The Central African Republic is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labour and sexual exploitation. The majority of those trafficked are children subjected to sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, ambulant vending and forced labour. Moreover, civil unrest in the country has led rebels such as the anti-balaka to conscript children into armed forces in the northwestern and northeastern regions, as well as kidnap, rape and subject to conditions of modern slavery, many Muslim women in the country.
Zeinaba was 12 years old when she was captured by the anti-balaka and spent a week being raped and forced to cook and clean for the militia group under the threat of physical violence.
We spent a week there. [The anti-balaka] raped us every day…. We had become their “wives.” It was us who prepared the food…. At any moment, they would want to sleep with you and, if you resisted, they threatened to kill you…. I said I am the daughter of a Christian. [Their leader] said, “No, you are the daughter of a Muslim.” I said no. He said, “Those are your brothers who have killed our brothers. It’s you who are going to pay.” … I was 12 years old at the time.
In the forest, one kicked me in the pelvis. Blood started to flow…. I said I was pregnant. They said they didn’t care. When I got to the [anti-balaka] base I had pain in my pelvis. Two days later I had a miscarriage…. I told them I had pain and I was pregnant. They said, “If you give birth to a boy, we’re going to kill him the next day.” They knew when I miscarried. Since there was blood, it soaked my outfit… They didn’t react.
[After we escaped,] when I arrived [in Boda] there was no hospital, nothing. Later, when [an aid organization] got here they did a urine test, blood test. At the hospital, I didn’t explain what had happened. I couldn’t explain. I said I was taken by anti-balaka, but not that I was raped
As told to researchers for Human Rights Watch