Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Transport Charity Moves to Encompass Fight Against Human Trafficking

New Target After Battling Malaria and Logistics Issues
Shipping News Feature

EAST AFRICA – UK – We are used to the innovative work carried out by transport charity Transaid covering a variety of good causes, all logistics related, with projects ranging from bicycle ambulances and truck driver instruction to the highly important, and successful MAMaZ Against Malaria (MAM) at Scale programme, which has saved children's lives, and recently been adapted to also fight Covid-19. Now however the battle has been extended to fight human trafficking.

In September the merger of the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) created the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) which has now funded a research programme to investigate human trafficking along key trade corridors in East Africa, with a focus on the role that transporters play in facilitating illegal trafficking and how this harmful practice can be interrupted.

The research is being managed by IMC Worldwide and implemented by a consortium led by Cardno Emerging Markets, which includes Transaid, North Star Alliance and Scriptoria. It aims to investigate the impact of High Volume Transport (HVT) corridors on social inclusion and look at what possible solutions there are to identify and prevent human trafficking.

Currently no African country fully meets the standards set by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act established in 2000, with human trafficking most commonly targeting vulnerable groups including women and children. Caroline Barber, Chief Executive of Transaid, says:

“As a consortium we want to better understand and shed light on the severity of the issues that surround human trafficking through long-distance transport corridors and cross-border posts. This will involve looking at the role stakeholders in the transport sector play, the legislative frameworks and opportunities to develop effective interventions and drive policy change.

“We believe that through this ground-breaking research and the development of appropriate prevention strategies with in-country partners, we can bring about lasting impact for vulnerable groups in both rural and urban communities.”

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime states a significant proportion of trafficking victims are unaware that they are being trafficked at the time of transport, due to deception. Therefore, increasing community awareness around the signs of human trafficking and how to avoid becoming trafficked may decrease its occurrence.

Globally, women make up three-quarters of the identified victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation and 35% of individuals who are trafficked are for forced labour according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, 2018. Illegal migrants are also a vulnerable group who are susceptible due in part to the fact that they are less likely to seek help from authorities, lack knowledge of where to solicit aid, may lack an understanding of the local language and awareness of their rights.

Project activities will focus on Tanzania and Uganda; two countries where the consortium has extensive experience and can draw on existing partnerships. Uganda forms part of the busy Northern Corridor linking Kigali to Mombasa, and the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania is the start and end of a key transport corridor linking the port with Bujumbura. Both corridors will offer different perspectives during the research phase and subsequent pilot activities.

In January ninety six women and children were stopped by authorities at the Nairobi International airport. All Ugandan they were victims of an established East African trafficking ring claiming to be an established employment agency, headquartered in Kenya, and all destined to be delivered to the United Arab Emirates to work illegally and without documents or any protection against unscrupulous employers.

Caroline Barber hopes that with transport a vital cog in the criminal practice this new 21 month research programme will have the potential to reach and reduce the vulnerability of such most at-risk individuals. In the meantime if you wish to support the work of this very worthwhile operation there is no better time.

Last year the Transaid Christmas Appeal was its most successful ever, raising £33,185, more than £8,000 over the original target. With the pandemic affecting every charitable operation this year it will be a tough ask, but on offer is a choice of Christmas Appeal publicity packages, which include options for an exclusive personalised Transaid Christmas e-card design, and social media coverage, as well as prominent logo placement options in a variety of trade publications for any participating company.

Company logos can appear in ten industry publications offering valuable publicity and of course individual donations are always welcome. Full details of what’s on offer can be seen HERE.

Photo: Some women and girls apprehended en route from Kenya to the Middle East in another trafficking incident. Those responsible for such cases have received up to 30 year jail sentences for their crimes.