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Senior Officials of AU Member States and RECs Discuss Draft Policies on the Prevention of Trafficking and Smuggling in Persons in Africa
Zanzibar, Tanzania- The African Union Commission (AUC) in partnership with International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized a workshop for senior officials from the African Union (AU) Member States, and technical experts from Regional Economic Communities (RECs), academic institutions, private sector, and development partners gathered to review and validate draft continental policy documents on addressing human trafficking and migrant smuggling in Africa from 6-8 October 2021 in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
In his opening remarks, Sabelo Mbokazi, the African Union Head of Labor, Employment and Migration Division, Department of Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, informed that the workshop would contribute to elevating the continental response mechanism from an action plan to two forward looking policy documents focused on addressing human trafficking and migrant smuggling. He further remarked:
“One of the continental aspirations in Agenda 2063 is for a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development. We cannot have a prosperous Africa; we cannot have inclusive growth, when we still experience and when we still see the rise of illicit activities such as human trafficking and migrant smuggling”
On his part, Dr. Qasim Sufi, Chief of Mission IOM Tanzania recognized the key role that the workshop will have in enriching the draft policy documents with Member States collective knowledge of available resources, and approaches for improved response to human trafficking and migrant smuggling. Underscoring the overall impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the continent, Dr. Sufi highlighted its effect in exacerbating existing social and economic inequalities - making already at-risk segments of population even more vulnerable to human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
The inputs received during this workshop will be used to enrich the draft policy documents in preparation for submission to the Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Migration, Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons slated to be held in November 2021.
The draft policy documents take inspiration from the Migration Policy Framework for Africa (MPFA), the Global Compact on Migration, and other regional and international policy frameworks and aim to respond to the Member States aspiration to be guided by forward looking strategies that can effectively address cross border crimes. The newly drafted continental policy documents take cue and lessons from an evaluation of a previous action plan, identify implementation gaps, and provide a reference point for Member States and RECs on how to strategically address human trafficking and migrant smuggling in the continent.
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