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





Project region: Far North in Cameroon


Duration: May 2016 - December 2019

Local partner: ALDEPA (Action Locale pour un Développement Participatif et Autogéré)



The project region covers the poorest, yet the most populated area of Cameroon. Especially the big cities in the region have experienced a rapid population growth. This is due to an increasing labor migration 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 violate their basic human and children’s rights. Effective governmental and civil society structures to protect these children are insufficient.


Additionally, in prisons there are no offers or particular care for babies and infants accompanying their detained mothers.

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 shall acquire 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 shall be 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.

Involved Groups


  • 2,000 children at risk or chilren 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
  • 120 adolescent leaders
  • 25 journalists and radio speakers

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 affected children with their reintegration
  • Legal advice, care and support of children who are accused or suspected of crimes
  • Improving the detention conditions in prisons for adolescents and women
  • offering educational, sanitation and health measures to small children who spend the first years of their life behind bars


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: Imprisoned children. © Jacky Naegelen


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