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2005-03-07 03:08:00
Embassy Djibouti
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 DJIBOUTI 000240 




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: 2004 SECSTATE 273089

1. (SBU) Summary: Djibouti is reportedly a country of
transit and a country of destination for internationally
trafficked persons. There is no evidence to suggest that
Djibouti is a country of origin. The trafficking problem in
Djibouti is vague and undocumented. Post would like to
emphasize that there is a dearth of solid evidence and
statistics to make a true case for Trafficking in Persons as
a large problem for the Government of Djibouti. However,
Djibouti has numerous children working as prostitutes, most
of them economic migrants from neighboring countries.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine exactly how many
children are working as prostitutes. Some estimates place
the total number of prostitutes in Djibouti to be between
500 and 600, a small portion believed to be under the age of

18. The Government does not see Trafficking in general as a
problem and does not have laws in place to address the
issue. Djibouti does have laws against prostitution and
exploitation of a person's weakness or ignorance. However,
these laws do not cover the full extent of Trafficking in
Persons issues. Djibouti also lacks resources to
sufficiently train its security forces to recognize
trafficking, establish prevention programs, find and
prosecute traffickers, and establish programs to protect
victims of Trafficking. Post's sources for information
included in this report are the Ministries of Justice,
Labor, and Health, the Border Police, Interpol, the Police
Vice Squad, and several local NGOs. End Summary.




Overview of Djibouti's Activities to Eliminate Trafficking
in Persons




A. According to information gathered by Post, Djibouti is
not a country of origin for internationally trafficked
persons. However, Djibouti is described as a country of
transit and country of destination for trafficked persons.
Reports from international and local non-Governmental
Organizations indicate that Djibouti has a problem with
child prostitution. These child prostitutes are mostly
economic migrants or persons smuggled from Ethiopia and
Somalia who resort to prostitution in order to provide for
their families. There are also girls from poor Djiboutian
families that use prostitution as a means of income. There
is little evidence that any of the girls are smuggled into
Djibouti specifically for child sex tourism. Insufficient or
non-existent monitoring of migration and labor statistics

makes it nearly impossible to determine whether trafficking
occurs within the country's borders. A large number of
youth from poverty-stricken interior districts migrate to
the city to seek work. There is little evidence to suggest
that these economic migrants become victims of trafficking.
There are no areas in Djibouti that are outside the
government's control. Due to the extreme dearth of accurate
statistics in Djibouti, it is difficult to discern how many
of the smuggled economic migrants become victims of
trafficking, if any. It is also very difficult to determine
the number of children working as prostitutes.

B. Sources at local and international NGOs indicate that
persons trafficked into Djibouti, or persons who migrate to
Djibouti and become victims of trafficking, come from
Ethiopia, Somalia and the self-proclaimed independent
Republic of Somaliland. The same sources, as well as
Djibouti's Interpol Office, report that occasionally persons
are trafficked to Arab countries, Somalia and Somaliland.
The destination of many economic migrants, who become
victims of trafficking through child prostitution, is
Djibouti City and the Ethiopia-Djibouti trucking corridor.

C. Due to lack of statistics and/or monitoring of the
trafficking situation, it is not possible to determine
whether any changes in the direction or extent of
trafficking has occurred.

D. There are currently no government or independent
efforts planned or underway to document the extent and
nature of trafficking in Djibouti. There were no new
reports or surveys made available during research for this
year's report.

E. In the respect that Djibouti is considered to have a
small problem of trafficking in persons in the form of child
prostitution, the conditions girls are trafficked into vary.
Some prostitutes work out of the street, some in apartments
or brothels, others are rumored to be house girls.
Embassy's contact within the "Brigade des Meurs," the Police
Vice Squad, estimated the total number of prostitutes in
Djibouti to be between 500 and 600. Among those, he
personally knew of around twenty girls that were under the
age of 18. For the majority of street children that work as
prostitutes, living conditions are miserable. Information
from local NGOs indicates that there are some older street
children that force younger children to work in prostitution
in order to collect their earnings. It is generally
understood that girls working as prostitutes can leave the
profession if they desire, but few have other employment
options. NGOs report that there is no known organized
structure to prostitution, but individuals acting as pimps
or protectors are frequently used to set up transactions.
Street children working as prostitutes usually give portions
of their revenues to an older child that acts as

F. There is no evidence to suggest that Djibouti is
currently a country of origin for international trafficked
persons. There was one case of several Djiboutian girls
being taken to Syria in 1998 with false promises of

G. As there is little proof that a Trafficking in Persons
problem exists in Djibouti, there is currently no political
will to address, or combat, the issue. Few resources are
devoted to training for security forces, prevention,
protection, and prosecution of Trafficking in Persons.
Research showed no evidence of government officials linked
to TIP.

H. There is no information to suggest that authorities or
members of government forces facilitate or condone
trafficking. Local NGOs suggested that some agents of the
Border Police might receive bribes from smugglers. However,
they did not believe that these bribes were connected to any
TIP activities. However, there is no firm evidence of these

I. The Government of Djibouti lacks resources in many
areas to adequately address the problem of Trafficking in
Persons. Sources at the Border Patrol indicate that there
are gaps in monitoring of the borders in areas where there
is not a Border Post. There is also a lack of funding for
the Labor Inspector's Bureau, which consists of one
Inspector and six Controllers. The current state of labor
inspection makes it nearly impossible to accurately assess
labor conditions throughout the country. Resources to
adequately train government security forces on how to
recognize Trafficking in Persons are also lacking. There is
little to no capacity to provide government resources to aid
the victims of trafficking.

J. The government does not have specific efforts to
counter trafficking in terms of prosecution, prevention, and
victim protection. It therefore does not systematically
monitor or publish any anti-trafficking efforts.

K. Prostitution is illegal under the Penal Code of
Djibouti, however there is a complicit tolerance of its
existence. The prostitutes, brothel owners, clients, pimps
and enforcers' activities are all criminalized. These laws
are only enforced when the Police come across activities in
the streets, rarely in cases of clubs, brothels or
apartments that house prostitutes.




A. As the problem of trafficking is not very visible and no
concrete statistics can be found, the government does not
acknowledge that trafficking is a problem in Djibouti.

B. There is no specialized agency within the Government
for trafficking in persons, but Interpol and the Police Vice
Squad would have primary responsibility.

C. There have not been any recent government-run anti-
trafficking public education campaigns.

D. The Ministry of Women's affairs conducts programs to
promote inclusion of women in politics and business. Micro-
credit loans assist women in creating income-generating
activities. The Ministry of Education is also in the process
of implementing programs to keep children in school. The
compulsory age for schooling has been raised from 14 to 16.
The Ministry is also beginning to implement programs to
track the number of students that leave school, and their
reasons for leaving, in efforts to combat this problem.

E. The government does not currently have the resources to
support prevention programs for Trafficking in Persons.

F. There is little to no cooperation between government
officials, NGOs and other organizations that deal with
trafficking in persons. There are a few local NGOs that are
devoted to caring for street children or educating adult
prostitutes in other employment skills.

G. According to the Border Patrol, the government can only
adequately monitor its borders where an outpost exists.
Areas without a checkpoint are not monitored at all. Neither
Border Patrol or Immigration services monitors immigration
and emigration patterns for evidence of trafficking.
Immigrations services does, however, look for patterns of
smuggling. The head of Border Police stated the Government
has increased its border patrols to prevent potential
terrorists from entering the country. However, he said they
only receive general training for recognizing patterns of

H. No agencies in Djibouti exist to combat trafficking,
nor is there a trafficking persons task force or public
corruption task force.

I. The Government does not participate in any working
groups or efforts to combat trafficking.

J. The Government does not have a national plan of action
to address trafficking in persons.

K. There is no entity or person responsible for developing
anti-trafficking programs within the Government.



Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers



A. Djibouti does not have a specific law prohibiting
trafficking in persons. The only law in the penal code that
could possibly be used to prosecute a Trafficking in Persons
crime is the "exploitation of the weakness and ignorance of

B. Exploitation of the weakness and ignorance of a person
is punishable by a minimum of five years imprisonment. This
is the only law that could cover either trafficking for
sexual exploitation or labor exploitation.

C. The penalty for rape is a minimum of five years
imprisonment. The penalty for forcible sexual assault is
considered a misdemeanor and has a maximum of five years

D. Court officials indicated there were no recent
prosecutions of traffickers.

E. In terms of child prostitution, there are reports that
indicate older street children force younger ones to work as
prostitutes in order to collect their earnings. There are no
reports of organized crime syndicates. Revenues from child
prostitution are normally used for subsistence living. There
are no reports that revenues from prostitution goes any
further than the prostitute or their protector/pimp.

F. The last international trafficking case to be
investigated was in 1998, when several Djiboutian girls were
trafficked into Syria under false promises of employment.
The Government actively investigated this case, which
resulted in the imprisonment of three individuals and the
safe return of most of the victims. The investigation
remains open, though the local Interpol office indicated
that another girl was located in 2004. Interpol indicated
that it does not use active investigative techniques, such
as electronic surveillance, undercover operations, and
mitigated punishment or immunity for cooperating suspects.
However, Interpol stated that these techniques were not
outlawed by Djiboutian law, there was merely inadequate
resources to utilize such techniques.

G. The Government does not provide any specialized
training for government officials in how to recognize,
investigate, and prosecute instances of trafficking.

H. The Government does cooperate with other governments in
the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases
through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Interpol. There
is no information available on the number of recent
cooperative investigations.

I. Djiboutian nationals charged with Trafficking are not
extradited and are prosecuted by national courts. It is
prohibited by law to extradite Djiboutian nationals.
Foreigners are also prosecuted in national courts, but can
be extradited to their country of origin if there is an
extradition treaty with that country. There are no numbers
available as to how many, if any, traffickers have been
extradited. However, French soldiers accused of a crime,
such as pedophilia, in Djibouti are extradited and tried in
France in accordance with their extradition treaty. The
Government of Djibouti does not plan to modify its laws to
permit the extradition of its own nationals.

J. There is no evidence of government involvement in, or
tolerance of, trafficking on a local or institutional level.

K. No government officials have been prosecuted for
involvement in trafficking or trafficking-related corruption
in recent years.

L. There is no evidence to suggest that child sex tourism
exists in Djibouti, but a few cases of pedophilia have been
reported. Court officials and Interpol stated a very small
number of French soldiers were extradited after being
charged with pedophilia.

M. Djibouti signed and ratified ILO convention 182 in June
21, 2004. ILO conventions 29 and 105 have also been
ratified. Djibouti has not ratified the Optional protocol to
the Convention on the rights of the Child on the sale of
children, child prostitution, and child pornography or the
Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish Trafficking in
Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN
Convention Against Organized Transnational Crime. However,
Djibouti has signed and ratified the African Charter of
Human Rights.


Protection and Assistance to Victims


A. There is no special assistance available to victims of
trafficking, they are treated the same as victims of any
other crime. Due to budget constraints, victims get whatever
care is available at the time. Local hospitals do not
provide adequate medical care to patients in general, let
alone specialized care for victims. Police stations are
sometimes used for temporary shelters for victims of various

B. There is no Government funding or support for domestic
NGOs that provide service to victims. All local NGOs must
rely on their own resources or solicit funding from foreign

C. There are no NGOs providing care specifically to
trafficking victims.

D. Victims are usually treated with respect. However, if
they are undocumented foreigners, they are deported to their
country of origin. If victims are Djiboutian nationals, they
are returned to their families. Minors under the age of 18
arrested for prostitution are charged with a misdemeanor
crime; as opposed to the full criminal charge prostitution
normally carries.

E. Victims of any crime are entitled to file a civil suit.
They also have the right to attend and testify in court
during the suspect's trial.

F. The Government does not have the means to provide full
protection to victims, who are usually sheltered in police
stations to wait for expedited court hearings.

G. The government does not provide any specialized
training for government officials in trafficking
recognition, or in the provision of assistance to trafficked

H. The Government provided medical assistance to its
repatriated nationals, who were victims in the Trafficking
case in 1998. They were then returned to their families.

I. There are no international NGOs working in Djibouti
specifically for trafficking victims.

2. (SBU) Post's point of contact for Trafficking in Persons
is Erinn Reed, Political/Economic Officer. Contact
information is email:, tel: 253-353995 ext
2305, fax: 253-353940. Pol/Econ Officer and Econ Assistant
spent approximately 40 hours each in preparation of this