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Children at risk of trafficking and forced begging

In Niger, smuggling networks organise the trafficking of boys and girls who are forced to beg and prostitute themselves in destination countries such as Algeria.

In Agadez, to fight against this phenomenon, the police regularly intercept vehicles transporting women and young children on their way to Algeria via the city of Arlit.  

“Some women take other people’s children and pretend as if they were their own,” said Saidou, a police officer.

“A few years ago 92 women and children were found dead in the desert after their truck broke down,” he added.

During their journey and in the countries of destination, many boys and girls suffer physical violence, such as torture, rape and slavery, as well as other forms of psychological violence. They are at risk of exploitation, violence and sexual abuse at every stage of their journey.

“We don’t know much about what is waiting for us on the way. It was a relative in Algeria who paid for our trip,” explains Raya, one of the migrants intercepted by local police.

Human trafficking and the transportation of migrants without travel documents is severely punished in Niger. Indeed, Article 18 of Law 2015-36 of May 26, 2015 states: “Anyone who takes advantage of, abuses the vulnerability or dependence of the smuggled migrant, resulting from entering the country illegally (…) commits an offence punishable by imprisonment from 20 to less than 30 years and a fine of CFA 20,000,000 to 30,000,000. “

TMP – 11/02/2020

Photo credit: Davide bonaldo /Shutterstock

Photo caption: An African mother and two children walk alone on the red clay road in the village as a family in traditional dress.