Enhancing the Essential Role of Civil Society Organizations in Countering Human Trafficking
Cairo - Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are key partners in anti-human trafficking responses; helping save hundreds of lives every year. Being very close to the community, CSOs usually have a solid footprint at a community level, which can facilitate detecting victims of trafficking in persons. CSOs can provide victims and other vulnerable populations with the required assistance and protection services, support them through the criminal justice process, raise public awareness about the crime, address the root causes and promote livelihood opportunities for the survivors.
Given this important role, the National Coordinating Committee for Combating and Preventing Illegal Migration and Trafficking in Persons (NCCPIM&TIP) in Egypt, the European Union (EU), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (ROMENA), and the International Organization for Migration in Egypt (IOM), joined hands in organizing a regional workshop on the “Essential role of CSOs in Anti-Trafficking Responses.”
This regional workshop is considered the first of its kind involving CSOs at the MENA region level, with delegations from Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia, comprising of 21 participants (12 men, 9 women), and experts from Bangladesh, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Nepal. During the workshop, CSOs’ representatives from different countries are actively discussing experiences and the challenges they encounter in providing victims with the necessary support, good practices from the different countries, relevant experiences, and lessons learned.
Ambassador Naela Gabr, Chairperson of NCCPIM&TIP, affirmed during her speech the pivotal role played by civil society organizations in providing services and protection to the most vulnerable groups, as well as in dealing with victims of trafficking, especially in raising awareness about the crime of trafficking in persons and its different forms, providing protection and care services to victims, and create opportunities for them to facilitate their reintegration into society in order to avoid being exploited again.
Ms. Cristina Albertin, Regional Representative of UNODC ROMENA, recalled that “Partnerships with relevant stakeholders to counter human trafficking is recognized in the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), which addresses TiP/SoM holistically as required for an effective response in countering and preventing trafficking in persons. CSOs can play a vital role in enhancing such response, enhancing the reach to communities and persons that are vulnerable, or have been victimized.”
From his side, Mr. Carlos Olivier, Chief of Mission of IOM Egypt, mentioned that “CSOs can make active, constructive, and positive contributions towards the response to the Human trafficking, more broadly, the protection of human rights for all. In Egypt, the launch of the National Human Rights Strategy in 2021 recognizes the role of CSOs to cooperate with state institutions to spread awareness among the society and to provide protection and assistance to persons in needs”.
Ms. Graziella Rizza, counselor to EU Delegation to Egypt has recognized the importance of civil society organization role in response to serious human rights violations in the trafficking of human beings. She praised the role played by NCCPIM&TIP in cooperation with UNODC and IOM in framework of EU Italian funded RDPP in counter trafficking responses for the support of CSOs.
Dr. Talat AbdelKawy, Chairperson of the General Federation of NGOS, highlighted that the Egyptian government pays great attention to combating the crime of trafficking in persons. In this regard, Egypt has actively and positively participated in the international community in the preparation and drafting of international agreements that have been developed to criminalize and combat these practices. Egypt has also ensured that it continues to play its pivotal role in human rights by prohibiting and criminalizing all forms of slavery, human trafficking, and human organs through the texts of the 2014 Egyptian Constitution.
The workshop is providing an opportunity for participants to network across countries, share experiences and explore cooperation modalities with their national counterparts/state actors as well as with international partners based on each country’ context.
The workshop is funded through the generous support offered by the European Union under IOM’s project “Regional Development and Protection Programme (RDPP)” and UNODC’s Regional EUTF project “Dismantling Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Criminal Networks in North Africa”.