Trafficking in Persons has become a major concern for all countries of Western Africa. The Meeting of ECOWAS Heads of States, in December 2001, adopted a Declaration and the ECOWAS Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons (2002-2003). It directed the ECOWAS Executive Secretariat to prepare proposals for controlling trafficking in persons in the sub-region, with special consideration to the situation of trafficked children.
The UNODC project FS/RAF/04/R60 on the “Assistance for the Implementation of the ECOWAS Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons” will strengthen the capacity of the ECOWAS Secretariat and its Member States in implementing the ECOWAS Plan of Action, particularly as it relates to assessment of existing national legislation and the drafting of new legislation in response to the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children.
This Manual presents the definitions of trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants as well as general guidelines on investigation and prosecution of cases related to trafficking in human beings, with a focus on cooperation between ECOWAS Member States. This Manual is to be used as reference material and in training activities under the project.
How to use this Manual
Every section of the Manual includes some tools to help you to better manage your study process. The tools make each section a manageable unit. They include learning objectives, activities, examples and discussion topics that help you apply the course concepts to your previous experience. Relevant legislation is enclosed at the beginning of each section for ease of reference. Please use the self-assessment questions at the end of each section to test your understanding of the material. This Manual aims to facilitate an interactive relationship between the student and the course material.
This Manual is partly based on two other manuals: UNDP Best Practice Law Enforcement Manual for Fighting against Trafficking of Human Beings, developed in Romania under UNDP project ROM/01/009; and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) Manual, developed within the framework of the European Union Stability Pact.
UNODC wishes to sincerely thank UNDP Romania and ICMPD for their cooperation and the authorization to use parts of their manuals in the UNODC project activities.
Western African States adopted a Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons (2002-2003) within the framework of ECOWAS. The plan will be revised and updated in 2006, as part of a regional conference on trafficking in persons in West and Central Africa to be held in Abuja in June 2006. The existing Plan of Action includes the following objectives:
Legal framework and policy development
1. States who have not yet done so, shall ratify forthwith and fully implement ECOWAS Convention A/P1/7/92 on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and ECOWAS Convention A/P1/8/94 on Extradition.
2. States who have not yet done so, shall sign, ratify, and fully implement the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
3. States who have not yet done so, shall sign, ratify, and fully implement the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the Convention.
4. States shall adopt laws criminalizing trafficking in human beings in line with the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children thereto.
5. States shall adopt and implement the laws and administrative structures needed to support the provisions of United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the Convention, governing international cooperation and assistance in preventing, investigating and prosecuting cases of trafficking by organized criminal groups.
6. States shall adopt legal provisions for the protection of victims of trafficking, and ensure that their domestic legal systems contain measures that offer victims of trafficking in persons the possibility of obtaining compensation for damage suffered.
7. States shall ensure that their laws and administrative practices provide information to victims about the status of relevant criminal and other legal proceedings and an opportunity to voice their views and concerns in a manner not prejudicial to the rights of the defence and that the status of any such proceedings are considered prior to any repatriation of the victim.
8. States shall consider adopting legislative or other appropriate measures that permit victims of trafficking in persons to remain in their territory, temporarily or permanently, in appropriate cases; and shall give appropriate consideration to humanitarian and compassionate factors in the consideration of permitting victims of trafficking to remain in their territory.
9. States shall take responsibility for victims of trafficking in persons, who are their nationals, or persons with the right of permanent residence in their territory at the time of entry into the territory of the receiving State by facilitating and accepting, with due regard for the safety of such persons, the return of such persons without undue or unreasonable delay.
10. States shall take measures that permit the denial of entry into the country and/or the revocation of visas of persons wanted for the commission of crimes related to trafficking in persons.
11. States shall establish a National Task Force on Trafficking in Persons that will bring together relevant Ministries and Agencies in developing policy and taking action against trafficking in persons, and calling on Inter-Governmental Organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and other representatives of civil society, as necessary.
12. The National Task Force designated by each State shall develop recommendations for a national plan of action against trafficking in persons. The National Task Force should also monitor and report through their government to the ECOWAS Secretariat on the progress of the implementation of this Initial Plan of Action.
13. A Unit for the coordination of the efforts to combat trafficking in persons shall be established within the ECOWAS Secretariat. Pending the establishment of this Unit, the Legal Department of the ECOWAS Executive Secretariat shall coordinate and monitor the implementation of this Plan of Action and follow-up on other related developments in Member States in the fight against trafficking in persons.
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