Trafficking in persons poses serious threats in East Africa
Nairobi (DIPLOMAT.SO) – In 2013, The United Nations General Assembly designated 30 of July as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. People Trafficking and modern-day slavery is a global issue affecting most of the countries worldwide, therefore, the United Nations organize the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, to raise awareness and increase prevention of human trafficking.
On the 2018 World Day against Trafficking in Persons, UNODC focuses on ” responding to the trafficking of children and young people”. This year’s campaign highlights the fact that almost a third of trafficking victims are children. Hence, the theme draws attention to the issues faced by trafficked children and to possible initiatives linked to safeguarding and insuring justice for child victims.
Human trafficking and smuggling of persons is one of the biggest global challenge of our time affecting the lives of millions of people around the world and driving billions of dollars to criminal organizations. Nearly every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, and hundreds of thousands of victims have been forced into exploitative situations every day. While the best-known form of human trafficking is for sexual exploitation; millions of women, men and children are trafficked for the purpose of forced labor, domestic servitude, child begging or removal of their organs.
“We have a looming epidemy: globally, 27 million people are said to be in modern-day slavery, while about 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders annually. About one million children are exploited by the commercial sex industry every year, 80 per cent of victims being women and girls while 70 per cent of female victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation” stated Dr. Amado Philip de Andrés, UNODC Regional Representative for Eastern Africa in Nairobi.
This is no different for Eastern Africa. Trafficking in persons continue to pose serious threats to this region.
For many years Somalia has been a source, transit and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purpose of forced labour and sexual exploitation. Young Somali men and women who harbour aspirations of reaching Europe in search of a better life often end up in the hands of criminal gangs. These gangs hold the migrants for ransom and in some cases they sell the women to other criminal groups for exploitation in the domestic sector and/or the sex industry.
Ms. Mariam Yassin Hagi Yusuf, the Special Envoy for Children and Migrants’ Rights of the Federal Republic of Somalia, notes that Somalia continues to be characterized by migration flows, with internal displacement and irregular migration constituting major challenges every year, the thousands of Somalis who make hazardous journeys along regional migration routes are exposed to severe risks.
“The office of the special envoy for children and migrants’ is committed and is investing in significant time and resources in collaboration with various international organizations to address Human Trafficking challenges” stated MS. Yusuf, the Special Envoy for Children and Migrants’ Rights.
Human trafficking is being tackled through a variety of national and international means. In 2000, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the Convention, wereadopted by the General Assembly and entered into force at the end of 2003. As the only international legal instruments defining human trafficking as a crime, the Convention and Protocol are the world’s premier tools for countering human trafficking, protecting and assisting victims, and promoting international cooperation among countries in order to prevent, suppress and prosecute this crime.
UNODC, as the guardian of the Convention and Protocol, is charged with the responsibility of helping Member States to comply with the provisions of the Convention and Protocol by developing comprehensive, sustainable and coordinated responses to trafficking in persons. In Eastern Africa, UNODC does so primarily through its Regional Programme for Eastern Africa (2016-2021) and its regional sub-programme on Countering Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking. In this context, UNODC is implementing programme activities as part of the “Better Migration Management (BMM) Programme” funded by European Union (EU) and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The BMM programme aims at improving migration management in the region, and in particular at addressing the trafficking and smuggling of migrants within, and from the Horn of Africa. For UNODC, this includes assisting countries to draft policy and legislation to criminalize trafficking in line with international treaty obligations, to ensure effective criminal justice capacity building, and to promote international cooperation in criminal matters. One of the key priorities of the BMM programme overall is to protect and support victims of trafficking and to promote the rights of migrants and to better protect them from violence, abuse and exploitation, especially by organized crime syndicates.
The World Day against Trafficking in Persons event is organized by UNODC in close partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Expertise France, British Council, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), CIVIPOL, European Union (EU), and Ministero Dell’ Interno.
The BMM programme is a regional, multi-partner project funded by EUTF, and managed by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). UNODC is one of the main implementing partners along with International Organization for Migration (IOM), Expertise France, Italian State Police, the Société de Conseil et de Service du Ministère de l’Intérieur (CIVIPOL) and the British Council.