Spotlight on Progress
Although African countries face challenges in effectively responding to all forms of modern slavery, many countries in the region are taking steps to strengthen their responses. Improvements in the legislative framework have occurred across the region with some notable examples. Côte d’Ivoire,Morocco, and Tunisia enacted comprehensive trafficking legislation in 2016 – a new development since the 2016 Global Slavery Index. As a result, in 2017, nearly 70 percent of African countries had criminalised human trafficking, an increase from the nearly 60 percent reported in the previous Global Slavery Index in 2016.
Kenya has demonstrated increasing efforts to eliminate modern slavery. In 2016, the government assigned labour attachés to Kenyan missions in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Saudi Arabia to protect vulnerable citizens employed in those countries. This is in response to the exploitation of large numbers of Kenyans migrating to the Middle East every year. These individuals are generally lured by promises of work, in the hope of sending remittances back to their families in Kenya. Instead they are exploited and abused by their employers. Overall, Kenya improved its government responses rating since the 2016 Global Slavery Index (from a CC rating to a CCC rating).
When compared with countries that have stronger economies, Sierra Leone also stands out as taking relatively robust action. Most notably, Sierra Leone’s coordination body, the Inter-Agency Human Trafficking Task Force, resumed activities in 2015 and approved the 2015-2020 National Action Plan. There is also evidence that an informal National Referral Mechanism has been implemented in Sierra Leone and is being used by the government and NGOs to refer victims of modern slavery.Elsewhere in the region, some governments are to be commended for collaborative efforts to end modern slavery. The Nigerian government is collaborating with the UK’s National Crime Agency, Border Force, and the Crown Prosecution Service to build its capacity to respond to human trafficking, including joint operations at Gatwick and Heathrow airports on profiling and identifying victims of trafficking and suspected traffickers. The governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana have taken steps to work with business and civil society to end the worst forms of child labour in the production of cocoa under the Harkin-Engel Protocol and the associated International Cocoa Initiative.Although the effectiveness of the protocol in reducing the number of children in hazardous child labour has been questioned, it is an important example of cross-sectoral collaboration – a critical factor in eliminating modern slavery from the economy.
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