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World Day Against Trafficking in Persons: Member States met virtually to discuss regional cooperation to end human trafficking in Eastern Africa

Nairobi, 30 July 2020 - On the official World Day Against Trafficking in Persons,the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for Eastern Africa convened a virtual roundtable discussion with senior officials from Member States in the region to discuss plans for greater regional cooperation to counter trafficking in persons (TIP).

In 2013, the UN General Assembly designated 30 July as the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons - a day that UNODC has been commemorating ever since.

In light of that day, as new migratory routes for TIP are leading through Eastern Africa, and with TIP continuing to be one of the largest criminal industries in the world, UNODC set the stage for Member States to engage in dialogue.  

To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the meeting took place online yet this did not hinder participation – in attendance were delegates from Comoros, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Rwanda and Tanzania, as well as the Honorable Zainab Hawa Bangura, Under-Secretary General and Director General of the UN Office at Nairobi (UNON) and His Excellency Ambassador Kyle McCarter of the United States Embassy in Kenya.

In compliance with the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, the round table discussion provided an inclusive and consultative approach, where delegates from each Member State delivered a statement on its respective position(s) regarding countering TIP. In their statements, Member States expressed the importance of enhancing legal and policy frameworks at national level, as well as the need for a more coordinated approach to international cooperation in countering TIP in Eastern Africa. 

Preceding the round table discussion, Dr. Amado Philip de Andres, UNODC Representative for the Regional Office for Eastern Africa, and the Under-Secretary General & Director General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) Honorable Zainab Hawa Bangura, opened the meeting by underscoring the urgent need for a united approach and enhancement of national and regional cooperation mechanisms to counter TIP. US Ambassador, Kyle McCarter, pledged the support of the US government to initiatives aiming at achieving this purpose within the region. 

Before the meeting came to an end, Member States had each expressed their continuous commitment to work towards the creation of a regional Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons in Eastern Africa. 

The roundtable discussion was organized within the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for Eastern Africa (2016-2021) and presented by the regional Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Programme as part of its regional project on Enhancing Effective and Victim-Centret Criminal Justice Responses to Trafficking in Persons in Eastern Africa, funded by the US Department of State Office to Monitor and Counter Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP).

Screenshot: (L-R) UNODC Deputy Regional Representative, Ms. Sylvie Bertrand, and Representative of Eritrea, Ms. Elsa Haile, during the virtual discussion via Kudo.

More information

Mr. Johan Kruger – Head of Transnational Organized Crime, Illicit Trafficking and Terrorism Programmes, UNODC ROEA