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.
Jeanne, 30, was caught by a group of 20 Seleka along with nine other women and girls— some as young as 16—as they fled when the Kidigra neighborhood came under attack in June 2014. She said the Seleka held her at a base for six months.
The first day, five Seleka raped me. Every day we could not rest—every day there was rape, by different fighters.… We became their wives. Each fighter who arrived at the base, it was to rape us. If we refused, they hit us…. I went to look for firewood. I drew water, looked for water at the river, prepared their food. All of the women did this. All the women were raped each night.
Five of the women and girls became pregnant but had no means to terminate the pregnancies. In the bush, what could they do? They had to keep the pregnancy. The Seleka didn’t react. They still raped the pregnant women.
As told to researchers for Human Rights Watch