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Sudan inaugurates new plan to combat human trafficking

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231 victims of human trafficking freed by Sudanese forces on 8 May 2018 (ST photo)August 30, 2021 (KHARTOUM) — The transitional government on Monday launched a new national action plan to combat human trafficking in Sudan which is the primary transit country of migrants to Europe from the Horn of Africa.

With the participation of Justice Minister Nasreldine Abdel Bari and European Union Ambassador to Sudan Robert van den Dool, the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking (NCCT) inaugurated the National Action Plan for Combating Human Trafficking 2021-2023 in Sudan.

Undersecretary Ministry of Justice and NCCT Head Siham Osman stated that the three-year plan aims to curb human trafficking through several programmes to reduce poverty and offer new options for migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.

Also, the plan will ensure better protection and shelter for the victims including the establishment of specialised prosecutor offices and courts, cross-border cooperation and access for victims of trafficking to legal aid to improve investigation and prosecution.

The EU-supported action plan met the four core aspects to combating human trafficking including "Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Coordination and Partnership," said Osman.

During the first six months of this year, 29122 illegal migrants reached Italian shores including 1,428 Eritreans, 1,309 Sudanese. The number of Ethiopians was insignificant.

From January 31 May 2021, Libyan authorities intercepted over two 2000 Sudanese seeking to cross the Mediterranean sea and reach Europe embarking on dangerous boats.

In his remarks, Abdel-Bari reiterated his government commitment that the plan to fight human trafficking would maintain "the human dignity; that we must respect and preserve, whether a person is living in his country, travels within or migrates to other countries."

According to the UNHCR data for the past seven months, migrants from Bangladesh tops the list of countries of illegal migration to Europe with 6951 migrants who cross the sea mainly from Libya.

The Trafficking in Persons Report 2021 by the U.S. Department of State said that the Sudanese authorities did not "fully meet the minimum standards" for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts" in this respect.

Accordingly, the State Department placed the east African country in its Tier 2 watchlist to encourage Sudanese efforts to meet the international standards.

For his part, the EU envoy said that Sudan had made efforts to combat human trafficking, including the investigation, prosecution of human traffickers, and protection of victims.

He further said that the three-year plan aims to enable Sudanese institutions with EU support to facilitate safe and legal migration, combating illegal migration, providing protection and creating livelihood opportunities.

(ST)

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