Cairo – IOM facilitated a capacity building training on counter-trafficking and smuggling in Cairo, Egypt from June 24 to June 28 for officials from the Horn of Africa region. Around thirty law enforcement professionals composed of immigration/border management, police and legal departments from Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Tunisia took part in a four-day training delivered by IOM’s Special Liaison Office to the African Union and the African Capacity Building Center based in Moshi, Tanzania.
According to Mr. Andrea Dabizzi, Head of Migration and Protection Assistance (MPA) Unit at IOM Cairo, “Trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants are profitable criminal activities which are in constant evolution and continuously adapting to the context of the countries where they take place”. This point was further explored by Mr. Mustafa Popal, Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at the. Embassy of the United States in Cairo: “Trafficking and smuggling of migrants are critical for national, regional and global security. Procedures must be adopted in all countries to identify and assist vulnerable migrants and prevent them from becoming victims of human trafficking”.
Irregular migration corridors in the Horn of Africa region are characterized by protection challenges and serious human rights violations involving death, abduction, physical and emotional abuse, gender-based violence, forced labor, ransom and extortion. In 2014, the African Union Horn of Africa Initiative on Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants (AU-HoAI) was launched in Khartoum, Sudan with the aim of fostering cooperation on the issue among the Member States of the region.
The importance of this initiative was further reiterated by Peter Mudungwe from the African Union Commission, who stated: “The Horn of Africa remains an area where volatile and insecure conditions push large numbers of people to move within and across borders.”
In 2016, during its second Ministerial Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, the AU-HoAI established a Technical Working Group of Law Enforcement Agencies (TWG-LE) that in 2017 oversaw a Needs Assessment Report of Law Enforcement Agencies in the region with regards to human trafficking and smuggling. The report identified that, while Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) in the region have dedicated units for combating human trafficking and migrant smuggling, they can benefit from specialized skills to differentiate between human trafficking and smuggling, to identify and protect victims, and to prosecute perpetrators. In the report, LEAs also indicated the need for information-sharing amongst the different agencies working to combat human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
“Trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants do not stop at being one form of transnational organized crime - a single approach does not suffice to provide a base for concrete action to combat those crimes”, stated H.E. Ambassador Dina El-Sehy – Deputy Assistant Minister for Migration, Refugees and Combatting Human Trafficking
By combining local knowledge with international expertise, the training will focus on sharing practical strategies for combating modern day human trafficking and smuggling, while emphasizing best practices in cross border, regional and international law enforcement. Beyond dispensing technical expertise, the training is expected to serve as a platform for exchanging knowledge on, and fostering partnership against, human trafficking and smuggling within the Horn of Africa region. The training supports the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially on the theme of human trafficking in the targets of three goals: 5, 8, and 16.