According to the 2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons and the Global Study on Smuggling of Migrants, every year, thousands of migrants and refugees, desperately seeking to escape violence, conflict and dire economic straits, die on perilous journeys by land, sea or air, often at the hands of criminal smugglers. At the same time, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Victims are exploited in restaurants, farms, construction sites, brothels, factories, markets, mines and in people’s homes everywhere. Action is needed to address both crimes.
Under the European Union (EU) funded project, Dismantling Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Criminal Networks in North Africa, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the General Directorate for National Security (DGSN) organised the first week-long awareness raising campaign on trafficking in persons (TiP) and smuggling of migrants (SoM) at the Royal Police Institute in Kenitra, Morocco.
The awareness raising week aimed at establishing a common knowledge and skills base among the main stakeholders, achieving a better understanding of key definitions and terminologies related to TiP and SoM and strengthening their techniques in investigating cases and identifying victims of trafficking.
This activity was divided into two sessions: the first session targeted officials from the judiciary police, the intelligence departments and trainee commissioners over the span of two days. The second session targeted representatives of all of the specialized brigades involved in the fight against these crimes and trainee officers from the Royal Police Institute.The wide presence of participants allowed for all Moroccan regions to be represented at the awareness raising week.
The sessions initially focused on explaining the national and international framework for combating TiP and SoM. The interventions of the UNODC experts discussed the mechanism of identification of victims of TiP and indicators to utilise by first responders in cases of child victims and victims of domestic servitude, sexual exploitation and labour exploitation. Practical real cases were submitted to the participants to enhance understanding of the concepts and forms of exploitation, international and national legislative framework and trafficking indicators.
DGSN experts conducted sessions jointly with UNODC experts to outline the ground rules for evidence collection, inspection, investigation and case file report drafting. Furthermore, participants were able to examine the role of financial and electronic investigation in addressing both TiP and SoM crimes.
The week ended with the participants and experts drafting a set of recommendations that focused on the importance of continuing this training cycle across the different regions of Morocco, while recalling the need to ensure a better coordination with the various stakeholders in the field, including institutions and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to combat these crimes, in order to provide a holistic approach to crime prevention and victim protection.
“Dismantling the criminal networks operating in North Africa and involved in migrant smuggling and human Trafficking" is a three-year (2019-2022) €15 million regional joint initiative by the European Union and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) under the framework of the North Africa Window of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. The project consists of a regional intervention covering Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia to support the effective dismantling of criminal networks involved in migrant smuggling and human trafficking, while at the same time upholding the rights of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and vulnerable groups.