Egypt: Developing a Community of Practice: How training prosecutors will help in the fight against human trafficking and migrant smuggling

25th April 2018 - Alexandria, Egypt

Under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT), UNODC collaborated with the National Coordinating Committee on Preventing and Combating Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling and the International Cooperation and Human Rights Division in the Office of The Egyptian Prosecutor General in organizing a four-day training workshop from 15-18 April 2018 to further strengthen the capacity of Egyptian prosecutors to investigate and prosecute trafficking in persons (TIP) and smuggling of migrants (SOM) cases. The 18 prosecutors participating in the workshop came primarily from Egypt's delta region.

Egypt is a transit, and destination country for TIP and SOM. Primary SOM routes are from the Horn of Africa and Eastern Africa and are taken by migrants seeking passage to Europe. 

In 2016, Egypt adopted Law No. 82/2016 on Combating Illegal Migration and the Smuggling of Migrants, which merged the National Coordinating Committee for Combating and Preventing Illegal Migration and the National Coordinating Committee for Combating and Preventing Trafficking in Persons (NCCPIM & TIP).

Together with Law No. 64 of 2010 on trafficking in persons, Egypt has a comprehensive legal framework to combat trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. UNODC supports the implementation of the legal framework with a training series designed for police officers, prosecutors and judges in order to strengthen national capacity to investigate, prosecute and adjudicate crimes of human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

The aim of this workshop series to is to create a community of practice amongst Egypt's national prosecutors by building their capacity on topics such as:

· The existing international legal frameworks on TIP and SOM;

· The existing national legal framework on TIP and SOM;

· Cyberspace, the phenomenon of cybercrime and its relevance to TIP and SOM; and

· Different types of interviewing techniques, including when interviewing TIP victims.

The workshop allowed participants to engage in animated discussions with UNODC experts and to discuss real TIP and SOM cases. Post workshop evaluation forms confirm that participants are particularly keen on the interactive nature of the training, as it enables everyone to ask follow-up questions on specific TIP and SOM cases as well as about international and national legislation.

In addition, the prosecutors were also very interested in learning more about cyberspace and cybercrime, and how this is relevant with regards to TIP and SOM investigations. During the workshop, it became very clear that many case examples contained digital evidence stored on mobiles phones or social media platforms such as Facebook accounts.

More importantly however, the workshop achieved real results with regards to perception issues. During an informal discussion session, the participating prosecutors revealed that prior to the workshop their perception of a smuggled migrant was very different and rather negative than post workshop. They said that the workshop helped them understand what makes people vulnerable to being smuggled and that the smugglers are the criminals who need to be prosecuted.

The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT) is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine.  GLO.ACT works with the 13 countries to plan and implement strategic national counter-trafficking and counter smuggling efforts through a prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships approach. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including providing assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.