Introducing the Chair of the Working Group on Trafficking in Persons

This September, the Working Group on Trafficking in Persons  of the UNTOC Conference of the Parties will meet in Vienna and virtually. Experts from around the world will discuss national practises on currentissues related to countering this crime and related gaps and challenges in the implementation of the UN Protocol on Trafficking in Persons in their respective countries.

Amina Oufroukhi is the Head of the Specialized Public Prosecution and International Judicial Cooperation Unit at the Presidency of Public Prosecutions in the Kingdom of Morocco. She played a key role in drafting Morocco’s anti-human trafficking law.

What is your role in relation to combatting trafficking in persons?

In my current position, I coordinate programmes to tackle trafficking in persons between national and international institutions and the Moroccan courts.  Already in 2009, I started working towards achieving consensus over a strategy to effectively address trafficking in persons. I organized meetings to bring together all relevant national and international parties and arranged specialized trainings for judges, representatives from law enforcement authorities and from other relevant sectors, such as the Ministry of Labour.

I produced two studies on human trafficking in Morocco. The first with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in 2009, which focused on border crossings, and the second with UN Women.

These events and studies led to a set of recommendations and concepts that resulted in the development of a draft law on trafficking in persons. I was then among the members of the drafting committee for Morocco’s law on trafficking in persons, which was adopted in 2016.

What motivates you in your daily efforts to counter trafficking in persons?

What really motivates me is working to overcome the challenges related to the identification of victims of this crime and encouraging them to report cases of human trafficking. Victims play a key role in solving crimes of trafficking in persons, as it can be extremely difficult to capture traffickers when victims keep their silence.

What will your role be in the Working Group this September?

In my role as Chair of the Working Group, I will primarily focus on facilitating a constructive dialogue within the group and achieving a convergence of views to adopt incisive recommendations that will have an impact on combatting trafficking in persons.

How can this Working Group on Trafficking in Persons contribute to improving responses to combatting this crime?

I believe that the Working Group provides a unique opportunity for discussing trafficking in persons and specific topics that pose daily challenges to States in relation to prosecuting traffickers and providing protection and assistance to victims.

For example, the situation of victims who are forced to commit crimes needs particular international attention. Within the Working Group, we need to discuss how to find ways to properly apply the principle of non-punishment of victims of trafficking in persons for acts committed as a direct consequence of their situation as trafficked persons.

This meeting will be an opportunity to learn about new, successful international practices on the subject, which could contribute to developing precise recommendations for State Parties whether in terms of legislation or in terms of procedures of proper application.

What do you hope will be the main outcome of this Working Group?

I hope the outcomes of the 10th session of the Working Group live up to the expectations of everyone involved who are seeking to end crimes of trafficking in persons and protect victims.

I am extremely honored and delighted to chair this Working Group’s session. I hope to succeed in my role as a chair and partly fulfill my personal objective of protecting victims of trafficking in persons who are voiceless vulnerable people. We must identify them, be their voice and rescue them from the spiral of exploitation, humiliation and degradation of human dignity.