IOM with the Support of USAID Strengthens Collaboration with Government of Burundi to Combat Human Trafficking

Posted: 
02/06/20
Themes: 
Counter-Trafficking

Bujumbura – Previous instability, limited economic opportunities, displacement and loss of livelihood due to floods in Burundi have rendered parts of the population vulnerable to trafficking in persons (TiP).

Since 2018, the International Organization for Migration, IOM, and partners have identified hundreds of victims of human trafficking. Victims of cross-border trafficking from Burundi have primarily been identified in the Middle East and in East Africa. More recently, thanks to growing awareness on the crime, victims of internal trafficking are being identified and assisted.  

In order to strengthen government capacity to combat TiP, IOM, in partnership with the Government of Burundi, launched (23/01) a project known as “Strengthening the National Response to Victim Protection, Prevention and Prosecution of Trafficking in Burundi.” The two-year project with a budget of US $1.5 million is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

It aims to fill critical gaps in anti-trafficking efforts. Implemented by IOM Burundi, the project will raise awareness among at-risk groups, the general public and other key stakeholders on the risks of TiP and the available assistance. Victims of trafficking, especially those who require a longer recovery time, will also be provided with access to more and better quality of tailored protection services.

In addition, IOM and USAID will actively support the Government of Burundi to centralize information on counter-trafficking activities, and coordinate efforts to combat TiP in Burundi, as well as to implement and strengthen existing anti-trafficking laws, policies and regulations by investigating and prosecuting TiP cases.

Activities under the new project will include training grassroots organizations to continue raising awareness in target communities and delivering multidisciplinary training sessions to prosecutors, judges, police and immigration officials.

The new project reflects the government’s commitment to crack down on forced labour and human trafficking. His Excellency Gaston Sindimwo, the First Vice-President said, “We are pleased to get additional support for the government’s counter-trafficking work, and particularly the capacity building, prevention and referral efforts of our inter-ministerial Committee - which will increasingly coordinate and document the implementation of our counter-trafficking activities.”

Garry Conille, UN Resident Coordinator in Burundi expressed to the participants who attended the project launch that, “Countering human trafficking is essential to achieve at least three of the Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, the UN system is keen to support the activities funded by this important project in Burundi.”

The project will be implemented in close collaboration with local and international partners, as well as the Burundian authorities both at national and local levels.

“IOM is looking forward to implement this project that supports the Government of Burundi on all four counter-trafficking pillars,” said IOM Burundi Chief of Mission AJ Morgen. “We will continue the work we started with the ad hoc inter-ministerial counter-trafficking Committee by supporting its dedicated members to coordinate the government’s referral and assistance of victims and document the investigation of alleged perpetrators. We will continue to encourage the Committee to take the lead in raising awareness and in building the capacity of Burundian authorities at all administrative levels.”

“The United States has taken note of the challenges Burundi faces in fighting trafficking, and we are here today to call upon the government to strive to improve measures for prevention and protection for victims of trafficking, while also ensuring that perpetrators are prosecuted,” said the United States Embassy Chargée d’Affaires, Ambassador Eunice S. Reddick. “Through the USAID activity we are launching today, we will support IOM in working with national law enforcement agencies, potential and actual victims of trafficking, local NGOs, service providers and communities at risk to complement the ongoing interventions being supported by the Netherlands,” she added.

IOM is already supporting the Government of Burundi to combat trafficking with funding from the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This funding has enabled IOM to bolster activities related to prevention and awareness-raising, provide assistance to victims, and support the work of immigration and police officers.

For more information, please contact Eliza Galos, IOM Burundi, Tel: +257 75400111, Email: egalos@iom.int