Making in-roads in the fight against trafficking
13 August 2008 - Trafficking in human beings is a pervasive phenomenon - a crime that affects practically every region of the globe. Eastern Africa is no exception to this trend. It serves as a source, transit and destination region for victims who may be trafficked across, but also within national borders.
Seeking to address the problem, the Regional Office for Eastern Africa of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has partnered with the East African Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO) to strengthen regional cooperation and capacities amongst the East African law enforcement authorities.
Recently in July, the two organizations hosted a meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to draft a regional action plan to prevent and combat trafficking. The meeting was attended by police officers, prosecutors, immigration officers and judicial officials from nine of the eleven Eastern African countries including Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.
Discussions focused on five thematic areas: training for capacity development; awareness raising; legislative and policy measures; victim support and witness protection services; and cooperation.
Speaking at the opening of the regional meeting, Peter Kivuyo, Deputy Director in Tanzania's Directorate of Criminal Investigations urged EAPCCO states to adopt legislative and policy measures to counter human trafficking.
"Tanzania has the political will and commitment to support global efforts in the fight against human trafficking, including forced labour and sexual exploitation," he said. "We look forward to adopting specific legislation against trafficking later in the year."
The action plan will be formally adopted by the East African Police Chiefs at the at the 10th EAPCCO meeting scheduled for the end of August in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Once adopted, one of the key follow up activities will be training of law enforcement officers in the region on human trafficking, distinguishing it from human smuggling and other related crimes. Ultimately, all law enforcement agents in the region must be able to recognise human trafficking cases in their work and know how to respond.