The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) defines human trafficking as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them for profit.” Incidents of human trafficking are more prevalent in areas enduring high rates of poverty as poverty makes people more susceptible to the lure of trafficking. Human trafficking in Chad, in particular, is a cause of concern due to Chad’s ranking as a Tier 2 Watch List country.
Human Trafficking in Chad
The U.S. Department of State ranks Chad as a Tier 2 Watch List country in 2021 as the nation “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.” Due to conflict and instability in surrounding countries, the Department of State said that Chad hosted “approximately 930,000 refugees, internally displaced persons, returnees and asylum seekers as of February 2021.” These groups are particularly susceptible to becoming trafficking victims “based on their economic instability and lack of access to support systems.”
Human trafficking in Chad disproportionately affects women and children. Girls are the most susceptible as some girls are “forced to marry against their will,” making them vulnerable to situations of sexual abuse and “exploitative domestic work.” Human trafficking commonly affects most children in the form of child labor despite government policies attempting to restrict this practice. Based on data from 2019, the Bureau of International Labor Affairs recorded that approximately 45.8% of children ages 5 to 14 engage in child labor in Chad.
Efforts to End Human Trafficking
In 2020, Chad made advancements to end the worst forms of human trafficking. The Government of Chad created a country-wide anti-human trafficking committee to prioritize human trafficking cases. To raise awareness of the issue, the government utilized social media and radio campaigns. The Ministry of Women, Family and National Solidarity, in collaboration with local organizations and a global group, ran “transit centers that served as temporary shelters throughout the country.” These temporary shelters gave “housing, food and education to victims of gender-based violence and other crimes, including potential victims of trafficking,” the Department of State reported.
However, the U.S. State Department reports that the Chadian government “did not report investigating, prosecuting or convicting any confirmed trafficking cases.” The government also did not designate members of the national anti-trafficking committee, leaving the group potentially without authority.
Because there are links between human trafficking and poverty, the prevalence of human trafficking in Chad could reduce with efforts to minimize the country’s poverty rate. According to the World Bank, about 43% of Chad’s population lived under the national poverty line in 2018.
Despite a lack of advocacy-based organizations and NGOs, Chad has developed legislation to eliminate human trafficking. The U.S. Department of State reported that “Law 006/PR/2018 on Combatting Trafficking in Persons criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking.” Furthermore, “Article 7 of Law 006/PR/2018 prescribed penalties of four to years imprisonment and a fine of 250,000 to 5 million Central African francs.”
Chad, weakened by poverty and ineffective government policies, is facing several difficulties when attempting to reduce the presence of human trafficking. Despite this, there is still hope. Through international funding, the government of Chad can receive assistance to take action against human trafficking violations and develop an effective refugee camp system. Overall, Chad has the ability to fight against poverty and human trafficking.
– Sania Patel