OCWAR-T: Organised crime: West African Response to trafficking

#Trafficking in human beings

Nigeria / Senegal / Ghana / Cabo Verde / Benin / Burkina Faso / Côte d'Ivoire / Gambia / Guinea / Guinea-Bissau / Liberia / Mali / Sierra Leone / Togo / Mauritania / Niger
December 2019 to December 2023

The project Organised Crime: West African Response to Trafficking (OCWAR–T) is funded by the European Union and the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO).

OCWAR-T is implemented through indirect management by an EU Member State Agency –Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) - in collaboration with International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Mines Advisory Group (MAG). The ECOWAS Commission is the steering and coordinating body together with the EU Delegation and the GFFO. OCWAR-T is implemented in the 15 ECOWAS Members States and Mauritania.

Transnational Organised Crime (TOC) is a key issue in the West African Region. It involves different activities including illicit trafficking in drugs, human beings and firearms. TOC leads to resulting crimes such as laundering of criminal assets/money and terrorism financing. The threat from organised crime in West Africa is substantial, challenging the progress towards good governance, rule of law and ultimately compromising economic and human development. In the ECOWAS Region TOC groups and traffickers benefit from the trade and market integration in the region, inadequate state capacities, porous borders, and corruption.

A multidimensional understanding of TOC is required in order to develop comprehensive approaches to combat this dangerous trend in the region.

OCWAR-T project aims at strengthening national and regional capacities and framework conditions in combatting TOC and trafficking. OCWAR-T joins forces with law enforcement agencies (LEA), judiciaries, civil society organisations and research institutions to ensure in-depth progress.

To achieve its objectives, OCWAR-T carries out activities in four strategic areas:

  • Strategic Objective I: Improving regional governance structures and cooperation between ECOWAS Member States in combatting TOC and trafficking in the region.
  • Strategic Objective II: Increasing national and regional capacities in the field of small arms and light weapons control.
  • Strategic Objective III: Strengthening national and regional capacities to prevent and prosecute trafficking in persons (TIP) and protect victims of trafficking.
  • Strategic Objective IV: Enhancing the knowledge base on root causes and impact of TOC in West Africa

ICMPD is in charge of implementing Strategic Objective III and aims to strengthen the regional and national planning, coordination and monitoring capacities with regard to the implementation of the ECOWAS Plan of Action against TIP in West Africa, 2018-2022 and foster regional dialogue and cooperation in the field of combatting TIP.

At the regional level, ICMPD will provide technical and strategic advice to the ECOWAS in improving regional coordination, cooperation and networking and to strengthen the unit’s capacities to promote and monitor the implementation of the new ECOWAS Plan of Action against TIP 2018-2022. It will in particular support the Unit in conducting the Annual Review Meetings between ECOWAS and National Focal Points (NFPs) on combating TIP in ECOWAS Member States. ICMPD and ECOWAS will cooperate to create a Regional Referral Mechanism (RRM). This will be supplemented by a Regional Crime against the Person Prevention Policy and its implementation plan containing coordination structures and guidelines targeting groups vulnerable to TIP.

At the national level, ICMPD will establish a Demand-Driven Facility (DDF) fund to address the specific needs of the countries by improving and bringing their National Referral Mechanisms (NRMs) into full implementation, and/or to setting up NRMs in countries that do not have them in place, which will also support the roll-out of the RRM.

To complement the above-mentioned activities, ICMPD will facilitate the implementation of the RRM SOPs and the RCAPPP through training and ToTs for national law enforcement stakeholders. Doing so in partnership with UNODC, it will strengthen the capacities of national LEAs to investigate and prosecute TIP, through technical advice and training as well as the development of specialised curricula for law enforcement/police academies.

Other Strategic Objectives are implemented by GIZ, UNODC, UNDP, and MAG. The primary beneficiaries include law enforcement agencies, judiciaries, selected civil society organisations and research institutions in the ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania.