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
· 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
· 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
· 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
· 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
· 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.
· 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
· 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
· 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 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.
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.