Kenya Hosts African Union Horn of Africa Initiative Meeting on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants

Human Smuggling

Nairobi – The Government of Kenya hosted the Fourth Meeting of the Technical Working Group of Law Enforcement Agencies of the African Union Horn of Africa Initiative (AU-HOAI) on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Meeting last week (01/10) in Nairobi.

Aside from the host government, other participating AU Member States included Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, South Sudan, Sudan and Tunisia. The meeting was also attended by the AU Commission; IOM, the UN Migration Agency; and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, which form the Initiatives Secretariat. Representatives from INTERPOL, which serves as a technical partner to the Initiative, were also present.

The Technical Working Group deliberated on a resource gap analysis that was undertaken on the working group’s Five-Year Plan of Action as well as the operationalization of the Regional Operations Centre in Khartoum (ROCK). It also looked at a draft communication and visibility strategy for the initiative and a proposal to undertake a study on the characteristics, flows and trends of human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

The Government of Kenya was represented by James Nyatigoh, Deputy Director for the Department of Immigration Services. In his remarks, Nyatigoh took note of the UN-adopted Global Compact on Migration (GCM) and its commitments to eradicate trafficking in persons as well as the need for a “concerted effort with multi-disciplinary approaches to help achieve best results on counter-trafficking and migrant smuggling”.

Egypt, which is currently the presiding Chair of the Initiative, was represented by Nelly Elorabi, Director of Migration, Asylum & Combating Human Trafficking Department, who highlighted the importance of “African solutions for African problems”.

Peter Mudungwe, Migration Adviser within the Department of Social Affairs at the African Union (AU) presented a summary of the Technical Working Groups’ previous meetings and its achievements and encouraged a fruitful deliberation. The IOM Special Liaison Office in Addis Abba presented the draft communications and visibility strategy, and a concept for a proposed regional study on human trafficking and migrant smuggling. UNHCR provided inputs on mixed movements and wide-range of actors in the region.

The agreed recommendations of the Technical Working Group, the draft strategy and the proposed study will be presented at the upcoming AU senior officials meeting in Cairo, Egypt on 24 October.

The Technical Working Group Meeting was followed by a second-round capacity building training of law enforcement agencies on counter trafficking and migrant smuggling from 2 to 5 October in Nairobi. The training focused on the protection of migrants in vulnerable situations, enhancing cross-border cooperation in combating human trafficking, protection of victims and prosecution of perpetrators.

During the training, Marcellino Ramkishun, Senior Migration Management Officer said: “Trafficking in persons and people smuggling have to be investigated across the borders. We need to divert from establishing national strategies for a complex, international problem.”

Emmanuel Simiyu from the Kenya Department of Immigration added: “To curb trafficking in persons, the Kenya Immigration has partnered with IOM Kenya for the use of facial recognition machines and training on counter trafficking. There is also cooperation with different airlines who provide timely information on persons suspected to be trafficking or smuggling people and this helps us intercept them.”

For more information please contact:
Maureen Achieng at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251-11 557 1707 (Ext. 400), Email:
Michael Pillinger at IOM Kenya Country Office, Tel: +254 20 4221 161, Email:

  • Opening Session of the African Union Technical Working Group with Egypt (Chair) and Kenya (Host government)

  • Opening Session of the African Union Technical Working Group with Egypt (Chair) and Kenya (Host government)