IOM, UNICEF, Mozambique Host First Ever Forum to Fight Trafficking of People with Albinism in Southern Africa

Posted: 
05/19/17

Mozambique - Children living with albinism in Southern Africa face discrimination and abuse, often culminating in abduction, murder or human trafficking. The abuse is linked to the belief that body parts of persons with albinism could produce wealth and good luck when used in witchcraft potions.

A two-day regional forum on preventing and combating human trafficking and protecting people with albinism in Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania is currently underway in Pemba, northern Mozambique. The workshop, the first of its kind, was organized by the UN Migration Agency (IOM) in partnership with UNICEF, the General Prosecutor of the Republic of Mozambique (PGR) and the Prosecutor of Cabo Delgado province.

Participants include representatives of Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania’s counter-trafficking coordination bodies, prosecutors, criminal investigation police, national human rights institutions, NGOs concerned with the protection of people with albinism and traditional healers. 

Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania share common borders and are either countries of origin or destination for the trafficking of people with albinism and their body parts. The forum will result in a plan of action on cross-border cooperation for the prevention and prosecution of human trafficking-related crimes and the protection of the rights of people with albinism, eventually resulting in more effective investigation and prosecution, as well as victim protection.

“UNICEF is supporting the Government to enhance civil registration by investing in the establishment and expansion of a digitalized system of birth registration to ensure the basic rights of every child to name, identity and nationality,” said Marcoluigi Corsi, UNICEF Representative in Mozambique.  

“This will in turn prevent and address disappearance of children, abandonment or assist in investigations when children with albinism are affected. Following new instances of kidnapping and killing of children and people with albinism in Mozambique, UNICEF launched in August 2015 a social media campaign called #TodosIguais to create awareness on this issue. The ongoing campaign has so far reached over five million people,” Corsi added.

“A regional approach like this that complements national efforts in Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania is the only way we will improve cross-border coordination and investigation to protect people with albinism,” said Katharina Schnoering, IOM Chief of Mission in Mozambique. “This regional approach to investigation, research and cooperation was recommended in a recent report by the UN independent expert who visited Mozambique in 2016,” added Schnoering.

IOM is working in partnership with the Governments to assist victims of trafficking and provide strengthened national counter-trafficking responses in Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania.

UNICEF supports the strengthening of child-friendly justice systems through capacity-building support to the police, judiciary and public prosecution to enhance accountability for violence and crimes against children.

UNICEF also supports the strengthening of multi-sectoral case management systems to enable adequate channeling of cases of violence, harmful practices, including ritualistic killings or trafficking, child abandonment or any other risks that children face. UNICEF’s health and education programmes help increase access to health and education services, especially for the most vulnerable and marginalized children.

For further information, please contact: Chiara Frisone, IOM Regional Office for Southern Africa, Tel: +27 72664 8003, Email: cfrisone@iom.int. Or Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique, Tel: +258 82 316 5390, Email: gpereira@unicef.org.

  • Children with Albinism are often abused in Southern Africa. Photo: Patricia Willocq