Afghanistan joins UNODC global initiative against human trafficking and migrant smuggling

Kabul, Afghanistan - 13 September 2019 - The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants - Asia and the Middle East (GLO.ACT) was officially launched in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on 4 September 2019.

 To mark the official beginning of the project in Afghanistan, a national launch, as well as a National Project Steering Committee Meeting took place in Kabul. Beforehand, GLO.ACT held several rounds of consultation with the government, UN partners and civil society to assess the situation and develop a strategy for implementation. During the national launch event, a Declaration of Cooperation was co-signed between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and UNODC, confirming the strong partnership and goodwill between both parties in the framework of the project's foreseen activities in the country.

Confirming the need for such a joint initiative to tackle Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM), Mr. Naif Riazat, Director of the Technical Committee of the High Commission to Combat TIP and SOM from the Ministry of Justice, said: "Recent conflict and insecurity in Afghanistan have created a safe environment for traffickers and smugglers. Many efforts have been made by the government of Afghanistan to tackle to TIP and SOM, but we count on the strong support of UNODC to strengthen our response. The Commission is staffed and committed to work towards this end." The Director of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Ministry of the Interior, General Totakhail, announced the creation of a new Directorate to counter organized crime, including TIP and SOM and added "this Declaration of Cooperation with UNODC is very much needed and timely".

Representing the European Union Delegation in Afghanistan, Mr. Alejandro Eggenschwiler, stressed that: "Fighting transnational organized crime is a key priority in the EU's cooperation with Afghanistan including on addressing TIP and SOM. GLO.ACT is a flagship project in tackling these two crimes and no doubt will build on the successes of the first phase to deliver in country." Mr. Mark Colhoun, UNODC Representative in Afghanistan thanked the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for its strong engagement in taking concrete action against TIP and SOM, stating that their "commitment is an acknowledgement of the strong resolve to effectively prevent and hopefully put an end to these unspeakable crimes." IOM's Deputy for Afghanistan, Ms. Sarah Craggs, welcomed the partnership with UNODC, expressing hope that GLO.ACT Afghanistan would contribute to an overall "transition to peace which is free of exploitation for all".

GLO.ACT Project Coordinator, Ms. Aimée Comrie explained that:  "GLO.ACT aims to act as vehicle for change, providing protection to victims and vulnerable migrants, closing the impunity gap for traffickers and smugglers who benefit from the exploitation of the most vulnerable. The project also aims to enhance quality of investigations and prosecutions of TIP and SOM, making it easier to identify and target illicit financial flows associated with TIP and SOM."

During the national launch and the Project Steering Committee meeting the work that will be undertaken under the framework of GLO.ACT in Afghanistan over the next three years was outlined, including a tailored workplan based on a national theory of change.

Representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Attorney General's Office, the Supreme Judicial Council, the Ministry of Women's Affairs, and the Afghan Network of NGOs working on TIP also attended the events.                  

The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants - Asia and the Middle East (GLO.ACT Asia and the Middle East) is a four-year (2018-2022), €12 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in up to five countries: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (Afghanistan), Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran), Republic of Iraq (Iraq), Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Pakistan), while consultations with the People's Republic of Bangladesh (Bangladesh) are underway. The project builds on a global community of practice set in motion in GLO.ACT 2015-2019 and assists governmental authorities and civil society organizations in targeted, innovative and demand-driven interventions: sustaining effective strategy and policy development, legislative review and harmonization, capability development, and regional and trans-regional cooperation. The project also provides direct assistance to victims of human trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and protection mechanisms. 

"This project is funded by the European Union."

To read about the launch in the local press click  here

To read the unoffical translation of the local press article in English click  here

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