Togo
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    Profile

    Togo

    Capital

    Lome

    Gross domestic product (GDP)

    USD 5,490.27 million

    Income group

    Low income

    Population

    8,082,366

    Area

    56,790 km²

    Geography type

    Coastal

    5.33

    Criminality score

    72nd of 193 countries

    24th of 54 countries in Africa

    9th of 15 countries in West Africa

    Criminal market

    4.90

    Human trafficking

    6.00

    Human smuggling

    3.50

    Arms trafficking

    4.00

    Flora crimes

    5.00

    Fauna crimes

    6.00

    Non-renewable resource crimes

    6.00

    Heroin trade

    3.00

    Cocaine trade

    5.00

    Cannabis trade

    6.50

    Synthetic drug trade

    4.00

    Criminal actors

    5.75

    Mafia-style groups

    1.00

    Criminal networks

    7.00

    State-embedded actors

    7.50

    Foreign actors

    7.50

    4.00

    Resilience score

    133rd of 193 countries

    25th of 54 countries in Africa

    7th of 15 countries in West Africa

    Political leadership and governance

    3.00

    Government transparency and accountability

    3.00

    International cooperation

    5.50

    National policies and laws

    4.50

    Judicial system and detention

    3.50

    Law enforcement

    4.00

    Territorial integrity

    4.00

    Anti-money laundering

    3.00

    Economic regulatory capacity

    4.50

    Victim and witness support

    4.50

    Prevention

    4.00

    Non-state actors

    4.50

    4.00 5.75 4.90 4.00 5.75 4.90

    4.00

    Resilience score

    133rd of 193 countries

    25th of 54 countries in Africa

    7th of 15 countries in West Africa

    Political leadership and governance

    3.00

    Government transparency and accountability

    3.00

    International cooperation

    5.50

    National policies and laws

    4.50

    Judicial system and detention

    3.50

    Law enforcement

    4.00

    Territorial integrity

    4.00

    Anti-money laundering

    3.00

    Economic regulatory capacity

    4.50

    Victim and witness support

    4.50

    Prevention

    4.00

    Non-state actors

    4.50

    Analysis

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    People

    Togo is a country of origin, transit zone and, to a lesser degree, recipient country for victims of human trafficking. Trafficking within the country occurs more frequently than cross-border trafficking flows, with children identified as making up the majority of victims. Trafficked Togolese girls within the country often end up carrying out domestic work, serve as market vendors, and/or are sexually exploited. Although less frequently, girls are also trafficked to other countries on the continent for the same forms of exploitation. Meanwhile, Togolese boys most commonly fall victim to being trafficked abroad to work in agriculture and construction sectors, primarily to other African countries. Children from Ghana and Benin have also been reportedly trafficked to Togo. There are reports of Togolese women and girls being trafficked to the Middle East for domestic work and sexual exploitation. Most exploitation is mainly a result of economic need, and therefore the market tends to be ad hoc and opportunistic.

    The socio-political unrest in Togo and the rising unemployment led many people, mainly the youth, to leave Togo as irregular migrants, seeking better fortune in other African nations. Some also made their way to Europe, taking routes along Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Algeria and Libya. Criminal actors in Togo serve as an initial point of contact and recruitment, as well as facilitators of payments during the journey and as a link between communities and smugglers further along the route.

    Trade

    Though the number of armed robberies in Togo is estimated to be on the rise at the national level, the situation of weapons proliferation is not worse compared to other countries in the region. However, at the international level, reports often cite Togo as part of the illegal weapons trade. Related to that, many vessels sailing under a Togolese flag are frequently reported for their alleged participation in international arms trafficking. Unrest in the country in recent years may have resulted in increased accumulation of small arms and light weapons.

    Environment

    The recent decade saw an upsurge of illegal exploitation of rosewood from Togo in Chinese markets, which resulted in a government-imposed 10-year moratorium, temporary suspending authorizations to log the species on Togolese national territory. Criminal gangs operating in Togo's neighbouring countries also fell timber, trafficking the illegal commodity through the port of Lomé to countries in South-eastern Asia. Moreover, timber shipments passing through Togo have been used as an obfuscation method to traffic several tons of illicit ivory and other wildlife products out of major ports.

    While poaching is not common in Togo, as its wildlife population is small, the country does serve as a transit zone for illegal wildlife products such as pangolin scales and elephant ivory from other countries in the region, typically destined for Asian markets. With regards to non-renewable resource crimes, there are instances of illegal gold mining, though it is not considered substantial as mostly impoverished farmers undertake illegal mining activities. However, Togo is an important gold trading centre because taxes on gold in the country are relatively negligible, and the country has become a major smuggling hub for gold from neighbouring countries.

    Drugs

    Due to its port, Togo has become, a hub for drug trafficking, including heroin to some degree. Heroin originates from countries such as Pakistan and Lebanon, but also Latin America. As heroin is a luxury drug consumed mostly by tourists, expatriate residents or wealthy nationals, most of the heroin that enters the country is re-exported towards the US or Europe. Often foreign nationals residing in Togo facilitate the trade and are assumed to have strong links with high-level state officials. Togo is also a transit country for cocaine, particularly in the north of the country. Similar to heroin, authorities in the country are suspected of being involved in the trade.

    While Togo is largely a transit corridor for cannabis, domestic cultivation is increasing. Many Nigerian nationals are involved in the market. Similarly, Togo is a transit hub for synthetic drugs, particularly at the port of Lomé. There is some evidence that Nigerian and Lebanese criminal groups are involved in the trafficking of synthetic drugs through Togo onto final destination markets.

    Criminal Actors

    In Togo, many local criminal networks operate in narcotics trafficking, smuggling, contraband sales, endangered animal species (elephant tusks) and money laundering. Most of them serve as transporters for criminal and trafficking networks based in neighbouring countries or overseas. It is presumed that these networks have strong ties with state authorities. Corruption takes many forms and is often embedded in public and private sector practices in Togo, presenting a major challenge for economic growth in the country. Moreover, with the same regime reigning for more than 50 years, corruption is deeply rooted in state sectors, which leads to state-embedded actors being involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.

    Many foreign actors operate as part of criminal networks in Togo. Additionally, most drug networks in the country are connected with criminal actors from Latin America, Lebanon and Nigeria. Some of these foreign nationals are residents of the country and serve as a link between the network in Togo and markets abroad. Currently, there is no evidence of the presence of mafia-style criminal actors operating in Togo.

    Leadership and governance

    While the government has made verbal commitments to address corruption and established a new legal and institutional framework, the effectiveness and sincerity of these measures are yet to be proven. The culture of impunity in Togo encourages political crimes and corruption, which heavily impact the economy and state. The government has introduced some initiatives in order to increase transparency and accountability as well as the overall levels of cooperation with civil society. However, these initiatives are still too recent for adequate assessment to be carried out.

    On the international level, Togo closely cooperates with relevant international organizations and foreign governments in several sponsored programmes to effectively fight organized crime. Togo has also ratified a number of international instruments pertaining to countering organized crime and terrorism. Nevertheless, some state actors are suspected to have links with trafficking networks, which puts into question the extent to which these instruments are implemented. On the domestic level, the country has the necessary legal framework to combat organized crime and corruption. However, despite having two strategies aimed at tackling organized crime in place, the political will and the effective enforcement of existing laws remain a major challenge.

    Criminal justice and security

    Togo has improved its legal and institutional structures to combat organized crime, but the country lacks the enforcement of existing laws and the integrity of judicial authorities and law enforcement personnel, who are often corrupt or influenced by the executive branch, have been questioned. Additionally, a large proportion of the prison population in Togo is in pre-trial detainment, suggesting a slow processing of criminal cases through the judicial system. Togo does not have any specialized law enforcement units specifically dedicated to combating organized crime. With regard to territorial integrity, violence and insecurity in Togo are limited to its borders. At the same time, the country's borders are very porous. However, efforts are being made to strengthen the borders, by way of new strategies (new agencies, legal frameworks and training, among others), with the support of national and international partners.

    Economic and financial environment

    As with other countries in the region, Togo’s tax policy is sometimes ambiguous, confusing and arbitrary. The country also demonstrates deficiencies in fostering an environment conducive to healthy business practices and economic growth. However, the government has improved efforts to enhance transparency and boost economic competitiveness, and the IMF, World Bank, European Union and other large donors continue to encourage reforms. Meanwhile, Togo also has all basic and necessary legal frameworks, and institutional structures related to anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism have been created. Their enforcement, however, remains a significant challenge.

    Civil society and social protection

    While Togo’s government is lacking when it comes to responding to human trafficking, efforts have been made to address the problem, such as the deployment of several labour inspectors in the field. In addition, a green line was created to allow victims to contact an emergency unit providing care and shelter. Many NGOs also assist the government in providing care for victims of trafficking and dismantling criminal networks. With regard to witness protection, very little has been achieved as most witnesses are reporting anonymously.

    Since the 1990s, the relationship of civil-society organizations, the state and political actors has been characterized by distrust and suspicion. This was also evidenced in the socio-political turmoil in 2017–2018. Togo boasts an active media. However, public news service by the state media remains lacking. Additionally, press freedom is highly intertwined with the political environment in the country, and journalists tend to refrain from covering the government and the army in a negative light, in particular during election periods.

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    The criminal markets score is represented by the pyramid base size and the criminal actors score is represented by the pyramid height, on a scale ranging from 1 to 10. The resilience score is represented by the panel height, which can be identified by the side of the panel.

    This report was funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of State.

    ENACT is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Institute for Security Studies and INTERPOL, in affiliation with the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.

    The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.