The United Nations and IOM reinforce their support to Sudan in combating human trafficking and smuggling of persons

KHARTOUM, 27 May 2015 – The United Nations and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) welcome the endorsement by the Government of Sudan of the Joint 2015-2017 Strategy to Address Human Trafficking, Kidnappings and Smuggling of Persons.

The cooperation between the Government of Sudan, the United Nations and IOM in addressing the serious protection risks faced by vulnerable asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants started in 2012, with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and IOM working with the Sudanese authorities to address the phenomenon of trafficking and smuggling in Sudan, from strengthening security structures to providing assistance to victims of trafficking. The very fruitful cooperation with the authorities has also resulted in the passing of the Human Trafficking Act in 2014, which notably established the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking in Sudan. As a result of these interventions, kidnappings no longer occur in the refugee camps in eastern Sudan, and there has been a significant decrease in the number of trafficking cases reported to UNHCR, from 338 cases in 2012 to 113 in 2014.

“There is still a long way to go to effectively address this regional phenomenon. The number of newly arriving refugees to Sudan doubled last year and the tragic deaths of more than 1,800 people so far this year in the Mediterranean Sea highlights the need for transnational cooperation and longer-term solution”, UNHCR Representative in Sudan Mohammed Adar said on behalf of the United Nations and IOM at the launch ceremony of the 2015-2017 Strategy hosted by the Government of Sudan on 27 May.

In this context, the 2015-2017 Joint Strategy to Address Human Trafficking, Kidnappings and Smuggling of Persons in Sudan will not only build on the achievements made to date but will also bring UN agencies’ specific expertise in building national capacity to tackle transnational organized crimes, child protection and reproductive health. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as new co-signatories of the Strategy are today joining UNHCR, IOM and the Government of Sudan in their combat against human trafficking and smuggling of persons.

The complex routes towards the Mediterranean involve refugees and asylum seekers, victims of trafficking, smuggled and stranded migrants, unaccompanied children, as well as those seeking work and education or to join family members already abroad.

“Whether intended or not, many spend extended periods in Sudan where they live and work before perhaps returning home or making the onward journey. Sudan has come along with other African and European partners under the Khartoum process to jointly tackle these issues. The United Nations and IOM Strategy is a key vehicle to operationalize the Khartoum Process objectives in Sudan”, Mario Lito Malanca, IOM Chief of Mission in Sudan says.

“It is critical we move beyond a local counter-trafficking and smuggling response and find alternatives to onward movements. This includes enhancing self-reliance opportunities for asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants in camps and urban areas in ways that also benefit Sudan’s generous host communities. While we thank donor countries for the important support already received, more resources will be needed to maintain our collective response”, Adar concludes.

Contacts
UNHCR Khartoum: Nicolas Brass, brass@unhcr.org, tel: +249912179443
IOM Khartoum: Renata Bernardo, rbernardo@iom.int, tel: +249922406645
UNICEF Khartoum: Alison Parker, aparker@unicef.org, tel: +249912179116
UNFPA Khartoum: Elke Mayrhofer, mayrhofer@unfpa.org, tel: +249912167715
UNODC Cairo: Aspasia Plakantonaki, aspasia.plakantonaki@unodc.org; +20213591645