Massive Counter-Trafficking Programme Launched in Afghanistan
As the Afghanistan government prepares tough and comprehensive legislation to crack down on human trafficking, IOM and USAID have launched a USD 10 million, multi-year project to help to end the suffering of men, women and children subjected to forced labour and trafficking for sexual purposes.
Human trafficking has seen a massive spike in Afghanistan, due to a lack of public awareness about the phenomenon, as well as weakness of law enforcement institutions. The US Department of State 2015 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report lists Afghanistan as a source, transit and destination country.
Trafficking in Afghanistan is also often internal, meaning 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, transporting goods and drug smuggling in Afghanistan, as well as the Middle East, Europe and South Asia.
In the three-year USAID-funded project, IOM will use a “Prevent, Protect and Partnership” 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. IOM will work with government and non-government partners at local, provincial and national level in Afghanistan with regional linkages across south and central Asia to combat cross-border trafficking.
Speaking at the launch on Monday in Kabul, IOM Chief of Mission and Special Envoy Laurence Hart said: “Working hand in hand with Afghan government and civil society organizations is key in the fight against the perpetrators of trafficking in human beings. It will also help us to protect victims.”
Director of Human Rights Support at the Afghan Ministry of Justice Waheedullah Hedayat added: “In order for us to succeed in countering human trafficking, I believe explicit attention should be paid to coordination amongst government and non-government stakeholders.”
This project represents the largest counter trafficking grant IOM has ever received. It will unite media, labour recruiting agencies and business communities to raise public awareness, coordinate protection mechanisms and strengthen the prosecution process.