Birth Registration: Children derive citizenship from their parents, as long as one parent is a citizen. Birth registration, especially in remote rural areas and in nomadic communities, did not take place promptly due to parental poverty, lack of awareness, and distance from government services. The government’s failure to register births did not result in denial of public services. For additional information, see Appendix C.
Education: Although the law provides for education for all children from age four to 18, compulsory education for children of specific ages was not enforced. Students often had to buy their own books and supplies. Many parents kept young girls at home to work, and girls rarely attended school for more than a few years.
Child Abuse: Violence against and abuse of children were common. The law prescribes penalties for child abuse. For example, parents of minors who usually engage in begging, or any person who encourages children to beg or profits from their begging, may be sentenced to six months’ to one year’s imprisonment. The abduction of a minor less than 18 years of age is punishable by two to 10 years’ imprisonment. The penalty for abduction for ransom is life imprisonment.
During the first quarter of the year, 2,633 children (34.83 percent of whom were girls) received services through the Protection Service within the Ministry for the Promotion of Women and the Protection of Children. Among these the government reported 131 cases of mistreatment and 74 cases of sexual abuse.
Early and Forced Marriage: The law allows a girl deemed to be “sufficiently mature” to marry at age 15. Some families entered into marriage agreements under which they sent rural girls who were 12 or even younger to their husband’s families to be under the “supervision” of their mothers-in-law.
The government, with the support of the African Union and UNICEF, ran campaigns aimed at reducing the prevalence of early marriage. The Ministry of Women’s Promotion and Children’s Protection cooperated with women’s associations to sensitize traditional chiefs and religious leaders in rural communities to the problem of early marriage. For additional information, see Appendix C.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: Although the law criminalizes the procurement of a minor for the purpose of prostitution, child prostitution was a problem. The minimum age of consensual sex is 13 for both boys and girls.
The law provides that “exploitation shall include, at minimum, slavery or practices similar to slavery” and adds that the recruitment, transport, transfer, harboring, or receiving of a minor under the age of 18 for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered trafficking in persons. The penalty for violators is five to 10 years in prison and a fine of 500,000 to five million CFA francs ($919 to $9,190). If the victim is under the age of 18, the penalty is 10 to 30 years’ imprisonment. If the victim dies, the penalty is life imprisonment.
The penal code provides for two to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 to 500,000 CFA francs ($91 to $910) for the prostitution of children. The law prohibits “indecent” acts against victims under the age of 18. It leaves to judges to determine what constitutes an indecent act. Girls, in particular, reportedly were trafficked for forced prostitution. Families of victims were often complicit in child prostitution.
Infanticide or Infanticide of Children with Disabilities: Infanticide occurred, and a sizeable proportion of the female prison population was incarcerated for this crime, which was often committed to hide pregnancies out of wedlock.
Displaced Children: Many displaced boys from rural areas were indentured to Islamic schools, where they were forced to beg on the streets of larger cities. Displaced children had access to government services. Unaccompanied migrant children transited Niger en route to Libya, Algeria, and Europe. Some unaccompanied migrant children travelled to the Djado gold fields to find work in unregulated gold mines.
International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.