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East Africa: Research into human trafficking in the region

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Baseline research begun by IOM on human trafficking in East Africa is expected to help governments in the region incorporate counter-trafficking policies into national legislation.

The nine-month research programme will be carried out in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi, countries that are either not signatories to the 2003 UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol, or have not ratified it.

There is little or no accurate data on human trafficking in East Africa. What is known is that much of the current trafficking is for domestic labour or sexual exploitation with Kenya emerging as a regional centre. However, in Uganda and Burundi, the trafficking of children for soldiering is also an issue. An estimated 20,000 children are thought to have been abducted by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda since the conflict began 19 years ago.

Trafficking is also both internal and international. Kenya, is a source, transit and destination country for international trafficking. Victims are either trafficked from south and south east Asia through Kenya and then on to Europe; from India, Bangladesh and Nepal into Kenya or from Rwanda and Burundi into Kenya's coastal regions.

Although Tanzania is a source, transit and destination country for international trafficking, most of the trafficking is internal, from rural to urban areas.

The research, instigated by requests from the Kenyan, Tanzanian and Ugandan governments to help them address the issue, expects to obtain accurate information on the magnitude of human trafficking in the region. Data focusing on geographical areas, trafficking trends and methods, as well as profiles of both traffickers and victims, will be gathered and systemised.

Other areas of study include the impact of trafficking on the health of victims and rehabilitation programmes for them. At the end of the research, IOM will also provide policy and legislative recommendations to each of the countries and identify areas of improvement in current counter-trafficking programmes.

For further information, please contact Ed McClain, Tel +254 20 4444 167, Email emcclain@iom.int or Virginia Brown, Tel: +254 724 255 177, Email vbrown@iom.int

International Organization for Migration
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