Cairo, Egypt – The scale and complexity of the current crisis of forced migration, refugee flows, internal displacement and human trafficking is unprecedented. Conflicts, state collapse, protracted instability, and the erosion of the rule of law present traffickers and smugglers with opportunities to illegally profit. In 2017, human trafficking alone generated over 150 billion dollars worldwide in illicit financial flows.
On the other hand, poverty, unemployment, and the lack of economic opportunity increase the propensity of crises-affected populations to accept risky survival strategies. In Africa, the twin challenge of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants is of particular gravity and urgency. Currently, there are over 36 million African migrants worldwide (mostly women and children), including refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons (IDPs), environmental and labour migrants--and 80% of these cross-border movements are taking place within the continent. The continent also accounts for one-third of refugees globally. Five of the ten countries with the highest refugee population relative to national population are in sub-Saharan Africa.
Despite their best efforts, many countries continue to face difficulties in combating human trafficking and smuggling of migrants. Some lack the necessary resources to address the vulnerabilities of target communities and to provide protection for victims. Others lack the necessary legislations, strategies, and action plans as well as the requisite technical and human capacity to effectively respond to human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.
Against this background, CCCPA organized its first training for the year on “Combating Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants” from 14 to 18 July 2019. Applying CCCPA’s unique multi-dimensional and integrated approach to training, the course brought together 15 African civilian, military and police personnel from national governments and regional organizations directly involved in combating human trafficking and smuggling of migrants. Targeted officials represented source, transit, and destination countries in North Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, and the Sahel and Sahara region, including Egypt, Algeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Cameroon, South Sudan, and Burkina Faso, and the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).
The aim of the highly interactive and scenario-based training is to enable African professionals to address the challenges of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants and to inform national legislation, strategies and policies on the issue. The training specifically seeks to enhance participants’ understanding of the definitions, root causes and trends of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, the differences, interlinkages, and implications of both crimes, and significance of regional and international cooperation. The training covers prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships (the 3 Ps +1 Process), in addition to effective investigation skills and the identification and protection of vulnerable groups. It highlights the need to adhere to international legal instruments in combating human trafficking and smuggling of migrants and to adopt a victim-centered approach when dealing with mixed migration flows.
The training shed light on African experiences drawn from regional and international cooperation mechanisms to combat both crimes, for origin, transit, or destination countries. National experts from various Egyptian institutions such as the Ministry of Defense, the Office of the Prosecutor General, and the Court of Cassation addressed the role of law enforcement agencies--presenting the Egyptian experience in drafting national laws for combating human trafficking and smuggling of migrants as an example. The training also shed light on Egypt’s experience in establishing the National Coordinating Committee for Preventing and Combating Illegal Migration and Trafficking in Persons (NCCPIM&TIP). Trainers and experts from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) facilitated various thematic discussions on combating human trafficking and smuggling of migrants in Africa.
The training is based on the Combating Human Trafficking & Smuggling of Migrants manual and toolkit developed by CCCPA’s Transnational Threats team. It comes as part of the activities under the current project “Consolidating Peace, Security and Stability in Africa - 2019-2020”, supported by UNDP and funded by the Governments of Switzerland and Japan.