ADDRESSING HUMAN TRAFFIC VIA TRAINING: AFRICA SHOWCASE
Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Human trafficking can make or break a country that is known the seat of human traffic operations. So abhorrent is the phenomenon of human traffic and smuggling that any country named as seat of operations will need to work harder to shore up its tainted image, craft public policy to address the ailment, and strengthen institutions that can address the problem.
So gargantuan is the ailment of human traffic today as it has become globalized, with mafia groups collaborating across borders to smuggle people outside. Not only that, smuggled humans are also utilized to smuggle gold, treasures, and drugs, thus multiplying the complications to the problem.
Capacity-building initiatives aimed at training stakeholders, both grassroots and country-wide volunteer organizations, is another key result area for addressing the problem directly. Below is one such showcase training in Africa conducted by the IOM and partners.
[Philippines, 24 August 2011]
IOM Provides Somaliland, Puntland and Djibouti Coastguards with Lifesaving Rescue at Sea Skills to Protect Vulnerable Migrants
Djibouti - Coastguards from Somalia's Puntland, Somaliland as well as Djibouti are taking part in an innovative IOM training programme to equip them with the necessary skills to assist and protect irregular migrants and asylum-seekers travelling at great risk through Somaliland, Puntland and Djibouti en route to Yemen and the Gulf States.
The six-day workshop, which opened yesterday in Djibouti City, brings together 50 coastguards as part of a Japanese-funded initiative to equip them with the necessary equipment and skills to assist and protect vulnerable migrants, trafficking victims and smuggled migrants.
"This training is critical to enhance the coastguards' ability to save lives," says IOM's Mixed Migration Coordinator Husham Halim. "We are particularly encouraged to see that for the first time, coastguards from Somaliland are taking part in the training alongside colleagues from Puntland and Djibouti. This will no doubt increase their ability to respond at a sub-regional level."
These workshops are part of a broader IOM programme to strengthen the protection of, and emergency assistance to, irregular migrants and asylum-seekers from Somalia and Ethiopia travelling through the region.
Every year, tens of thousands, mainly Ethiopian and Somali migrants and asylum-seekers, make the hazardous journey from their place of origin across the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden to Yemen and beyond. These individuals, driven by political unrest and extreme poverty face not only dangers at sea but also physical risks, harassment and discrimination during their journey on land.
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