A. Executive Summary
Togo is one of the smallest countries in Africa, with a population of more than 8 million people and an annual population growth rate of 2.5%. The country is home to the only deepwater port located in Lome, the capital city of Togo, on the West African Coast that is critical in serving Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. The deepwater harbour can handle some three million tons of goods annually. Lome is a beacon of hope to most Togolese looking for a source of livelihood, and it has a population of 1.5 million people.
The poverty level is twice as high in rural areas (58.8%) than in urban ones (26.5%), and is more present in female-headed households (45.7%) than in male-headed ones (45.2%). In Togo, 37.6% of the population experience multidimensional forms of poverty. Togo has a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.515, and it is ranked at 167 out of 189 countries. Its economy depends heavily on both commercial and subsistence agriculture, employing 60% of the labour force.
Togo is a destination and origin country for refugees, as well as a transit place for human trafficking within the West African Coast.
The country continues to face massive development challenges. These include reducing its high poverty rate by improving agricultural productivity, rebuilding its infrastructure, and promoting institutional capacity and living conditions through the provision of a comprehensive social protection policy.
B. Country Profile
I. Basic Information
Togo is a coastal country in the Gulf of Guinea that is bordered to the west by Ghana, to the east by Benin, and to the north by Burkina Faso. Its capital is Lome which is also the largest city in the country. It has a total surface area of 56,785 sq km and a population of more than 8 million people. The ethnic composition of Togo is as follows, Adja-Ewe/Mina (42.49%), Kabaye/Tem (25.9%), Oara-Gourma/Akan (17.1), Akposso/Akebu (4.1%), Ana-Ife (3.2%), other Togolese (1.7%), foreigners (5.2%), and no response (0.4%). French is the country’s official language and other widely spoken indigenous languages include Ewe and Mina in the south and Kabye and Dagomba in the north. Almost half of the population is Christian (42.3), followed by indigenous beliefs (36.9%), Muslim (14%), Hindu (<1%), Buddhist (<1%), Jewish (<1%), other (<1%), and none (6.2%).
II. International and Internal Migrants
Data from the National Institute of Statistics, Economic and Demographic Studies (INSEED), relayed by Projet d’Infrastructure et de Development Urbain (PIDU), indicates that nearly 3,094,100 people live in Togo’s urban areas. This represents almost half of the country’s population. The drivers of rural-urban migration are poverty, lack of financial opportunities, and inadequate infrastructural development. In Togo, while 55.1% of households live under the poverty line, the situation is worse in rural areas (69%), with nearly 81.2% of Togo’s rural population living under the global poverty line. The main areas of rural-urban migration are Lome, Kara, Kpalime, and Sokode. Due to the bustling economic activities around the Lome port, hosting the only deepwater port on the West African Coast that services Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, in the capital city live 1.6 million people.
In 2019, in Togo there were 279,142 immigrants, representing 3.45% of the total population. The stock of male immigrants stood at 141,286, and the female one numbered 137,856. The top 5 countries of origin were Benin (72,092), Niger (66,155), Ghana (47,093), Nigeria (32,176), and Burkina Faso (13,727).
III. Emigration and Skilled Migration
The net migration rate in the country has been fluctuating over the years, and in 2020 it stood at -0.26 migrants per thousand population. In 2019, there were 543,277 emigrants, representing 6.72% of the total population. The stock of male emigrants stood at 268,659, and the female stock was slightly higher (274,618). The majority of Togolese migrated to other African countries. The top 5 countries of destination were Nigeria (154,754), Benin (112,300), Ghana (101,677), Ivory Coast (41,253), and France (26,164).
High unemployment and comparatively low salaries for professionals in Togo make the emigration of skilled professionals particularly attractive for young people. Despite the fact that there is a shortage of medical doctors in Togo, with a doctor/patient ratio of 0.0776:1,000, there are more Togolese doctors in France than in their own country. According to a report from the CHU Campus Lome hospital, 60% of Togolese doctors practice in France. The 2021 human flight and brain drain in Africa index indicated that Togo is above the world average of 5.25 index points.
IV. Forced Migrants (internally displaced, asylum seekers and refugees, climate displaced people)
Togo is an origin and destination country for refugees. According to the Operational Data Portal, in February 2022, there were in Togo 10,580 refugees and 856 asylum seekers. They came from the following countries: Ghana (8,391), Ivory Coast (1,471), the Central African Republic (244), Not Specified (157), Rwanda (126), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (113), and Mali (78). Togo does not have an encampment policy and, as such, refugees and asylum seekers are encouraged to integrate themselves within their host communities, living in both urban and rural areas. Due to the porous borders that separate most African countries, similar to the border between Togo and Ghana, it is possible for some migrants to be smuggled or come irregularly from Ghana to Togo, either on foot or by bus.
According to the 2018 IDMC report, there was the displacement of 2,700 people who have then returned to their communities. Therefore, the report indicates that there are no internally displaced people in Togo. However, recently, natural disasters, floods and droughts, have been the main drivers of internal displacement in the country. For example, in 2020, flooding in the north (Oti River) in the Savanes and Kara regions destroyed 4,000 buildings displacing its occupants.
V. Victims of Human Trafficking
Togo is a Tier 2 country and does not entirely meet the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking, despite its efforts to do so. The desire to make easy money and poverty are some of the main drivers of human trafficking.
Togo is a source, transit, and destination country for victims of human trafficking, especially children. In 2019, the government identified 132 child victims of human trafficking (52 boys and 80 girls) and 87 adult victims (38 men and 49 women). The government assisted 48 child victims with psychological and health services, food, and clothing, as well as referred them to shelters.
The Ministry of Social Affairs (MSA) operates the Reference Centre for the Guidance and Care of Children in a Difficult Situation (CROPESDI), providing shelter, legal, medical, and social services to victims of human trafficking, before transferring them to care facilities managed by NGOs. The lack of shelter for adult victims of human trafficking compromises efforts to investigate official cases, as some officers reported using their private resources for shelter and other necessities. Togo’s official report indicated that in 2019, 54 suspects of human trafficking were prosecuted and 51 in 2020. Three traffickers were convicted in 2019 and none in 2020.
The western border of the Plateau regions, which provides easy access to major roads between Lome and Accra (Ghana), serves as a primary area used by traffickers to transfer victims. Also, the Abidjan-Lagos corridor uses Togo as a transit country for human trafficking. In Togo, the Central and Savanes regions are primary source areas for trafficking.
Victims of human trafficking are forced to work in the agricultural sector, especially in coffee, cocoa, and cotton farms, stone and sand quarries, commercial sex, as domestic servants, roadside vendors, and porters. Transnationally, traffickers move their victims to Benin, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Nigeria by land and Gabon by ship, where they are exploited in cocoa harvesting, palm wine production, gold mining, domestic servitude, and sex trafficking. Traffickers also recruit children from Benin and Ghana for forced labour in Ghana. Fraudulent labour agencies send Togolese workers to be employed in Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
VI. National Legal Framework
The most important piece of legislation governing immigration and emigration in Togo are Decree No. 60-59 of June 1960, establishing the emigration–immigration service, Decree No. 96-113, on general conditions for delivery of visas, stay permits and special regimes, and Law No. 87-12 on the Aliens police. All three-pieces of legislation regulate the legal regime of exit, entry, and residence of foreign citizens in Togo.
Concerning trafficking, Law No. 2005-009 on child trafficking has established through the government the National Committee for the Reception and Social Reintegration of Child Victims of Trafficking (CNARSEVT) that manages its anti-child trafficking efforts.
Togo is a signatory to several migration-related international conventions. For example, Togo signed and ratified the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, the 1969 AU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugees Problems in Africa. Togo has also ratified the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa – the Kampala Convention, and is a signatory to the ECOWAS Protocols on the Free Movement of Persons, the Rights of Residence and Establishment, the 2005 SADC Protocol on Facilitation of Free Movement and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. Togo is a signatory to the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea, and Air, and has also ratified the 2000 Protocol on Trafficking in Human Beings.
VII. Main Actors
The key ministries in charge of migration-related affairs in Togo are the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection that is in charge of immigration management and the fight against trafficking in human beings, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Cooperation and African Integration that is responsible for the relation with the Togolese diaspora, and the Ministry of Human Rights and the Consolidation of Democracy that is in charge of enhancing the protection of human rights and consolidating the rule of law. The National Commission for Refugee (CNR) is responsible for refugee status determination, and refugees also receive assistance from the National Coordination of Assistance to Refugee (CNAR) during the determination process.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) are the two main international organisations dealing with migration-related issues in Togo. IOM, for example, supports the government of Togo to ensure a safe, dignified, and sustainable return of Togolese migrants, refugees, resettlement to third countries, counter trafficking, conflict prevention and diaspora engagement. UNHCR works with the government in collaboration with CNAR, by providing durable solutions to refugee problems, with CNR providing legal assistance during the refugee status determination process, and with Association Togolaise Pour le Bien-Être Familial (ATBEF) by delivering humanitarian assistance.
Other UNHCR international partners in Togo are the World Food Programme (WFP) providing food assistance, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) assisting conflict and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition, education, health, and protection services.
NGOs and Other Organisation
Between 2017–2020, the European Union funded a project known as MADE West Africa (Migration and Development West Africa). The aim of the project was to promote good governance of migration and mobility, as well as the protection of the rights of migrants in the ECOWAS region. The project achieved this through their 5 core activities which were research, capacity-building through training workshops, intra- and inter-regional multi-stakeholder dialogues, Sustainable Development Goals progress assessment, as well as a pilot fund for small grants for migrants and civil society organisations.
Collectif des Associations Contre L’Impunité au Togo (CACIT) is a network of 15 non-profit organisations and associations that provide legal and psycho-medical services to victims of torture. CACIT has been in Togo since 2010, and through their advocacy support they have promoted a lot of policy and legislative changes in the country. Though impunity of acts related to torture continues to be a challenge in Togo, CACIT works towards developing legal sanctions. They believe that the journey migrants take while on the move often exposes them to different forms of torture; therefore, their work aims at providing survivors with support and the necessary treatment, which is important for inclusive and rights-based policies. ACAT Togo is also part of the network and works towards the abolishment of torture and the death penalty in Togo.
The Catholic Church
In Togo, the Catholic Church has different organisations and religious communities that assist migrants.
In 1988 Caritas Church of Togo became known as Organisation de la Charité pour un Développement Intégral, by changing its name. The work done by Caritas Togo focuses on healthcare, teaching, rural development, village water supplies and the promotion of women.
The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) started its mission in Togo in 1958, and they assist their constituents by providing humanitarian aid and community health programs. In 2020, CRS received €1.5 million in funding for a cross-border social cohesion project, named ‘Naatann Burkina-Togo’. The two-year project looked at decreasing the risk of violent extremism in surrounding border areas, by improving access to basic infrastructure and providing economic opportunities for the 1,800 community members living close to the border. During that time, CRS partnered with CEJP (Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace). In 2020, CRS managed to assist 108,109 people in Togo.
The Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace (CEJP) is a branch of the Catholic Church that advocates for social justice, by promoting the dignity of every person, human rights, peace, reconciliation, co-existence, as well as the protection of creation. The work they do is mainly aimed at supporting the marginalised and other minorities.