UNODC Eastern Africa Speeches

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Reinforcement of Regional and International Police and Judicial Cooperation for effective response to the Trafficking of Children and Young People.

Speech: by Amado Philip de Andrés. Regional Representative, Regional Office for Eastern Africa.

30 July 2018; World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

Honourable Ambassadors;

Dear Director General Samuel;


UNODC Training participants;

Students from universities;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Before I begin, on behalf of UNODC and its partners, I would like to send out warm congratulations to Ethiopia and Eritrea for their recent landmark peace agreement. Their cooperation is a powerful moment for the region, and the UN stands ready, as an ever-present partner, to support the advancement of peace in the region.

1. Theme of the World Day

This year’s World Day against Trafficking in Persons highlights the urgent need to step up responses to the trafficking of children and young people.

Protecting the most vulnerable among us has become ever more important, as humanitarian crises and armed conflict have left children and young people at greater risk of being trafficked. The perils are compounded further still when children and young people are on the move, often separated from their families.

In particular, the Horn of Africa being at the centre of migratory routes towards Europe, the Gulf countries, the Middle East and Southern Africa, is particularly vulnerable to smuggling of migrants, and inevitably, trafficking in persons. Human traffickers prey on the most desperate and vulnerable, and these shifting factors all impact on trafficking and smuggling flows within and beyond the region.

2. Importance of international cooperation

The importance of international police and judicial cooperation to dismantle criminal networks involved in human trafficking is increasing. Human traffickers are misusing the Internet and new technologies to broaden their reach, using apps and chat rooms to exploit and abuse young people, who represent some of our most connected and most engaged online citizens.

Effective anti-trafficking responses, which take to heart the best interests of children and young people, require therefore strengthened coordination and cooperation of all nation - whether country of origin, transit or destination.

3. UNODC technical activities within our mandate on trafficking in persons

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is helping governments implement such action through our comprehensive support to implement the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

Nearly every country in the world has pledged to put the Protocol against human trafficking into action, and it represents our best and most effective means to protect children and young people by ending impunity for traffickers, and ensuring that criminal justice responses safeguard the interests of children at every stage.

Under the Better Migration Management (BMM) Programme, financially supported by European Union Trust Fund for Africa, and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), UNODC launched last week a Regional Training Centre to build capacity and strengthen national and regional cooperation between investigators, public prosecutors, and magistrates on the effective investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases. Last week’s training was the first in a series of twenty regional training workshops delivered to participants from Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Eritrea, Somalia and Uganda. Today, we have participants from three countries Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda here with us.

UNODC is also working with private sector and civil society partners to clamp down on cybercrime, to prevent and counter trafficking, abuse and exploitation of children through the Internet. By building cross-border cooperation and law enforcement capacities, we are helping tech be part of the solution to keep children and young people safe online.

UNODC as the guardian of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and Trafficking in Persons Protocol supports Member States in their efforts to put solid legislative frameworks in place. I very much hope that Member States in Eastern and Horn of Africa will take the opportunities presented by the Conference of the Parties to the UNTOC in October, to reinforce these efforts.

4. Blue Heart Campaign

Finally, through the Blue Heart Campaign, UNODC is raising public awareness of the plight of trafficking victims, almost a third of whom are children. UNODC is also helping to ensure that child victims become survivors through the UN Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking.

Let us take this opportunity on World Day against Trafficking in Persons to further strengthen partnerships and seek solutions. All of us have a responsibility to prevent and stop human trafficking, and protect the health, well-being and potential of all children, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Please wear the Blue Heart, which was distributed this morning, to share the solidarity with those who are trafficked while reminding us of the cold-heartedness of those who buy and sell fellow human beings.