UNODC raises awareness on human trafficking in West and Central Africa
( UNODC ) - UNODC's Regional Office for West and Central Africa, in collaboration with the Senegalese anti-human trafficking taskforce organized the first regional day against Human Trafficking on 9th November 2013 in Dakar, Senegal. This event was co-chaired by the UN Resident Coordinator in Senegal, the representative of the Ministry of Justice of Senegal and was attended by several representatives of governmental bodies and diplomatic missions in Senegal as well as civil societies organizations and students.
This initiative served two purposes. Firstly, the day aimed to bring together civil society organizations, policy makers, academic scholars, and international organizations involved in the region to identify new avenues of cooperation to fight trafficking in persons. Secondly, the day was aimed to reach the largest public possible in order to make citizens aware of this often unknown phenomenon in order to be able to act themselves and encourage their governments to act.
As stated by Regional Representative of UNODC, Mr. Pierre Lapaque, trafficking in persons is a serious violation of human rights and no countries are spared. Several West and Central African countries have signed and ratified the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (2000). Even though legislation against trafficking in persons has been promulgated in many of the countries in the region, many countries are facing severe challenges to enforce their legislation.
During the day, two panel discussions led by experts of trafficking in persons, researchers and legal experts were held in the main hall of the University Cheikh A. Diop. Distinguished guests from the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and University Cheikh Anta Diop and experts from UNODC, IOM, civil society organizations as well as students from the University discussed the following topics: fundamental concepts related to trafficking in persons, challenges for effective implementation of anti-human trafficking legislation consistent with the international obligations, the role of research community in the fight, challenges and good practices at the field level on victim assistance as well as technical assistance to the States.
The outcome of the discussions will contribute to feed policy makers in the West and Central African region to enhance the development and design of anti trafficking legislation, policies and standards on trafficking in persons.
During the evening, a big sensitization concert and graffiti performances were organized with the message "un trait sur la traite" at the outskirt of Dakar that aimed to target general public. Talented and committed Senegalese hip hop and graffiti artists participated in the event and put different messages across using urban modes of expression.
During the concert, the artist made life graffiti on trafficking in persons and a more permanent graffiti will stay on the wall of one of the main roads in the highly populated area. In addition, a short sensitization video that was produced for the day was broadcasted both during the conference and during the evening that discussed the forms and realities of trafficking in persons in the region and raised a lot of attention in the public.