The Central African Republic (CAR) is a source, transit, and destination country for children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking, women subjected to forced prostitution, and adults subjected to forced labour. Observers report most victims are CAR citizens exploited within the country, and a smaller number transported between CAR and Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Sudan, or South Sudan. Traffickers, as well as transient merchants and herders, subject children to domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation, and forced labour in agriculture, artisanal gold and diamond mines, shops, and street vending. Within the country, children are at risk of becoming victims of forced labour, and Ba’aka (pygmy) minorities are at risk of becoming victims of forced agricultural work, especially in the region around the rainforest. Girls are at risk of being exploited in commercial sex in urban centres. Girls forced into marriages are often subjected to domestic servitude, sexual slavery, and possibly sex trafficking.
(CAR) does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The government took small steps to address trafficking by establishing the national Disarmament, Demobilization, Reinsertion, and Repatriation (DDRR) Consultative Committee and continuing to support the operation of an orphanage that could house potential trafficking victims. However, there is no evidence of the prosecution or conviction of any traffickers nor of provision to give protection or assistance to any trafficking victims.
The DDRR Consultative Committee is responsible for engaging armed groups in the formal
DDRC process, including obtaining the release of child soldiers and other children being used by armed groups and ensuring appropriate care is provided. Little appears to be done in this respect.
Surges in violent conflict in recent years resulted in chronic instability and the displacement of nearly one million people, increasing the vulnerability of men, women, and children to forced labour and sex trafficking. There is limited information about the forms of exploitation believed to have increased as a result of years of conflict. The recruitment and use of children by armed groups, at times through force, particularly among armed groups aligned with the former Seleka government and the organized village self-defence units fighting against it known as the anti-Balaka, has been widely documented.
An international organization reported between 6,000 and 10,000 children were recruited by armed groups during the latest conflict up to 2015; some remain under the control of these armed groups. The government has no effective disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program. Children formerly associated with armed groups remained at risk of re-recruitment. Additionally, reports indicated that some anti-Balaka fighters held ethnic Peuhl women and girls as sex slaves.
"I was with my husband in the house. The Seleka came…. They pushed my husband to the ground and two pointed their guns at him. Then four of them rushed at me and pushed me to the ground. Each of the four then raped me. My husband was in the room, but they would not let him move. I have thought about what these men did and justice for myself. I want these men brought to justice and put in prison. –Marie, 30"
The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan rebel group that operates in CAR’s eastern regions, continues to enslave Central African, South Sudanese, Congolese, and Ugandan boys and girls for use as cooks, porters, concubines, and combatants. Some of these children may have been taken back and forth across borders into South Sudan or the DRC. The LRA also committed abductions, forced girls into marriages, and forced children to commit atrocities such as looting and burning villages, killing village residents, and abducting or killing other children.
Article 151 of the penal code criminalizes all forms of trafficking in persons and prescribes penalties of five to 10 years imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties
prescribed for other serious offenses, such as rape. If the offense involves a child victim of sex trafficking or forced labour similar to slavery, the prescribed penalty is life imprisonment with
hard labour. Articles 7 and 8 of the January 2009 Labour Code criminalizes forced and bonded labour and prescribes sufficiently stringent penalties of five to 10 years imprisonment.
The law allows victims to file civil suits against the government or their alleged traffickers for restitution; however, there were no reports this occurred during the reporting period.
The government has not reported any prosecution of trafficking cases or conviction of any traffickers since 2008.