Burkina Faso is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Most victims are children, trafficked within the country from rural areas to urban centres such as Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso, for domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, and forced labour in gold mines and stone quarries, and the agriculture sector. Burkinabè children are also trafficked for the same purposes to other West African countries, most notably to Côte d’Ivoire, where many are subjected to forced agricultural labour, including on cocoa farms.
Burkina Faso's gold industry employs slave laborers and does not spare children. The U.S. Department of Labor reported that gold mining is becoming an ever more fruitful industry It has resulted in "an increased number of children working in gold mines and thousands of students leaving school.” A further report corroborates the fact that child labor and forced labor are common practices in Burkina Faso's mining industry.
The government of Burkina Faso does not meet minimum standards to eliminate trafficking. It does however make some efforts to do so. It has initiated a number of investigations into trafficking and identified potential trafficking victims. It has also provided some assistance to some 20,000 child miners in an attempt to reduce their vulnerability to trafficking. However it has made no attempt to address forced begging by unscrupulous religious instructors (religious instructors) in Koranic schools. In spite of these efforts there have been no reported prosecutions or convictions of traffickers and no reported funding for the protection of victims.
Shakira, 18, and Mercy, 15, are from Nigeria. They paid money to traffickers believing they would be going to the US to work but when they arrived in Ouagadougou they were told they had been sold and must work at a sex club to pay off debts. They were rescued from a brothel in the village of Samghandi when it was raided. They gave statements to an anti-trafficking police unit in Ouagadougou. The girls had been told by traffickers they would be killed if they refused to work at the brothel.
The 2008 anti-trafficking law criminalizes all forms of trafficking and prescribes penalties of five to ten years imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape.
Law No. 11-2014/AN criminalizes “child prostitution” and the sale of children—including the sale of children for crimes not considered trafficking in the 2000 UN TIP Protocol—and prescribes penalties of five to 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to about $5000 US.
The 2015 law on violence against women and girls prescribes punishments of two to five years imprisonment and a fine up to about $3200 US for sexual slavery.