The government slightly increased overall law enforcement efforts. Law 006/PR/2018 on Combatting Trafficking in Persons criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Article seven of Law 006/PR/2018 prescribed penalties of four to 30 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 250,000 to 5 million Central African CFA francs (CFA) ($470 to $9,450); these penalties were sufficiently stringent and, with regard to sex trafficking, commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape.
The Ministry of Justice reported investigating, prosecuting, and convicting three potential traffickers, although officials did not share sufficient information to clarify whether these were cases of forced labor, sexual exploitation, or human smuggling. Observers noted magistrates often do not have access to the internet, electricity, or telephones, making it difficult to compile and report law enforcement data. Courts sanctioned the perpetrators with the following sentences: five years’ imprisonment and a fine of $1,000; five years’ imprisonment and a fine of $200; and 18 months’ imprisonment and a fine of $200. Experts stated the penalties more closely aligned with the criminal code rather than the 2018 anti-trafficking law. Separate from the three cases shared by the Ministry of Justice, media reported three potential cases, although it was unclear if these were human trafficking or smuggling. During the previous year, the government did not report investigating or prosecuting any trafficking cases; courts reported convicting one trafficker for forcing multiple victims to work in Chad’s northern gold mines and sentenced the perpetrator to three years’ imprisonment and a 200,000 CFA ($380) fine. During the reporting period, the pandemic resulted in the Ministry of Justice shuttering courts from March to June and again in January 2021. Observers noted some communities resolved issues—including criminal offenses—through customary, traditional, or Islamic courts as opposed to the codified judicial system.
In February 2021, the Ministry of Justice published a directive to all prosecutors, appeals court presidents, and grand tribunal presidents urging judicial officials to prioritize trafficking cases and to transmit all cases before and after adjudication to the Judicial Affairs Department of the Ministry of Justice. Additionally, officials shared the note with the public via social media.
Authorities did not report investigating, prosecuting, or convicting government workers complicit in human trafficking offenses, despite experts alleging officials were complicit in trafficking crimes. Reports of complicity included government-affiliated security forces profiting from illicit activity such as forced labor in cattle herding throughout the country’s rural areas and along its borders, as well as officials forcing prisoners to work on private enterprises separate from their legal sentences. In 2020, the government did not report providing trafficking-specific training for officials; however, the pandemic impeded the government’s ability to undertake training initiatives by limiting in-person meetings. The government provided in-kind support for a donor-funded training for 68 law enforcement and judicial officials on the 2018 trafficking law during the previous reporting period.