Training of magistrates in Mali on trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants

Funded by the European Union 

The countries of the Sahel and North Africa, countries of origin, transit and or destination of migration, are particularly exposed to the risks related to the smuggling of migrants. In order to help Sahel countries address these issues, UNODC organizes training courses for magistrates to strengthen their capacity to combat smuggling of migrants.

Thus, a training workshop for judges was organized from 30 October to 2 November 2018 in Sikasso, Mali. The training brought together a total of 25 magistrates and prosecutors from all regions of the country. The workshop aimed to strengthen the capacity of prosecutors and magistrates and provide them with further tools needed to develop strong law enforcement expertise on human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.

Participants had the opportunity to improve their knowledge of national and international legal frameworks related to smuggling of migrants, as well as techniques for investigating and prosecuting cases related to smuggling. The workshop also allowed participants to identify challenges and solutions related to the protection of children exploited as part of this trafficking and to develop a road map for a better prosecution of the perpetrators of these crimes in Mali.

Group photo 

Mali, due to its geographical position and to the crisis the country has been facing since 2012, has become one of the main routes of irregular migration, the migratory flows gaining in importance each year. In 2016, it was estimated that between 30,000 and 40,000 migrants passed through Mali. Trafficking and smuggling networks play a central role in this phenomenon and participate in exposing migrants to abuses, ill-treatment, abduction and even death.

Mali is addressing the threats posed by trafficking, in particular by strengthening its legislative framework. For example, Mali is a State Party to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime on Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants and its Additional Protocols, which set international standards regarding criminalization, the protection of human rights and the use of necessary tools for international cooperation to combat this crime. Its National Assembly also adopted the N.2012-023 law in 2012 to combat trafficking in persons and its related practices, including smuggling of migrants.

These efforts are essential and must be supported in order to create an effective legal distinction between trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. This will result in updating Mali's legal tools to effectively combat smuggling of migrants as a separate offense from trafficking in persons.

This training workshop is part of this support, and was organized as part of the program "Global Action to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (2015-2019)" . This program is a joint initiative launched by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The event was also supported locally by the National Coordinating Committee against Trafficking in Persons and Similar Practices (CNCLTP).

For more information:

Definitions and tools on trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling

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