Press Release: Egypt hosts the first Regional Forum for National Coordinating Bodies on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling in Africa

Cairo, Egypt

26 -28 November, 2019 - Supported by the United Kingdom, Egypt's National Coordinating Committee for Preventing and Combating Illegal Migration and Trafficking in Persons (NCCPIM-TIP) joined forces with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa to host an anti-migrant smuggling and human trafficking regional forum.  The Forum will take place in Cairo, Egypt from 26 to 28 November 2019.

The three-day regional forum offers an opportunity for knowledge exchange and cooperation,  and aims to provide a platform for national coordinating bodies from 18 African countries along the central and western Mediterranean migration routes, to exchange experiences on good practices. This will support the establishment of coordination mechanisms and institutional frameworks for the fight against human trafficking and migrant smuggling. The Forum also aims to open ways for improved regional cooperation among participating countries.

The Forum is expected to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Identify common challenges in addressing human trafficking and migrant smuggling and take stock of national coordination activities against both crimes;
  • Exchange experiences in preventing human trafficking and migrant smuggling;  
  • Share promising practices and lessons learnt in the protection of trafficked persons and smuggled migrants; 
  • Discuss ways forward in improving coordination and cooperation at regional level.  

During the Forum, Ambassador Naela Gabr said "I have long wished to convene this Forum to exchange information, best practices and insights among national coordinating mechanisms for combating human trafficking and migrant smuggling in African countries. In this regard, regional cooperation is a key pillar to enable our countries to shift the course towards greater progress and development. I'm sure that soon the day will come to transform from countries that export illegal migration  and whose citizens are at risk of human trafficking, to countries that export high-quality production with the hands of their citizens" .

British Ambassador to Egypt Sir Geoffrey Adams added: "The UK has a strong record in combating human trafficking and migrant smuggling. We are proud to join forces with Egypt and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to share our expertise and increase regional and international cooperation on this pivotal issue."

The UNODC Regional Representative for the Middle East and North Africa, Ms. Cristina Albertin, welcomed the convening of this first Forum among African countries under the leadership of the NCCPIM-TIP of relevant national committees and competent institutions working on human trafficking and migrant smuggling providing a platform for sharing experience and knowledge. She highlighted the need to consistently pursue a comprehensive approach in countering human trafficking and migrant smuggling penalizing the crimes, preventing them and providing protection to the victims and survivors.

This activity is held within the framework of the Regional Project: North Africa Cooperation on Migrant Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons (NACSAT), funded by the UK Government. The project will build collaboration and cooperation between judiciary officials in the five North African countries to engage in international cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of migrant smuggling and human trafficking cases.  The project will also disrupt illicit financial flows generated from those crimes.