Fighting trafficking in person and smuggling of migrants in Burkina Faso

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Transnational crime networks, which thrive on regional crises and border vulnerabilities, represent one of the many challenges Sahelian Sates are facing. To strengthen authorities' responses to these challenges, and in particular those related to trafficking in person and smuggling of migrants, UNODC organized a training session from 10 to 14 April 2017 in Ouagadougou. This training was intended for Police and National Gendarmerie school instructors in Burkina Faso.

Around 20 police and gendarmerie officers, several of whom had served in criminal investigation services, or were involved in the fight against transnational organized crime, took part in the training session.

Gathered in joint police / gendarmerie working groups, participants discussed the theoretical principles necessary when dealing with human trafficking and smuggling of migrants. These workshops enabled them to better define these two offenses, in order to master their judicial qualification and the differences between them, while specifying existing international measures against organized crime.

As participants focused on investigative techniques and on taking into consideration victims of trafficking, they strived to define good practices in this field, and reflected on how they could be implemented in Burkina Faso.

In addition to these debates, a mock hearing was also organized, to allow them to measure the stakes and challenges entailed by caring for, following up with and protecting smuggled migrants.

                     Group photo of the participants after the workshop
Group photo of the participants after the workshop

The schools' Director recalled the necessity of mastering the concepts related to these crimes, as Burkina Faso is not only a country of transit, but is also directly concerned by human trafficking both at the national level, and regional level, as it is part of a region strongly impacted by irregular migrations. After thanking UNODC for this training, he called for further action in this area in the future, to strengthen the skills of trainers, particularly from a judicial point of view.

UNODC has supported Police and Gendarmerie Schools' initial training in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger since 2015in order to strengthen governments' capacity to effectively combat trafficking in person and migrant smuggling. This project is part of the Sahel Programme, UNODC's Contribution of UNODC to the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.