On Facebook and Whatsapp, there is no week without missing children’s alert posted and shared extensively. Those users’ goal of sharing the alerts is to help find the missing child as soon as possible and most of the time, these children’s relatives report, with sincere thanks to those users who shared the info, that the children have been found. However, not all of the alerts have a good end…
Because of the recurrence of such events, some Cameroonians think that there is no law protecting children against them. Yet, there are many texts in the country’s penal code condemning such abuses against under-age (0-18) children. For instance, according to the first paragraph of article 352 of the said code, when an under-age child is taken without violence, con and parents’ consent, the culprit is liable to one to five years imprisonment and fined between CFA20,000 and CFA200,000.
This same paragraph informs that culprits are liable to imprisonment for life when they ask for ransom or had the intent to do so when they kidnap a child under 13.
Article 353 of the penal code reveals that when the kidnapping includes violence, con or fraud, the sentence could be from 5 to 10 years imprisonment and fine ranging from CFA20,000 to CFA400,000.
If the kidnapped child is given to someone as a guarantee for money, the culprit could be jailed from 5 to 10 years and pay between CFA10,000 to CFA500,000. The sentence is doubled when the culprit is the child’s tutor or relative. As for the individual who paid money for the child, the prison sentence is 10 years and fine ranges between CFA10,000 and CFA1,000,000.
There is also a law against child trafficking. In article 5 of this law, child trafficking is liable for 15 to 20 years imprisonment and CFA100,000 to CFA10,000,000 fine.
When the victim sustained injuries such as genital mutilation (article 277), the culprits and any other person who participated are liable from 10 up to 20 years imprisonment. If the victim died because of the injuries, both the culprits and accomplices could be sentenced to life imprisonment if they usually do this or if they used to do it for commercial reasons.