IOM Receives USD 10 Million from USAID to Fight Human Trafficking in Afghanistan

Date Published: 
Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced it will contribute USD 10 million to IOM to help to end the exploitation of men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and trafficking for sexual purposes in Afghanistan. This represents the largest counter trafficking grant IOM has ever received.

The US Department of State 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report lists Afghanistan as a source, transit and destination country for trafficking victims. IOM has been fighting human trafficking in Afghanistan since 2005.

Through the new, three-year USAID-funded project, IOM will use a “Prevent, Protect and Partner” approach to combat TIP issues in Afghanistan, by preparing Afghan institutions to effectively prosecute traffickers, protect victims, and improve regional coordination to combat cross-border trafficking.

“Trafficking is a really serious blight on Afghanistan,” said Laurence Hart, IOM’s chief of mission and special envoy in Kabul. “We will use training and information campaigns to strengthen law enforcement regionally, and we will keep victims safe through recovery services, repatriation and/or reintegration into their communities.”

In recent years, IOM has observed a steady increase in young women trafficked from bordering countries into Afghanistan.

Trafficking in Afghanistan is also often internal – many victims do not even leave their home provinces. The majority of Afghan trafficking victims are children who end up in carpet making and brick factories, domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, begging, driving and transporting goods, and drug smuggling in Afghanistan, as well as the Middle East, Europe and South Asia.

“Although slavery is considered a thing of past, it continues to exist throughout the world, affecting the lives of millions of people,” said USAID Afghanistan Mission Director Herbert Smith. “It is important to focus on the rights and needs of victims in the fight against trafficking in persons.”

While it is difficult to provide actual numbers for internal and cross border flows due to the security and cultural context of Afghanistan, IOM has been assisting an increasing number of victims: from 13 victims in 2005 to 341 in 2012.

IOM’s interventions include the development of a national law on trafficking. It has also worked closely with government ministries to raise awareness and prepare law enforcement officials, judiciary and religious leaders to respond to the issue.

For further information please contact Laurence Hart at IOM Afghanistan, Tel: +93 794100525 Email: lhart@iom.int