Launching of the AU Commission initiative against trafficking in persons (AU.COMMIT) Campaign with the regional economic communities and workshop on operationalisation of the Ouagadougou action plan

By African Union Commission (AUC)

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 30, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Department of Social Affairs (DSA) of the African Union Commission (AUC) is launching the AU.COMMIT Campaign and organizing a workshop on Operationalizing the Ouagadougou Action Plan to Combat Trafficking In Human Beings Especially Women and Children in Johannesburg, South Africa on 29-30 November 2011. The workshop will be held jointly with the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

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. It also aims to galvanise 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.

In her statement at the Launch of the AU.COMMIT Campaign for the SADC Region, Advocate Bience Gawanas, Commissioner for Social Affairs, AU said “Many African states are yet to ratify the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and/ or fully implement it with specific legislation in their respective domain and today I urge our SADC Member States to galvanise your commitments to this course, also by ratifying the mentioned Protocol and to join us in implementing the Ouagadougou Action Plan in addressing this crime, in securing justice for victims on and from our continent, and in ending impunity for traffickers”

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 Workshop is addressing the following items:

- The Ouagadougou Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children (2006).

- Coordination, development of policy indicators, setting of benchmarks, follow-up and monitoring mechanisms, and identification and dissemination of best practices in support of the implementation of the Ouagadougou Action Plan and the AU.COMMIT Campaign.

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.

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.