United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, in its Fifth Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, said out of the 4799 victims detected in 26 sub-Saharan Africa countries, 3336 were in West Africa, including 2553 children.
The UNODC data suggested that close to 80 per cent of victims in West Africa were trafficked for forced labour, which till date, remains the major form of exploitation in the region.
It is on this backdrop, that the ECOWAS Commission, in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone, with the support of the African Programming and Research Initiative to End Slavery (APRIES), as well as the International Organization for Migration (IOM), organised the Regional Conference for ECOWAS member states on ending human trafficking, with the theme: ‘Charting a Way Forward for Deeper Cooperation in ECOWAS to End Human Trafficking.”
The essence of the conference is to share lessons learned in the implementation of the member states respective TIP Action Plans to improve protection, prevention, prosecution, and partnerships in the fight against TIP and provide a platform for cross learning and agreement on key value-added interventions in enhancing the implementation of the ECOWAS Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.
The conference will be opened by the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, and will be chaired by his vice, Dr. Mohamed JuldehJalloh. Ministers responsible for the fight against human trafficking in all fifteen member states and Mauritania are expected to attend, as well as, the technical focal points for combatting trafficking in persons.
The ECOWAS Delegation is to be led by the President of the Commission, Dr. Omar Alieu.
The conference will feature a closed-door ministerial roundtable to finalize the roadmap for the enhanced combat of trafficking in persons in the ECOWAS region, experience sharing amongst ECOWAS countries on the implementation of their respective TIP action plans.