06 Jun 2016
HRT Correspondent – Adam Craddock
Highly Likely Extensive Human Trafficking Will Continue In The DRC; Lacking Infrastructure, Personal, And Organization
It is highly likely extensive human trafficking will continue in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) due to poor infrastructure, a lack of personnel to deal with the numerous cases, a lack of organization in effectively aiding the victims, and ineffectively halting the activities of non-officials. The DRC increased its scrutiny and prosecution of officials who participate in human trafficking activities such as forced labor and sexual slavery. Yet, corruption, resource mishandling and opposition groups prevent significant development towards these issues. The DRC holds a place on the US Department of State’s Tier 2 Watch List in 2015, an improvement from its previous Tier 3 position.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo retains a long and violent history of conflicting leaders, rebel groups and foreign invaders which continues to the present day.[i] Most notably, in the eastern provinces, many rebel groups operate whom oppose the current regime in the DRC. Rwandan and Ugandan militia groups occupy these areas as well, including various groups from Rwanda responsible for the 1997 genocide and the Lord’s Resistance Army, moving in and out of the country regularly.[ii]
Reports of human trafficking come from all the provinces of the DRC, yet the eastern provinces contain the vast majority of human trafficking activities. Militia groups kidnap Congolese men, women and children primarily for forced labor in mines in order to extract the rich minerals prominent in the DRC. Other uses for victims include sexual slavery and forced conscription into the ranks of the militias’ forces. Due to poor hierarchal discipline, records of the National Army (official military of the DRC) forcing Congolese citizens to carry supplies for the military occurred in the past.[iii]
A UN occupation in the eastern provinces attempts to maintain peace in the region to little success.[iv] The DRC government made significant attempts to prosecute officials implemented in human trafficking operations, yet lack the resources and organizational structure to effectively halt operations run by non-official entities such as the hostile groups functioning in the eastern provinces.[v] Resource conflicts, opposition groups and vast corruption prevents infrastructure improvements and increasing anti-human trafficking efforts within the country.[vi]
The DRC maintains the majority of the world’s supply of cobalt, about 50-55%.[vii] Conflict minerals such as these finance the militia groups who operate illegal mines in the eastern provinces. Future conflicts between the government and these groups is uncertain due to the upcoming elections. Yet, human trafficking remains a prominent industry for the extraction of conflict minerals and supplying soldiers for the many factions operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[viii]
The analytical confidence for this product is medium. The sources for this product are reliable and the information is consistent. The analyst utilized Analysis of Competing Hypotheses as an analytic method for this product. The time constraints for this product was minimal. The difficulty of the subject matter is high. Intelligence gaps include the extent of corruption within the DRC, the number of trafficked individuals and how much influence foreign groups hold within the country in regards to trafficking networks.
Analysis of Competing Hypothesis (ACH), see below with diagnosticity: