Niger Celebrates National Day of Mobilization Against Trafficking in Persons

Published Date: 
Tue, 10/01/2019 - 22:00
Country: 
Niger

Niamey – Leading up to the National Day of Mobilization Against Trafficking in Persons in Niger on September 28, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized a two-day workshop on trafficking in persons for the Protection Cluster in Niger.

On the 28th of September 2013, 92 bodies, including those of women and children, were found abandoned by human traffickers in the Ténéré desert in Niger. The tragedy led in May 2015 to the adoption of the 2015-036 law by the Parliament of Niger, which criminalizes the smuggling of migrants in Niger.  

Trafficking in persons represents of one of the worst violations of human rights under international law. In Niger, the National Agency for the Fight against Trafficking in Persons and the Illicit Transport of Migrants (ANLTP/TIM) is responsible for combating human trafficking and migrant smuggling, through the development and implementation of appropriate programmes, strategies, campaigns and policies.

Studies suggest that humanitarian crises, such as armed conflicts or natural disasters, can exacerbate  trafficking in persons. Forced displacement due to an existing crisis may compel vulnerable populations to seek the services of trafficking networks or unknowingly be recruited into trafficking networks.

The high number and severity of trafficking cases perpetrated by armed groups in recent years in Niger have urged humanitarian responders to strengthen counter-trafficking initiatives, most notably through a more comprehensive protection response. However, to date, the integration of counter-trafficking efforts in protection programmes is still not addressed in a comprehensive manner due to various challenges, including the lack of specialized knowledge on trafficking and its prevalence.

“Trafficking in persons is often overlooked during humanitarian crises which can impact the level of vulnerability of potential victims,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger. “It’s important to raise awareness on the issue and to understand how we can strengthen our response and assistance to victims of trafficking.”

During the last few years, the Global Protection Cluster Anti-Trafficking Task Team co-led by IOM, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Heartland Alliance International (HAI), conducted a stock-taking assessment with Protection Cluster Coordinators in 29 humanitarian contexts to better understand how trafficking is addressed in cluster coordination mechanisms.

The report provided an early overview of the clusters’ counter-trafficking efforts, their gaps and recurring challenges, including hurdles to include counter-trafficking in the overall humanitarian response. Additionally, the study also highlighted the willingness of practitioners to undertake counter-trafficking actions, despite current capacity and knowledge gaps.

The Task Team aimed to respond to these needs by developing several training webinars and disseminating appropriate guidance to field practitioners, including guidelines on identification, a checklist for risk management and a pocket guide for interviewing victims. 

The two-day workshop “Integrating anti-trafficking programming into existing mechanisms” provided the 30 protection partners working in crisis settings the opportunity to generate ideas and solutions for the sustainable integration of counter-trafficking activities into the existing protection work, and to consult protection practitioners on the guidance developed by the task team.

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger at Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email: mchiriac@iom.int.