Belgian Deputy Prime Minister meets UNODC, UNICEF and UNFPA representatives in Senegal, focuses on trafficking in women and girls

Belgian Deputy Prime Minister meets UNODC, UNICEF and UNFPA representatives in Senegal, focuses on trafficking in women and girls Photo: UNODC3 May 2017 - West Africa continues to be affected by a large number of security threats such as human trafficking, targeting millions of women and young girls, the most vulnerable segment of the society.  Being lured by false promises of employment, they are often forced into prostitution to pay off their debts.  As the authorities tend to consider the victims as perpetrators rather than victims of exploitation, the sexual and reproductive health remains critical to address that phenomenon.

In this context, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation, Alexander De Croo, recently visited Senegal, following the conference "She Decides", which aimed to address the decline in funds and support for organizations helping women in developing countries with sexual and reproductive health.

Following his visit to Benin, the Deputy Prime Minister and his delegation met with the representatives of UNODC, UNFPA, and UNICEF in Dakar, Senegal. At a briefing, Mr. De Croo focused on the challenges and interventions by the three to enhance sexual and reproductive health, protect women and children from abuse and violence, and tackle trafficking in persons.

Mr. De Coo also visited, "La Maison Rose", a safe-house where dozens of young women, victim of violence or rape, are living with their children.  Having been founded by "Univers'elles", an association supported by UNODC and UNICEF, the shelter provides "a reconstituted family" for the victims of rape.  Among others, the Deputy Prime Minister met with Samu Social, a UNODC implementing partner fighting exclusion in all its forms and providing assistance to the victims of abuse and exploitation by forced begging.  The aim of this organization is to get these children off the streets and reunite them with their families and communities.

Within the framework of the Regional Strategy for Combatting Trafficking in Persons and Illicit Smuggling in Migrants (2015-2020), UNODC has identified as a priority the direct assistance to vulnerable migrants and victims of trafficking. Accordingly, in liaison with UNFPA, UNICEF and others, it provides assistance to the most vulnerable in Senegal, and supports local organizations working to end gender-based violence and trafficking in persons.  In April, UNODC established new partnerships with four organizations focusing on the identification of, and assistance to, victims of trafficking. These are Univers'elles, Empire des Enfants, the CEGID and Action Enfance.

Further information:

UNODC in West and Central Africa

UNODC Regional Strategy for Combating Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in West and Central Africa

UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons (2016)