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 enacting a new criminal code that criminalized all forms of labor and sex trafficking, beginning implementation of an identification and referral procedure, and forming a national commission to combat trafficking. However, the government did not demonstrate increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period. The government reported a decrease in the number of prosecutions compared to the previous year and did not convict any traffickers for the second consecutive year. Therefore Chad remained on Tier 2 Watch List for the second consecutive year.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHAD

Vigorously investigate and prosecute suspected trafficking offenders according to Presidential Ordinance 006/18; increase training on the trafficking investigation guide and new criminal code to law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and magistrates; disseminate standard operating procedures for the identification and referral of trafficking victims to security services, law enforcement, and civil society; work with NGOs and international organizations to increase the provision of protective services to all trafficking victims; regularly convene the National Commission against Trafficking in Persons and inter-ministerial committee, and include civil society, international organizations, and NGOs in the meetings; and raise public awareness of trafficking issues, particularly at the local level among tribal leaders and other members of the traditional justice system.

PROSECUTION

The government maintained minimal law enforcement efforts. In May 2017, the president signed the revised penal code into law, which criminalized labor and sex trafficking offenses through a variety of new criminal provisions. Article 330 criminalized the recruitment, transfer, harbor, or receipt of a person for the purpose of trafficking and prescribed penalties of five to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 to 5 million Central African CFA francs (CFA) ($180 to $8,810); these penalties were sufficiently stringent and, with regard to sex trafficking, commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Articles 327 and 331 together criminalized “involuntary labor” or servitude through the use of force, fraud, or coercion and prescribed a penalty of two to 10 years imprisonment, or a fine of 100,000 to 1 million CFA ($180 to $1,760), or both; these penalties were sufficiently stringent. Articles 328 and 331 together criminalized slavery through the use of force, fraud, or coercion and prescribed penalties of 10 to 20 years and 200,000 to 10 million CFA ($350 to $17,610); these penalties were sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Article 335 and 336 together criminalized the prostitution of adults through the use of force, fraud, or coercion and the exploitation of children through prostitution and prescribed penalties of two to five years imprisonment and 100,000 to 2 million CFA ($180 to $3,520); these penalties were sufficiently stringent but not commensurate with other serious crimes, such as rape. The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the January 1991 Ordinance on the Reorganization of the Armed Forces, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child criminalized recruitment of children younger than 18 years; punishment for those who violate this provision was at the discretion of military justice officials. In March 2018, the president signed an ordinance that criminalized trafficking in persons and created the National Commission for the Fight against Trafficking in Persons. The National Assembly was reviewing proposed revisions of the Child Protection Code, Labor Code, and Family Code, which contained additional provisions criminalizing child trafficking and increasing protections for children working in the informal sector.

Although the government did not collect comprehensive law enforcement data, it reported investigating one potential trafficking case involving an 11-year-old girl, and it did not prosecute any suspected traffickers. The government did not convict any traffickers for the second consecutive year. During the previous year, the government investigated and prosecuted one marabout, a teacher at a Quranic school, for the alleged forced begging of two Quranic school students; however, prolonged strikes and closures of the courts due to a lack of government funding stemming from a severe economic crisis resulted in the suspension of cases across the country, including the trafficking case. The government provided no further information on the progress of this case. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking offenses; however, NGOs reported some local officials’ suspected involvement in trafficking during the reporting period. In November 2017, government law enforcement officials cooperated with INTERPOL in an international anti-trafficking investigation that resulted in the release of over 500 potential trafficking victims, but authorities did not share any investigation or victim referral data.

PROTECTION

The government maintained minimal efforts to identify and protect trafficking victims, but worked to improve its capacity to undertake such efforts by initiating the implementation of a victim identification and referral procedure. Acknowledging Chad’s public sector services were unavailable for most of the reporting period, especially outside of N’Djamena, officials did not report identifying or referring any victims to services, compared with two victims identified and referred to a public hospital during the previous year. The government’s regional child protection technical committees, located in eight of Chad’s 23 regions, also did not report identifying or referring any child victims of trafficking to protective services. The government established formal victim identification and referral procedures, consisting of law enforcement officials or other first responders notifying the Ministry of Justice’s Child Protection Directorate, international organizations, and NGOs of potential trafficking cases; however, dissemination and implementation were unknown. Due to budgetary constraints, the government did not disseminate its guide for security forces and civil society, which outlined steps to assist suspected trafficking victims with a victim-centered approach. The guide also detailed the roles of different institutions during an investigation and provided guidance on social services, health centers, and shelters, as well as information about how to reunite victims with their families when possible.

The Ministry of Women, Family, and National Solidarity, in partnership with an international organization operated reception centers throughout the country. During the reporting period, these shelters provided temporary housing, food, and education to victims of gender-based violence and other crimes, including potential victims of trafficking. The government did not have a formal policy to offer temporary or permanent residency for foreign victims of trafficking, and did not report providing services to those victims. There were no reports the government punished trafficking victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking; however, without widespread implementation of formal victim identification procedures, some victims may have remained unidentified in the law enforcement system.

PREVENTION

The government increased efforts to prevent trafficking. At the end of the reporting period, the president issued a decree highlighting the government’s commitment to combating human trafficking and publicized the announcement on national television. The decree created the National Commission for the Fight against Trafficking in Persons, which will be supervised by the Ministry of Justice. Unlike previous years, the government did not report implementation of its national action plan, due to widespread government shutdown of services for much of the reporting period. For the second consecutive year, the inter-ministerial committee responsible for coordinating government efforts to combat trafficking did not convene due to multiple 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. A lack of identity documentation is a risk factor for trafficking in Chad, and the government continued to implement the 2013 birth registration policy requiring universal issuances of uniform birth certificates, as well as proceeding with plans for biometric identification documents. The government provided Chadian troops human rights training, which included an anti-trafficking component, 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.

TRAFFICKING PROFILE

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 in urban areas, agricultural laborers, gold mining in the north of the country, charcoal production, and as domestic workers. In some regions, children are involved in catching, smoking, and selling fish. Some children who leave their villages to attend traditional Quranic schools, known as mouhadjirin, 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, the 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 internally displaced people in Chad. Forced labor in prisons occurred. According to an international organization, Chad hosts over 606,000 refugees, internally displaced persons, asylum-seekers, and refugee returnees; populations that are vulnerable to trafficking due to their economic instability and lack of access to support systems. NGOs report the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram and its offshoot Islamic State-West Africa are involved in child trafficking. Vigilante groups tasked with defending people and property in rural areas may have recruited and used children in armed conflict.

U.S. Department of State

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