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The Government of the Central African Republic CAR does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making ificant efforts to do so.
The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared to the reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore CAR remained on Tier 2. Officials investigated more trafficking cases and identified more victims. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. Victim services remained inadequate, and the government detained some child soldiers in contravention of the CPC. The government demonstrated mixed anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period.
Authorities reported opening 33 investigations into suspected trafficking cases sex trafficking and forced labor of adults, as well as children exploited in mines during the reporting period, compared with three in the reporting period. The government did not report initiating any prosecutions, although an NGO reported courts initiated one prosecution for a suspected trafficking case during the reporting period; officials have not convicted a trafficker under Penal Code Article since In partnership with a donor-funded international organization, the government facilitated the training of all 24 UMIRR officers during the reporting period in victim identification best practices, exploitation risks to ethnic minorities, sex trafficking indicators, and the importance of working collaboratively with labor inspectors.
Additionally, authorities partnered with international organizations to provide training to an unknown of gendarmerie, police, and army officials on recognizing trafficking victims; given its severe resource limitations, the government contributed facilities and other in-kind donations to support these capacity-building initiatives. Years of destabilizing conflict exacerbated by worsening violence during the reporting period severely limited formal judicial capacity outside the capital, leading to the frequent use of customary dispute resolution methods through which traditional chiefs or community leaders administered punishment for criminal acts.
The government did not report investigating, prosecuting, or convicting government officials complicit in human trafficking offenses; however, allegations of corruption and official complicity in trafficking crimes by judges remained concerns and may have inhibited law enforcement action during the year.
UMIRR coordinated with a donor-funded international organization to begin developing victim identification and referral standard operating procedures SOPs and trained officials on the procedures; the government did not finalize the SOPs by the close of the reporting period. Authorities did not report referring victims—separate from child soldiers—to services during the reporting period. To address its deficiency in care, UMIRR contributed funds to open a shelter in March that would provide psycho-social care for victims; the shelter did not open by the end of the reporting period.
International organizations and NGOs continued to provide the majority of care for victims of abuse, including human trafficking. In June, the government enacted the CPC, which strengthened protections for child soldiers, mandated the creation of state institutions to implement child protection initiatives, prescribed diversion for children accused of crimes, and defined child trafficking according to international standards; however, the government did not report fully applying the law to potential Central African Republic fuck adult during the reporting period.
Over the course of the reporting period, authorities reportedly dispersed individuals engaged in commercial sex—some of whom may have been sex trafficking victims—without verifying their ages or attempting to identify indicators of trafficking; law enforcement officers allegedly arrested individuals in commercial sex in prior years. During the reporting period, the government partnered with an international organization to demobilize children used by armed groups and—in coordination with the international organization—provided some of whom were identified in reporting periods shelter, psycho-social services, and reintegration assistance, compared with demobilizing 1, child soldiers in In earlythe pandemic disrupted the demobilization process, which restarted in September.
Observers reported there was not a specific protocol in CAR for child soldier disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration DDRresulting in children navigating the DDR process with adults. In December, the government released four children authorities detained for potential use by armed groups as child soldiers; a judge ordered them into a shelter and required weekly check-ins with authorities, but an NGO reported the order was not properly implemented. Observers noted 25 children as young as 14 and including some now in adulthood remained in government detention at the close of the reporting period for crimes related to serving in armed groups, as well as rape.
Authorities did not report providing legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution and issued a deportation order for one potential victim during the reporting period. The law allowed victims to file civil suits against the government or their alleged traffickers for restitution; however, there was no information this occurred during the reporting period.
The government increased prevention efforts. The government partially funded and implemented its national action plan, although worsening conflict throughout the country, severe budgetary constraints, and pandemic-related restrictions on in-person coordination hindered its ability to execute the plan fully. The government continued to dedicate financial and in-kind resources to implement aspects of the plan during the reporting period.
In Marchofficials held a workshop in the capital for community members to educate them on how to report trafficking crimes to UMIRR.
Additionally, the government organized a conference in July around the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, leveraging national media coverage to increase awareness of the phenomenon. In Marchthe anti-trafficking committee trained approximately 30 deputies from the National Assembly on human trafficking principles and the need for strengthened legal frameworks to address the crime.
Officials did not report taking any measures to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts, nor providing anti-trafficking training for its diplomatic personnel. As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in CAR, and traffickers exploit victims from CAR abroad.
Perpetrators—including transient merchants, herders, and non-state armed groups—exploit children in domestic servitude, sex trafficking, as well as in forced labor in agriculture, artisanal gold and diamond mines, shops, drinking establishments, and street vending within CAR.
Also within the country, some relatives exploit children in domestic servitude, and community members exploit Aka pygmy minorities in domestic servitude, especially in the southwest of the country. Some government workers reportedly coerced women into sex in exchange for government employment or documents and services to which they were entitled.
Some relatives or community members coerce girls into forced marriages and subsequently exploit the girls in domestic servitude or sex trafficking. Stemming from severe poverty throughout the country, a government official stated many husbands physically coerce their wives to engage in commercial sex to cover household expenses, with little recourse from authorities. Officials note family members also exploit children in forced labor and sex trafficking to supplement family income. Observers reported Central African criminal elements engage in the sex trafficking of girls as young as 13 in maisons de joie houses of joy throughout Bangui.
Maisons de joie are private residences with little official oversight where CAR nationals serve alcohol and food to middle and upper class customers as a cover to exploit girls and women in commercial sex. Criminals reportedly take advantage of abject poverty across the country to recruit women and girls with the promise of money for their children or families. Violent conflict since has resulted in chronic instability and the displacement of 1. This represents a ificant increase from Septemberin which there were approximatelyIDPs andCentral African refugees in neighboring countries.
Multiple sources alleged armed groups in southeastern CAR—areas outside of governmental control—kidnapped children and coerced them into serving as child soldiers, in addition to forcing community members into forced labor as porters, cooks, and other support roles, or in illegal mining operations. Additionally, observers reported government security forces may have used children at checkpoints during the reporting period. International organizations reported armed groups recruited children to serve as combatants, servants, child brides, and sex slaves in ; armed groups also subjected children to forced labor in the mining sector.
Since the conflict began inarmed groups have recruited more than 17, children; during the reporting period, militias primarily recruited and used child soldiers from the prefectures of Vakaga, Haute-Kotto, Haut-Mbomou, Nana-Grebizi, Nana-Mambere, and Basse-Kotto; these areas were outside of government control during the reporting period. Although some children initially locally organized community defense groups to protect their families from opposifng militias, many commanders maintain influence over these children even after they are demobilized, increasing their risk of re-recruitment.
Inadequately funded reintegration programming, continuing instability, and a lack of economic opportunity throughout the country exacerbate the risks of re-recruitment among former child soldiers. Some demobilized child soldiers face violent—and at times deadly—reprisals from their communities following reintegration. Although not explicitly reported as human trafficking, an international organization reported there were 21 allegations of sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers with trafficking indicators in the reporting period, compared with 30 allegations in the reporting period, of which four cases were unsubstantiated.
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Trafficking in Persons Report: Central African Republic