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Press release:IOM Backs Efforts To Combat Human Trafficking In Somalia

Storyline:National News


In commemoration of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, IOM is calling on all stakeholders to strengthen synergies in order to break the silence on human trafficking.

According to the United Nations Convention Against Organized Crime, human trafficking – which is the acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them – is a virulent cancer that is spreading across the globe.

“Virtually every country in the world is affected by human trafficking. The challenge for all countries, rich and poor, is to build synergies and target the criminals who exploit desperate people, and to protect and assist victims of trafficking and smuggled migrants, many of whom endure unimaginable hardships in their bid for a better life,” says Ali Adi, IOM Somalia’s Chief of Mission.

Hiroko Nishino, Programme Manager of IOM Somalia’s Counter-Trafficking Unit adds, “It is very difficult for victims of trafficking to speak up because of the stigma that is related to social ills like rape, but we need to break the silence so that solutions to human trafficking can be sought at the community-level. We also need to strengthen government’s capacity to prosecute offenders within a clear legal framework, so that Somalis have more confidence in the local authority.”

Even though it has been difficult to ascertain the prevalence of human trafficking in Somalia, anecdotal evidence suggests that vulnerable women, men and children are trafficked for domestic servitude and labour in the agricultural sectors, as in the case of 15 children trafficked from Mogadishu and rescued by Puntland Authority with support from IOM. Most of them experience cruelty, abuse and inhuman treatment, with Puntland being a transit point to the Middle Eastern countries.

A case in point is a teenage girl who was kidnapped, raped, and impregnated by traffickers, before she was rescued by IOM and local government authorities.

To combat human trafficking in Somalia, IOM has been working closely with Puntland Authorities over the last two years to build their technical capacity to comprehensively respond to human trafficking.

“In partnership with IOM and various actors involved in counter trafficking, strides are being made towards improving the capacity of Puntland security agencies, justice institutions and civil society organizations by providing equipment and training that will help mitigate trafficking of humans and all kinds of irregular migration. Every effort is being made and will be made to promote human dignity and the well-being of migrants,” says Awad Hussein Ali, Director General, Ministry of Security and Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), Puntland Authority.

IOM’s counter trafficking program in Somalia is funded by the Government of Japan and the European Union.