AN International Organisation for Migration (IOM) forum which opens here today will tackle trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.
The forum is being coordinated by the Regional Office in Brussels and the Coordination Office for the Caribbean in Guyana. The three-day “Peer-to-Peer Exchange Meeting” will focus on counter-trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants. The event will bring to the region 60 delegates of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States and of the European Union (EU) to debate effective means of countering both phenomena at the local, regional and global levels, the IOM said in a release.
Running through to Thursday, the meeting brings together stakeholders involved in IOM’s “ACP-EU Migration Action programme,” following up on the joint ACP-EU Dialogue on Migration and Development.
Among other stakeholders, the First Lady of Guyana, Mrs. Sandra Granger and the Minister of Social Protection, Mrs. Amna Ally,are expected to attend and give speeches. Ambassadors of the European Union, the US and Canada are also attending, as are high representatives of several UN Agencies such as IOM, UNODC, UNICEF and UN Women.
According to the IOM,the meeting will provide a space to exchange on challenges, lessons learned, and good practices identified to date in the implementation of the ACP-EU Migration programme and of the recommendations spelled out on the ACP-EU Dialogue documents. ”This is an excellent opportunity to learn from the experiences of experts from these three regions in preventing and responding to both Trafficking in Persons and migrant smuggling, including protection of victims and migrants who have suffered human rights abuses,” stated IOM’s Rosilyne Borland, who will be facilitating the event.
Sustainable Development Goals
Trafficking and smuggling are both typified as crimes within the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) and related protocols1. Both actions are highly profitable businesses involving human beings and criminal networks that are very hard to trace by the authorities, the IOM said. The two topics, however, refer to two different criminal acts:Trafficking in Human Beings, being a crime against an individual and Smuggling of Migrants,which is a crime against the State. “It must be understood however that in spite of this difference, States usually have the same cadre of officials dealing with both issues”, says IOM’s Agueda Marin, Thematic Specialist in counter-trafficking in persons.
In September 2015, UN member states agreed on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), out of which three make specific reference to ending trafficking in human beings. The dialogue during the meeting will therefore include contributions by other UN agencies working in the fields of counter-trafficking and counter-smuggling of migrants, contributing to the drafting of concrete recommendations to the ACP-EU Dialogue to reach the targets set out in the SDGs.
More specifically, representatives of UN Women, UNODC and UNICEF are expected to deliver speeches on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls in public and private spheres (SDG 5.2), on ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children (SDG 16.2) and on ending modern slavery and human trafficking (target 8.7).
The ACP-EU Migration Action
IOM’s ACP-EU Migration Action, launched in June 2014, provides tailored technical support on migration to countries in all ACP regions. To date it has received 58 technical assistance requests from 44 ACP governments and 5 regional organisations. A third of these requests directly concern either counter-trafficking or counter-smuggling activities, with all of them touching, in one way or another, the targets set up in the SDGs.
The programme is financed by the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) and supported by the ACP Secretariat and the EU. In 2010, the ACP Group of States and the European Union agreed on a Joint Declaration on Migration and Development that was endorsed by the ACP-EU Council in June 2010. In this declaration, the parties committed to strengthening and deepening cooperation in the Governance of migration and coordination of dialogue built on strategies to address irregular migration, enable regular migration, and migration and development, including issues related to counter-trafficking in persons and counter-smuggling of migrants. This week’s meeting builds on the work done by the programme in both areas. Future peer-to-peer meetings will be held on other areas covered by the programme–namely: visas and readmission.