Key actors in charge of child protection in Mali learn more about how to combat trafficking and smuggling of children

Sikasso, Mali 25 April 2019 - To effectively combat the trafficking and smuggling of children it is necessary to understand these two crimes, to be able to distinguish them from one another and to provide responses through different areas of action.

Thus, UNODC, in collaboration with the National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Related Practices (CNCLTP), and under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT), organized a workshop entitled "Understanding child trafficking and smuggling: Roles and challenges of child protection actors in Mali" from 19 to 21 March 2019.

The child protection environment in Mali is a challenge. Children in Mali face several protection risks related to trafficking and smuggling, including child labour and sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and domestic violence. Widespread poverty, cultural beliefs and the misuse of religious traditions are factors that contribute to violence, exploitation and abuse of children. According to some actors, impunity for these crimes is also due to a lack of understanding of traditional practices and a lack of awareness among law enforcement of the criminal nature of these issues.

Mali has ratified most of the international instruments relating to the protection of human rights in general and the rights of children in particular. At the national level, Mali has adopted several texts aimed at promoting the rights of the child. This includes the development of a child protection code. The child protection code provides for the appointment of child protection officers to intervene in all cases where the health, physical or moral integrity of the child is threatened or exposed to danger. The code also requires any person, including persons bound by professional secrecy, to report to the child protection officer any matter that may constitute a threat to the health of a child (including exploitation and trafficking), his or her development, physical well being or moral integrity.

The objective of the workshop therefore was to strengthen the capacity of local and national child protection actors on issues related to child trafficking, child slavery, child labour and sexual exploitation, as well as the prevention of child recruitment for terrorist purposes.

The workshop brought together over 25 participants from different localities in Mali and included juvenile judges, prosecutors, deputy prosecutors, the vice brigade, public child protection actors, NGOs/CSOs, teachers, traditional leaders, representatives of child rights associations and representatives of women and young leaders, the majority of whom are practitioners and key actors in the child protection system in Mali.

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. 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.


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Twitter: @glo_act

For more information:


Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants

UNODC Regional Strategy for Combating Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants 2015-2020