Rome, 2 December 2016. The expert meeting entitled “Countering trafficking and smuggling in the Mediterranean: challenges, good practices and the ways forward in protecting the most vulnerable people” will take place in Rome on 2 December.
The meeting, generously hosted by Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), is part of a programme implemented by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and is supported by Compagnia di San Paolo.
This initiative follows a mapping exercise undertaken by UNICRI to lay out existing initiatives, including actions, programmes and projects in the North Africa region, related to the protection of victims of trafficking with a special focus on women and unaccompanied minors. UNICRI aimed to identify whether there is a need at the Mediterranean level to increase operational partnerships between countries of origin, transit, and destination in order to encourage the sharing of good practices and successful initiatives, including those at the grassroots level, in supporting the rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of trafficking and unaccompanied migrant minors.
Based on the preliminary findings of the mapping, the meeting in Rome will address crucial topics such as the prevention of trafficking and the identification of victims, the social and economic integration of migrants and protection of victims of trafficking, and the role of development assistance in preventing trafficking and countering smuggling.
During the meeting existing needs for technical cooperation and capacity building support will be identified and discussed. The final objective of the initiative is to promote a regional strategy to counter the trafficking and smuggling of migrants, and support effective strategies to support victims. The two-day event will begin with a closed-door meeting for experts, where a list of recommendations will be formulated based on the research conducted by UNICRI. During the second day a series of panels will discuss in detail the ways forward. The meeting in Rome will be attended by representatives from Southern European and Northern African countries, international organizations, and NGOs.
According to Cindy J. Smith, Director of UNICRI “The main root causes of the trafficking in persons can only be eliminated through a long-term strategy in the field of economic and human development. We can significantly reduce the magnitude of the phenomenon by integrating institutional capacity building, social prevention and victims’ support. Our response to transnational organized crime’s ability to take advantage of globalization, advances in technologies, conflicts, weak governance and weak rule of law is a collective effort to strengthen social, economic, legislative, law enforcement and criminal justice measures".