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To all West African governments implicated in the trafficking of children, including Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Gabon38

Concerning the prosecution of child trafficking and related offenses
· Ratify the United Nations (U.N.) Protocol to the Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime to Prevent, Suppress and Punish the Trafficking of Persons especially Women and Children (2000-the Trafficking Protocol) and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (2000). Promptly enact legislation creating the offense of child trafficking, consistent with the above protocols as well as with the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 182 and Recommendation No. 190 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (1999).

· Consistent with the consensus decision of the 2002 consultation meeting in Libreville, Gabon, of twenty-one African states, establish a regional anti-trafficking convention, ensuring that any convention incorporates full protection of the human rights of trafficked children. Include qualified representatives from NGOs and civil society in all regional negotiations. As part of a multilateral anti-trafficking strategy, advocate for the priority inclusion of child trafficking on the agenda of the new African Union.

· Promptly investigate, prosecute and punish perpetrators of trafficking in children, using existing penal laws until targeted anti-trafficking legislation is enacted. Ensure transparency in prosecution of traffickers by maintaining a public record of all prosecutions and the disposition of all cases. Take immediate steps to investigate any allegations of corruption involving police officers, gendarmes, prosecutors, members of the judiciary or anyone else involved in the enforcement of penal laws related to child trafficking, and to prosecute infractions.

Concerning the recruitment of trafficked children
· As part of regional negotiations, develop a protocol for identifying and pre-empting potential child traffickers, and monitor the implementation of this protocol by local bodies. Include in the protocol information on methods used by child traffickers to gain parental consent, such as payment and promises of education and professional training.

· Incorporate information about child trafficking into school curricula. Sensitize community and religious leaders about the causes of child trafficking, the potential hazards of child labor, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Provide information to all personnel working with and for children, such as judges, lawyers, magistrates, law enforcement personnel, army officials, teachers, school administrators, health care providers, social workers, local government officials, and personnel of child-care institutions.

· Give priority attention to the expansion of educational and vocational opportunities for children, especially girls. Develop, implement and monitor programs to address disparities in school attendance and drop-out rates between boys and girls. Implement public information campaigns about the potential hazards to be encountered in domestic, market, agricultural, and factory labor. Staff local vigilance committees with women and men who are specifically trained in educating families about alternatives to placing children into hazardous work.

· Target orphans and other children affected by HIV/AIDS as a vulnerable group in the context of child trafficking, incorporating specific measures to protect orphans and AIDS-affected children into the national plan of action against child trafficking. Strengthen programs to combat discriminatory practices toward children infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS.

Concerning the transport of trafficked children
· In cooperation with neighboring countries, reinforce border controls at both official crossings and border areas used for the clandestine movement of children. Station anti-trafficking units in towns and villages where children being trafficked are known to congregate in transit. As part of regional negotiations, establish protocols to identify and apprehend child traffickers, and monitor the application of these protocols. Promptly investigate any allegation of border guards accepting bribes from or charging "fees" to child traffickers, and discipline and prosecute those responsible. Enact anti-corruption provisions into domestic law, consistent with article 9 of the U.N. Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (2000).39

· Station officers trained in the identification and apprehension of child traffickers at transit points where trafficked children are known to congregate before being taken abroad. Establish a system to ensure the safe return to their home countries of children who have been taken abroad by intermediaries and subsequently abandoned, including appropriate support services and access to child-friendly personnel.

Concerning the commercial exploitation of trafficked children
· Promptly investigate any complaints of hazardous child labor, and increase the inspection, enforcement and monitoring capacity of ministries of labor with respect to child labor. Enact specific regulations governing minimum age of employment, hours of work, hazards unique to child labor such as use of dangerous equipment, forms of labor likely to be injurious to children, corporal punishment, entitlement to rest and leisure, and compensation. Design and implement sensitization campaigns for the agricultural sector as well as for those who employ domestic workers, and prosecute those who violate minimum employment standards.

· Take all appropriate law enforcement measures against perpetrators of physical and/or sexual violence against child domestic workers. Develop public information campaigns about the prevalence of abuse against domestic workers. Ensure care and support to children who escape domestic labor and who have suffered physical or sexual violence, including treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Concerning the safe return and reintegration of trafficked children
· As part of regional negotiations, develop and implement a consistent regional protocol for the return, repatriation and rehabilitation of trafficked children, through collaboration between "sending," "receiving" and "transit" countries, local NGOs, multilateral organizations such as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and ILO, children and parents. Enact regulations providing trafficked children with the full range of protections outlined in article 6 of the U.N. Trafficking Protocol, article 7 of ILO Convention No. 182, article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention of the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, and NGO documents such as the Human Rights Standards for the Treatment of Trafficked Persons.

· Establish protocols for police officers, gendarmes, other state officials and outreach workers to follow when children who claim to have been trafficked seek their help, including the safe delivery home or to a place of safety, and monitor the application of those protocols. Establish centralized public registers of all trafficked children and their whereabouts, with the oversight of the children's court or analogous institution, where this exists. Ensure that any money owed to children by employers is received by them through the formation of a trust or other legal mechanism.

· Release any child who has been placed in detention for legal transgressions arising from their having been trafficked, and provide special protection measures in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, specialized anti-trafficking instruments, and national law. Enact an explicit prohibition against the detention of trafficked children in punitive institutions.

· Effectively monitor the progress of all formerly trafficked children and ensure they are not retrafficked. Ensure appropriate care and support for children whose parents are complicit in child trafficking or are otherwise abusive or negligent. Develop a protocol for finding appropriate foster care or, if necessary, institutional placement for such children. Promote alternative means of livelihood for children at risk of school drop-out.

· Protect the safety of trafficked children by enacting strong witness protection provisions. Ensure that trafficked children who provide testimony in criminal proceedings have an opportunity to do so in a child-friendly environment, such as outside of a formal courtroom setting.

· For purposes of program planning and evaluation, develop a system of monitoring the incidence of child trafficking and the government response. Maintain a database of trafficked children's demographic information and family backgrounds, methods of recruitment, relationships to intermediaries, modes of transport abroad, types of work abroad, lengths of stay, methods of escape, and methods of return and/or rehabilitation. Share relevant data with governments of other countries affected by child trafficking.

To the Government of Togo
In addition to those recommendations directed at all West African countries implicated in the trafficking of children, the government of Togo should:

· Modify provisions of the draft Children's Code imposing prison sentences on parents who aid child traffickers, fail to report child trafficking or offer children for sale. Create an explicit defense for parents who are genuinely deceived about the purpose of their child's recruitment, believing it to be educational or otherwise non-exploitative. Allow for reduced penalties for parents who reasonably but mistakenly believe that aiding and abetting child trafficking, or failing to report child traffickers to the police, is in their child's best interests.

· Ensure the legally guaranteed free and accessible primary education for all children as provided in article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Implement measures to improve school enrolment and retention, and develop a system for the regular evaluation of the effectiveness of these interventions. Promptly investigate cases of children being expelled from school for inability to pay fees or for school supplies. Monitor the activity of potential child traffickers on or near school grounds.

To Donors Supporting these Governments
· Increase support for targeted anti-trafficking initiatives by specific government departments and nongovernmental organizations. Develop a system for measuring concretely the effectiveness of anti-trafficking initiatives. Strengthen the capacity of NGOs to receive and care for trafficked children by providing training on pertinent gender issues and appropriate resources to prevent overcrowding of transit centers. Pressure national governments to provide support to effective NGO initiatives.

· Provide anti-trafficking support to countries of transit and those "receiving" Togolese children (such as Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Côte d'Ivoire and Gabon) as well as countries "sending" children to Togo (such as Ghana, Benin and Nigeria). Refrain from using any suspensions of development assistance as an excuse for not taking an active role in anti-trafficking efforts.40

· Monitor whether anti-trafficking programs address human rights violations underlying child trafficking, in particular discrimination against girls. Ensure that donor supported anti-trafficking programs are not undermined at the local level by, for example, treatment of trafficked children as delinquents, threats of imprisonment against parents, or discrimination against families affected by HIV/AIDS.

To the United Nations
· Facilitate the negotiation and ratification of a regional anti-trafficking protocol among all West African countries. Ensure the participation of NGOs and civil society in the negotiation and ratification process.

· Strenuously advocate for greater donor support for governmental and nongovernmental anti-trafficking programs. Integrate child trafficking into global strategies on poverty alleviation, development, education and women's rights.

· To UNICEF: Formally evaluate Togo's implementation of the 1997 Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Pressure donor countries to provide adequate resources for Togo to fulfill its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Make concrete recommendations regarding the implementation of article 35 on the elimination of child trafficking. Develop training programs on the causes, methods and consequences of child trafficking, for implementation into school curricula.

· To UNICEF and the ILO: Provide technical assistance to the Togolese government on the elimination of child trafficking, including an analysis of the child trafficking provisions of the draft Children's Code. Research best practices on the reintegration of trafficked children, and make recommendations to Togo's National Committee for the Reception and Social Reintegration of Child Trafficking Victims.

· To the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP): Ensure that efforts to prosecute and punish child traffickers respect the human rights of trafficked children, in accordance with article 6 of the U.N. Trafficking Protocol and relevant human rights instruments.

· To the Economic and Social Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): Ensure that domestic legislation implementing the U.N. Trafficking Protocol complies with the Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human Trafficking (2002).

To Multilateral Organizations in Africa
· To the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS): Monitor the implementation of the 2001 ECOWAS Initial Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, and in particular enforce the requirement that member states provide a biannual progress report on implementation. Evaluate these progress reports publicly.

· To the Executive Council of the African Union (A.U.): Call on all member states to include anti-trafficking policies and programs among their top priorities on children. In collaboration with the legal department, participate in the drafting of a subregional anti-trafficking convention. Through the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), invite the contribution of anti-trafficking NGOs to anti-trafficking resolutions and initiatives.

· To the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights: Include child trafficking on the agenda at biannual meetings. Instruct experts to prepare advisory documents on violations of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (1981), and to make recommendations as to how the Commission can assist governments to end child trafficking.

38 These countries are implicated by testimony in this report; however, within the West Africa region the ILO has also documented child trafficking in Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Mali.

39 Article 9 requires states to (1) to the extent appropriate and consistent with their legal systems, adopt legislative, administrative or other effective measures to promote integrity and to prevent, detect and punish the corruption of public officials; and (2) take measures to ensure effective action by their authorities in the prevention, detection and punishment of the corruption of public officials, including providing such authorities with adequate independence to deter the exertion of inappropriate influence on their actions.

40 As noted above, both the United States and the European Union have suspended development assistance to Togo since the early 1990s due to a lack of free and fair elections.

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