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, only to result in forced labor in domestic servitude or forced herding. Some children are sold in markets, a practice that has been documented since 2011. Child trafficking victims are also subjected to forced labor as beggars and agricultural laborers. Some children who leave their villages to attend traditional Koranic schools are forced into begging, street vending, or other labor by illegitimate teachers. Child cattle 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, the Central African Republic, and Nigeria. There continue to be allegations of child herders being forced to work by military or local government officials. Chadian girls travel to larger towns in search of work, where some are subsequently subjected to prostitution or are abused in domestic servitude. Chadian children were identified in some government military training centers and among rebel troops in 2012. Although some of the children may have lied about their age in order to enlist, reports indicate that some children were recruited by government forces during the reporting period.
The Government of Chad does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite these modest steps, the government did not demonstrate evidence of overall increased efforts to address human trafficking compared to the previous year; therefore, Chad is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for a fourth consecutive year. The country was granted a second consecutive waiver of an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because its government has a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute significant efforts to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking and is devoting sufficient resources to implement that plan. During the reporting period, the Government of Chad demonstrated a limited commitment to increased anti-trafficking law enforcement by investigating nine suspected trafficking cases and convicting five traffickers of forced child labor, including one senior military official. The government also continued nation-wide campaigns on human rights issues, including trafficking in persons, and high-ranking officials, such as the president and prime minister, spoke out publicly against trafficking. Despite these efforts, the government has yet to enact legislation specifically prohibiting human trafficking and strengthening labor protections for children within Chad. It also lacks formal victim identification procedures and has failed to provide trafficking victims with basic support. The country continued to face severe challenges, and its resources remain constrained following decades of conflict and instability.
Recommendations for Chad: Pass and enact draft penal code revisions that include a prohibition on child trafficking; consider drafting and enacting penal code provisions that criminalize the trafficking of adults; increase efforts to enhance magistrates’ understanding of and capability to prosecute and punish trafficking offenses under existing laws; continue anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, including the investigation and prosecution, when appropriate, of suspected trafficking offenders; adopt and implement the Child Protection Act, which would protect children from forced labor and prohibit their recruitment into the military; continue collaborating with NGOs and international organizations to increase the provision of protective services to all types of trafficking victims, including children forced into cattle herding, domestic service, or prostitution; create a senior-level inter-ministerial committee to combat trafficking and provide support and resources to regional bodies to help facilitate overall national coordination of anti-trafficking efforts; continue to take steps to raise public awareness of trafficking issues, particularly at the local level among tribal leaders and other members of the traditional justice system; and continue to work with international partners to implement a national action plan to combat trafficking.
Chad made modest law enforcement efforts against trafficking in persons during the reporting period, an increase from the previous reporting period. Existing laws do not specifically prohibit human trafficking, though forced prostitution and many types of labor exploitation are prohibited. Title 5 of the labor code prohibits forced and bonded labor, prescribing fines equivalent to approximately $100 to $1,000, but not imprisonment, which is not sufficiently stringent to deter this form of trafficking and does 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 the equivalent to approximately $2,000, penalties that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes. Pimping and owning brothels is also prohibited under penal code Articles 281 and 282. The 1991 Chadian National Army Law prohibits recruitment of children younger than 18; punishment for those who violate this provision is conducted at the discretion of military justice officials. Draft revisions to the penal code that would prohibit child trafficking and provide protection for victims have not been enacted for the third consecutive year.
The Government of Chad prosecuted nine cases and convicted five traffickers during the reporting period. Local law enforcement officials in the Tandjile and Mandoul regions detected and investigated seven cases involving the sale of boys for forced labor in cattle herding and the sale of girls for forced labor in domestic service. The government prosecuted all seven cases, resulting in three convictions and four acquittals; two traffickers were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, and one trafficker received a two-year suspended sentence and a fine. A trafficker was convicted of forced child labor in eastern Chad and received a one-year sentence, and a senior army official was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for child trafficking and forced labor.
The Chadian government did not take adequate steps to identify and provide protection to victims of trafficking during the reporting period. It did not officially report identifying or referring victims to protection services. Regional committees, located in six regions within Chad, identified and referred an unknown number of victims to appropriate services where available, but these bodies lacked support and resources and were unable to coordinate with the national government. Lack of formal victim identification procedures continued to be a problem. The government collaborated with a donor-funded NGO project to create a human trafficking database, but the database was not completed during the reporting period.
Inadequate human and financial resources severely limited the government’s ability to provide adequate services to victims of all crimes, including victims of trafficking. The government provided limited in-kind contributions and social services to victims of crime through a joint agreement with UNICEF, though these services not tailored to the specific needs of trafficking victims. The government encouraged trafficking victims to participate in investigations and prosecutions of trafficking offenders and did not detain, fine, or jail any trafficking victims for unlawful acts committed as a result of being trafficked.
The government made modest efforts to prevent human trafficking during the reporting period. The Ministry of Human Rights launched nationwide campaigns on human rights, which included sensitization of the population to the dangers of giving, renting, or selling one’s child for animal herding or as domestic servants. These campaigns included the distribution of posters and other informational materials and involved various high-ranking government officials. The prime minister and president also made public announcements regarding combating trafficking in persons. A national committee focused on human trafficking continued to function in Chad, but it only included working-level representatives from relevant ministries who met on an informal basis and were not empowered to take significant action; a lack of information sharing between ministries continued to prevent effective coordination at a national level. During the reporting period, the government closed down motels that encouraged or practiced prostitution and the facilitation of prostitution, though it took no additional discernible action to reduce demand for commercial sex acts. The Minister of Defense published an order that all senior military officials responsible for recruitment or training identify any children still in their units, and joint inspections with UNICEF were conducted to verify compliance. Children found during the verification missions were removed from the army and reintegrated with their families with the assistance of the Ministry of Social Action. In 2012, the government drafted a law intended to establish a birth registration system, with the goal of better identifying victims of trafficking and child soldiering, and sent it to the National Assembly for approval.