Afghan Officials, Community Leaders Trained to Combat Human Trafficking

Date Published: 
Sunday, November 16, 2014

In response to reported incidents of human trafficking along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, IOM facilitated a workshop on counter-trafficking from 10-11 November for officials and community leaders in Afghanistan’s Khost province.

Military operations in North Waziristan, Pakistan have displaced thousands of families along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border since the beginning of July. Most have sought refuge from the fighting in the neighbouring Afghan provinces of Khost and Paktika.

As thousands of Pakistanis and Afghans entered Afghanistan, reports began to come out of suspected cases of human trafficking, including forced marriage and sexual exploitation.

“With the emergence of suspected trafficking cases in Khost, there was a strong need to raise the awareness of local authorities and communities on the nature and extent of the problem, and how to address it,” said IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission Richard Danziger.

The two-day workshop, funded by the Government of Japan and facilitated by Hagar International, included representatives from the Afghan National Police, Border Police and judiciary as well as community and religious leaders. The 30 participants learned how to identify suspected trafficking cases, the legal framework for prosecuting trafficking in Afghanistan, how to protect victims and the religious tenets against trafficking.

The awareness of human trafficking among the public and authorities has increased over the last ten years according to an IOM-commissioned report soon to be published.  This has led to more cases of both sexual and labour exploitation being identified including young female victims trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced prostitution in border areas.

“Human trafficking is a big challenge for Afghanistan, and a crime just as damaging as terrorism,” said Khost Governor Abdul Jabar Naeemi, speaking at the event. “This training is very important, and I ask all of the participants to take what they have learned and put it to use.”

Further counter-trafficking workshops are planned in the coming weeks for local authorities and community leaders in Paktika and Herat provinces. Both provinces have high levels of cross-border movement and are risk areas for trafficking.

For further information, please contact Matt Graydon at IOM Afghanistan (mgraydon@iom.int, +93 794 100 546)