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Consultative Workshop on Operationalising the Ouagadougou Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings & Launching of the African Union (AU) Commission Campaign against trafficking in persons

By UNITED NATIONS
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OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina-Faso, November 23, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Invitation to representatives of the media to cover the workshop and to attend the opening ceremony and press briefing

WHAT

Two-day consultative workshop on operationalising the Ouagadougou Action Plan to Combat Trafficking In Human Beings Especially Women and Children & Launching of The AU Commission Initiative Against Trafficking In Persons (AU.COMMIT) Campaign With The Regional Economic Communities.

WHO

• Advocate Bience Gawanas, Commissioner for Social Affairs of the AU

• Mr. Mandiaye Niang, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Representative for Southern Africa

• Mr. Bernardo Mariano-Joaquim, International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Directorfor East and Southern Africa

WHEN

Opening Ceremony starts on 29 November 2011, 09:00-10:00 am followed by a press briefing at 10:00

WHERE

Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa,Kopanong Hotel, Tel: +27 (11) 749-0000, Fax: +27 (11) 967-1389, 243 Glen Gory Road, Norton Estate, Benoni, South Africa, http://www.kopanong.co.za.

OBJECTIVES

• The consultative workshop will foster effective ways of networking, coordination and cooperation among Member States and partners to address trafficking in persons in Southern Africa in a more strategic and programmatic manner. The objective will also be to sensitise SADC member states on the operationalisation of the Ouagadougou Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children, and on the regional launching of the AU. COMMIT campaign.

• The AU.COMMIT Campaign endeavours to raise awareness of the AU's continued commitment towards addressing the problem of trafficking in human beings throughout the continent. The AU. COMMIT campaign is aimed at galvanising activities undertaken by the AU Commission, including global, regional and national initiatives towards more synergised and coordinated actions to combat trafficking in persons in Africa.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES

The workshop is expected to formulate a clear way forward within SADC on the translation of the Ouagadougou Action Plan into measures and common standards for preventing trafficking, prosecuting traffickers and providing assistance to victims of trafficking. The Regional Consultative workshop will explore:

• The roles of government, CSO, Media and international partners;

• Identify best practices and durable solutions; and

• Outline set of recommendations on the way forward.

PARTICIPANTS WILL INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING

• The Regional Economic Community Secretariats (RECs);

• Southern African Development Community (SADC) Member States;

• Civil Society Organisations;

• Media organisations;

• UN/AU Social and Human Development Cluster members and development partners;

• Relevant organs of the AU such as the Pan African Parliament, the African Commission on Human & Peoples' Rights, Committee of African Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Expert Committee on Women, NEPAD;

• Regional police chiefs' organisations; and

• Relevant departments of the AU Commission.

Partners will include the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

BACKGROUND

In recent years, the fight against trafficking in persons has gained much prominence in international and regional forums, which resulted in the adoption of international instruments and the launching of several programmes to address the scourge. Among those are the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (2000); and the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) programme (2004).

In January 2007, the African Union adopted the Executive Council Decision EX.CL/Dec.324 (X) which endorsed the Ouagadougou Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children. The decision called upon the Chairperson of the AU Commission in collaboration with IOM and other partners to advocate for the implementation of the Action Plan. Furthermore, the Commission, in collaboration with IOM, was requested to assist Member States with the development and implementation of sound migration policies aimed at addressing trafficking in human beings, especially women and children. The Chairperson of the African Union Commission is to report periodically on the implementation of the Ouagadougou Action Plan. It also calls the International Community to continue providing assistance towards the attainment of the objectives contained in the Ouagadougou Action Plan. Furthermore, the Sixth African Development Forum, in November 2008, jointly organised by the UN Economic Commission for Africa, African Development Bank, and the African Union, again reiterated the need for the prompt popularisation and implementation of the Ouagadougou Action Plan. Similarly, the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership (Lisbon Action Plan, 2008) particularly the Africa-EU Partnership on Migration, Mobility and Employment, calls for more action to combat trafficking in persons.

Additionally, the AU Plan of Action on Drug Control and Crime Prevention (2007-2012), adopted by the AU Assembly in January 2008, provides for coordination of activities to fight human trafficking, to protect victims and prosecute offenders.

Against this background, the Department of Social Affairs of the African Union Commission in partnership with the UN/AU Social and Human Development Cluster (SHD) launched the “AU Commission Initiative against Trafficking (AU.COMMIT) Campaign” in June 2009 at the AU Commission in Addis Ababa. With the Ouagadougou Action Plan at the centre of its objective the campaign reaches out to Member States, the Regional Economic Communities (REC's) and Civil Society Organisations in taking serious measures against combating trafficking in human beings. It also aims at consolidating the achievements of the AU Commission, the RECs, Member States and partner organisations while encouraging all actors to utilise the Ouagadougou Action Plan as a reference to develop and reform their policies, laws and interventions on trafficking in human beings, especially women and children.

Taking the campaign further, and as per the Executive Council Decision EX.CL/Dec.324 (X) the AU Commission in collaboration with SADC, IOM and UNODC is organising a Regional Consultative Workshop for SADC Member States on the operationalisation of the Ouagadougou Action Plan on 29-30 November 2011 in Johannesburg, South Africa.