In response to the COVID-19 crisis, UNODC distributes health and food kits to victims of trafficking in Côte d'Ivoire

10-12-2020

As a country of origin, transit and destination, Côte d'Ivoire, like many countries in the sub-region, is confronted with the phenomena of human trafficking and mixed migration flows.

With the occurrence of COVID-19, the lives of vulnerable populations have been particularly affected, including potential or actual victims of trafficking in persons - exacerbating economic and societal inequalities, the root causes of trafficking.

The measures adopted by health authorities to curb the spread of the virus (quarantine, curfews, containment, travel restrictions, limitation of economic and social activities and border closures etc.) have had an impact on the national response to the phenomenon of trafficking in persons.

Indeed, this phenomenon has been pushed further underground, despite the increased presence of the authorities in charge of security at the borders and in the public space. Criminal networks of traffickers have adapted their modus operandi to this "new reality" created by the pandemic, through the misuse of new information and communication technologies. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the capacity of public authorities and non-governmental organisations to provide essential services to the victims of this crime.

This situation has led the UN Country Team in Côte d'Ivoire to propose a multi-agency (UNICEF, FAO, UNODC and UNDP) joint programme to support the actions of national authorities in their efforts to reduce the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Ivorian population.

The UNODC, for its part, is committed to contributing to a better identification of victims of trafficking in persons and to their efficient care in accordance with international standards through the following actions:

- the purchase of food and protection material for victims of trafficking housed in transit centres.

- capacity building for law enforcement officials and NGOs on the identification of trafficked persons and their care.

- raising awareness among communities and victims on early detection of trafficked persons during the pandemic and on barrier measures against the spread of the Covid-19 virus''.

Thus, on 20 November 2020, UNODC, jointly with the Executive Secretariat of the National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons, distributed hygiene and sanitary and food protection kits to women, young girls, migrants, returned victims of trafficking and displaced persons, through four non-governmental organisations and reception centres (DDE-CI, Cavoequiva, Cote d'Ivoire Prospérité CIP, LISAD) which support the State of Côte d'Ivoire and partners in the fight against trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.

This activity aims to provide rapid humanitarian assistance through NGOs operating on the front line to vulnerable victims of human trafficking in Côte d'Ivoire.

"Despite the pandemic, victims of trafficking have not been forgotten. Today, we invite everyone, especially women and girls, to protect themselves from COVID19 , to wear the mask and to stay healthy" Ms. YAPO Virginie, Executive Secretary of the CNLTP.

 

More information:

UN Trust Fund for Victims of Human Traffickin Announces 16 NGO Projects Selected for 4th Grant Cycle Medium-term Aid Window.

Webstory: Covid-19 response: UNODC supports national actors engaged in the fight against Trafficking in persons in Côte d'Ivoire