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.
Angèle, 27, became pregnant and gave birth to a child as a result of repeated rape after Seleka fighters killed her husband and took her near Bambari in June 2014. She was held in sexual slavery for nine months with five other women and girls.
The Seleka “considered us like their wives”: [At the base] we prepared the food. If we didn’t prepare it very well, they hit us with the butts of their guns. They [also hit us with] whips they used for horses…. During the day, they did it [rape] one time. At night, it was another [fighter] who would call us. We would think it was to prepare the tea, but it was to rape us.
My family knows [about the rapes] and they said it’s not their problem…. They said I went and got myself into a mess and gave birth to a baby without a father, and I should go back to Bambari to find the father…. I have spent two months in Bangui. No one in my family has helped me…. I thought that the baby should die, or I should die with the baby
As told to researchers for Human Rights Watch