Child Trafficking in Sierra Leone

Implementing Agency: NEXUS Institute

Geographic Scope: Sierra Leone

Years: 2004-2005

Project Summary: This study was commissioned by the UNICEF office in Sierra Leone in response to an increased awareness of trafficking as an issue in the country and as a child protection issue. The specific focus of this assessment was child trafficking and had three primary objectives:

  • To conduct a qualitative assessment of child trafficking in Sierra Leone, including the forms and nature of child trafficking as well as destinations and routes;
  • To identify and assess the availability and functionality of existing community and national policies, laws and mechanisms in place to address the issue of child trafficking in Sierra Leone;
  • To identify and assess existing counter-trafficking programs, including their strategies, constraints and lessons learned.

This report is intended for counter-trafficking actors and other child protection agencies working in the fields of prevention, protection and prosecution in Sierra Leone. It is intended to be of assistance both to those working at an operational level as well as those working in the area of policy in Sierra Leone.

Funding for the assessment was generously provided by the UNICEF Global Thematic Fund for Child Protection and the Government of Canada (Canadian International Development Association – CIDA).

Project Publications and Studies:

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 10.06.29 PMChild Trafficking in Sierra Leone (2005)

This assessment outlines the current state of trafficking in the country as well as the various legal, policy and programmatic efforts underway in Sierra Leone that can be mobilized against child trafficking. The assessment finds that child trafficking is an issue of concern in Sierra Leone – as a source country both for internal trafficking as well as trafficking abroad. Child trafficking victims were both male and female of varying ages. Trafficking occurs for a range of different purposes including sexual exploitation (prostitution, marriage), labor (domestic work, mining, fishing, trading and vending, agriculture), begging and petty crime, adoption and into the fighting forces. While the assessment primarily considered child trafficking, it was noted that adults were also trafficked from and within the country. This report finds that 1) there have not been programs to prevent child trafficking and 2) the current child protection structure is not sufficient to accommodate the specific and special needs of trafficked minors. Also discussed are the gaps and issues to be considered in on-going counter-trafficking efforts.

Photograph by Jared & Melanie & Huxley Ponchot. Some rights reserved.