- Addressing irregular migration in the framework of the partnership
- Three areas for dialogue: human trafficking, smuggling of migrants, readmission and return
- Related initiatives
- Further reading
|Africa and the EU will also jointly address the down-sides of migration. This includes jointly combating illegal migration, where cooperation needs to be stepped up, including through cooperation on return and readmission of migrants in the context of the Tripoli Declaration and relevant international agreements, as well as on border control and trafficking in human beings. In this regard, they will work actively to ensure the implementation of the EU-Africa Plan of Action on Trafficking in Human Beings, especially Women and Children. |
Source : Joint Africa-EU Strategy, Lisbon 2007
The first action plan (2008-2010) indicates that irregular migration is one of the areas that the Partnership will address. Among the issues at stake, human trafficking in particular is seen as of particular importance. The second action plan (2011-2013) highlights trafficking in human beings; smuggling of migrants; and readmission and return, as topics that will be included in the dialogue process.
The fight against Human trafficking is very important in the Partnership.
|Trafficking in persons” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation'. |
UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons especially Women and Children, Art. 3
Human trafficking is addressed at international level by the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons especially Women and Children, which supplements the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, adopted in Palermo in December 2000. The purposes of the Protocol are to prevent and combat human trafficking; protect and assist the victims, with full respect of their human rights; and promote international cooperation. The Protocol establishes human trafficking as a criminal offence, and provides a common definition, which has been agreed at international level. To date, many African and European countries have signed and ratified the Protocol (see the list). However, its enforcement remains a challenge. Few criminals are convicted and many victims are never identified or assisted. Human trafficking often takes the form of transnational organised crime. Alongside drug and arm trafficking, it is considered one the three largest criminal activities and sources of funding for organised crime worldwide.
African and EU partners adopted the Ouagadougou Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Being, Especially Women and Children. The Ouagadougou Action Plan lists a series of initiatives aimed at fighting the root causes of human trafficking in countries of origin and destination, and at effectively combating human trafficking through a victim-centred approach.
The Ouagadougou Action Plan is a reaffirmation of the international instruments on trafficking in person and provides specific measures and recommendations to tackle trafficking in human beings in general and African women and children in particular. It also provides justification as to why the special focus is granted to women and children in Africa. Women and children are entitled to all rights and require legal protection in conditions of freedom, dignity and security due to their vulnerability. The discrimination based on gender and reduced agency on part of children exacerbates the problem of trafficking in children. The situation of women and children remain critical in Africa and the increasing phenomenon of sex tourism and other sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children is a scourge to humankind.
Adv. Bience Gawanas,
Trafficking must be distinguished from smuggling, which is a different phenomenon that requires a different approach.
”Smuggling of migrants” shall mean the procurement, in order to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit, of the illegal entry of a person into a State Party of which the person is not a national or a permanent resident’
The distinction between smuggling and trafficking can be difficult to make, as migrants who are voluntarily smuggled across state boundaries may be exploited during their journey or at their destination and fall victim to human trafficking.
Any form of migration may ultimately result in return, which can be voluntary or involuntary. Some migrants may decide to return because they failed to integrate or achieve their goals in their destination country; others may be motivated by the prospect of new opportunities in their country of origin, and the desire to be reunited with their families and to contribute to their homeland. The capacities of countries or origin need to be reinforced in order for them to successfully socially and economically reintegrate returnees, and prevent further onward irregular migration.
In accordance with the 2008-2010 Action Plan, a series of initiatives are being undertaken at national, regional, bilateral or multilateral levels, to implement recommendations of the Ouagadougou Action plan, such as:
- Sign and ratify relevant international conventions, in particular the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols;
- Establish or reinforce the necessary legal framework, prepare national and regional strategies and action plans, and ensure effective implementation and enforcement;
- Establish multi-disciplinary task forces within existing regional mechanisms;
- Strengthen capacities for law enforcement;
- Raise awareness of officials and potential victims;
- Strengthen preventive measures in countries of origin, transit and destination;
- Provide legal, medical and social protection and assistance to victims;
- Enhance bilateral and multilateral cooperation and coordination between European
and African countries of origin, transit and destination, and establish trans-national referral mechanisms between them.
The AUC launched a campaign called AU.COMMIT to drive the implementation of the Ouagadougou Action Plan. A AU.COMMIT launch event took place in Johannesburg in July 2009 for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), in Abuja in March 2010 for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and in Djibouti in December 2010 for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the East African Community (EAC). More about the AU.COMMIT campaign.
One of the key recommendations of the Ouagadougou Action Plan is to ‘Encourage development of Regional Action Plans to combat trafficking, taking into account the need for international, regional and bilateral co-operation, in addressing the transnational dimensions of trafficking in human beings’.
The role of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) is essential in developing regional action plans. ECOWAS and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) have for instance developed a Joint Plan of Action Against Trafficking in Persons in West and Central Africa. The MME Partnership’s 2nd Action Plan (2011-2013) foresees the implementation of a Specific Initiative on Human Trafficking. The AUC, in partnership with the EC, will assist RECs in developing and implementing such regional action plans in line with the Ouagadougou Action Plan and AU.COMMIT, that cover countries of origin, transit and destination. More on this specific initiative.
Initiative 3: Human Trafficking Initiative. The AUC, in partnership with the EC, will assist RECs in developing and implementing regional action plans to strengthen protection, prevention and prosecution of trafficking in human beings, in line with the Ouagadougou Action Plan and AU.COMMIT, that cover countries of origin, transit and destination. Furthermore a monitoring and evaluation tool will be designed and implemented at regional level to enable measurement of implementation and impact as well as to assist in the identification of best practices for the African Continent.
Migration, Mobility and Employment Partnership
See also the following documents from Regional Economic Communities:
- The Libreville Common Platform of Action of the Sub-regional Consultation of the Development of Strategies to Fight Child Trafficking for Exploitative Labour Purposes
- The ECOWAS Declaration on the Fight against Trafficking
- ECOWAS and ECCAS Joint Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children;
- The Maputo Consensus and Plan of Action to prevent and respond to trafficking
- Southern African Development Community (SADC) 10 Year Strategic Plan on Combating Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (2009 – 2019)
The EC is working on launching an anti-trafficking website (soon available). EU legislation, reports of the EU Group of Experts on trafficking in human beings and links to relevant sites are available on the EC online documentation centre. See also:
- Action-Oriented Paper on strengthening the EU external dimension on action against trafficking in human being (Council of the EU, 2009)
- EU plan on best practices, standards and procedures for combating and preventing trafficking in human beings (2005)
UNODC website contains useful information and news on human trafficking and migrant smuggling. See also:
- United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime and its Protocols: Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air (2000)
- UNODC Global report on trafficking in persons. (February 2009)
- 2010 65th session UNHCHR Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children
- US State Department TIP report (2010)