In Africa, the twin challenges of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants are of particular gravity and urgency. The upsurge in conflicts combined with weakened state institutions, protracted instability present traffickers and smugglers with favorable environments for such crimes to thrive.
Equally critical, are the lack of livelihood opportunities, basic service provision and high poverty rates, which increase the propensity of crisis-affected populations to adopt risky coping mechanisms. This is further exacerbated by the ensuing socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, which are likely to increase the number of at-risk persons and their exposure to exploitation and perilous conditions on dangerous smuggling routes.
Despite the existence of adequate international and continental normative frameworks, many African countries continue to grapple with addressing the structural drivers of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants. This can be traced to the lack of capacity, insufficient and inconsistent funding, absence of reliable data, lack of strong national legislations and strategies to effectively combat both crimes. This is compounded by the absence of necessary institutional coordination and cooperation, to inform policy planning and decision making.
Against this backdrop, the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding conducted its first online training course on “Combating Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants” from 02 to 05 November 2020.
The four-day training targeted mid-career African civilian, military and police personnel. The training specifically sought to enhance participants’ understanding of (i) the definitions, root causes and trends of migration flows and exploitation; and (ii) the differences, interlinkages, and implications of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants. Another objective of the simulation-based training was to practically hone the skills of African professionals to identify and investigate cases of human trafficking and migrant smuggling, and cooperate on the regional and international levels to address both crimes.
The course brought together 12 mid-career North African civilian, military and police personnel from Egypt, Morocco and Sudan directly involved in combating human trafficking and smuggling of migrants. In addition to national trainers from various Egyptian institutions, experts from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) facilitated the training’s thematic discussions.
To achieve its objectives, CCCPA applies a unique multi-dimensional and integrated approach to training by adopting the 3Ps + 1 paradigm enshrined in the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The training covers the four pillars of prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships to combat both crimes, while also adopting a development and victim-centered based approach when dealing with mixed migration flows.
The training is based on the Combating Human Trafficking & Smuggling of Migrants Manual and Toolkit developed by CCCPA’s Transnational Threats Program. 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.