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There is trafficking because there are candidate children to be trafficked.

-A jurist in Bafilo, May 2, 2002

A coastal country of about 5.2 million people, Togo occupies a 54,390 square kilometer strip of land between Ghana and Benin, with a small northern border also with Burkina Faso. Independence from France was achieved in 1960. Togo's current president, Gnassingbé Eyadéma, assumed power in a bloodless coup d'état in 1967 and has ruled uninterrupted ever since. A lack of free and fair elections in Togo has led to an almost complete withdrawal of development assistance by both the United States and the European Union.10 Unable to finance even basic services like health and education,11 Togo has been likened by one government official to "a patient on an intravenous drip."12

Scale of Child Trafficking
There are no precise statistics on the number of children trafficked annually in West Africa. A figure of 200,000 is often cited as a UNICEF estimate for West and Central Africa, although a UNICEF official told Human Rights Watch that the organization could not determine who initially provided the figure.13 In 1999, UNICEF identified approximately twelve routes along which children are trafficked in the region, and designated thirteen countries of the region as "receiver," "provider," "receiver and provider" and/or "transit/stop-over" states.14 Two years later, in 2001, the International Labour Organization's International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (ILO-IPEC) published a synthesis of nine country studies of child trafficking in West Africa, concluding that trafficking routes flowed from countries and regions with widespread poverty, low education levels and high birth rates to those that are less populated and more developed.15

Togo, which met the ILO's profile of a so-called sending state and was designated principally as such, was also identified in the ILO-IPEC report as a "receiving" and "transit" point as well as having a substantial internal trade (i.e., within its own borders).16 Official estimates of the number of Togolese children directly affected by trafficking are derived from both the number of children intercepted at Togo's borders and the number of children "rescued" and repatriated from abroad. At a regional meeting on child trafficking in January 2002, the Togolese government representative, Suzanne Aho, reported that 297 children had been trafficked from Togo in 2001.17 Aho later told Human Rights Watch, however, that the number of cases of child trafficking recorded in 2001 was 261, as compared to 337 in 1999; in her view, the diminution may have resulted from more traffickers escaping notice rather than from fewer actual cases.18 These figures may be underestimates, as many of Togo's trafficked children never come into contact with the authorities, and the government lacks the resources to intercept children systematically. Official estimates tend to be much lower than those put forth by ILO-IPEC, as in 1999 when the government recorded 337 cases of child trafficking and ILO-IPEC recorded over 800.19

Although the UNICEF and ILO-IPEC reports did not trace the beginnings of child trafficking, the Togo study concluded that the practice as currently defined had existed "for at least ten years" in that country and had been growing rapidly since the government and NGOs first began recording cases in the mid-1990s.20 The study went on to associate child trafficking with modern phenomena such as improved transport, increased demand for cheap migrant labor, and increased poverty occasioned by such things as structural adjustment programs and economic crisis in the mid-1990s.21 At the same time, both the UNICEF and ILO-IPEC reports clearly viewed child trafficking as an outgrowth of longstanding practices such as labor migration and child labor. Noting, for example, that "the people of central and western Africa have always migrated for economic reasons," the ILO-IPEC report suggested that in some communities the trafficking of children into neighboring countries followed the migratory patterns of their parents.22 Of ninety-six children interviewed for ILO-IPEC's Togo study, most reported being trafficked into agricultural, domestic, restaurant, or market work in Nigeria, Gabon or Côte d'Ivoire; in other countries, children reported working in these sectors as well as in plantation labor, diamond mining and sex work.23

The Togolese trade first garnered international attention in 1999, when the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that two women had been stopped at the Togo-Ghana border with seven children who had allegedly been handed to them by their parents.24 Two years later, the Nigerian-registered ship Etireno left the city of Cotonou, Benin allegedly with 250 children from Benin, Mali and Togo on board, bound for domestic service and other jobs in Gabon. Though accounts of child slaves on board the Etireno were exaggerated-authorities later confirmed that approximately twenty-three children aged three to fourteen were onboard, only eight of them Togolese and not all destined for child labor25-the incident marked a watershed in regional and international efforts to combat child trafficking. Since the Etireno incident, international media have documented the trafficking of Togolese girls into domestic labor in Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Gabon, and Congo.26

Causes of Child Trafficking

Poverty and Lack of Opportunity
Child trafficking typically begins with a private arrangement between a trafficker and a family member, one driven by the family's economic struggle and the trafficker's desire for profit and cheap labor.27 "Someone comes along and says he or she has professions or jobs for the children, and the parents believe it," a village chief in Vogan told Human Rights Watch. "But then the person puts them in servitude or gives the child to someone else."28 Human Rights Watch heard numerous accounts from Togolese villagers of deceitful negotiations between parents and child traffickers. "Parents think that in letting [children] go they're doing something good for [them]," said one woman in Afanyagan, "but someone takes them and makes them domestic workers, and someone else takes all the money instead of giving them a salary."29 A woman in Élavagnon added that traffickers "tell the parents their child is doing well and getting paid, but they don't give money to the kids and don't buy them anything."30

Asked how many children had to be exploited before parents would catch on, villagers were not optimistic. "When people are in poverty, they are desperate," said one village chief in Vogan. He explained that when a child returns home penniless, traffickers tell parents it was because the child was lazy. "Other parents say, `but my child is not lazy,' and they're ready to give another child away."31 In a 2002 study of 650 households by the NGO Plan-Togo, parents of trafficked children were questioned about their family background and the events leading up to their children being sent abroad. Parents cited a variety of promises made by child traffickers, including formal education or apprenticeships for their children, as well as employment in the home or the commercial sector. A majority of households affected by child trafficking were engaged in subsistence agriculture and could not afford to send their children to school.32

According to the director of UNICEF for West and Central Africa, poverty is a "major and ubiquitous" causal factor behind child trafficking.33 In those West African countries classified as "sending" states-Togo, Benin, Mali, Nigeria and Burkina Faso-anywhere from 33 to 73 percent of the general population lives on less than U.S.$1 a day.34 The ILO-IPEC study in 2001 of ninety-six trafficked children also found that a large majority (87 percent) of trafficked children came from families engaged in subsistence agriculture.35 Of forty-five parents interviewed, 70 percent of mothers and 60 percent of fathers had never attended school.36 Some 74 percent of households studied were polygamous. In addition, 82 percent of households surveyed had more than five children.37

In Togo, annual school fees range from 4,000 to 13,000 CFA (between U.S.$6 and $20) despite a statutory guarantee of free primary education.38 "Parents always say they can't afford school fees," a judge in Bafilo familiar with numerous cases of child trafficking told Human Rights Watch. "They prefer that the child be with an uncle in Abidjan. The complicity of parents in these cases is a shame."39 In its 2001 global overview of child trafficking, ILO-IPEC remarked that "[c]hildren with no access to education often have little alternative but to look for work at a very early age."40

For girls, trafficking is thought by some experts to build on a long tradition of parents using their daughters as domestic workers rather than sending them to school.41 In 2002, girls in Togo were estimated to be 20 percent less likely than boys to be enrolled in primary school, 25 percent less likely to reach high school and more than 50 percent less likely to enter university.42 In 1994, the NGO Anti-Slavery International (ASI) and the Africa branch of the World Association of Orphans (WAO-Afrique) observed that "[i]n Togo it has been found that parents prefer to send girls rather than boys into domestic service, not only because household chores are traditionally seen as `women's work', but also because the girl's income helps to support the schooling of her brothers."43 Eight years later, in 2002, ASI suggested an evolution from this tradition of child domestic labor to the modern practice of child trafficking: "the process of recruitment is becoming more organised, as agents and traffickers trawl rural areas offering incentives to parents," the NGO noted. "The result is that more children and young people [in West Africa] today are working in households in no way related to their own, often at considerable distance."44

The Link to HIV/AIDS
Studies have linked child trafficking to the breakdown of the family unit caused by divorce or the death of a parent.45 The ILO-IPEC 2001 study of child trafficking in Togo found that of ninety-six trafficked children interviewed, almost 30 percent had experienced the death of a mother, father or both parents.46 A similar pattern was found in Cameroon, where 60 percent of 329 trafficked children belonged to single-parent families.47 These data have led some researchers to posit a link between child trafficking and HIV/AIDS, a rapidly growing cause of orphanhood in sub-Saharan Africa.48

At least 95,000 children under age fifteen have lost a mother or both parents to AIDS in Togo; two thirds of those orphans were alive as of 1999.49 A recent study of AIDS-affected families in Togo's Maritime region, funded by the World Bank and implemented by the NGO CARE-Togo, observed that children orphaned by AIDS spend less time in school because of an inability to pay school fees, face prohibitions from attending public school and, in some cases, withdraw from school entirely.50 "NGOs report that some of these orphans have become easy prey for child traffickers," the study noted.51 Also noted was the potential for AIDS-affected children to contract HIV and other sexually transmitted infections as a result of child trafficking: "[a]ll in all, a vicious circle is created because these children, left to their own resources without moral, financial or emotional support, are vulnerable and susceptible of sinking into deliquency (theft, drugs) and prostitution only to meet the same fate as their parents, that is to die of AIDS."52 Efforts to protect AIDS-affected children from exploitation and abuse are often compromised by the deep stigma with which these children live.53

Kodjo Djissenou, executive director of the Togolese NGO La Conscience, told Human Rights Watch there were three instances in which a child affected by AIDS could be vulnerable to child trafficking in Togo: if abandoned following the death of one or both parents; if forced to earn money to care for a sick or dying parent; or if pressured to leave his or her village as a result of the stigma associated with having AIDS in the family.54 Other government, U.N. and NGO experts in Togo elaborated on this point. Arsène Mensah, program coordinator of the NGO Aide Médicale et de Charité, told Human Rights Watch that "[w]hen a parent has HIV, the children automatically look to be able to do something to make money. Someone offers them work in Abidjan, and they agree to go."55 Gouna Yawo, a medical assistant and AIDS counselor and president of the NGO Espoir-Vie Togo said that "[w]ith AIDS, there is often an increase in poverty of the household. . . . [This] may mean that AIDS-affected families will give up their children more easily."56 Togo's leading government expert on child trafficking, and Minister of Public Health, Promotio of Women and Child Protection, Suzanne Aho, said, "[i]t could happen that there would be more trafficking with an increase in AIDS and children orphaned by AIDS. Those children are rejected and marginalized. Someone would only have to come and propose to such a child something for him to do, and he'll follow."57 AIDS orphans have been identified by ILO-IPEC's representative in Togo, Essodina Abalo, as one of four groups most vulnerable to child trafficking in Togo, the others being rural children, street kids and young girls.58

Other Factors
In addition to poverty, family breakdown and HIV/AIDS, experts have also identified factors facilitating child trafficking-among them, porous borders and lax regulatory environments, traditional migration patterns, ethnic affinities, and inadequate information about trafficking and its risks.59 These factors help to explain why economic pressures do not lead to child trafficking in all cases of extreme poverty;60 as Koffi Badjow Tcham, cabinet director of Togo's Department for the Protection and Promotion of the Family and Children, told Human Rights Watch, "there are places where people are very poor, but you don't see this trafficking. There are regions where there is a very strong tendency to migration, and those where there are traditions of sending children to stay with uncles or aunts."61

Especially conducive to child trafficking is the active or passive encouragement by border patrols and other law enforcement agents. ILO-IPEC has noted that "customs officials turn a blind eye" to trafficking in parts of West Africa, particularly in routes through Cameroon and Nigeria.62 A 2000 ASI study of child trafficking between Benin and Gabon made the same point, documenting cases of traffickers giving money to police to overcome the difficulty of crossing Gabon's borders.63

The many forces at the root of child trafficking help to explain why Togo's efforts to combat the practice have thus far been unsuccessful. Following the first World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Stockholm, Sweden in 1996, Togo developed a National Plan to Fight against Child Labor and Child Trafficking, calling for the creation of a database on traffickers; improved legislation to protect children; exchanges of information on trafficking with Benin, Ghana, and Burkina Faso; improved cooperation among police, customs and immigration officers; improved educational opportunities for girls and street children; awareness raising campaigns; and the rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficked children.64 While some of these measures have begun to be implemented, the Togolese government has thus far been unable to infiltrate the private arrangements between parents, children and child traffickers, much less to address the social and economic circumstances at their root.

Trafficked Children Interviewed in this Report
Human Rights Watch interviewed forty-one girls and thirty-one boys who were trafficked when they were between the ages of three and seventeen.65 Of the girls, thirteen were trafficked internally-that is, from one part of Togo to another-and twenty-four were trafficked externally to Gabon, Benin, Nigeria or Niger. The remaining four girls were trafficked to Togo from Benin, Nigeria or Ghana. All of the boys were trafficked from the interior of Togo to parts of Nigeria, Benin or Côte d'Ivoire. Ten of the seventy-two trafficked children were recruited and transported from home but were intercepted before arriving at their destination.

In interviews with trafficked children, Human Rights Watch found a link between lack of schooling and vulnerability to child trafficking. Though almost half of the children interviewed were sixteen or older at the time of the interview, few had attended secondary school, which is normally commenced at age fifteen.66 (Among the general population, it was estimated in 1993 that 34 percent of boys and 12 percent of girls in Togo enrolled in secondary school.)67 In numerous cases, children said they were recruited by traffickers after running out of money to pay for school. As one boy put it, "I was in school and paying my own fees, but when I got to grade seven I couldn't pay the fees anymore. It was 4,000 CFA [U.S.$6] per year. The headmaster kept asking me to leave."68 A father interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that he had too little money to pay fees for his school-age children, so he had to send one of them to Côte d'Ivoire:

I have four wives and sixteen children. I am a farmer, and sometimes I distill sodabi.69 Some of my children are older and married, but now I have ten children living with me. Four are ready for school, and the others are too young. I don't have enough money to look after my children. The main reason my son had to go to Côte d'Ivoire was that I had no money to send him to school.70

Despite a statutory guarantee of free primary education in Togo, at least twelve trafficked children, both boys and girls, told some version of this story-some of them forced to withdraw from school during difficult economic times, others after the death of a parent. "We had to leave school when our father died," said one child, whose half-brother was reportedly trafficked at age seventeen. "Our mothers couldn't pay the school fees."71 Another, also orphaned at a young age, told Human Rights Watch he "wanted to go to school but had nothing."72

Human Rights Watch interviewed ten boys and eleven girls who said they were trafficked following the death of one parent or both parents. One boy, now seventeen, said he lost both of his parents by the time he was seven years old; another, fourteen, lost both his parents and was subsequently trafficked to Nigeria three times. "I had no choice but to go," he told Human Rights Watch. "I was not doing any work here, and things were getting harder. I didn't tell my grandmother, because she would not have accepted it. I had no other relatives to turn to-I have some uncles in Kara, but they don't care about me."73 A sixteen-year-old girl said she was introduced to a trafficker by a friend after her father reportedly died of a snake bite. Her mother ran away to Burkina Faso, leaving behind nine children. "I didn't tell my brothers," she said. "I knew they would say that I was just reacting to a bad situation and that they could take care of me if I stayed. I wanted to surprise them by coming back with money and skills."74 Asked about the principal causes of orphanhood in Togo, N'Bighe N'Faba, the prefect of La Binah, told Human Rights Watch "[t]here are some orphans from HIV/AIDS, but also from malaria, snake bites, mothers who die in childbirth, and just the tradition of not going to the hospital in time or the shortage of medicines." 75

In Tchamba, Human Rights Watch documented one case of a child being trafficked after her father had died of AIDS. Hodalo S., who was in primary school when her father became ill, told Human Rights Watch she was sent by her grandmother to live with an aunt,76 who then took her to Gabon to work. For a month she sold milk in the market without pay, and by the time she returned home her father had died.77 Human Rights Watch interviewed a social worker familiar with this case, and he said the health worker who cared for Hodalo's father confirmed the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS. In other instances, orphans who were recruited by child traffickers were unable to identify their parents' cause of death.

As in the ILO-IPEC study, Human Rights Watch found significant differences in the experiences of trafficked girls as compared to trafficked boys. While most girls interviewed reported working in domestic or market labor, boys reported working in agriculture and, in one case, in a furniture factory. In addition, whereas a number of girls said they were trafficked within Togo, all of the boys reported having been trafficked from Togo to other countries. Finally, while most girls interviewed by Human Rights Watch fled their traffickers following prolonged periods of physical and mental abuse, most boys were released after a period of time and told to find their way home to Togo. The experiences of Human Rights Watch's witnesses are described in greater detail in the two following chapters: girls trafficked both internally and externally into domestic and market labor, followed by boys trafficked externally into agricultural or factory labor.

10 Development assistance from the European Union has been frozen since 1993, while overall aid from the United States amounts to about eighty Peace Corps volunteers, and health and nutrition programs valued at about U.S.$8,000,000. See U.S. State Department's 2002 Background Note for Togo at (accessed July 28, 2002).

11 See M. Tovo, "Togo: Overcoming the Crisis, Overcoming Poverty: A World Bank Poverty Assessment" (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 1996), p. xiii.

12 Human Rights Watch interview with Koffi Badjow Tcham, Director of Cabinet, Department for the Protection and Promotion of the Family and Children, Lomé, May 7, 2002.

13 E-mail communication to Human Rights Watch from Jean-Claude Legrand, regional child protection adviser, UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office, July 7, 2002.

14 L. Bazzi-Veil, "Sub-regional Study on Child Trafficking in West and Central Africa" (Abidjan: UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office, 1999), map.

15 International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) and ILO, "Combating trafficking in children for labour exploitation in West and Central Africa: synthesis report based on studies of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Togo (Geneva: ILO, 2001), p. 6

16 Ibid., pp. 22-24.

17 "West and Central Africa: United Nations Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) focus on regional efforts against child trafficking," IRIN, March 27, 2002, at (accessed March 27, 2002), p. 2. At the time of the meeting and her subsequent interviews with Human Rights Watch, Aho was Togo's director of the Department for the Protection and Promotion of the Family and Children, which is part of the Ministry of Social Affairs. In 2002, she was appointed Minister of Public Health, Promotion of Women and Child Protection.

18 Human Rights Watch interview with Suzanne Aho, Lomé, May 6, 2002.

19 Compare Human Rights Watch interview with Suzanne Aho with E.M. Abalo, "Problématique du trafic des enfants au Togo: Rapport d'enquête" (Lomé: ILO-IPEC, 2000), p. viii. According to the U.S. State Department, the government estimate was 750 children trafficked in 1999. U.S. State Department's 2001 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, p. 17.

20 Abalo, "Trafic des enfants au Togo," p. viii. The first case recorded by a Togolese NGO was in 1995, when a five-year-old child who was about to be sold in Benin for 15,000 CFA (U.S.$22) was intercepted and brought to the NGO Terre des Hommes. Abalo, "Trafic des enfants au Togo," note 3. The earliest case documented by Human Rights Watch as part of the research reported here is from 1993, when a three-year-old girl was trafficked to Nigeria from the village of Hahatoe. Human Rights Watch interview, Hahatoe, May 11, 2002.

21 Abalo, "Trafic des enfants au Togo," pp. xx-xxi; P. Boonpala and J. Kane, "Trafficking of Children: The problem and responses worldwide" (Geneva: ILO, 2001), p. 19.

22 ILO-IPEC, "Synthesis report," p. 4; see also, Abalo, "Trafic des enfants au Togo," p. xviii.

23 ILO-IPEC, "Synthesis report," p. xxiii.

24 "Child traffickers arrested in Togo," BBC News, July 27, 1999, at (accessed May 20, 2002).

25 "Eight Togolese Children on board Etireno," Panafrican News Agency (PANA) Daily Newswire, May 17, 2001, at (accessed April 8, 2002).

26 See, e.g., "West Africa's Little Maids," BBC News, April 16, 2001, at (accessed May 29, 2002); H. Mayell, untitled, National Geographic News, April 24, 2001; "Togo hands suspected child traffickers to Benin," Reuters, May 7, 2001, at (accessed April 8, 2002); R. Mulholland, "Legal Inquiry Underway in Benin," U.S. Fund for UNICEF, May 10, 2002; "UN plans active part in eradicating child trafficking," PANA Daily Newswire, May 31, 2001, at (accessed April 8, 2002); "West African domestic servants face slavery," PANA Daily Newswire, June 11, 2001, at (accessed April 8, 2002); "Immigrant Ship Leaves Togo, Heads For Nigeria," Dow Jones International News, June 23, 2001, at (accessed April 8, 2002).

27 See, e.g., First Specialized Meeting on the trafficking and exploitation of children in west and central Africa, "Rapport de synthèse," p. 6.

28 Human Rights Watch meeting with villagers, Vogan, April 29, 2002.

29 Human Rights Watch meeting with villagers, Afanyagan, April 29, 2002.

30 Human Rights Watch meeting with villagers, Élavagnon, May 10, 2002.

31 Human Rights Watch meeting with villagers, Vogan, April 29, 2002.

32 Abalo, "Trafic des enfants au Togo," pp. xv-xvii; E. Amouzou, A. Amenyedzi, D. Sambiani, and K. Segnon, "Pour une nouvelle dynamique au service des enfants du Togo: Recherche sur le trafic d'enfants au Togo: rapport definitif" (Lomé: Plan-Togo, 2002), pp. 37-38. The ILO-IPEC synthesis report concluded that "[i]n general,...trafficked children come from poor families living in rural areas." It should be noted that, according to ILO-IPEC's country study for Togo, 50 percent of the Togolese population works in commercial or subsistence farming. ILO-IPEC, "Synthesis report," p. 13; Abalo, "Trafic des enfants au Togo," p. iii.

33 R. Salah, "Child Trafficking in West and Central Africa: An Overview" (paper presented at the first Pan-African conference on human trafficking organized by the Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF), February 19-23, 2001), p. 4.

34 L. Bazzi-Veil, "Étude sous-régionale sur le trafic des enfants à des fins d'exploitation économique en Afrique de l'Ouest et du Centre" (Abidjan: UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO), 2000), p. 9; United Nations Development Program's 2002 Human Development Report, retrieved from on August 6, 2002. Poverty rates tend to be much higher in rural areas, as in Togo where the general poverty rate is 35 percent but the rate in rural areas is 78 percent. Abalo, "Trafic des enfants au Togo," p. iii. The links between poverty and child trafficking have been the subject of numerous studies and journalistic accounts. Poverty has been said to force families to find ways to reduce childcare costs; tempt children into seeking a better life abroad; and draw rural families to higher wages in urban areas. It has also been said to compel farmers to employ their children in the fields, leading to high rates of school drop-out and heightened vulnerability to recruitment by trafficking intermediaries. Poverty is also thought to contribute to the employment of girls as domestic workers, itself a potential forerunner to child trafficking. See R. Salah, "Child Trafficking," p. 4; UNICEF-WCARO, "Workshop on Trafficking in Child Domestic Workers," p. 30; Bazzi-Veil, "Trafic des enfants en Afrique de l'Ouest et du Centre," p. 8; Boonpala and Kane, "Trafficking of Children," pp. 20-21; ILO-IPEC, "Synthesis report," pp. 13-14, 31; Abalo, "Trafic des enfants au Togo," p. xix; U.N. Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, "Trafficking for forced labour," public service announcement, retrieved from on June 27, 2002; journalistic accounts listed above.

35 Abalo, "Trafic des enfants au Togo," p. xvii.

36 Ibid., p. xvi.

37 Ibid., p. xvii. 71 percent of parents had between five and eight children, and 11 percent had more than eight children.

38 Human Rights Watch interview with Kodjo Djissenou, executive director, La Conscience, May 18, 2002. In 1996, the World Bank noted that "cost is one of the main reasons why the poor do not send their children to school. While school fees are low, school supplies are expensive." The World Bank also noted that government education expenditures have not kept up with school-age population growth-both because of lack of resources and budgetary choices-and that in 1995, the Togolese government allocated almost fifty times as much money for each tertiary-level student as for each elementary-level student. In its country study of child trafficking in Togo, ILO-IPEC asked ninety-six trafficked children whether they had ever attended school and, if so, whether and when they had dropped out. Of eighty-four trafficked children who ever had attended school, 81 percent had already dropped out prior to being recruited by traffickers. M. Tovo, "World Bank poverty assessment," p. xi; Abalo, "Trafic des enfants au Togo," p. xix. See also UNICEF-WCARO, "Workshop on Trafficking in Child Domestic Workers," p. 22; Bazzi-Veil, "Trafic des enfants en Afrique de l'Ouest et du Centre," p. 9; R. Salah, "Child Trafficking," p. 4; Boonpala and Kane, "Trafficking of Children," p. 21.

39 Human Rights Watch meeting with villagers, Bafilo, May 2, 2002.

40 Boonpala and Kane, "Trafficking of Children," p. 21.

41 See generally M. Tovo, "World Bank poverty assessment," p. xi; M. Black, "Child Domestic Workers: A Handbook for Research and Action" (London: Anti-Slavery International, 1997), p. 15; Anti-Slavery International and WAO-Afrique, "Children Working in Domestic Service in Togo" (London: Anti-Slavery International, 1994); UNICEF-WCARO, "Workshop on Trafficking in Child Domestic Workers," pp. 15-19; UNICEF, "Child Domestic Work," Innocenti Digest no. 5 (Florence: Innocenti Research Centre, 1999), p. 2; Boonpala and Kane, "Trafficking of Children," p. 23; Abalo, "Trafic des enfants au Togo," p. xviii. In its 2000 study of child trafficking, UNICEF stated that girls are more likely to be trafficked where "cultural factors" hamper their education, but did not elaborate on this point. See Bazzi-Veil, "Trafic des enfants en Afrique de l'Ouest et du Centre," p. 8.

42 See U.N. Economic and Social Council, "Youth at the United Nations: Country Profiles of the Situation of Youth," at (accessed June 5, 2002); U.N. Statistics Division, "Togo: Millenium Indicators," at (accessed July 6, 2002). In 1997, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child noted that while the principle of "free, universal and compulsory basic education for all children" is recognized by Togo, it was "concerned at the low level of school enrolment and the high drop-out rate, especially among girls, resulting in high illiteracy rates, the lack of learning and teaching facilities and the shortage of trained teachers, particularly in rural areas." See United Nations, "Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Togo," U.N. Document CRC/C/15/Add.83 (New York: U.N. Publications, 1997), para. 25.

43 The study also noted that 95 percent of child domestic workers in Togo were girls. M. Black, "Child Domestic Workers" (London: ASI, 1997), p. 15, citing ASI and WAO-Afrique, "Children in Domestic Service in Togo" (London: ASI, 1994).

44 M. Black, "A Handbook on Advocacy: Child Domestic Workers: Finding a Voice" (London: ASI, 2002), p. 9.

45 ILO-IPEC, "Synthesis report," p. 15.

46 Abalo, "Trafic des enfants au Togo," p. lxvi. In the Plan-Togo study, 8 percent of parents interviewed were widows or widowers; however, it is not clear that this same 8 percent had trafficked children. Amouzou et al, "Trafic d'enfants au Togo," p. 35.

47 ILO-IPEC, "Synthesis report," p. 15.

48 According to 2002 joint estimates developed by UNAIDS, UNICEF, USAID and the U.S. Bureau of Census, the total number of living children under age fifteen whose mother, father or both parents have died of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is 11 million. The Synergy Project, "Children on the Brink 2002: A Joint Report on Orphan Estimates and Program Strategies" (Washington, D.C.: USAID, July 2002).

49 WHO/UNAIDS, "Togo," Epidemiological fact sheets on HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections, p. 3; Human Rights Watch interview with Apelète Devotsou, National AIDS Program, Lomé, May 6, 2002.

50 In one of several primary schools surveyed in the CARE/World Bank study, 100 of 214 students were orphans, of whom more than half had lost at least one parent to AIDS. A.Y. Akolatse and K.T. Djonoukou, "Analyse de la situation des orphelins, veuves et familles affectées du SIDA dans la Region maritime en vue de la réalisation d'un programme de prise en charge," IDF/RIPPET project (Lomé: CARE/World Bank, 2001), p. 37. In a different study, the World Bank found that orphans in Togo, defined as children who have lost either a mother or both parents, were about 20 percent less likely to attend school than children with two parents.

51 Ibid., p. 37. The vulnerability of AIDS-affected children to hazardous and exploitative labor has been documented in other parts of Africa. See for example Human Rights Watch, "In the Shadow of Death: HIV/AIDS and Children's Rights in Kenya," A Human Rights Watch report, vol. 13, no. 4(A), June 2001; UNICEF East and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO), "Child Labor in the Shadow of HIV/AIDS" (Nairobi: UNICEF-ESARO, April 2002); Synergy Project, "Children on the Brink 2002."

52 Akolatse and Djonoukou, "Analyse de la situation des orphelins," p. 36. Girls may be more likely to contract HIV as a result of labor exploitation, as occupations such as prostitution or domestic work expose them to sexual violence and coercion as well as unprotected sex generally. See, e.g., UNICEF, "Child Domestic Work"; Human Rights Watch, "In the Shadow of Death," p. 16.

53 In the 2001 CARE/World Bank study, one Togolese therapist is quoted as saying that "AIDS is a new sickness that causes fear. It is a sickness of gypsies and prostitutes." Fidèle Avajon, director of an NGO that used to work with AIDS orphans, told Human Rights Watch that "families don't accept easily that someone among their relatives died of AIDS. We had families where we knew someone died of AIDS, and we tried to help. But the family refused our help because they didn't want to admit the death was from AIDS." Arsène Mensah, program coordinator of the NGO Aide Médicale et de Charité, attributed the stigma to early information campaigns saying "AIDS is death." "If a family knows that someone in the family has AIDS, they withdraw from that person," he said. "People are still afraid of being contaminated." See Akolatse and Djonoukou, "Analyse de la situation des orphelins," p. 30; Human Rights Watch interview with Fidèle Avajon, director, Association pour une Meilleure Intégration Sociale, Lomé, May 7, 2002; Human Rights Watch interview with Arsène Mensah, Aide Médicale et de Charité, Lomé, May 7, 2002.

54 E-mail communication to Human Rights Watch from Kodjo Djissenou, April 15, 2002.

55 Human Rights Watch interview with Arsène Mensah, Aide Médicale et de Charité, Lomé, May 7, 2002.

56 Human Rights Watch interview with Gouna Yawo, president, Espoir-Vie Togo, Lomé, May 6, 2002.

57 Human Rights Watch interview with Suzanne Aho, Lomé, May 6, 2002.

58 Human Rights Watch interview with Essodina Abalo, administrator, IPEC-Togo, Lomé, May 17, 2002.

59 Abalo, "Trafic des enfants au Togo," pp. vii, xxi, xviii; ILO-IPEC, "Synthesis report," p. 32; R. Salah, "Child Trafficking," pp. 4, 5; UNICEF-WCARO, "Workshop on Trafficking in Child Domestic Workers," p. 34; Bazzi-Veil, "Trafic des enfants en Afrique de l'Ouest et du Centre," p. 11. In the ILO-IPEC country study of child trafficking in Togo, 46 percent of trafficked children interviewed were ethnic Kotokoli, a community that has linguistic, ethnic and cultural commonalities with groups in Ghana, Benin and Nigeria.

60 According to the Bazzi-Veil study, parts of Togo experience high poverty but low rates of child trafficking. The study also notes that the migration of Malian girls into domestic service is motivated less by poverty than by the acquisition of a trousseau and the desire to experience city life. A recent World Bank study of child trafficking in Benin concluded that child trafficking was less a response to poverty than a "strategic fostering out of children" reserved for families with a certain level of savings and the ability to plan for the future. See Bazzi-Veil, "Trafic des enfants en Afrique de l'Ouest et du Centre," p. 9; e-mail communication to Human Rigths Watch from Anne Kielland, May 30, 2002.

61 Human Rights Watch interview with Koffi Badjow Tcham, May 7, 2002.

62 ILO-IPEC, "Synthesis report," p. 18.

63 A.F. Adihou, "Summary of the final report on trafficking of children between Benin and Gabon" (London: ASI, 2000), p. 9.

64 A description of the plan is available through End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT), at (accessed July 10, 2002).

65 The boys interviewed ranged in age from nine to seventeen when trafficked, and the girls ranged from three to seventeen. An additional eighteen children were interviewed, some of whose stories would not qualify as child trafficking, and others whose testimony did not disclose sufficient evidence to make a determination. All statistical data in this section are intended to describe Human Rights Watch's witnesses, not to generalize about the larger population of trafficked children.

66 The school system in Togo is divided into six years of primary school, four years of collège or middle school and three years of lycée or secondary school. For this report, the designations grades one through twelve will be used.

67 U.N. Economic and Social Council, "Youth at the United Nations."

68 Human Rights Watch interview, Est-Mono, May 10, 2002.

69 A local gin.

70 Human Rights Watch Interview, Vo, May 16, 2002.

71 Human Rights Watch interview, Bassar, May 3, 2002.

72 Human Rights Watch interview, Sotouboua, May 4, 2002.

73 Human Rights Watch interview, Est-Mono, May 10, 2002.

74 Human Rights Watch interview, Bassar, May 3, 2002.

75 Human Rights Watch interview with N'Bighe N'Faba, prefect of La Binah, May 3, 2002.

76 According to a 1998-1999 ASI study on the trafficking of girls between Benin and Gabon, the women responsible for trafficked girls are often called "auntie" to give an illusion of a familial bond. A.F. Adihou, "Trafficking of children between Benin and Gabon," p. 10. Human Rights Watch was not able to confirm in most cases whether the "aunt" or "auntie" referred to by a trafficked child was indeed a relative by blood or marriage.

77 Human Rights Watch interview, Tchamba, May 2, 2002.

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