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Country Profile

Action Plan on Trafficking in Persons – Smuggling of Migrants

Since 2010, Mali is engaged to eradicate Human trafficking through various initiatives, by the adoption of the 2011 decree with the establishment of the National Committee and the 2012 law, and finally put in place a triennial Action Plan (2015-2017). The Committee for the Coordination of Measures to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Related Acts (CNLTPA) is responsible to oversee the implementation of following updated National Action Plan.

  • The National Action Plan to combat trafficking in persons (2018-2022), i.e. the POA, aims to enhance the legal framework to prevent human trafficking, adequately implement the laws, and provide effective protection and care for victims, including children. The National PoA is developed around four main objectives: 

  • Prevention of trafficking in persons

  • Promotion of respect and application of the law related to combat trafficking in persons at all levels of the criminal system

  • Protection and assistance to the victims of trafficking in persons

  • Promotion of coordination and cooperation in combating trafficking in persons. Implemented by the Government of Mali, civil society and international organizations (United Nations and Technical Cooperation)

There is no national action plan against the smuggling of migrants in Mali. In the future, it is envisaged that the CNCLTPA will become a National Agency without an inter-ministerial committee, so as to prevent having two structures managing actions related to TIP. The recommendation establishing this agency was adopted in plenary session by the members of the CNCLTPA and will be called “National Agency to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants - ANTLP/TIP”. The agency’s operating procedures will be defined by a decree, while a new law on the fight against trafficking in persons, currently being drafted, will provide for an article on its creation. 

Related Action Plans

  • The National Program for the Fight against Gender Based Violence “PNVBG”, supported by law N. 2019-014 of July 3, 2019. Its organogram and modalities were set by the decree n.0 2019-0584 / PRM of July 29, 2019. The PNVBG aims to support the prevention, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of all actions to end Gender Based Violence (GBV). It is responsible for coordinating all activities contributing to the end of Gender-Based Violence; to carry out studies and research, to develop an information, education and communication strategy for people, social groups and local authorities; to design national coverage programs to combat Gender-Based Violence with all partners, to monitor and evaluate the activities carried out in the field with a view to end Gender-Based Violence at National level.


  • National Plan to Combat Child Labor (PANETEM) (2011–2020): Aims to eliminate the worst forms of child labor by strengthening child labor laws, training relevant government officials, and mobilizing funds for social programs to withdraw children from child labor. Implemented by National Unit to Fight Against Child Labor (CNLTE). More information available in (English) (French)

  • Roadmap to Combat Child Labor in Agriculture (2015–2020): Seeks to enhance the legal framework and build the capacity of the government to prevent child labor in agriculture. Led by the Ministry of Agriculture and supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN. In 2018, conducted a workshop with the ILO; produced pictures for awareness about child labor; and recruited a consultant to conduct a study on the agriculture, fishing, and livestock farming sectors.

  • National Policy for Promotion and Protection of Children (2015–2019): Aims to protect children from abuse, violence, and exploitation and promotes improved access to education and livelihood services for vulnerable children, especially those affected by armed conflict. Overseen by Ministry for the Promotion of Women, Children, and the Family (MPFEF). In 2018, supported formal registration of children at birth by conducting awareness-raising campaigns and sharing information with other governmental departments involved in birth registration.

  • Inter-Ministerial Circular and the Protocol on the Release and Transfer of Children Associated with Armed Groups and Armed Forces: Provides a framework that highlights the responsibility of the Government to prevent children’s involvement in armed conflict and protect and reintegrate those children who become involved. In 2018, organised a workshop on child soldiering and protecting children in emergencies for local government representatives and regional technical officers in regions affected by armed conflict.

Institutional Framework

National Structures Responsible for Identifying Traffickers and Victims of Trafficking (VOT)

The identification is generally done by various actors such as.

  • The Brigade for the Repression of Migrant Trafficking and Human Trafficking (BRTMTEH)

  • Police agencies (National Police and Gendarmerie)

  • National Unit to Fight Against Child Labor (CNLTE)

  • Social workers, NGOs, and International organizations

  • Civil society

National Structures Responsible for Border Management

The institution responsible for border management in Mali and control of entry and exit is the Directorate of Borders Police - DPF (Direction de la Police des Frontières) of the General Directorate of the National Police (DGPN), which is itself placed under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior (Ministère de la Sécurité et de la Protection Civile).

The Directorate of Borders Police - DPF is responsible for the management of national borders, the regulations on the movement of people (entry, exit, visas, refugees, human trafficking, etc.). it is also in charge to centralize and analyze information related to transnational movements and Issuance of travel documents et residence permits.

The DPF does not have border agents specialized in the regions. The officers assigned to the border police stations are taken from the ordinary staff of the nearby police stations. Due to the insecurity on the Malian territory, of the 19 official border police stations, only 13 are operational. These police stations mainly cover the main locations but there are many other border crossing points where they have any presence.

In these other “unofficial” crossing points, the gendarmerie and sometimes customs send a few agents, rarely more than 2 or 3 to patrol these locations.

National Structures Addressing Smuggling of Migrants

  • The Brigade for the Repression of Migrant Trafficking and Human Trafficking (BRTMTEH): Under the General Directorate of the National Police (DGPN), the BRTMTEH’s mandate includes the fight against human trafficking and smuggling of migrants in cooperation with all partners. This concerns all forms of trafficking, smuggling, the transport, networks related to these crimes, as well as cooperation with the judicial authorities. It has a national jurisdiction and aims to have branches across the country. In terms of activities, the brigade of repression seeks to identify those responsible for trafficking and smuggling and to dismantle networks. It conducts investigations, gathers evidence against those responsible for trafficking and smuggling, and refers the case to the prosecution. The BRTMTEH is made up of about twenty officers with technical support from a French officer and a Spanish officer (See section with Specialized Unit for more information on the BRTMTEH’s activities).

  • Under the Ministry of Justice, The Anti-Terrorism Pole (Pole Judicaire Spécialisé de lutte contre le terrorisme et la Criminalité Transnationale Organisée – PJS), was established by the Decree N 2015-0723 and the Malian Criminal Code (Art. 609) that defines the provision of the Criminal Procedural Code regarding the material jurisdiction of the PJS. Legally, the PJS is also competent to investigate cases of TIPSOM on the Malian territory (all breached to the 12/023 law of 12 July 2012). To that extent, the PJS has a more “transnational component” (Art. 609-1 of the criminal procedural code defines what is to be understood a “transnational component”). In practice, the PJS has to date been very little involved with TIPSOM cases. However, this might change in the future (for example if a good relationship is established between the BRTMTEH and the PJS). Furthermore, the PJS will designate a focal point for the Brigade’s cases, since several cases have already been transferred to the PJS by the Brigade and it appears that this may be the intended policy in future.

National Coordinating Bodies

  • In 2011, Mali established The Committee for the Coordination of Measures to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Related Acts (CNLTPA) The Committee is mandated to coordinate action in Mali against trafficking in persons in the areas of prevention, prosecution and the protection of victims, and is naturally the main focal point among national authorities on issues related to trafficking in persons. It is also responsible for the national action plan to combat trafficking in persons (2018–2022) to guide anti-trafficking action in the country. The presidency is ensured by the Ministry of Justice (MJ), it is co-chaired by the Ministry for the Promotion of Women, Children and the Family (MPFEF) and several ministerial departments are part of it, such as the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection (MoI), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and African Integration (MFA), the Ministry of Malians Abroad. There are also several civil society organizations working on migration-related issues, international organizations like EUCAP Sahel, and those of the United Nations system like IOM and UNODC.

Specialized Units - Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM)

  • The new Brigade for Repression and the Fight against Trafficking in Persons and Illicit Smuggling of Migrants (BRTMTEH). The Brigade was created on 10 October 2019 by Decree 2019-3536 / MSPC-SG. There are currently 22 people including seven officers and two commissioners. Two officers from France and Spain provided technical support to the Brigade. 

  • The mandate of BRTMTEH includes the fight against trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants in cooperation with all partners. This concerns all forms of trafficking, smuggling, the transport channels linked to these crimes, as well as cooperation with the judicial authorities. The jurisdiction is national, and the ultimate goal is to have branches throughout the country.

  • In terms of activities (“repression” Brigade), the Brigade seeks to identify the victims and those responsible for trafficking and smuggling and to dismantle eventual networks. It conducts investigations, gathers evidence against those responsible for trafficking and smuggling, and refers the case to the prosecution, since there is a specific prosecution for these issues. It is then up to the prosecutor to direct the cases to an investigating judge.

  • The creation of the Brigade anticipated the adoption of the two laws on trafficking and smuggling, respectively. The authorities realized that there was confusion between the two issues as they are two separate crimes. Until now they have used other criminal laws to respond to such cases which creates incoherence and difficulties.

  • In terms of trafficking, the bulk of the activities so far have concerned movements from Nigeria to Mali (as a destination country), but other channels to other countries will be also investigated with the support of France and Spain.


General Information

Mali is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor and, to a lesser extent, forced prostitution. Within Mali, women and girls are forced into domestic servitude and, to a limited extent, prostitution. Internal trafficking is prevalent to transnational trafficking. Reports indicate that Malian children are trafficked to Senegal and Guinea for forced labor in gold mines and for forced labor on cotton and cocoa farms in Côte d’Ivoire. Traffickers recruit women and girls from other West African countries, particularly Nigeria and Benin, with promises of jobs as nurses or waitresses in Bamako but instead exploit them in sex trafficking throughout Mali. Corrupt Quranic teachers also coerce and force Malian boys to beg or perform agricultural work in neighboring countries, including Senegal, Guinea, and Cote d’Ivoire. Adult men and boys, primarily of Songhai ethnicity, are subjected to the longstanding practice of debt bondage in the salt mines of Taoudenni in northern Mali. Some members of Mali’s black Tamachek community are subjected to traditional slavery-related practices rooted in hereditary master-slave relationships. Africans transiting Mali to Europe, primarily via Algeria and Libya and less so via Mauritania, are vulnerable to trafficking, and Nigerian traffickers exploit Nigerian women in sex trafficking in Mali en route to Europe.

The Government is unable to exercise control over the majority of its territory and lost ground it had previously regained. Justice officials had no or an extremely limited presence in four of Mali’s eight regions, limiting the government’s ability to provide justice, victim services, and gather data. Since early 2012, rebel and Islamic extremist groups have occupied parts of northern Mali. Terrorist organizations and armed groups continue to recruit and use children, mostly boys, in combat, requiring children to carry weapons, staff checkpoints, guard prisoners, and conduct patrols. Some of these groups used girls in combat, support roles, and for sexual exploitation, including sexual slavery through forced marriages to members of these militias.

Main Trends and Figures

Between 2018 and 2019, the Government reported a constant increase since identifying 143 potential victims in 2017, 104 victims and 43 potential victims in 2018, and 122 victims and 46 potential victims in 2019. Among the identified victims in 2019, authorities identified 23 forced labor victims, including forced begging, at least three sex trafficking victims, and 84 Malians exploited abroad in Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, and other West and North African countries.

Between 2017-2019, IOM assisted 565 victims of trafficking (essentially women and children: 512 women, 52 children, one man, mainly from Nigeria, Benin, and Niger and Senegal). During the same  period, one victim was repatriated to Mali and 532 to their countries of origin.

SOM: Data not available


Existing Mechanisms

Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrant (SOM) Hotlines

TIP/SOM IOM hotline (stranded  migrants) - + 223 83 31 14 83

Others (Children protection/ assistance) - Not available

Other numbers available:  

  • National police (EUCAP Sahel Mali) Hotlines: 80331, 80333, 800011 

  • Gender based violence hotline: 80-333

National Referral Mechanism and/or Standard Operating Procedures

At the moment, the Government does not have a formal referral mechanism but worked closely with the Fodé and Yaguine Network for Action (RAFY), a national network composed of NGOs, international organizations, and government ministries, including the Ministry for the Advancement of Women, Children, and the Family (MFFE), to refer identified trafficking victims to service providers. The services provided varied by location but generally included shelter, food, counseling, vocational training, repatriation, and reintegration assistance. Most service providers are NGOs, and the Government relied on these NGOs to provide the majority of services, funded by private and international donors.

In 2019, IOM has supported the elaboration of a new NRM on TIP which still pending to be validated by the Government (National Directorate of Social Development – DNDS).

Measures to Detect Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) Cases along the Borders

There is no specific mechanism on TIP. However, the Government adopted measures by training around 100 law enforcement officers, including those from the border police, have been trained in identifying cases of human trafficking. Elements of the gendarmerie also took part in these training series.

Regarding SOM, no specific measures for the detection of cases at the borders is in place. SOM is hardly discussed during the initial and in-service training of police officers. Border officials are not receiving instructions to combat SOM, partially due of the fact it is difficult to talk about SOM in the ECOWAS region. The Government had limited or no judicial presence in four of the country’s eight regions, primarily in the north and center of the country, due to continuing security challenges.

Law Enforcement Agencies Responsible for Investigating Cases of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrant (SOM)

The new Brigade for Repression and the Fight against Trafficking in Persons and Illicit Smuggling of Migrants (BRTMTEH) has the mandate to fight human trafficking and smuggling of migrants in cooperation with all partners, especially with judicial authorities (The National Police, the Judicial Police and National Gendarmerie).

It has a national jurisdiction and aims to have branches across the country. In terms of activities, the Brigade of repression seeks to identify those responsible for trafficking and smuggling and to dismantle networks. It conducts investigations, gathers evidence against those responsible for trafficking and smuggling, and refers the case to the prosecution.

Identity and Travel Documentation/Investigation and Forensic Lab

(This is in views to support identity verification/establishment as for victims and traffickers)

Mali has no specialized laboratory although the General Directorate of the National Police (DGPN) has a general technical and scientific department (DGPTS). In 2017, Bamako Airport has also been equipped by EUCAP with equipment enabling the detection and in-depth analysis of fraudulent travel documents.

Technical Working Groups (TWG)

There are no TWG specifically responsible for studying TIP and SOM.

  • However, there is a coordination group of technical and financial partners on border management and crime at cross-border. This group was set up very recently (January 2020) and meetings were suspended due of the pandemic. IOM, EU delegation and EUCAP co-chair the sessions and propose the agenda.

  • There are others Working Group (WG)/Committees on child protection which considers the related issues of TIP and SOM concerning children: 

  • National Unit to Fight Against Child Labor (CNLTE): Coordinates Mali’s efforts to eliminate child labor, especially its worst forms. Chaired by the Ministry of Labor and includes representatives from other government ministries, civil society, and worker and employer organizations. In 2018, received a budget of $70,000 to conduct activities including conducting labor inspections on farms.

  • Inter-Ministerial Committee to Prevent Grave Violations Against Children (Led by MPFEF): Conducts awareness-raising campaigns to prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict and implements reintegration programs for former child soldiers. Conducts joint missions with international partners to determine the presence of children in armed conflict. In 2018, continued to train regional actors in the protocol to release and transfer children associated with armed groups and forces.

  • Artisanal Gold Mining Summit Committee: Comprising gold mining associations and local government officials that monitor the recommendations from a 2014 summit on artisanal mining, including the ban on child labor in artisanal gold mines. In 2018, collaborated with the Embassies of Canada and Switzerland and mining companies to establish a commission charged with examining issues in gold mining, including the use of child labor.

Agency Responsible for Data Collection and Processing

In general, The Committee for the Coordination of Measures to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Related Acts (CNLTPA) has that responsibility to collect data from the various agencies and programs. However, the law enforcement data remain incomplete and otherwise difficult to obtain due to a lack of a centralized mechanism to collect comprehensive anti-trafficking law enforcement statistics.

Currently, the National Committee asks, each year, members to provide a brief report on their annual activities in order to build on the annual report of the committee. The 2019 report is not yet unavailable and previous report are available on request to the National Committee.

The new National Action Plan includes measure (Strategic objective I – Prevention - activity to improve data collection by creating a database in 2019.

Protection and Assistance to Victims of Trafficking Agencies

Competent Authority and Mechanism to Identify Victims of Trafficking

This is not clearly defined in Mali since the Government does not have standardized mechanisms to identify trafficking victims. IOM Mali has provided several trainings to government officials and NGOs to better identify victims and referral. In general, IOM uses it screening tool in order to define whether a person is a victim of trafficking or not. This tool makes it possible to highlight the existence of an activity, means, and a goal. This allows IOM to define if the person is a victim of trafficking and if so, to provide assistance.

  • The new human trafficking law will define measures regarding the victim’s identification, and they will be applicable once the new law will be adopted: 

  • Art. 46: When there are reasonable grounds to believe that a person is a victim of human trafficking, any authority with a public-service mission, within 72 hours, examines and assesses the victim’s case. In this case, the authority issues the relevant documentation certifying that the necessary conditions are met for the victim to have access to protection, help and assistance. The protection and assistance cannot be refused to the victim even if the victims refuse to collaborate in the proceedings.

  • Art. 48: The Public Prosecutor is the competent authority which takes the necessary measures for the safety and well-being of victims and witnesses, in collaboration with other stakeholders involved in protection and assistance. When a judicial investigation is opened and after consulting the Public Prosecutor, the investigating Judge orders the measures to protect victims.

Assistance Services and Contacts

There is no booklet available for the listing existing assistance services.

Cross-Border Cooperation

International Cooperation Agreements - Cross Border and Extradition Treaties


  • United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the Protocols. Ratified by Mali in 2002.

  • The Libreville Joint Platform for Action of 24 February 2000 on the development of strategies to combat trafficking in children for the purpose of exploiting their work in West and Central Africa. The Libreville Consultation is the result of a long process of collaboration and continuous exchange between UNICEF, ILO and the government of Gabon, which has facilitated the participation of 21 countries of the region of West and Central Africa

  • The Multilateral Regional Cooperation Agreement to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children in West and Central Africa signed in Abuja on July 6, 2006.

  • The African Union (AU) adopted in 2014 the African Union Convention on Transnational Cooperation (Niamey Convention). Security, including the combat cross-border crime, terrorism, piracy and other forms of crime are among the areas of cooperation under the Convention. States undertake in particular to remove any legal, administrative, security, cultural or technical obstacle that may hinder the strengthening and proper functioning of cross-border cooperation as well as to facilitate information and intelligence sharing. The Niamey Convention is important because the victims and those responsible for illicit trafficking are often located in several countries and criminal investigations and legal proceedings are done in several jurisdictions (For more information, see the section Regional institutions: African Union).

  • The Cooperation Agreement to combat child trafficking in West Africa, signed on 27 July 2005 in Abidjan between Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Togo. More precisely, Mali - Côte d’Ivoire (2000); Mali - Burkina Faso (2004); Mali - Senegal (2004); Mali – Guinea (2005); Benin - Nigeria (2005)

  • Headquarters Agreement between Mali and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed in 1998, in Geneva. IOM has worked hand in hand with the Government of Mali to meet the needs of the most vulnerable and help tackle the migration challenges such as forced migration, irregular migration, trafficking in persons, and smuggling of migrants, among others.

  • UNODC Regional Office for the west and Central Africa: Mali is included in the UNODC regional PROMIS program; Strengthening the capacities of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons & Smuggling of Migrants Brigade in Mali and SAHEL program, to support the development of accessible, efficient and accountable criminal justice systems to combat illicit trafficking drug trafficking, organised crime, terrorism and corruption in the region. 

  • The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was established by Security Council resolution 2100 of 25 April 2013 to support political processes in that country and carry out a number of security-related tasks. The Mission was asked to support the transitional authorities of Mali in the stabilization of the country and implementation of the transitional roadmap. The Mission should focus on duties, such as ensuring security, stabilization and protection of civilians; supporting national political dialogue and reconciliation; and assisting the reestablishment of State authority, the rebuilding of the security sector, and the promotion and protection of human rights in that country. More specially, the MINUSMA Justice and Corrections Section has for example two ongoing joint projects with UNODC, which focus mainly on supporting and strengthening the Anti-Terrorism Pole (Pole Judicaire Spécialisé de lutte contre le terrorisme et la Criminalité Transnationale Organisée – PJS) in general.

  • INTERPOL: Mali has a National Central Bureau (NCB) in Bamako that provide support to the law enforcement agencies. In 2019, Authorities have rescued 64 victims of human trafficking and people smuggling during an INTERPOL-coordinated operation in Mali. The Operation Horonya, which means ‘freedom’ in Bambara, took place from 3 to 11 October 2019 to support the Malian authorities to identify and dismantle the criminal groups operating in the country and more widely across the region.


  • The Cooperation Agreement between the Republic of Mali and Burkina Faso in the fight against cross-border trafficking in children signed in Ouagadougou on June 25, 2004

  • The Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition against Terrorism signed in Rabat in 2008

  • Extradition agreements: Mali has agreements with Niger, Chad, Algeria, and Nigeria. The 1994 ECOWAS agreements on extradition, ratified by Mali on August 2005

  • The judicial cooperation agreement with Mali, Niger and Chad on May 09, 2017 in Niamey. The States Parties undertake through this agreement to indulge reciprocally the individuals being on the territory of one of them prosecuted for offenses of common law or wanted for the purposes of the execution of sentences or security measures pronounced by the competent ordinary courts

  • The Judicial Cooperation agreement with Mali and Cote d Ivoire on Mai 2018. It Includes extraditions agreement

  • Cooperation Agreement in Judicial matters between the France and the Republic of Mali of March 9, 1962

  • General agreement on cooperation in judicial matters between the Republic of Mali and Burkina Faso. November 23, 1963

With the EU there is no judicial cooperation agreement, but rather agreements.

Transnational Referral Mechanism

A transnational referral mechanism (TRM) does not currently exist.

To learn more about TRMs, see IOM’s Transnational Referral Mechanism Model (TACT) project and tool

Additional International Instruments

  • WACAP- West African Network of Central Authorities and Prosecutors Against Organised Crime (2013): Mali is part of the network from the 15 ECOWAS countries and Mauritania. WACAP is an initiative of The Global Program for Strengthening Capacities to Prevent and Combat Organised Crime (GPTOC) and the UNODC Regional Program for West and Central Africa, in cooperation with ECOWAS. A Charter was signed by all the Ministers of Justice of the member countries. Internal regulations adopted in 2015. Two contact Focal points per country designated by member countries: 

  • A representative of the competent authorities in international judicial cooperation (central authorities, etc.) and a judge or prosecutor. 

  • It covers all types of transnational organised crime including terrorism.

  • The Court of Justice and the ECOWAS Commission are observers. The roles of the Focal Points: Facilitate criminal judicial cooperation, between jurisdictions within and outside the region; Establish direct contacts between competent authorities; Provide legal and practical information necessary for the preparation and execution of requests.

  • EUCAP Sahel Mali (since 2015): EUCAP Sahel Mali aims to help establish an integrated, coherent, sustainable, and Human rights-based approach among the various Malian security actors in the fight against terrorism and organiseorganised crime. As such, the mission is designed to provide advice and training to support the Malian authorities in strengthening their capacities. Through its 158 staff, EUCAP is supporting the restructuring of the Malian internal security forces (the Police Nationale, Gendarmerie Nationale and Garde Nationale), providing strategic advice and training.

  • In support of Mali’s active efforts to restore state authority, and in close coordination with other international partners, particularly the Delegation of the European Union and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), EUCAP Sahel Mali is providing assistance and advice to the national police, the national Gendarmerie and the national guard in the implementation of the security reform set out by the new government, with a view to: 

  • Improving their operational efficiency

  • Re-establishing their respective hierarchical chains

  • Reinforcing the role of judicial and administrative authorities with regard to the management and supervision of their missions

  • Facilitating their redeployment to the north of the country

In February 2019, EUCAP Sahel Mali mission was extended until 14 January 2021, €67 million budget adopted.

Useful Reports

  • IOM, Étude sur la traite des êtres humains- état des lieux, (mai 2021) (French)

  • UNODC, Introduction to TIP and SOM Training module for Police Officers of UN integrated stabilization Mission in Mali.

  • UNODC, Practical Guide on Judicial cooperation between Sahel members States (French)

  • FMM West Africa: Evaluation and referrals on TIP (French)

  • ECPAT: TIP Mali report 2017. (French)

  • IOM DTM Mali - Flow Monitoring report July 2020 (English) (French)

  • IOM DTM Mali – Monitoring report of People movements July 2020 (French)

Relevant National Legislation and Policies

Entry Requirements

All 15 ECOWAS member states: are entitled to travel/enter the country with National ID card or ECOWAS Laisser-Passer.

Visa Required, all European Union members states and Libya,

Visa on Arrival; Kenya and Rwanda.

Visa Exempted: Algeria, Cameroon, Liberia, Mauritania, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates.

National Legislation

To respect its international and regional commitments, Mali has taken legal and institutional measures to combat trafficking in persons. On the legal level, it was the adoption of:

  • In Mali, the law relevant to trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants is Act No. 2012-023 of 12 July 2012, on combating trafficking in persons and related acts. The definition of the offence of trafficking in persons in Act No. 2012-023 is identical to the definition provided in the Trafficking in Persons Protocol. Act No. 2012-023 also addresses the organised exploitation of begging as a practice similar to trafficking in persons and provides the definition thereof.

  • Act No. 2012-023 establishes a sentence of 5 to 10 years of imprisonment as punishment for the offence of trafficking in persons. In cases involving aggravating circumstances, the penalty is increased to ten to twenty years of imprisonment, or even life imprisonment if the trafficking involves the removal of organs or results in the death of the victim or his or her mutilation or permanent disability. The sentence for exploitation of begging ranges between two and five years.

  • Act No. 2012-023 criminalizes the smuggling of migrants. The legislation of Mali addresses the smuggling of migrants as a practice related to trafficking in persons, which may create confusion among practitioners who are not familiar with the two offences.

  • In article 4 of Act No. 2012-023, the smuggling of migrants is defined as “the organization by a person or group of persons of the transportation by land, air, sea or river, harboring or transit of irregular migrants in order to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial, material or other benefit”. The smuggling of migrants in Mali is punishable by imprisonment of five to ten years, or ten to twenty years if the smuggled person is less than 15 years old.

  • 2012 Law 2012-023 (Available in French)


  • The Labor Code allows children between the ages of 12 and 14 to perform domestic or light seasonal work, as long as it does not impede school attendance or exceed 4.5 hours of work per day. However, the law does not specify the conditions under which light work may be undertaken. Although, Mali’s Trafficking in Persons Law criminalizes slavery that occurs as a result of trafficking, it does not criminalize hereditary slavery in cases which do not involve the recruitment, transport, transfer, harboring, or receipt of a person. In addition, Malian law does not prohibit using, procuring, or offering a child for the production and trafficking of drugs as established by international standards.

  • The Child Protection Code provides protection for children under age 18, while the Penal Code establishes criminal penalties for several of the worst forms of child labor. The Articles 50 and 58 of the Child Protection Code identify begging as a form of economic exploitation of children, while Article 183 of the Penal Code specifies punishments for engaging a child in begging. However, the Penal Code does not provide penalties for some of the prohibitions enumerated in the Child Protection Code. Specifically, Article 17 of the Child Protection Code prohibits children under age 18 from participating in armed conflicts or joining the armed forces, yet Articles 31.23 and 31.31 of the Penal Code provide criminal penalties only for those recruiting and enlisting children under age 15.

  • Prohibition of child trafficking: The Article 244 of the Penal Code; Article 7 of the Trafficking in Persons Law; Article 63 of the Child Protection Code.

  • Prohibition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: Article 228 of the Penal Code; Article 1 and 7 of the Trafficking in Persons Law; Article 57 of the Child Protection Code.

  • Prohibition of Using Children in Illicit Activities: Article 183 of the Penal Code; Articles 18 and 50 of the Child Protection Code

Recent Modifications and New Decrees

  • The Government of Mali started a legislative revision process at the end of 2017 to strengthen the current legal framework related to trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants and to align it better with international standards and the current context in Mali. Two drafts of laws, one on “law on trafficking in persons” and the other on “law on the smuggling of migrants” were drawn up and validated in July 2019. These two laws aim to replace the Law N. 2012-023 of 12 July 2012 relating to the fight against trafficking in persons and similar practices. However, they have not yet been adopted by the National Assembly of Mali.

Existing Policies

  • In October 2019, by Order 2019-3536 / MSPC-SG, the government created the Brigade for the Repression of Migrant Trafficking and Human Trafficking (BRTMTEH), initially followed an initiative of the French and Spain Embassies.

  • Under the General Directorate of the National Police (DGPN), the BRTMTEH’s mandate includes the fight against human trafficking and smuggling of migrants in cooperation with all partners. This concerns all forms of trafficking, smuggling, the transport, networks related to these crimes, as well as cooperation with the judicial authorities. It has a national jurisdiction and aims to have branches across the country. In terms of activities, the brigade of repression seeks to identify those responsible for trafficking and smuggling and to dismantle networks. It conducts investigations, gathers evidence against those responsible for trafficking and smuggling, and refers the case to the prosecution. The BRTMTEH is made up of about twenty officers with technical support from a French officer and a Spanish officer.

Legal Instruments for Assistance and Compensation to Victims of Trafficking


The Government does not offer legal alternatives to removal to countries in which victims would face retribution or hardship; however, most identified victims were ECOWAS nationals who did not require special status to remain in Mali. The government did not have formal policies to encourage victims to participate in trials against their traffickers.

  • Legal assistance is provided by the Government when requested by the victim and after consent. There are also local NGOs, the WILDAF or APDF which also offer legal assistance.

  • Malian law protects the victims from being fined, detained, or otherwise penalized for unlawful acts traffickers compelled them to commit; however, due to a lack of formal identification procedures, some victims may have remained unidentified within the law enforcement system.

  • The National Action Plan includes measure to enhance legal assistance and protection to the victims of trafficking. (Strategic objective II, to provide legal aid and judiciary assistance to 500 VoTs).

  • The Article 28 of the new law: Concerning the criminal immunity of victims, Victims of the offenses may not be prosecuted or convicted of: 

  • illegal entry into Mali

  • residence in an illegal situation in Mali

  • the possession of illegal travel or identity documents obtained or received for the purpose of illegal entry into Mali

Furthermore, the victim is not held criminally or administratively responsible for having committed offenses when reduced to them by being a victim of trafficking. The provisions of this article do not apply when the committed offense is a crime.

  • The new law also made provisions to victim’ rights as for legal representation for minors (art. 34 and 35), the right to have an interpreter (art. 37). Art. 50, includes provision of legal assistance to VoTs among of others stated in Art.28.


  • Article 33 of the new law concerns the civil action for damages: 

  • The courts order for the benefit of victims of offenses referred to in this law, compensation for the damage suffered

  • The Judicial authorities may order, by providing reasons for their decision, that confiscated property, or its corresponding value be used for the reparation and protection of victims of trafficking

  • The return of the victim to his country of origin does not prejudice his right to compensation

  • Once the right to compensation for victims of trafficking has been secured, part of the amount of the remaining confiscated property is allocated to the operating costs of the anti-trafficking agencies

  • If the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the facts, the limitation period only runs from the day on which he/she becomes of age.

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