Viewing cable 08CONAKRY323
Title: CHILD TRAFFICKING IN UPPER GUINEA

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08CONAKRY3232008-06-26 05:20:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Conakry
VZCZCXRO3571
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHRY #0323/01 1780520
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 260520Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY CONAKRY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2693
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 CONAKRY 000323 
 
DEPT FOR G/TIP AND DRL 
DOL FOR DIANTHA GARMS 
 
SIPDIS 
SENSITIVE 
 
E.O. 12598: N/A 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL ASEC GV
SUBJECT: CHILD TRAFFICKING IN UPPER GUINEA 
 
REF A. CONAKRY 00220 
REF B. CONAKRY 00196 
 
¶1. (U) SUMMARY. While NGOs have statistics illustrating an extremely 
high prevalence of child trafficking on Guinea's northern border 
with Mali, local authorities maintain that they have not seen any 
child trafficking cases. Government contacts confirm previous 
reports that marabouts frequently cross into Mali taking large 
groups of children for Koranic studies. Sources also corroborate 
Embassy information that Kankan is a platform for child trafficking 
to neighboring countries and Conakry. This cable is the fifth in a 
series of six reports on child trafficking in Guinea. END SUMMARY 
 
¶2. (U) During a trip to the prefectures of Kankan and Siguiri (Upper 
Guinea) the week of June 12-17, Asst Poloff met with local 
authorities, police, local NGOs and border security officials to 
discuss the prevalence of child trafficking over Guinea's northern 
border with Mali. Asst Poloff also visited three villages for which 
Save the Children has anti-trafficking programs funded by USAID and 
the U.S. Department of Labor. 
 
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NGOS: HIGH INCIDENCE OF CHILD TRAFFICKING 
----------------------------------------- 
 
¶3. (SBU) Asst Poloff met with local NGOs in Siguiri to discuss 
efforts to combat child trafficking in the region. Present at the 
meeting were representatives from Amical Jeune Pour le Progrhs 
(AJP), Jeunesse Action Developmente (JAD) and Association Jeune 
Voluntaire Pour la Developmente (AJVD). The NGOs said they come 
across four to five cases of child trafficking per month at the 
Kouremale and Nafadji checkpoints with Mali. The NGOs also said that 
there have been multiple incidents of marabouts crossing into Mali 
with children. The NGOs reported that the majority of the marabouts 
have parental consent and therefore are not questioned by border 
security even if they are traveling with 5, 10, or 25 children. 
 
¶4. (SBU) Save the Children coordinator, Dr. Diarra Houleymata, told 
Asst Poloff that her organization intercepts many victims of child 
trafficking on this border, but few of the alleged traffickers are 
arrested as many of them just "disappear." She said that from 
September 2007 to June 2008, Save the Children has intercepted 155 
victims of child trafficking on both sides of the Guinean-Malian 
border. She said that they intercepted 43 victims of child 
trafficking in Guinea and 112 in Mali. Of the 155 children 
intercepted, 75% of the children were Guinean heading to Mali and 
25% were Malian children heading to Guinea. She added that 80% of 
the Guinean children were being trafficked to Mali to work on 
agriculture farms, and the rest for domestic or small-scale 
commercial work. 
 
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EVERYONE ELSE: NO CASES OF CHILD TRAFFICKING 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
¶5. (SBU) In a meeting with the Prefect of Kankan, Lanceit Conde 
highlighted three child trafficking concerns in his Prefecture: 1) 
marabouts trafficking children for exploitation in Mali, 2) young 
girls being trafficked from villages to Conakry for domestic work, 
and 3) children being trafficked to Mali and Cote d'Ivoire for child 
labor. He reported that children from Mali are also trafficked to 
Kankan, mainly for domestic servitude.  When asked about details or 
specific cases, Mr. Conde said there have been no official cases and 
that he has no statistics to backup his assertions.  In a separate 
meeting the Prefect of Mandiana Fode Camara, he said that "child 
trafficking could be happening here, but they wouldn't know about 
it," adding that it is difficult to monitor the 900km of border with 
Mali and Cote d'Ivoire. 
 
¶6. (SBU) The Central Police Commissioner of Siguiri, Dianka Keita, 
said that he is in charge of the border police in the Prefecture and 
if any child traffickers were to be arrested he would be responsible 
for investigating. When asked, Mr. Keita could not recall any child 
recent trafficking cases and could not provide any statistics on 
apprehensions of child traffickers within the Prefecture.  At the 
Kouremale border checkpoint, Deputy Police Commissioner Tona 
Beauvogui told Asst Poloff that if a proclaimed guardian cannot 
illustrate parental consent, he telephones the parents to verify 
parental approval for the children to travel to Mali. Mr. Beauvogui 
reported that they have not arrested any child traffickers at that 
checkpoint. 
 
¶7. (SBU) In Mandiana, Asst Poloff met with Gendarme Deputy 
Commission Mohamed Camara. When asked about recent child trafficking 
cases, Mr. Camara said that they do not have any official cases and 
gave a few examples of kidnapping cases or missing children 
incidents. Asst Poloff then met with a group of transporters at a 
car park in Mandiana. As this is the main car park heading to Mali 
 
CONAKRY 00000323  002 OF 003 
 
 
border, it encounters nearly 150 vehicles per month, most of which 
are heading to Mali. The group said that 100% of the cars have 
children and they even saw a woman with four children last night. 
When asked about the prevalence of a single woman or man traveling 
with more than five children, the transporters said that this 
scenario is very common, adding that they encounter it two to three 
times a month.  The transporters said that they are not suspicious 
because many of the children are travelling with a relative who is 
taking them to live with other relatives in Mali or Cote d'Ivoire. 
 
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MORE MARABOUTS HEADING TO MALI 
------------------------------ 
 
¶8. (SBU) Embassy recently reported that marabouts were arrested in 
Mali for allegedly trafficking 26 Guinean children (Reftel A). In a 
meeting with the Governor of Kankan Rene Bayo Kamano, Mr. Kamano 
told of another incident of marabouts allegedly trafficking 17 
children aged 8-12 years old from Farranah to Mali. The governor 
said that in April he received a phone call from the Governor of 
Farranah who said that 17 children had gone missing. The parents 
reportedly entrusted the marabouts to teach the children in 
Farranah, but the marabouts were taking them to Mali instead. Mr. 
Kamano said that he alerted the police and gendarmes, and they 
apprehended the marabouts with the children at a local car park. The 
marabouts were sent to Farranah to be prosecuted and the children 
were returned to their families. 
 
¶9. (SBU) Border Police Deputy Commissioner Tona Beauvogui also told 
Asst Poloff that the Kouremale checkpoint had a case last week of a 
marabout taking 15-17 children from Kissidougou to Mali for Koranic 
studies. He said that the marabout had parental consent so they did 
not investigate further. Mr. Beauvogui added that each month two to 
three marabouts pass through the checkpoint with children, but they 
usually have parental consent. When asked if he was suspicious of 
the intent of the marabouts traveling with such a large number of 
children, he said "of course, but there is nothing we can do." 
 
-------------------------------------------- 
SAVE THE CHILDREN PROJECTS IN LOCAL VILLAGES 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
¶10. (SBU) Save the Children has two U.S. funded projects focused on 
anti-trafficking and child exploitation in Upper Guinea. One project 
is funded through USAID and the other is funded through the U.S. 
Department of Labor.  Save the Children coordinator, Dr. Diarra 
Houleymata, explained that children are taught skits that they show 
to their parents in order to educate them about 1) dangers of child 
labor in the mines, 2) importance of education within the village, 
3) realities of entrusting someone else to take your child to 
Conakry, and 4) risks of sending your child with marabouts for 
Koranic studies. In Tatakourou village, Save the Children staff said 
that before the project it was very common to send children with 
marabouts to Bamako, but that now the village Chief refuses to let 
children leave with a marabout.  In the village of Kiniebakoura, 
each year approximately 20-30 children are reportedly entrusted with 
"relatives" in Bamako, Conakry, Abidjan, or Kankan for employment or 
education.  To combat potential exploitation with this practice, the 
village Chief has established a minimum age for sending children 
outside the village for education or employment. 
 
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KANKAN IS A "CHILD TRAFFICKING PLATFORM" 
---------------------------------------- 
 
¶11. (SBU) During a visit to N'Zererkore (Reftel B), sources 
referenced Kankan as a "Child Trafficking Platform."  Save the 
Children coordinator in Kankan, Dr. Diarra Houleymata, also used 
this phrase, saying that Kankan is a platform for child trafficking 
to Conakry and neighboring countries.  She said that Save the 
Children conducted a survey of street children last year and the 
results illustrated that many children voluntarily travel to Kankan 
in pursuit of work with the intent of continuing on to Conakry, 
Liberia, or Mali, ultimately making these children extremely 
vulnerable to child trafficking.  Dr. Houleymata gave an example of 
five children aged 12-14 from Loila who had come to work on the 
streets of Kankan. She reported that the children were approached by 
a woman who promised them jobs in Mali. She said the woman took an 
unofficial route across the border and was apprehended by police in 
Mali. The NGOs said that the woman was arrested, but ultimately 
escaped police custody. 
 
¶12. (SBU) The Prefect of Kankan, Lanceit Conde, also told Asst 
Poloff that children often travel to Kankan from neighboring 
villages or countries looking for work.  He added that this is not 
an end destination but a transit point for travel elsewhere. Asst 
Poloff then asked Mr. Conde about previous Embassy information that 
suggested a high prevalence of children from Kankan are being 
 
CONAKRY 00000323  003 OF 003 
 
 
trafficked to Liberia. He said "of course, many people from Kankan 
now live in Liberia." He explained that many natives of Kankan moved 
to Liberia to work in diamond mines, creating cross-border 
communities. He continued by saying that when people return to 
Kankan they often take children with them to work in the mines or 
get an education in Liberia. 
 
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COMMENT 
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¶13. (SBU) This cable represents a continuation of Embassy efforts to 
understand child trafficking issues in Guinea.  Embassy reporting 
suggests a high incidence of child trafficking over Guinea's 
northern border with Mali. While there have been no official cases, 
sources report that there is also an incidence of children being 
trafficked into Guinea from Mali and Cote d'Ivoire. The significant 
disparity between NGOs statistics on child trafficking and actual 
cases reported or investigated by local authorities, police and 
border agents is particularly concerning. According to the NGOs, 43 
victims of child trafficking were intercepted in Guinea since 
September 2007, but no court cases were filed.  As in other regions 
of Guinea, there seems to be some confusion as to what exactly 
constitutes child trafficking, and how to combat it. END COMMENT. 
 
CARTER