The Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding hosted a virtual training course on “Combating Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants” for French-speaking African countries from 22 to 25 March 2021.
Human trafficking and irregular migration are global phenomena with serious consequences in an increasingly globalized society characterized by rapid technological advancement, where crime is becoming more sophisticated and criminals more organized. In Africa, the twin challenge of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants is of particular urgency as states are not only the source and transit, but also a destination for those wishing to flee their conflict and violence-ridden countries. The scale of the problem in Africa is hindering development, challenging the rule of law and states’ sovereignty, weakening economies, and threatening peace and security as well as the safety and livelihood of millions of people.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these risks and challenges. Its socio-economic consequences are expected to significantly affect people's desire and ability to migrate. It also provides incentives and opportunities for criminals to take advantage of illegal migration, potentially increasing the number of persons at risk 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 the structural drivers of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants. This can be traced to weak national capacities, insufficient and inconsistent funding, absence of reliable data, and lack of strong national legislation 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 background, the four-day virtual training aimed to provide "African solutions to African problems" following a South-South cooperation approach. It capacitates officials with the necessary tools to combat human trafficking and irregular migration, while responding to the need to enhance African capacities to identify, prevent, manage and respond to irregular migration and human trafficking. The training also 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 training brought together 25 mid-career African civilian, military and police personnel directly involved in combating human trafficking and smuggling of migrants from the Arab Republic of Egypt, Burkina Faso, Gabonese Republic, Republic of Benin, Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, Republic of Mali, Republic of the Congo, Republic of Guinea and Republic of Seychelles. National trainers from various Egyptian institutions, experts from the Egyptian Ministry of Justice, 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 UN 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, 2019-2021”, funded by the government of Switzerland and supported by UNDP.