TRAFFICKING AND EXPLOITATION OF WOMEN IN AFRICA TIME FOR REGIONAL ACTION TO STOP THE TRAFFIC By Joy Ngozi Ezeilo INTRODUCTORY REMARKS Trafficking is a complex phenomenon caused by a diverse set of circumstances that is related, but not limited to a person‟s status, income disparities, discrimination and asymmetries of information as well as political, social and economic disadvantages. Human trafficking can be considered from a number of different perspectives including: human rights; crime control and criminal justice; migration; and labour. Almost every country of the world is affected either as a source, transit, and/or destination country for women, children, and men trafficked for the purposes of sexual or labor exploitation (domestic servitude and bonded labor). Trafficking occurs within and across national borders, often with one consignment of people crossing many borders to reach their final destination. INTRODUCTORY REMARKS Available information suggests that trafficking in women especially within the West and Central Africa for sexual and economic exploitation is on the rise. Despite the problem of quality, reliable data it is widely agreed that most internationally trafficked people are women and children of low socio-economic status, and the primary trafficking flows are from developing countries to more affluent countries. Internally, numbers can be even harder to obtain, and it is suggested that current numbers are greatly underestimated. SOME FACTS AND FIGURES ABOUT TRAFFICKING "Some 2.5 million people throughout the world are at any given time recruited, entrapped, transported and exploited-a process called human trafficking-according to estimates of international experts." (UNODC: 2008) Annually, according to U.S. Government-sponsored research completed in 2006, approximately 800,000 women and children are trafficked across national borders, which does not include millions trafficked within their own countries. Approximately 80 percent of transnational victims are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors (TIP Report: 2007) SOME FACTS AND FIGURES ABOUT TRAFFICKING Trafficking in persons has become a global business, reaping huge profits for traffickers and organized crime syndicates, generating massive human rights violations, and causing serious problems for governments. And what we do not know according to GAATW- June 2002- (website: http://www.inet.co.th/org/gaatw): How many people are being trafficked and the financial scale of the industry? It is difficult to estimate the number of people trafficked, as most of this movement is irregular and unregulated. Trafficking also differs according to region in terms of who is trafficked, the sectors in which they work, and their areas of origin and destination. Women especially younger women in West and Central Africa for exploitation primarily in domestic services and the sex industry. SOME FACTS AND FIGURES ABOUT TRAFFICKING As has been observed Trafficking in the African region is at significant levels and takes a number of forms, such as for domestic work, farm labour and forced prostitution. Countries can be those of origin, destination and/or transit, with trafficking occurring within and across national borders, and to other regions such as Western Europe. The situation of internal conflict in some parts of Africa has resulted in many young girls and boys being abducted from areas affected by the insurgency and being forced to serve as soldiers or as sexual slaves to the rebel commanders and soldiers. – See the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW), June 2002. TRAFFICKING &EXPLIOTATION OF WOMEN IN AFRICA A Source to Europe and a Route to Asia. Inter-country trafficking persists Trafficking within national borders is on large scale. Internal trafficking, mostly from rural to urban areas persist Women & Children trafficked for various exploitative activities AFRICAN INMIGRATION AFRICANS to TOWARD SPAIN EUROPE VIA The Desert Principales voies d’accès Nord Africains Subsahariens Subsahariens Subsahariens Africains de l’Est ROUTES VIA THE SEA ROUTES ROUTES Algérie Mauritania Senegal Niger MALI Gambia Tchad Guinea Bisau BURKINA FASO Guinea BENIN NIGERIA Sierra Leone COTE Liberia D’IVOIRE GHANA Central African Republic CAMEROUN Equatorial Guinea Congolese Repulic Congo • Red: domestic work + informal urbain GABON sector, • Blue: fishing sector (sea, lake, river), • Brown: mining sector, • Green:agricultural sector Démocratic Republic of Congo • White: other sectors of activity FACTORS THAT PROMOTES TRAFFICKING IN AFRICA Africa has become a major source and supplier of trafficked persons around the world and increasing number of women and girls, men and boys are trafficked within and outside the region. The following are some of the root causes and factors that promotes trafficking especially on women and children: Poor governance that creates a climate in which traffickers can prosper, due to an ineffective, absent or corrupt public administration; Cultural and religious practices of fostering children in Africa which promotes trafficking especially the practice of sending children to other relatives for purposes of education or apprenticeship; Conflicts that has engulfed most part of Africa has increased vulnerability of persons to trafficking especially women and children; FACTORS THAT PROMOTES TRAFFICKING IN AFRICA Poverty/High unemployment and human insecurity- freedom from fear and want and livelihood challenges. Economic pressures and persistent poverty in Africa are leading to a resurgence of human trafficking especially on women and children for forced prostitution, domestic labour and sexual exploitation; Gender inequalities- sex discrimination in employment and stereotypes about women as sex objects and chattels to be bought and sold; Role of ICT: Use of information technology, including internet, for the purposes of exploitation of the prostitution of others, for trafficking in women, for sex ; Tourism exploiting women and children and for child pornography, paedophilia and any other forms of sexual exploitation of children; Illiteracy coupled with lack of awareness International Frameworks for Combating Trafficking in Women and Girls The UN Convention Against Transnational and organized Crime and the supplementary Protocol to Prevent, Suppress And Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women And Children 2000 (known as Palermo Protocol), The Protocol came into force 25th December 2003 and specifically addresses trafficking in persons and defines “Trafficking in Persons” in its Article 3 as follows: TRAFFICKING DEFINED The recruitment, harbouring, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, be 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 shall include at minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. RELEVANT INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW ON TRAFFICKING Universal Declaration on Human Rights (1948) ; The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966): specifically articles 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 12, 14,and 26; The International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (1966): specifically articles 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, and 12; The Convention on elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979): specifically articles 2, 6, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, and 16 ; The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989): specifically articles 7, 16, 19, 28, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, and 39;The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (2000): specifically articles 1, 2, 3, 8. RELEVANT INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW ON TRAFFICKING Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984) specifically articles 1, 3, 13, and 14 The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (1965) specifically articles 2, 5,and 6 The ILO Convention on Forced or Compulsory Labour No C.29 (1930) specifically articles 1, 2,and 6; The UN General Assembly Declaration on Violence Against Women (1993) specifically articles 2 and 3; The UN resolution adopted by the General Assembly (A/61/144) 19th December 2006 on Trafficking in Women and girls particularly the need for global efforts, including international cooperation and technical assistance programmes, to eradicate trafficking in persons, especially women and children, demand the strong political commitment, shared responsibility and active cooperation of all Governments of countries of origin, transit and destination; INTERNATIONAL ACTION/COOPERATION Establishment in 2007 of the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UNGIFT) to coordinate actions among governments, United Nations Organs, Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organizations and the Private Sector in order to fully ensure protection, prosecution and prevention in dealing with human trafficking. COMMITMENTS OF AFRICAN COUNTRIES ON TRAFFICKING AND ACTION TAKEN TO MEET THOSE COMMITMENTS Regional Frameworks and Initiatives for Combating Human Trafficking especially on Women and Children Trafficking is a grave violation of human rights especially the right to liberty, and the right not to be held in slavery or involuntary servitude; the right to be free from cruel and inhumane treatment, the right to be free from violence, and the right to health; Thus, there are regional legal frameworks designed to fight trafficking in women The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (1981) – see articles: 2, 5, 15, 18, 60 and 61; The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, (1990)- see articles: 3, 15, 16, 21, 24, 25, 27, and 29; The Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa (2003)- see articles: 2, 3, 4, 11, 13 and 24. COMMITMENTS OF AFRICAN COUNTRIES ON TRAFFICKING AND ACTION TAKEN TO MEET THOSE COMMITMENTS African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (1990- Art 29) and the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa- Article 4 (2) (g) prohibits trafficking in children and women and require state to prosecute the perpetrators of such trafficking and protect those at risk. Article 18 (3): The State shall ensure the elimination of every discrimination against women and also ensure the protection of the rights of women and the child as stipulated in international declarations and conventions. 2006 AU/EU Ouagadougou Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, especially women and children. COMMITMENTS OF AFRICAN COUNTRIES ON TRAFFICKING AND ACTION TAKEN TO MEET THOSE COMMITMENTS Revised AU Plan of Action on Drugs Control and Crime Prevention (2007 – 2012) Adopted a the 3rd Session of the AU Conference of Ministers for Drug Control and Crime Prevention held 3- 7th December, 2007 is aimed at combating trafficking from crime control perspectives. The Plan recognized that in a number of African countries, drugs, crime and corruption are undermining development efforts. High levels of income inequality, a high share of youth in population, high rates of urbanization, low levels of criminal justice resources, firearms proliferation, wars and civil conflicts as well as weak controls over criminal activities leave Africa vulnerable to organized crime, drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings, money laundering and corruption. Crime, in a broad sense, inhibits development in Africa by destroying human and social capital, drives away business and investments, and undermines the ability of the State to promote development1 COMMITMENTS OF AFRICAN COUNTRIES ON TRAFFICKING AND ACTION TAKEN TO MEET THOSE COMMITMENTS DECISION ON STRENGTHENING THE COOPERATION BETWEEN THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE AFRICAN UNION IN COMBATING TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS Adopted at the Assembly of the African Union, 11th Ordinary Session, 30 June – 1 July 2008, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt ( Assembly/AU/Dec.207(XI) The Recent Resolution DIRECTS the Permanent Representatives of the Member States of the African Union to the United Nations in New York to propose and start negotiations on a Global Action Plan for combating trafficking in human beings under the auspices of the President of the United Nations General Assembly, DECISION ON STRENGTHENING THE COOPERATION BETWEEN THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE AFRICAN UNION IN COMBATING TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS taking the 2006 Ouagadougou Action Plan and other regional Action Plans, in particular the ECOWAS Initial Action Plan Against Trafficking in Persons as a basis for the African position, and to coordinate with other interested Member States with similar action plans or similar positions towards achieving our objectives- See Paragraph 7 And REQUESTS the Commission to provide all necessary support to the Permanent Representatives in New York throughout the negotiation process and to intensify its interaction with all organs and stakeholders dealing with this issue with a view to ensuring the early adoption of the proposed Global Action Plan, and to present a Progress Report, to the next Ordinary Session of the Assembly in January 2009. (See paragraph 8) Also relevant is the AU Migration Framework for Africa; Sub Regional Initiatives- examples from West Africa- ECOWAS and SADC Regions ECOWAS Declaration to combat Trafficking in Persons (2001) and the ECOWAS Initial Action Plan Against Trafficking in Persons Adopted on the 17th of December 2001at a Ministerial meeting in Dakar Senegal Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the ECOWAS countries. The Plan of Action commits ECOWAS countries to urgent action against trafficking in persons in 2002 – 2003, setting achievable goals and objectives. It calls for countries to ratify and fully implement crucial international instruments of ECOWAS and the United Nations that strengthen laws against human trafficking and protect victims of trafficking especially women and children. Sub Regional Initiatives- examples from West Africa- ECOWAS and SADC Regions The Action Plan calls for new special police units to combat trafficking of persons. It also aims for training for police, customs and immigration officials, prosecutors and judges; this training will focus on the methods used in preventing such trafficking, prosecuting the traffickers and protection of the rights of victims, including protecting the victims from the traffickers. It takes into account human rights and child and gender – sensitive issues, and encourages cooperation with non – governmental organizations and other elements of civil society. Under the Plan, ECOWAS States will set up direct communication between their border control agencies and expand efforts to gather data on human trafficking. The information gathered will be shared between all ECOWAS countries and the United Nations. Sub Regional Initiatives- examples from West Africa- ECOWAS and SADC Regions States will create a task force or agency on trafficking in persons, as focal points to direct and monitor the ongoing implementation of the Plan of Action at the national level and report on a bi – annual basis, to the ECOWAS coordination structure set up within the ECOWAS Secretariat. The ECOWAS/ECCAS Joint Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children in West and Central Africa (2006-2009). Sub Regional Initiatives- examples from West Africa- ECOWAS and SADC Regions The Draft Southern African Development Community (SADC) being proposed by the SADC region has adopted definition similar to Palermo Protocol 2000 to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children- SADC/CM/2/2008/8.2 In its Article 20 is on Gender Based Violence and 20 (5) stipulates that: (5) State Parties shall, by 2015: (a) enact and adopt specific legislative provisions to prevent human trafficking and provide holistic services to survivors, with the aim of reintegrating them into society; (b) put in place mechanisms by which all relevant law enforcement authorities and institutions may eradicate national, regional and international human trafficking networks; Sub Regional Initiatives- examples from West Africa- ECOWAS and SADC Regions (c) put in place harmonised data collection mechanisms to improve data collection and reporting on the types and modes of trafficking to ensure effective programming and monitoring; (d) establish bilateral and multilateral agreements to run joint actions against human trafficking among countries of origin, transit and destination countries; and (e) ensure capacity building, awareness raising and sensitisation campaigns on human trafficking are put in place for law enforcement officials all parties. Furthermore, Article 20 (7) provides that State Parties shall establish special counselling services, legal and Police units to provide dedicated and sensitive services to survivors of gender based violence. Country Level Actions: Nigeria: National Agency on Trafficking in Persons and Related Matters (NAPTIP) established by an Act of Parliament in 2003 and further amended in 2005 to establish Victims Funds amongst others. NAPTIP remains a shining example from Africa that needs to be replicated. It is indeed a new approach to combating trafficking through victim centered approach- For more information see www.naptip.gov.ng Ghana: Has started action similar to that of NAPTIP. Nigeria Egypt: “End Human Trafficking Now” Initiative of Suzan Mubarak Women‟s International Peace Movement” Has raised awareness on the issue of trafficking in Africa in cooperation with AU and the UN. WHAT HAS WORKED WELL? Some Examples of What Works: Multi- Agency Task Force on Trafficking- for better coordination and there must be good communication strategy Special Anti- Trafficking Unit or Agency- like NAPTIP in Nigeria National Rapporteurs to gather, exchange, and process information on human trafficking as well as monitor action. Specific legislation to deal with issue of trafficking in persons and related matters Training for Law enforcement agencies to identify cases of human trafficking, investigate them and prosecute as the case may be. To facilitate their work, the Law enforcement agencies particularly the Police must be equipped including ability to use high tech to track and arrest offenders. WHAT HAS WORKED ? Some Examples of What Works: Victims of Trafficking Funds- has been set up by Nigeria- NAPTIP Tracing and ceasing money made by traffickers from the illicit trade in human beings To enhance information-sharing and data-collection capacities as a way of promoting cooperation to combat trafficking in persons, including through the systematic collection of sex- and age- disaggregated data”. Human Rights Standards for treatment of victims of trafficking Counselling, Psycho- social support, medical and legal services are required towards victims rehabilitation and re-integration CHALLENGES/OBSTACLES AND CONSTRAINTS When it comes to the challenges associated with tackling human trafficking, lack of reliable and complete data are a major problem, especially in Africa. Other challenges include: Since trafficking is mostly a cross border phenomenon, no one state can tackle it alone and cooperation is therefore required; When trafficking is internal, cultural and historical internal migratory patterns and family/community support systems intersect to make identification and intervention difficult; Movement or operations of traffickers is clandestine which makes detection difficult; Often community or family are involved in the trafficking, making the situation more complex; Victims are often hidden in the unregulated sectors of the community and economy doing sex work, domestic work, begging, armed conflicts, or farm labour; CHALLENGES/OBSTACLES AND CONSTRAINTS Trafficking is intertwined with other criminal activities such as smuggling, drugs and arms trafficking; There exists limited political will to combat trafficking. There are for example many agreements and conventions signed, but little is generally being done on implementation; Many countries have limited resources for law enforcement and re-integration of victims; The root causes of trafficking, such as wide spread poverty, gender discrimination, conflicts, corruption and restrictive immigration policies of favored countries for migrants, are insufficiently tackled; Other crimes are involved in trafficking (e.g. falsification of travel documents and smuggling) which often criminalizes actual victims. Critical Issues on Trafficking that should be considered in setting an Agenda Migration and Linkages to Trafficking; Linkages to HIV and AIDS; Linkages to Conflict; Linkages to Growing Poverty/Economic Recession worldwide; Linkages to other forms of gender based violence and gender inequality; The problem of demand that encourages trafficking needs to be studied more deeply; The Root Causes of Trafficking that needs to be addressed; Dearth of Research; and International regional and sub- regional Cooperation's- context and coordination. Lessons Learned International Cooperation and coordination is critical and no one country can go it alone; Crime alone perspective would not work in combating human trafficking. We need multi-levels approach that will focus on perspectives including: human rights; crime control and criminal justice; migration; and labour; Victims centered approach is crucial for rehabilitation and full integration of victims to assume constructive roles in the society. RECOMMENDATIONS African governments should ratify the Palermo Protocol and other human rights instruments at international and regional levels that is aimed at combating human trafficking especially the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa; Member states to have effective law that to tackle all aspects and forms of trafficking including related criminal activity that may occur at different stages of trafficking; National Plan of Action to combat trafficking: The African Union should encourage countries in Africa to develop and implement comprehensive national plan of action on combating all forms of trafficking and provide necessary technical assistance towards that; Sub regional cooperation and coordination is required to combat inter- state trafficking within the continent. A good model is action taken by ECOWAS. RECOMMENDATIONS AU to Increase cooperation and capacity of member states to handle readmission and reintegration of trafficking victims in line with human rights Establish dedicated Anti- trafficking agencies/units in every country and inter-agency working group for coordination of all efforts aimed at combating trafficking. Such Anti- agency must have specialized units on counseling medical, legal and psychosocial support for victims; Specialist trainings on law enforcement especially for investigators, immigration officials, prosecutors and judges; Strengthening of border and immigration control including sharing of intelligence through Interpol while adopting fairer immigration laws and policies to encourage legal migration; Increase public awareness about trafficking in women and children and condemning it as an act of violence. RECOMMENDATIONS Also, there is need to increased education and awareness at source, transit and destination countries to expose the risks involved; Africa Countries acting in concert and as individual countries should take urgent action to address the root causes of trafficking such as growing poverty and youth unemployment and gender inequalities that increases women and girls vulnerability to trafficking; The African Union should map out resources for applied research to gather quantitative and qualitative data on the scale, seriousness and trends on trafficking in the African region; Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations should collaborate and take steps to ensure that measures adopted for the purpose of preventing and combating trafficking in persons does not have an adverse impact on the rights and dignity of persons, including those who have been trafficked. Governments of Africa must pay attention to internal trafficking, which is currently being neglected due to pressure from Europe and America. CONFISCATING PROCEEDS OF CRIME The Recommended principles and guidelines on human rights and human trafficking (2002) developed by the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights provide that effective and proportionate sanctions shall be applied to individuals and legal persons found guilty of trafficking or of its component or related offences. States shall, in appropriate cases, freeze and confiscate the assets of individuals and legal persons involved in trafficking. To the extent possible, confiscated assets shall be used to support and compensate victims of trafficking. In order to deal with the proceeds of the crime we need: See Guidelines 15 and 16 CONFISCATING PROCEEDS OF CRIME Effective Proceeds of Crime laws aimed at depriving criminals of the proceeds of their crimes; In order to confiscate the proceeds of a trafficker in the home country, cooperation has to be strengthened between the local police and other more specialized institutions, such as the Nigeria Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to investigate it and track these proceeds. For proceeds in a foreign country, Police has to cooperate with foreign police to share information and intelligence. For tracking proceeds across several countries work with Interpol, Europol or its equivalent in any region to trace and confiscate such proceeds of crime. SOME CONCLUSIONS Africa has become a major source and supplier of trafficked persons around the world and increasing number of women and girls, men and boys are trafficked within and outside the region; and we need to battle and change this reality and image of Africa concerning human trafficking; There is need for AU to enhance cooperation and coordination between it and the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and all other organs and stakeholders dealing with this important issue in the continent and beyond. SOME CONCLUSIONS Africa leaders should tackle with determination some of the influencing factors in trafficking such as growing poverty and low standard of living; gender Inequality and the low status of women; demand for commercial sex (sex tourism) and cheap labour; the inadequacy of laws and law enforcement. We now need refreshing new ideas and insights into this phenomenon. I hope that together we can examine our „solutions‟ of the past and begin to try to propose better ways of looking to the future. Stop the Traffic! Together We Can! THANK YOU FOR TAKING ACTION TO STOP THE TRAFFIC! JOY NGOZI EZEILO United Nations Special Rapporteur on Trafficking especially on women and children Founding Director, Women Aid Collective (WACOL) Also: Senior Lecturer, Department of Public & Private Law, Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus.
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