AU Commission, IOM, and UNODC Train Government Officials in Africa on Managing Data on Human Trafficking

Addis Ababa – The African Union Institute for Statistics (STATAFRIC) together with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) this week began training government officials from 14 African countries on the collection, management, and use of high-quality and comparable administrative data on human trafficking.

The virtual training, which began Tuesday (01/06), will run until 10 June and is delivering insights on international standards and guidelines on administrative data on human trafficking to over 50 government officials responsible for gathering and managing such data. 

A team of experts from the three organizations is delivering modules and sessions on human trafficking data standards and the governance of administrative data on trafficking in persons. The African region is the first to receive such training. 

Key topics being covered include introduction to the first International Classification Standard of Human Trafficking Data Collection and Statistical Reporting (ICSHT), best practices for collecting and managing administrative data, and the use and presentation of accurate data. The training comes at critical timing, with the COVID-19 pandemic pushing human trafficking even further underground, requiring efforts to be redoubled. 

A dearth of quality evidence to aid in the development of national policies and programs to combat human trafficking remains a challenge. This gap has arisen due to a scarcity of accurate data on human trafficking, which is a complex and clandestine crime usually intended to go undetected. 

In countries where data on human trafficking does exist, the data sources are often diverse, mostly disconnected and limited in scope, creating silos and leading to fragmented knowledge. Without robust data, governments and other actors face challenges to mobilize the evidence to inform and reinforce targeted interventions to combat the vice.

Mme. Leila Ben Ali, Head of Statistics Division, STATAFRIC AUC, welcomed the convening of experts from Member States and regional and international partners saying, “such initiatives that strengthen national capacities to produce and process human trafficking data are important for yielding Member State-owned data on migration, including on human trafficking.”

Kachi Madubuko, Migration Policy Officer at IOM’s Special Liaison Office to the AU and UNECA in Addis Ababa, highlighted the detrimental impact human trafficking has on the individual and collective aspirations of society. She stressed the role that data plays in measuring progress achieved in counter trafficking efforts, and in designing policies and interventions to protect and assist victims of trafficking.  

Yitna Getachew, Head of IOM’s Migrant Protection and Assistance Division, for his part, noted new types of vulnerabilities that have emerged because of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing difficulties to identify and assist victims. He explained that knowledge of human trafficking is often patchy due to the unavailability of comparable human trafficking data and commended such efforts to standardize human trafficking administrative data. 

Meanwhile, Angela Me, Chief of Research and Trend Analysis Branch of UNODC urged participants to familiarize themselves with the new International Classification Standard of Human Trafficking Data Collection (ICSHT) and to contribute to its mainstreaming in national statistical systems. She said the standards and guidelines are part of processes to harmonize the classification of crime and criminal justice statistics internationally. 

The initiative has been made possible through generous support from the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and the IOM Development Fund.

 

For more information, contact Eric Mazango at IOM Ethiopia, Email: emazango@iom.int