In Focus

World Day against Trafficking in Persons 2023

28 July 2023


The annual World Day against Trafficking in Persons, marked on 30th July, brings together policy-makers, operational specialists and the general public to reflect upon the response to trafficking in human beings (THB) in their own country, region and globally. This year, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) marks this occasion by emphasising the importance of regional approaches in combatting THB and supporting its victims.

Based on our experience of more than 20 years, we believe that THB is a global topic, and yet we are convinced that regional approaches are the most successful framework to address trafficking! It is the region that holds the most potential for creating comprehensive, functioning anti-trafficking responses.

This week, ICMPD’s Anti-Trafficking Programme is in Ghana together with the ECOWAS Commission and its Member States (MSs) to hold the 15th Annual Review Meeting of the Network of ECOWAS Anti-Trafficking Focal Institutions, which ICMPD has been supporting since 2014.

ICMPD has longstanding experience working together with ECOWAS and its MSs to develop policies and tools for a sustainable anti-trafficking response. The existing close links to this region are the outcome of manifold joint actions, such as technical capacity-building assistance and policy development support in human trafficking and migration issues.  ICMPD continuously supports ECOWAS in establishing regional frameworks that provide an overarching structure, generally applicable to all MSs of the ECOWAS, to align priorities and work in partnership with other state and non-state actors pursuing the same objectives.

During the week, marking the World Anti-Trafficking Day, the ECOWAS TIP Focal Points validated the Regional Referral Mechanism for Victims of Trafficking. This is an essential step toward better identification and support of victims in the region and a testament to the increased awareness of the MSs and the Commission of the crucial role of trans-border cooperation on THB cases.

This action reflects the strategic objectives of the regional ECOWAS Plan of Action against THB as well as the priority areas of the MSs’ National Anti-trafficking Plans of Action related to the improvement of cross-border cooperation on THB cases.

ICMPD is proud to support the anti-trafficking efforts across the ECOWAS region because we believe that such initiatives, incrementally implemented across committed countries, can contribute substantially to increasing the number of identified persons so that no one – trafficked or at risk – is left behind!