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UNODC Organizes the Second Session of the WACAP Working Group on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants

UNODC Regional Office for West and Central Africa (ROSEN) organized from January 30 to 31, 2023 in Praia, Cabo Verde the second session of the West and Central African Network of Central Authorities and Prosecutors (WACAP) working group on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants, aiming at strengthening international judicial cooperation to combat trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants and enhance victims’ protection. The activity was financially supported by The Netherlands in the context of the PROMIS Project.

Through its mandate to support Member States’ efforts to better respond to transnational organized crime, UNODC works closely with West and Central African States and is committed to strengthening the operational and technical capacities of WACAP for the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its Protocols in the region. To this end, WACAP has set up different thematic groups to strengthen intelligence and information exchange, mutual trust and processing of mutual legal assistance requests, including the specialized group on trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants which was launched on June 2, 2022, in Niamey, with UNODC’s technical and financial support.

The main objective of the second session of the WACAP working group was to facilitate discussions among members in order to strengthen the exchange of information, best practices and reinforce mutual trust to better deal with cases of transnational trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants in the sub-region. The session was attended by 35 representatives, including 29 men and 6 women, from the following countries: Burkina Faso, Benin, Cabo Verde, Chad, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Togo.Challenges related to judicial cooperation were identified through discussions, experience sharing and presentations, and good practices and possible solutions drawn from the sessions. 

Group photo
Group photo

The links between trafficking in persons/smuggling of migrants and cybercrime were explored and focal points had the opportunity to engage in bilateral meetings to discuss in detail ongoing cases requiring the use of judicial cooperation mechanisms and tools. Finally, the working group adopted its own terms of reference establishing the functioning, role and objectives of the group, which will form the basis for future sessions.

The gathering also provided the platform for bilateral and multilateral case consultations relevant to ongoing investigations against transnational organized crime groups. As such the workshop and the PROMIS project form integral part of the implementation of UNODC’s Strategic Vision for Africa, Priority Area 2.5 and 5.1, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 16.