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The Central African Republic (CAR) continues to work towards the capacity of the government in regards to human trafficking. Various aspects such as violent conflict, extreme poverty, strong demand for labor in the informal sector cause this problem. Groups particularly aligned with the former Seleka government have designed an organized village self-defense unit in order to fight the anti-Balaka and this has created a demand for soldiers.
Our country has emerged as a region of great concern with regard to trafficking of child soldiers. Illegal armed groups and corrupt elements in the military are profiting from trafficking, and have an economic interest in maintaining the current situation. Groups such as the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR), and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) continue to recruit and use children as combatants, lookouts, and porters. This presence of the troops has created a demand for labor and sexual services.
The Central African Republic has ratified and signed various UN resolutions to end trafficking. For instance, the 2000 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, and the 2003 United Nations Convention against Corruption which focused on prevention and international cooperation. Our country has implemented variations of the solutions discussed during these conventions. CAR partnered with the UN Development Programme, UNICEF, and UNESCO to create a series of seminars to improve their economy.
The CAR’s National Action Plan for Education aims for the establishment of schools in rural areas to provide educations for all who have never attended school. CAR’s National Strategy to End Recruitment and Use of Children in Armed Conflict aims to end the use of children in armed conflict by negotiating with these groups and securing their release.Although the Central African Republic has made significant efforts to implement the solutions discussed in these seminars, the problems arisen uproot from a lack of funding, policy and enforcement.
The Human Rights Watch estimated that over 120,000 children are used in armed conflict. CAR recommends the demobilizing these child soldiers by enacting a pilot project aimed at undermining the financing of armed groups, specifically targeting at adding value to the many ongoing initiatives to contribute to supply chain security for the minerals trade. At its most basic, supply chain policing would involve securing the route from the mine site to the point of export, clearing the transportation corridors of illegal taxation, roadblocks and coerced labour.
The delegation of the Central African Republic urges the introduction of rehabilitation centers, with a four step plan addressing the identification of victims within trafficking, and the creation of emergency, rehabilitation and transit centers. CAR suggests the use of in-country mapping exercises to identify location and enact a standardized system for referring identified victims to NGOs such as Project to End Human Trafficking to transport them to the shelters. These shelters would peacefully integrate victims into society with vocational training.
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