Operationalizing the Ouagadougou Action Plan to combat trafficking in human beings

AU In January 2007, the African Union adopted the Executive Council Decision EX.CL/Dec.324 (X) which endorsed the Ouagadougou Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children.  Furthermore and similarly, the second Action Plan 2011-2013 of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy particularly the Partnership on Migration, Mobility and Employment (MME), calls for more action to combat trafficking in persons. In addition, the AU Plan of Action on Drug Control and Crime Prevention (2007-2012), adopted by the AU Assembly in January 2008, provides for coordination of activities to fight human trafficking, to protect victims and prosecute offenders.

With the Ouagadougou Action Plan at the centre of its objective the campaign reaches out to Member States, the Regional Economic Communities (REC’s) and Civil Society Organisations in taking serious measures against combating trafficking in human beings.

Recent related activities for the East African Community (EAC) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) regions:
i.    The AU.COMMIT campaign was launched for IGAD and EAC in December 2011. This launch was immediately followed by an operationalisation workshop which highlighted a variety of regional priorities, including the need for legislative reforms and harmonisation.
ii.    Following the recommendations of the Migration Policy framework for Africa adopted by the AUC in 2006, IGAD is finalising its regional Migration policy framework. This policy framework is a comprehensive document that gives guidelines and recommendations for Member States on various issues regarding Migration management in the region (labour migration, border management, forced displacement, internal migration, irregular migration, migration and development, inter-state/inter-regional cooperation, etc.).    As irregular migration is becoming a major challenge in the East and horn of Africa with the development of sophisticated migrant smuggling and human trafficking networks across borders, this policy is a timely initiative. The IGAD regional Migration Policy Framework is the first of its kind in Africa.
iii.    In March 2011, COMESA hosted its Fourth Ministerial Meeting for Ministers responsible for Immigration with the focuses on i.) the implementation of protocols and Council decisions on the movement of persons, services and labour, ii.) harmonisation of national laws, and iii.) cooperation on immigration matters.
iv.    At the beginning of May 2011, within the framework of the Africa-EU MME Partnership there will be an AU/EU dialogue focussing on strengthening the prosecution pillar and more specifically on fighting trafficking in persons through law enforcement, criminal investigation or prosecution within the EAC, IGAD and ECOWAS regions, as well as for North African Member States.

The next activity of the AU.COMMIT will take place on 24-25 May 2011 in Arusha, Tanzania for IGAD and the EAC.

In addition to the need for law enforcement, criminal investigation or prosecution in anti- trafficking, efforts should also be made to raise public awareness of the problem of human trafficking through public information campaigns and other means.

The essential purpose of raising public awareness of trafficking in persons is to mobilise crucial public concern and knowledge about the risk of falling prey to criminals as well as informing on the extreme social and human costs of trafficking in persons.

Because of the transnational dynamics and convolution of trafficking in persons, a holistic and regional approach, which will rest on clear and consistent communication about trafficking and its risks to the population as well as the status of response activities, is called for. This will only be achieved through strengthening the capacity for information, education and communication at all levels and among all stakeholders in the Member States.

Workshop objectives and expected outcomes

The main objective of the workshop is to equip participants with the necessary information, contact-points and skills to:
i.    Design, for finalisation, two regional (IGAD and EAC), communication and awareness raising strategies. These strategies will identify specific target groups, messages will be elaborated for wide, efficient and effective dissemination using appropriate media and channels spread across the EAC and IGAD regions and will cover all sectors and not be limited to the technical level sectors.
ii. In addition, participants will return to their Member State and design, for implementation, comprehensive national communication and awareness campaigns based on the above regional strategies.
iii.    The media, government, IGAD and EAC Secretariats, international partners and civil society sector will be involved in the drafting and called upon to be involved in the implementation of the strategies.

At the end of this workshop, participants will:
i.    be informed of the key measures required in the design and implementation of an effective communication and awareness raising campaign against human trafficking;
ii.    be equipped with a comprehensive lay-out of their own regional public communication and awareness strategy framework relating to human trafficking;
iii.    have a network and contacts of international partners and technical expertise available to assist in the design and implementation of further national communication and awareness raising strategies.

Agenda

The meeting agenda will include an update by IGAD and EAC on the current anti-trafficking awareness raising activities undertaken in the regions, international technical cooperation, best practices and support available through partners, and working sessions during which practical framework design and workplanning for regional anti-trafficking awareness raising frameworks will be undertaken.

Participation

Participants will be invited from the RECs Secretariats, IGAD and EAC Member States, UN/AU Social and Human Development Cluster members, and development partners.

Specifically:
i.    Each Member State will be requested to nominate two (2) participants both of which being senior officials within the relevant Ministries responsible for anti-trafficking outreach, being for example the Ministries of Employment/Labour, Social Welfare or Immigration/Home Affairs.
ii.    International partners invited will not only be expected to bring expertise and examples of best practices, but access to technical expertise and potential financing of regional and national awareness campaigns (for example, invitations will possibly be sent to ICMPD, UN-GIFT/UNODC, UNHCR, UN Women, ILO, IOM, US, COMMIT- MEKONG, EU, GIZ, UNESCO, UNICEF, AUOCHCR, the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, OAS, and other RECs in Africa)
iii.    Civil Society Organisations to be invited will be nominated by either EAC, IGAD or the Member States and will be known and reputable partners in regional implementation of relevant awareness raising initiatives.

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