From 27-29 October 2015, IOM, with support from the European Union and the Japanese Government held a 2nd training and review of Puntland’s referral mechanism for victims of trafficking in Garowe.
Puntland’s referral mechanism for victims of trafficking was established in 2014 and helps strengthen various actors’ efforts to collaborate, coordinate and systematically provide assistance to survivors, while ensuring there is no duplication of efforts.
The training and review was facilitated by Puntland’s Ministry of Women and Development Affairs, the Attorney General’s Office, IOM, UNICEF and UNSOM; and was attended by members of the referral mechanism which comprises the Puntland Counter Trafficking Board and members of the Child Protection Working Group.
The meeting involved the review of both the referral mechanism and a revised 2016-2018 strategic and response action plan that was developed by the Puntland Counter Trafficking Board based on the previous 2013-2014 action plan. The members of the referral mechanism discussed and ratified the two year strategic and response plan, which will ensure coordinated interventions to address human trafficking.
To support the Puntland Counter Trafficking Board and build the capacity of members of the referral mechanism, IOM seconded a human trafficking investigation expert to the Office of the Criminal Investigation Department, where the expert is building the capacity of the police to better investigate and manage cases.
Furthermore, a human trafficking legal expert was seconded to the Office of the Attorney General where she conducted a review and analysis of loopholes and gaps in the existing penal code and criminal procedure for human trafficking. Together with the Ministry of Justice, Criminal Investigation Department, and other relevant parties, amendments and recommendations will be made to ensure laws within the human trafficking legal framework meet international standards.
The training was opened by Amina Mohamud Nur, Director of Department of Protection at Puntland’s Ministry of Women and Family Affairs, who stated: “We have to utilize the knowledge from this training because it indicates how the Child Protection Working Group and Puntland Counter Trafficking Board will meet their responsibility and commitment to protect and provide human rights-based assistance to Victims of Trafficking in Puntland.”
During the training, Mohamed Mu’arad from Relief Development Initiative said: “The Somali community is highly mobile, and though there has always been a lot of smuggling, in many cases it has now morphed into human trafficking.”
He added: “There are criminal networks that traffic people for the purpose of exploitation; removal of organs, ransom collection and other forms of exploitation. Therefore large scale information and mobilization campaigns involving government institutions and civil society organizations need to be conducted. Increased capacity building of government institutions and other actors involved in tackling this serious crime is required.”
Daria Fane, the EU Delegation to Somalia’s Head of Cooperation said: “Training of officials is a key input and allows for better services to be provided by the Puntland authorities. It is important that all justice actors continue working more and more with each other as this will allow for a strengthened and united action against human trafficking.”
Gerard Waite, IOM Somalia Chief of Mission said: “Members of the referral mechanism require more support, capacity building and training to improve their skills and knowledge in order to better manage cases of human trafficking.”