Central African Republic launches first National Action Plan against the Trafficking in Persons

20-03-2020

BANGUI The first major national action plan to protect, prevent and enforce penalties for human trafficking has been launched in Central African Republic and promises to make the country safer.

The national plan is a huge breakthrough for a country of 4.6 million people of which around one million have been forced to flee their homes due to inter-communal clashes, mass violence and political unrest since 2003.

Due to this instability and despite the provisions in the Penal Code (Article 151) that defines trafficking as per the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, no trafficker has been prosecuted or convicted since 2008.

After making the eradication of human trafficking his priority, President Faustin-Archange Touadéra signed and approved the National Action Plan and a decree establishing a coordinating body against TIP, on 13th March 2020.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) were requested to support the country in better preventing and combating this crime.  “This is a formidable milestone and we command CAR’s efforts in having mobilised all its authorities from November 2019 to March 2020 for the production of these two instruments that pave the way for concrete action,” said Polleak Ok Serei, Programme Coordinator, UNODC.

Forty government-appointed TIP focal points (20 men and 20 women) from their respective ministries took part in two jointly-organised training workshops in February and March 2020. The first, provided the national focal points with a strong understanding of Trafficking in Persons.

"It is difficult to get an estimate of how many victims there are in the country - and for what kind of exploitation. It is also difficult to obtain information on the methods used by traffickers,” said Mr Ok Serei from UNODC. “This initial training is therefore a first step in laying the foundation methods,” he added.

Both workshops were opened by H.E. Josiane Bemakasoui, Presidential Adviser on Child Protection, and H.E. Gisèle Pana, Minister for the advancement of women, family and child protection who reiterated the importance for the country to address the issue of TIP.

They stressed that the adoption of the National Action Plan for 2020 shows the government's commitment to fight this heinous crime and that it will pave the way for concrete actions to better prevent and prosecute the crime of TIP in the country and protect victims of human trafficking while building partnerships to provide a coordinated response to this crime.

Forty-four key action points to implement the national 2020 action plan were identified before being successfully finalized and validated by all the stakeholders in a second workshop held in March 2020, including the:

  • Appointment of a member of the Public Prosecutor's Office and an investigating judge to deal with cases of trafficking in persons
  • Definition of criminal policies towards perpetrators of trafficking in persons to effectively enforce penalties under the offence of trafficking in persons
  • Creation of a case law database on trafficking in persons
  • Organization of a capacity-building workshop for magistrates on trafficking in persons in Bangui
  • Organization of special hearings on trafficking in persons, depending on the number of ongoing cases

 

UNODC and IOM provided support, including with financial contributions from MINUSCA and UNDP to the CAR government in its efforts to combat TIP.  UNODC and IOM are actively raising funds to keep supporting the government on a longer-term basis. 

 

   

 

These activities contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals:

Target 5.2: Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation


Target 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms


Target 10.7: Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies


Target 16.2 : End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children