Human Trafficking and Eastern Africa
Human trafficking, over the past decade, has become one of the major concerns of the international community and one of the most profitable activities of crime groups worldwide . It is dynamic, adaptable and opportunistic and, like many other forms of criminal activity, it takes advantage of conflicts, humanitarian disasters and the vulnerability of people in situations of crises. Men, women and children are abducted and sold for sexual and labour exploitation.
Combating organised crime, and in particular tackling the phenomenon of human trafficking, especially women and children, is of increasing concern globally and in particular in Africa . Trafficking in human beings is a phenomenon on the rise in Eastern Africa , though the awareness of it is still limited. Not many government policies or strategies are formulated and in place to effectively and coherently prevent and combat this phenomenon.
The 7 th Annual EAPCCO meeting held in August 2005 in Mombasa, Kenya, under the chairmanship of the Chief of Police of Kenya, adopted a resolution reflecting the following article: " The Chiefs of Police, noting with concern the situation of trafficking in human beings and human smuggling for criminal purposes presented by the Chief of Police of Norway and Chairperson of the Interpol Working Group on Trafficking in Women for Sexual Exploitation, and appreciating the fact that the Eastern African Region is transit/source point for such crime, urged all members to take all the necessary measures effectively to combat this crime nationally and regionally."
UNODC Eastern Africa through its strong partnership with INTERPOL Sub-Regional Bureau (SRB) has responded to this resolution by developing a regional technical assistance project to facilitate the strengthening of a regional cooperation framework to prevent and combat human trafficking in Eastern Africa . This, in turn, is envisaged to contribute to raising awareness on the global phenomenon of human trafficking and reducing the vulnerability of Eastern Africa nations. The project proposal was approved at the 8 th Annual EAPCCO meeting held in September in Kampala, Uganda , where the EAPCCO Member States passed a resolution to support the present project through a resolution.
Main objectives of the project include:
· Developing a regional strategy to prevent and combat trafficking in persons in Eastern Africa;
· Providing recommendations for harmonized national legislations in selected EAPCCO Member States that are in line with the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Trafficking Protocol. Such will include the organization of regional drafting workshops in collaboration with the EAPCCO Legal Sub-Committee. In addition, a regional network will be created among the focal points identified for the exchange of legal information.
· Facilitating in the participation of law enforcement and judiciary officers from Eastern Africa in the UNODC expert group on the development of training manuals and materials on human trafficking for law enforcement officers and the judiciary.
· Sharing knowledge and best practices for improved regional and international cooperation on the prevention and combating of human trafficking with a view to identifying, protecting and assisting human trafficking victims.
The project is being implemented in strong collaboration and cooperation with INTERPOL Lyon and the INTERPOL Sub-regional Bureau for Eastern Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya.