Cameroon: Strengthening the juvenile justice system & protecting children from trafficking, exploitation and recruitment into armed forces





Project region: Region Far North in Cameroon


Duration: May 1, 2016 - December 31, 2019

Local partner: ALDEPA



The project region covers the poorest, yet the most populated areas of Cameroon. Especially the big cities in the region have experienced a rapid population growth. This is due to an increasing migration of workers and adolescents from rural regions to the urban areas and the influx of refugees from Nigeria.

These migratory movements are accompanied by a rapid growth of children living and working in the streets unprotected from the dangers of everyday life. These children easily become victims of violence, economic and/or sexual exploitation, child trafficking or forced recruitment into the terrorist group Boko Haram. Also, many of them find themselves in prison or police custody due to minor thefts, where they have to face conditions that strongly interfere with their basic human and children’s rights. Effective governmental and civil society structures to protect these children are either missing or insufficient.


Additionally, in the prisons there are no offers or particular care for babies and infants accompanying their detained mothers. Educational, sanitation and health measures will be offered to support these small children who spend the first years of their life behind bars.

Project Objectives


This project helps to strengthen the juvenile justice system and to render child protection more effective and sustainable. In particular:


  • State representatives of the police, judicial and penal system have acquired skills to implement a child-friendly juvenile justice system and to apply measures of sustainable child protection.
  • Children who are at risk or have become victims of economic/sexual exploitation or child trafficking are protected more effectively by their parents and communities and receive support for their rehabilitation and reintegration.
  • Children who are suspected, accused or convicted of crimes and children imprisoned with their mothers receive medical, psycho-social, educational and legal support and are accompanied in their social and educational or professional rehabilitation.
  • The local partner CREUSET is strengthened in his child rights-specific expertise and in administrative and financial capacities and can further enhance his performance and sustainability.

Target Groups


  • 2,000 children at risk or those who have become victims of exploitation or trafficking
  • 1,600 children suspected of, accused of or convicted for crimes
  • 80 children with their detained mothers in prison
  • 394 governmental representatives of the police and judiciary
  • 120 prison officers
  • 40 social workers
  • 20 probation officers
  • 9 doctors
  • 20 registrars
  • 3,600 parents
  • 2,000 members of local committees for the protection of children
  • 35 members of civil society organisations active in the area of children’s rights
  • 120 adolescent responsibles of different groups
  • 25 journalists and radio moderators

Project Activities


  • Training of state representatives to create a child-friendly juvenile justice system
  • Developing guidelines and best practices for dealing with children in police, judicial and penal systems
  • Conducting and publishing a study on child trafficking and the economic exploitation of children in the project area
  • Training civil society agents to improve the protection of children on a local level
  • Conducting an awareness-raising campaign on parental responsibility
  • Identifying children and families at risk of economic exploitation and child trafficking
  • Supporting children affected children with their reintegration
  • Improving the detention conditions in prisons for adolescents and women
  • Legal advice, care and support of children who are accused or suspected of crimes


Project costs: 662,200 €

Financial Partners:

  • German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
  • Sternstunden e. V.
  • Hungermarsch Schwetzingen
  • Kinderrechte Afrika e.V. (donations)

Cover photo: Sports and educational activities introduced by ALDEPA in the newly established part for underaged detainees in the prison of Mokolo. Children have the right to engage in play and recreational activities, Art. 31 UN-CRC. © ALDEPA

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