10 March 2023 – Bishoftu, Ethiopia: IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP) has successfully conducted a national inter-university, research, and policy institutions Seminar on good practices of Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (TiP & SoM) on 6-10 March 2023 in Bishoftu, Ethiopia. The overall objective of the seminar was to provide a platform for these institutions and relevant state actors for exchange of ideas, sharing of information, and creating a mechanism to have the knowledge products that are available as well as create a future collaborative environment for an effective prevention and countering of the threat in the country and beyond.
The seminar also aimed to strengthen the cooperation between State and Non-State Actors specifically the academia and research institutions for enhanced information sharing, collaboration, and complimentary efforts in the fight against these threats. Furthermore, the national seminar was intended to provide a network for the relevant actors within Ethiopia for better coordination and cooperation among the various agencies to mitigate the threat of human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
On behalf of H.E Doctor Workneh Gebeyehu, the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Commander Abebe Muluneh Beyene, Director of IGAD SSP and IGAD Head of Mission to Ethiopia, has officially opened the Seminar. In his comprehensive speech, he emphasized on the threat of TiP & SoM at regional and specifically at national – Ethiopia level. He stressed on the importance of the need for prevention aspect of the threat and said: “effective action to prevent TiP/SoM requires whole government approach such as socio-economic measures at national level. We must identify the causes and magnitude of the problem, identify the possible responses, formulation of development policy, promotion of national policy based on knowledge and research, and capacity building.” Furthermore, He said that “Ethiopia should have strategic framework that will ensure balanced and integrated response to TiP/SoM focus on (a) prevention, (b) prosecution, (c) protection, (d) national Coordination and cooperation, (e) international cooperation, and (f) border governance”.
The national seminar brought together forty (41) senior academicians (professors) and practitioners from universities and law enforcement agencies including the criminal justice sector. Accordingly, delegates from Universities (Addis Ababa, Civil Service, Bahir Dar, Hawassa, Wollo, Jimma, Wollayta Sodo, Wachemo, Jigjiga, Gondar, Arba Minch, Arsi, Police University, and National Intelligence College), and state institutions of the Federal Police Communication, Ministry of Justice (Legal research & drafting directorate, national partnership coalition, transnational organized crime directorate, and directorate general for recovery of assets related crime), Financial Intelligence Services, Federal First Instance Court & High Court Special courts on TiP and SoM, Ministry of Women & Social Affairs, Ministry of Labor & Skills, Ministry of Education, Immigration & Nationality Services, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs have attended the seminar with full participation. National subject-matter experts from the Addis Ababa University, College of Law and Ministry of Justice have facilitated and shared their experiences that resulted in a common understanding of the threats of TiP and SoM.
During the five days intensive seminar, delegates discussed, debated, and shared experiences on various thematic areas through expert presentations, practical exercises, case scenarios, and group discussions. The following broad thematic areas on TiP/SoM were the topics of discussion:
- Human trafficking and Migrant Smuggling as Transnational Security Threats (TSTs) – Regional and Ethiopia specific
- General concepts, definitions, differences, similarities, 3Ps, and features
- Traffickers and smugglers in Ethiopia: networks, routes, vulnerable areas, etc
- Efforts of the Government of Ethiopia
- Information/Data availability – research done, systematized/no approach for collecting/sharing of knowledge, evidence, etc
- Legal frameworks (instruments): International, regional, and national
- Roles of academic institutions: creation, gathering, sharing & dissemination of knowledge & skills, community services, influencing policy, research, etc
- Networking among Academia, Research & Policy Institutions and Practitioners; Lessons from other initiatives
- UNSCR and the global approach to – global report, Ethiopia specific, findings, efforts of UNODC
- Investigation and prosecution criminals: collaboration of academic institutions
- Criminal proceeds of traffickers/smugglers – asset freeze, financial investigation, AML, etc
- Human Rights and TiP/SoM – victims, investigation and prosecution of criminals, the law, etc…
- The gender dynamics of TiP/SoM: applying the 3Ps, gender responsive approach
- Victims of TiP/SoM – demography, vulnerability for exploitation, rehabilitation, etc
- Challenges and opportunities for using research/studies on TiP & SoM
The seminar was concluded by developing a way forward – recommendation from academic and practitioners’ perspective which will be taken up by the respective national and regional stakeholders to support the efforts of Government at national and regional level in mitigating the threat of Trafficking in Persons (TiP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SoM).The national seminar was generously funded by the European Union Trust Fund EUTF) and implemented by IGAD SSP and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) under the agreement to implement the project titled “IGAD Promoting Peace and Stability in the Horn of Africa Region (IPPSHAR)”.