South Africa Joins UNODC Global Initiative on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling. 28/9/2016

Published by UNODC

 Earlier this year, the
Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants
(GLO.ACT), an initiative from UNODC, the International Organization for
Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), in
partnership with the European Union (EU), was launched globally. This
programme forms part of a joint response to assist countries to develop
and implement effective responses to trafficking in persons and the
smuggling of migrants and focuses its efforts on assistance to
governmental authorities, civil society organizations, victims of
trafficking and smuggled migrants.

In this context, and following up on the spirit of
last week's meeting on Large Movements of Migrants and Refugees which
took place during the General Assembly in New York, UNODC and the South
African Ministry of Home Affairs launched GLO.ACT in the country. South
Africa is one of 13 countries selected to participate in this effort, in
part due to its importance as a source, transit, and destination
country for both trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. The
launch of the cooperation programme focused on the globalized nature of
these crimes and their devastating impact on shared communities.

At the launch ceremony, South Africa's Minister of
Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, welcomed this partnership, which aims to
address the "twin scourge of trafficking in persons and smuggling of
migrants, which too often leads to death and exploitation." He further
appealed to regional partners not to turn a blind eye as "offenders
undermine and evade law enforcement, criminal justice, and social
welfare systems." Mr. Gigaba added that often powerful and
well-resourced interests do not take these crimes seriously enough, as
their own children and women are not as vulnerable as those of the poor
and working classes. "When questioned they reply, 'what is the rate of
child or women trafficking?', as if to suggest that one person smuggled
or trafficked is an acceptable figure," he said.

For his part, UNODC Deputy Executive Director Aldo
Lale-Demoz emphasized that there is no region that is not affected by
trafficking in persons or migrant smuggling. "On trafficking in persons
alone, UNODC has identified at least 510 flows worldwide, and has
collected data on victims with 152 different citizenships, " he said.
Mr. Lale-Demoz situated GLO.ACT directly in the Sustainable Development
Agenda - specifically Target 8.7 calling for the "eradication of forced
labour and human trafficking", and Target 10.7 for the "facilitation of
orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration." He also noted that
the critical factor for the success of GLO.ACT is the engagement of
Member States, and commended South Africa for its efforts to address
human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

In their interventions, the joint programme's
partners focused on the importance of multidisciplinary engagement and
strategic cooperation. Josiah Ogina, IOM's Regional Representative,
linked GLO.ACT to the
Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa
(MIDSA), a regional collaboration initiative between the IOM and the
Southern African Migration Project (SAMP) aiming to bring together
senior officials to discuss and agree on migration-related issues of
regional concern. He also commended South Africa for having existing
legislation and strong initiatives on which to build and thanked the EU
for recognizing the need to protect victims. Yulia Krieger, Deputy
Representative of UNICEF in South Africa, praised the global initiative
for working to mainstream child protection in its work, and emphasized
that the level of care provided to children must not be influenced by
their possible migratory status.


Furthermore, Manuel Iglesias Roa, First Counsellor
of the EU Delegation to South Africa, highlighted similarities between
the EU and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the
challenges they face in terms of migration, and expected the EU's
contribution to strengthen the "protection, support and assistance to
victims, especially women and children" within the programme, while
having the hope that GLO.ACT would strengthen the strategic partnership
between the EU and South Africa.