Left Menu
Development News Edition

Human trafficking becomes menace in East Africa over past decade: UNODC

The International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) staff in Kenya are all too familiar with these sorts of cases.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Nairobi | Updated: 24-01-2020 21:36 IST | Created: 24-01-2020 21:36 IST
Human trafficking becomes menace in East Africa  over past decade: UNODC
“Sadly, there are similar stories from countries across the region,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Regional Director for the East and Horn of Africa.   Image Credit: Wikimedia

The rescue last week of roughly 100 children and young Ugandan women here as they prepared to fly to the United Arab Emirates to labor as domestic workers, reinforces the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime's (UNODC) recent assessment that human trafficking has become a menace in East Africa over the past decade.

The International Organization for Migration's (IOM) staff in Kenya are all too familiar with these sorts of cases. Last May 19 Ugandan girls were rescued and in Sept 2018, nearly 60 others were rescued as they prepared to board a flight to Oman.

"Sadly, there are similar stories from countries across the region," said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Regional Director for the East and Horn of Africa.

"It is important to ensure countries have policies and legislation in place to address the violations of migrant workers' rights, smuggling, and trafficking in persons as well as combatting organized crime."

A two-day forum of Labour and Social Protection Ministers and high-level government officials from the East and Horn of Africa this week signed a regional cooperation agreement that is an important step in that direction, making it harder for human traffickers to exploit young people looking for work in Gulf states.

The agreement finalized signed Tuesday at a forum hosted by the Kenyan government, with support from IOM and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), aims to harmonize labor migration policies in the region to make labor migration, safe, orderly and humane by establishing a common platform for engagement with the Gulf states and other countries that are major employers of African migrants.

Attendees from Kenya, Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania.

The lack of harmonized labor migration policies means migrants risk exploitation and abuse through unfair practices including excessive working hours, passport confiscation, confinement and denial of salary.

Representatives also agreed to form a Regional Ministerial Labour and Social Protection Forum, with a rotational chairmanship.

"This committee, with additional membership from development partners, will take the lead in driving the implementation of key agreements from the Forum," said Kenya's cabinet secretary for Labour and Social Protection Simon Chelugui.

"It will also advise and provide progress reports to the ministers in charge of Labour Migration in the region on the Agenda of this and subsequent forums."

The ministers agreed to cooperate on the provision of diplomatic and consular assistance for migrant workers, especially in countries where some states did not have diplomatic representation and committed themselves to expand bilateral labor migration agreements beyond the level of unskilled workers, such as domestic workers, to incorporate other professionals.

IOM recorded at least 140,000 people migrating on the Eastern route from the Horn of Africa to Yemen risking their lives in dangerous water crossings. These journeys usually start in Ethiopia's rural communities of Oromia, Amhara, and Tigray regions, passing through Obock on Djibouti's coast, or from Somalia's Puntland region.

Yemen, however, is not their destination. Almost 90 percent of migrants arriving in Yemen last year were bound for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whose long-established Ethiopian community comprises a considerable portion of some estimated five million undocumented migrants living in the kingdom.

IOM Regional Director Mohammed Abdiker explained that the countries of the region face a challenging employment picture, and need to grow by at least 6 percent annually for the next two decades just to absorb a young, rapidly-growing workforce.

"However, economic growth alone is not sufficient; it needs to be accompanied by a structural transformation in the infrastructure and service sectors for true job creation," Abdiker said.

"The lack of economic opportunity and the expectation to find better livelihoods elsewhere, continue to constitute two of the major push and pull factors for migration."

(With Inputs from APO)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

All party meeting - Blocking dialogue not culture of Bengal, Mamata needs to speak up

If that happens, history will record it as the dark age of Bengal....

Diya Jalao for COVID 19: How Modi put Power Grids and power warriors at risk?

While Prime Minister Narendra Modis staunch supporters are busy in search of hidden science behind the sudden announcement of 9minutes9pm campaign but his ignorance of the actual science has put the nation in another danger. The scientists ...

Videos

Latest News

Three COVID-19 patients die in Pune

Three more persons succumbed to the coronavirus disease in Pune on Tuesday, taking the toll the Maharashtra district to eight, an official said. All the three patients were above 60 years of age and suffered from other co-morbid health cond...

Stock of N-95 masks seized in Mumbai; two held

Crime branch officials on Tuesdayseized the stock of N-95 masks, which are in high demand, andhand sanitisers collectively worth Rs 27.63 lakh from a godownin suburban Goregaon in Mumbai and arrested two persons,police saidThe seized stock ...

Surat doctor told not to return home after neighbours allege her of being COVID-19 infected

A Surat doctor was allegedly abused and threatened verbally by her neighbours and was told not to return home from the hospital as she must be infected with COVID-19. The incident took place on April 4.Speaking to ANI, Dr Sanjivani, Assista...

Take this break as a bitter pill, find ways to stay physically, mentally fit: Gopichand

The job losses and pay cuts are bitter pills to swallow but common man still needs to figure out ways to stay physically and mentally fit even as COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc, feels chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand. The CO...

Give Feedback