IOM Engages Religious Leaders to Combat Human Trafficking, Welcomes New Counter-Trafficking Law
Thursday, July 24, 2008 9:50 AM

IOM Engages Religious Leaders to Combat Human Trafficking, Welcomes New Counter-Trafficking Law

Afghanistan - IOM and the Afghan Ministry of Hajj and Endowment are today holding a first-ever roundtable with religious leaders to discuss human trafficking in Afghanistan in the context of Islam.

"Given the significant role that religious leaders play in communities and the country as a whole, an effective counter-trafficking programme requires their cooperation, particularly in rural areas," says IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission Robbie Thomson.

A total of 40 clerics from Kabul and 20 other provinces will take part in today's event in Kabul, which follows the introduction of Afghanistan's first counter-trafficking law last week.

Roundtable participants will be encouraged to raise awareness of human trafficking issues among vulnerable groups in their respective communities through discussion and prayer.

IOM is currently also implementing a nationwide counter-trafficking information campaign targeting schoolchildren through teacher training. In the past year the project has trained 35 teachers as master trainers. These have helped to train a further 1,500 teachers, disseminating trafficking information to some 200,000 students in every Afghan province.

Last week Afghanistan enacted new counter-trafficking legislation designed to crack down on traffickers. Presidential Decree Number 52 on Combating Kidnapping and Human Trafficking entered into force on 14 July.    

IOM provided technical assistance in drafting the new law as part of a counter-trafficking capacity building programme for Afghan law enforcement agencies funded by the US Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP) and Italy.

"Counter-trafficking law enforcement used to have legislative constraints, but with the passing of the new law, trafficking in persons is legally defined and recognized as a distinct crime for the first time in Afghan history," says Thomson. 

Afghanistan faces serious problems as a country of origin, transit and destination for human trafficking. But national counter-trafficking efforts have up to now been very limited in terms of prevention, protection of victims and prosecution of traffickers.

IOM now plans to work with the Afghan government and other partners to disseminate information about the new law and create a momentum among stakeholders to expand counter-trafficking initiatives.

In Afghanistan, IOM works closely with government counterparts, in line with the Afghan National Development Strategy (ANDS), focusing on technical cooperation and capacity building.

IOM programmes also provide emergency relief to vulnerable displaced families, facilitate long-term return and reintegration to and within Afghanistan, stabilize migrant communities for sustainable development in the context of long periods of mass population displacement, and strengthen the capacity of Afghan government institutions to manage migration.

For further information, please contact:

Nigina Mamadjonova
IOM Kabul
Tel + 93 (0) 700 066041


Katsui Kaya
Tel +93 (0) 700 18596

Published in: "IOM Engages Religious Leaders to Combat Human Trafficking, Welcomes New Counter-Trafficking Law," Press Release, International Organization for Migration, 22 July 2008.