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UNODC Countering Trafficking in Persons in Comoros Supported by Parliamentarians and Religious Leaders

Moroni, Comoros, 6 April 2022 – The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently delivered two awareness raising workshops on Trafficking in Persons (TIP); one for parliamentarians and one for religious leaders.

In the absence of comprehensive anti-TIP legislation, and limited cooperation between all stakeholders of TIP cases, TIP is widespread, resulting in the exploitation, violation, and death of countless men, women and children, across Eastern Africa. The region has in recent years become a hub for trafficking routes with criminal groups and illicit traffickers operating effectively across borders.

Countering and prosecuting criminal networks responsible for TIP requires Member States to take action on international, regional and national levels with effective legislation, enhanced capacity and cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination as well as cooperation with civil society and local communities.

Local community engagement is one of the recent initiatives from the Union of Comoros in the fight against TIP since the Government – with support of UNODC – has engaged Islamic leaders including Imams, Kadis and Mouftis, ‘the Mouftora” to spread awareness on how countering TIP is in accordance with the rulings of Islam.

After the recent awareness-raising workshops, the Secretary-General of the Mouftora, Ismael Aliamani Bachirou, expressed that the workshop had been enlightening and that the religious leaders – moving forward – will support with spreading ‘the message’ and contribute to the fight against TIP. This is a critical step towards effectively countering TIP given that religious leaders can reach a big demographic group that UNODC and Government anti-TIP efforts may never reach.

Prior to the current workshop, UNODC and UNODC consultant, Prof. Mohamed Y. Mattar, delivered a project on how international anti-TIP legislation is in accordance with the rulings of Islam – and how the two legal systems can boost each other. The work manifested as a webinar for religious leaders and policymakers from Eastern African Member States, delivered in the fall of 2020. The webinars were structured around the UNODC publication Combating Trafficking in Persons in accordance with the Principles of Islamic Law(2010).

Last November, UNODC assisted the Government of Comoros in the drafting of a bill on countering TIP, and with the bill being presented to Parliament in April 2022, UNODC delivered an awareness-raising workshop on TIP for parliamentarians in view of the parliamentary session.

“We all have a role to play [in countering TIP]“ was the key message during speeches following the workshop, where the Vice Presidents of the Assembly of the Union of Comoros thanked UNODC for the support in countering TIP and that the Parliamentarians are determined to end TIP in Comoros.

The awareness-raising workshops were delivered as part of the UNODC Enhancing Criminal Justice Responses to Trafficking in Persons in Eastern Africa project, which is financed by the U.S. Department of State – Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. The project focuses extensively on supporting Member States in the region to align their national legislation on TIP with the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its supplementary Protocols, in particular the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children and Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, to enhance the capacity of criminal justice practitioners to effectively investigate and prosecute TIP cases with a victim-centred and human rights-based approach; and to foster enhanced regional and international cooperation between all relevant stakeholders.

The latest Member State to accede to the TIP Protocol was the Union of the Comoros in 2020.


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For more information, please contact: 

Mr Johan Kruger –
Head of Transnational Organized Crime, Illicit Trafficking and Terrorism Programmes,
UNODC Regional Office for Eastern Africa