The African Union (AU) has launched a
new initiative to combat human trafficking on the continent. The launch Tuesday came on the same day the United States added six more African countries to a
blacklist of countries trafficking in humans.
Chad, Eritrea, Niger,
Mauritania, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe were added to the list in the U.S. annual
report which analyzes the efforts in 173 countries to combat human trafficking.
The new plan, called the AU Commission Initiative against Trafficking, was
launched as part of the commemoration marking the "Day of the African Child".
AU's Commissioner for Social Affairs Bience Gawanas said in an interview with the VOA that the new campaign aims to eliminate human trafficking, especially women
idea behind the AU Commission Initiative against Trafficking is really aimed at
galvanizing support, (a) against trafficking but also for the implementation of
those instruments that have been adopted whether it is at national, regional,
continental or international level," she said.
said the new initiative was also necessary because the AU anticipates there
might be an increase in trafficking during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
States Tuesday added six more African countries to a blacklist of countries
trafficking in human beings.
said the issue of human trafficking has become prevalent throughout Africa.
two weeks ago, I attended the SADC (Southern African Development Community) ministerial
meeting on trafficking…and during the discussion it was quite clear that there
is a serious concern about trafficking, not only in West Africa…but both in
eastern Africa and southern Africa," Gawanas said.
said apart from the adoption of a plan of action, the fight against human
trafficking was never prominent on the agenda of the African Union.
that we have launched it, it would be expected that member states will have
measures for prevention, will have measures for protection, and will have
measures for prosecution of traffickers," she said.
also said the AU campaign against human trafficking will include raising public
awareness and making sure governments have the right instruments in place to
execute the plan.
said the global economic downturn might also be contributing to the rise in
human trafficking in Africa.
as it is the case with HIV/AIDS, as it is the case with many other challenges
that are faced by the different continents, whatever happens in the global
economy will have an impact," she said.
called on Africans to give human trafficking the importance it deserves if the
continent is to move away from what she called today's modern slavery.