USDOS – US Department of State (Author)
CHAD: Tier 2 Watch List
The Government of Chad does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated significant efforts during the reporting period by identifying at least two trafficking victims. It implemented some measures to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers by training members of the military and verifying the age of entrants at military centers. However, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period. The government reported a decrease in the number of investigations, prosecutions, and convictions compared to the previous year. It did not provide specialized services for trafficking victims and did not systematically refer victims to NGOs or international organizations for care. Therefore, Chad was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHAD
Enact legislation prohibiting all forms of trafficking in persons and prescribing sufficiently stringent punishments; strengthen enforcement of existing laws to combat trafficking in persons; vigorously investigate and prosecute suspected trafficking offenders and sentence them to time in prison; provide training to magistrates on managing trafficking and applying penalties that have a deterrent effect under existing laws; provide specialized anti-trafficking training to law enforcement officers and prosecutors; work with NGOs and international organizations to increase the provision of protective services to all trafficking victims, including children exploited in sex trafficking or forced into cattle herding or domestic service; allocate regular funding to support the activities of the inter-ministerial committee on trafficking in persons, including funding for victim protection efforts; and raise public awareness of trafficking issues, particularly at the local level among tribal leaders and other members of the traditional justice system.
The government decreased law enforcement efforts. Existing laws do not specifically prohibit trafficking, though they do prohibit forced prostitution and many types of labor exploitation. Article 20 of the Constitution prohibits slavery and servitude. Title 5 of the labor code prohibits forced and bonded labor, prescribing penalties ranging from six days to three months of imprisonment or a fine of 147,000 to 294,000 ($236-$473) Central African CFA francs (FCFA) or up to 882,000 CFA ($1,419) for repeat offenders; these penalties are not sufficiently stringent to deter this form of trafficking and do not reflect the serious nature of the crimes. Penal code articles 279 and 280 prohibit the “prostitution” of children, prescribing punishments of five to 10 years imprisonment and fines up to 1,000,000 FCFA ($1,608); Title 5 of the labor code punishes forced labor and servitude with fines ranging from 50,000 FCFA to 500,000 FCFA ($80 to $804). These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes. Pimping and owning brothels are prohibited under penal code articles 281 and 282. The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the January 1991 Ordinance on the Reorganization of the Armed Forces, and the Optimal Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child prohibit recruitment of children younger than 18 years; punishment for those who violate this provision is at the discretion of military justice officials. In December 2016, the National Assembly passed an updated penal code at the end of the reporting period that required presidential proclamation at the end of the reporting period before it could be enacted into law; it includes 16 articles specifically criminalizing trafficking in persons and is intended to align Chad’s law with the 2000 UN TIP Protocol. Draft revisions to the child protection code, also including provisions criminalizing trafficking in persons, awaits the President’s proclamation and enactment.
Although the government did not collect comprehensive law enforcement data, it initiated one investigation which led to the prosecution of one marabout for the alleged forced begging of two Quranic school students; the suspect was in detention while this case remained pending at the close of the reporting period. The government did not report any convictions. These efforts represent a decrease compared with six investigations, four prosecutions, and three convictions during the previous reporting period. The government did not report any new investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of complicit officials; however, NGOs reported of some local officials’ complicity in trafficking during the reporting period. During the previous reporting period, authorities arrested the police commissioner of the city of Kelo on suspicion of involvement in child trafficking; however, after initial investigation for kidnapping, officials released the suspect from custody and, while the case remained open, it was unknown whether officials continued to actively investigate the charge. In 2016, the Chadian National Police Child Protective Services (Brigade des Mineurs) continued to investigate child abuse and exploitation, including trafficking.
The government decreased efforts to identify and protect trafficking victims. It did not officially report the number of victims identified or referred to protection services, although it identified at least two victims whom it referred to a public hospital for immediate care. These efforts represent a decrease from 13 victims identified in 2015. Regional committees, located in eight regions in Chad, identified and referred an unknown number of victims to protective services, but these service agencies lacked adequate resources to fully investigate every case. The government continued to lack formal victim identification and referral procedures. The government did not finalize or begin implementation of its draft guide for security forces, NGOs, social workers, and civil society outlining steps to assist suspected trafficking victims, such as informing the police and referring victims to social services or local NGOs. The guide also details what role different institutions have during an investigation and provides guidance on social services, health centers, and shelters, as well as information about how to reunite victims with their families when possible. Inadequate human and financial resources severely limited the government’s ability to provide adequate services to victims of all crimes, including trafficking victims. The government continued to provide limited in-kind contributions and social services to victims of crime through a joint agreement with UNICEF, though these services were not specific to the needs of trafficking victims. Through this joint agreement, the government also provided facilities to UNICEF, which used the buildings as shelters for victims of crime, including trafficking victims. During the reporting period, these multipurpose shelters were used to provide shelter and services to an unknown number of children; the government ultimately reunited the children with their families. The government did not have a formal policy to offer temporary or permanent residency for foreign victims of trafficking. There were no reports the government punished trafficking victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking.
The government decreased efforts to prevent trafficking. The inter-ministerial committee responsible for coordinating government efforts to combat trafficking did not convene due to cabinet reshuffles throughout the reporting period. The government made no discernible efforts to raise awareness on trafficking or reduce the demand for forced labor or commercial sex during the reporting period. The government provided Chadian troops human rights training, which included anti-trafficking training, prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions, in collaboration with a foreign donor. The government did not provide anti-trafficking training or guidance for its diplomatic personnel.
Chad is a source, transit, and destination country for children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The country’s trafficking problem is primarily internal and frequently involves children being entrusted to relatives or intermediaries in return for promises of education, apprenticeship, goods, or money, and subsequently subjected to forced labor in domestic service or herding. Children are subjected to forced labor as beggars and agricultural laborers. Some children who leave their villages to attend traditional Quranic schools are forced into begging, street vending, or other labor. Child herders, some of whom are victims of forced labor, follow traditional routes for grazing cattle and, at times, cross ill-defined international borders into Cameroon, Central African Republic, Sudan, and Nigeria. Some of these children are sold in markets for use in cattle or camel herding. In some cases, child herders are subjected to forced labor by military or local government officials. Chadian girls travel to larger towns in search of work, where some are subsequently subjected to child sex trafficking or are abused in domestic servitude; child sex trafficking is also a concern among refugees and IDPs in Chad. NGOs report that the Nigerian terrorist groups Boko Haram and its offshoot Islamic State-West Africa are involved in child trafficking. In the Lake Chad area, since May 2015, attacks by Boko Haram and concurrent government military operations increased the number of IDPs, a population vulnerable to trafficking, to 76,225. Vigilante groups in Chad may have recruited and used children in armed conflict.