ARCHIVES ***

Anti-human trafficking campaign empowers women and protects children in Madagascar

Christi Boyd, Special to Presbyterian News Service, 10 January 2020

[accessed 11 January 2020]

Fabienne realized it would be better for her to return to her home, but she faced many obstacles: “The agency didn’t allow me to return to Madagascar. The agency wanted me to stay and work. Then the people at the agency beat me and forced me back to work.” Complicating Fabienne’s situation was the fact that her passport had been confiscated upon her arrival at Kuwait’s airport, and Madagascar has no diplomatic representation in Kuwait to advocate on her behalf. Eventually, she escaped and ran to the French Embassy, where staff helped her find temporary shelter. 

Fabienne is one of 235 trafficked Malagasy women rescued from working against their will in Lebanon or Kuwait over the past decade with the help of the Rev. Helivao Poget.

Ottawa family building school in Madagascar to prevent child trafficking

High poverty rates often force Malagasy children into exploitation

Elise von Scheel · CBC News · Jun 18, 2017

[accessed 2 November 2019]

An Ottawa family is building a secondary school in Madagascar in hopes of preventing child trafficking in the African country.

Blake and Catherine Potter, along with their four children, are hosting garage sales, selling lemonade and making lip balms to raise money to build a school in the village of Ambatomirahavavy, Madagascar.

Their goal is to raise $5,000 to contribute to construction materials, food and school supplies for the children. The Potter family is building the school with the Madagascar Cooperative Foundation, an organization that works to end poverty in the country.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Madagascar

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

[accessed 15 June 2021]


Union representatives charged that working conditions in some garment factories were akin to forced labor. Setting production targets instead of paying overtime allowances became a general practice among EPZ companies. Workers were assigned higher targets each time they reached the previous goals, obliging them to work more hours to avoid sanctions like salary withholding or even dismissal for low performance. Media and union representatives reported additional abuses perpetrated in call centers run by offshore companies and reported that managers required employees to work overtime beyond legal limits.


Child labor was a widespread problem. Children in rural areas worked mostly in agriculture, fishing, and livestock herding, while those in urban areas worked in domestic labor, transport of goods by cart, petty trading, stone quarrying, artisanal mining for gemstones such as sapphires, in bars, and as beggars. Mica mining and sorting was an industry rife with child labor abuses. Children also worked in the vanilla sector, salt production, deep-sea diving, and the shrimp industry. Some children were victims of human trafficking. Forced child labor occurred, including child sex trafficking and forced labor in mining, quarrying, begging, and domestic work. The results of the 2018 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey indicated 47 percent of children were involved in child labor, including 36 percent of those between five and 11 years old. In addition, 32 percent of children between ages five and 17 worked in dangerous environments or occupations.


Employers often abused and raped young rural girls working as housekeepers in the capital. If the girls left their work, employers typically did not pay them, so many remained rather than return empty-handed to their families and villages.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 8 July 2020]


Most people work in subsistence agriculture, making advancement in the local economy extremely challenging.

According to the US State Department’s 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report, the Malagasy government does not scrutinize officials implicated in trafficking. The report also noted that the government does not provide services to survivors of trafficking. However, Madagascar has made some recent progress in arresting those accused of trafficking; two were arrested in March 2019, and another three were held in December.

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 19 April 2019]

[accessed 3 May 2020]

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

[page 630]

Children in Madagascar, predominantly girls, are lured by peers, family members, and pimps to engage in commercial sexual exploitation, particularly in tourist locations and mining areas. (19; 2; 3; 25) Children as young as age 10 are also involved in mining gold, stones, and sapphires in the regions of Analamanga, Anosy, Ilakaka, and Vakinankaratra. Children in the mining sector suffer from respiratory problems and diseases such as diarrhea and malaria, and are also at risk of injury from collapsing mines. (8; 21; 17; 22; 23; 19; 25; 5) In addition, children working in the production of vanilla in Madagascar are exposed to toxic substances and extreme temperatures, and transport heavy loads and work for long hours. (6; 7; 9; 16; 32; 15).

National birth registration campaign launched

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Johannesburg, 4 June 2004

[accessed 9 March 2015]

The Madagascar government and aid partners on Friday launched a national birth registration campaign to secure full rights of citizenship for the country's children.

The Indian Ocean island is one of the poorest countries in the world, with most of its population surviving on less than US $1 a day.  "Not having a birth certificate means that a person is not recognised by the state. This limits access to education, employment opportunities and a host of other social services," UNICEF communication officer, Misbah Sheikh, told IRIN

UNICEF and world legislators urge action against child exploitation

Agence France-Presse AFP, Mexico City, April 21, 2004

[accessed 19 February 2011]

"More than two million children throughout the world are victims of commercial sexual exploitation," said UNICEF director Edwin Judd.  "Children are bought, sold, traded, and bartered or see no alternative but to sell themselves. The sex trade has no borders. Children from rich as well as poor countries are exploited," he said.  Judd said that, according to UNICEF research, between 30 percent and 50 percent of prostitutes in Madagascar are children.

Madagascar breaks child traffic ring

Tim Healy, BBC News, Antananarivo, 16 April 2004

[accessed 19 February 2011]

Police in Madagascar have rescued 11 babies between the ages of three weeks and nine months who were in the process of being sent abroad.

The eight accused Malagasy men are alleged to be part of an illegal adoption ring that offers financial incentives of up to $800 for every young baby they find.  Mr Rakotondravao said this can be partly attributed to poverty as poor young single mothers are prepared to give up a child in return for cash.

Efforts to stop child trafficking

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Johannesburg, 20 September 2004

[accessed 9 March 2015]

In the past year police have reportedly smashed five networks dealing in the illicit adoption of children aged between two months and 10 years, mainly destined for Europe, where they were sold for about US $800 each.

Madagascar launches campaign to end child sex exploitation

UNICEF Press Centre, Madagascar, 10 December 2003

[accessed 19 February 2011]

At the official launch of a national  campaign to end child sexual exploitation in Madagascar, UNICEF and ILO presented the resumes of three studies that highlighted the sexual exploitation of children in Madagascar. According to the UNICEF-sponsored study, between 30 per cent to 50 per cent of all sex workers in two of country's main cities, Nosy Be and Tamatave, were children under the age of 18.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 3 October 2003

[accessed 19 February 2011]

[42] The Committee is concerned that there is very little interest in simple adoption in the State party leading to various types of informal adoption such as “god-parenting” that are not conducive to full respect for children’s rights.  The Committee further welcomes the establishment of the inter-ministerial commission on inter-country adoption, but remains concerned that inter-country adoptions are not properly followed up.

[61] While welcoming the adoption of Act 98-024 of 25 January 1999 amending the Penal Code and other 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.

The Protection Project – Madagascar [PDF]

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

[accessed 24 February 2016]

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


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 10 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The law does not specifically prohibit trafficking in persons, and there were reports of trafficking in women and girls for prostitution between the country and the neighboring islands of Mauritius and Reunion. Children also were trafficked from rural areas to work as prostitutes in urban centers. Traffickers may be prosecuted under provisions of the penal and labor codes that prohibit pedophilia and sexual tourism; however, there were no reports during the year of arrests for trafficking. The Ministry of Justice is responsible for enforcement.

There were several cases of kidnapping, and politicians from the south claimed that children were being sold for up to $3,200 (16 million ariary) for overseas adoption or forced labor.

During the year the government took several steps to combat trafficking. In May the government passed a new adoption law, in part to protect children from being trafficked under the guise of adoption. The government also continued to construct welcome centers for the victims of trafficking and forced labor. The government listed the fight against trafficking as one of its key objectives and created a strategy during the year to address child labor and trafficking in each part of the country.

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

[accessed 19 February 2011]

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

CHILD LABOR LAWS AND ENFORCEMENT - Forced or bonded labor by children is prohibited under the Labor Code.  The Penal Code prohibit engaging in sexual activities of any type with children under the age of 14, and the production and dissemination of pornographic materials showing minors is illegal.  The government does not have comprehensive legislation prohibiting trafficking in persons.

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