HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH — Borderline Slavery — Child Trafficking in Togo
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, 350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor New York, NY 10118–3299 http://www.hrw.org
Each year, thousands of West African children are trafficked from their homes and forced into hazardous and unpaid labor. Promised education, vocational training, and material goods, these children find themselves brutally exploited in the fields, factories, markets, and homes of numerous West African countries. Many are orphans, forced to earn a living after losing a parent to AIDS or other causes.
This report, based on interviews with trafficked boys and girls in Togo, documents egregious abuses inflicted at every stage of the trafficking process: recruitment, transportation, reception at their destination, exploitation in the workplace, and in some cases return. Children recount life-threatening journeys to their countries of destination, often by boat on the open sea. They describe brutal working conditions, beatings, death threats, and the prospect of never seeing their families again. Some who escape end up working in prostitution in Lomé, Togo’s capital, where they face the risk of HIV infection and many other dangers. Others never make it home alive.
Borderline Slavery documents the failure of West African governments, their bilateral donors and the United Nations to meet their human rights obligations in their response to child trafficking. It provides detailed recommendations on the prevention of these appalling abuses, the protection of trafficked children and the prosecution of traffickers.