African Union – Horn of Africa Initiative on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling
Type: Regional consultative process on migration (Region: Africa)
Formal association with regional or multi-stakeholder organization: African Union
Founded in 2012 and established in 2014, the AU-Horn of Africa Initiative on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling (AU HoAI) serves as a forum for participating countries from the Horn of Africa region to debate issues, exchange information, share experiences and deliberate on the status and counter measure approaches to human trafficking and migrant smuggling in the Horn of Africa region.
The first regional Ministerial conference establishing the AU-HoAI on Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants was held in October 2014, in Khartoum, Sudan and was preceded by a Senior Officials Meeting. The meeting adopted a strategy and action plan to be implemented through regional and national level interventions.
Establishment of the AU-HoAI follows the African Union’s (AU) commitment to, and increased focus on issues of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants took which form officially with the adoption of the Ouagadougou Action Plan to combat human trafficking, especially women and children in 2006 and regional activities which have followed as part of the AU.COMMIT campaign (African Union Commission Initiative Against Trafficking).
This commitment was reaffirmed during the 25th Ordinary Summit of the AU Assembly held in June 2015 in Johannesburg when a Decision (Assembly/AU/Decl.6(XXV)) was issued by Heads of State and government highlighting the urgency to “strengthen efforts to combat human trafficking and smuggling of migrants” through the effective implementation of existing international and regional frameworks. The decision also requested regular reports to the AU Executive Council on the implementation of the AU-HoAI strategy and action plan.
AU HoAI aims at:
- Supporting the effective implementation of the Migration Policy Framework for Africa and the Ouagadougou Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, as well as other relevant policies, positions, and strategies at national levels as they pertain to Africa;
- Promoting regular dialogue among participating countries and other relevant actors including other transit and destination countries;
- Building common understanding on the causes, consequences, patterns and to predict future trends of irregular migration in the region;
- Enhancing cooperation among participating countries especially in the area of dismantling, investigating and prosecuting the criminal networks of smugglers and traffickers, while ensuring protection for the victims;
- Devising appropriate mechanisms to address the issue of smuggling and trafficking in the region;
- Facilitating technical assistance and capacity building; and
- Engaging in the resource mobilization activities to ensure funding for projects implemented under the AU-HoA Initiative.
Current Thematic Focus
Specific areas of discussion include:
- Prevention of human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
- Strengthening of protection and assistance to victims of human trafficking and smuggled persons.
- Enhancing rule of law, prosecution and border management
The AU HoAI Initiative is a multi-stake holder structure comprising core countries, neighbouring countries and invited partner countries.
Member States [8 States, referred to by the AU HoAI as “core countries” and “neighbouring countries”]
Core Countries (4 States)
Neighboring Countries (4 States)
Current Chair: Sudan (2019)
Past Chair: Egypt (2018)
Upcoming Chairs: Ethiopia (2020), Eritrea (2021)
Observer States [8 States, referred to by the AU HoAI as “invited partner countries”]
International Organization for migration (IOM)
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)
Eastern Africa Police Chiefs' Conference (EAPCCO)
Committees and Working Groups
Addis Working Group is a managerial-level structure made up of Member State diplomats based in Ethiopia, which advises the Secretariat on policy and technical matters.
Steering Committee is a managerial-level structure made up of representatives of core Member States, which advises the Secretariat on policy and technical matters.
Technical Working Group of Law Enforcement Agencies (TWG-LE) conducts HoAI’s expert-level work.
The Secretariat has the following standing members:
- African Union Commission Department of Social Affairs
- IOM Special Liaison Office to the African Union
African Union Commission
Department of Social Affairs
African Union Headquarters
P.O Box 3243
Roosevelt Street (Old Airport Area)
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: (251) 11 551 77 00
Fax: (251) 11 551 78 44
2nd Ministerial Meeting of the AU-Horn of Africa Initiative (AU-HoAI) on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt
African Union Meets in Sharm El Sheikh for AU-Horn of Africa Initiative
UN Migration Agency (IOM) Supports the Organization of the Trilateral Thematic Meeting on Trafficking and Smuggling of People, Focusing on Unaccompanied Minors
At the policy level AU HoAI organizes Senior Officials’ and Ministerial Meetings when necessary.
The Core Member States meet once every six months.
At the management level AU HOAI meets through the Addis Working Group and the Steering Committee, and at the technical level it convenes Technical working group meetings.
20 December 2018, Maseru, Lesotho, Fostering Dialogue and Collaboration between the AU Horn of Africa Initiative (AU-HoAI) and the SADC in Addressing Irregular Migration on the Southern Migratory Route
24 October 2018, Cairo, Egypt, 5th Senior Officials’ Meeting
23 October 2018, Cairo, Egypt, Core Member States’ Meeting
1 October 2018, Nairobi, Kenya, 4th Meeting of the Technical Working Group of Law Enforcement Officials
8-9 November 2017, Luxor, Trilateral Thematic Meeting on Trafficking and Smuggling of People, focusing on Unaccompanied Minors.
10 June 2016, Sharm-el-Shaikh, Egypt, Second ministerial meeting of the AU-Horn of Africa Initiative on Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants
Khartoum Declaration on AU-Horn of Africa Initiative on Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants
AU-HoAI – Report of 2nd Ministerial Meeting, 4 June 2016, Sharm El- Sheikh, Egypt (June 2016)
Terms of Reference for the AU-HOA Initiative on Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants
Terms of Reference AU-HOAI TWG-LE (March 2017)
Migration Policy Framework for Africa 2018