Sudan: Children freed from traffickers join families

Sudan’s National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking (NCCHT) said on the 27 of July that it has managed to reunite 80 children with their families after they were freed from human traffickers. A statement by Ismail Tirab, Deputy Chairman of the committee, indicated that the victims of human trafficking have been handed over to their families at refugee camps and other places of residence.

Pointing out that the captors of these victims are on trial, Tirab said his committee, in cooperation with National Council for Child Welfare, is searching for the families of the remaining victims.

The victims, who are between 13 and 17 years of age, were found crammed in a metal shipping container during a police operation carried out in the Sharjel Nile area of Khartoum on the 24 th of July. The young victims were being prepared to be trafficked.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, the Under-Secretary of the High State Security Prosecutor’s Office, Mutasim Abdallah, stated that the victims had been beaten and suffered from physical and mental trauma during their captivity in the containers.

According to official figures, between December of 2017 and early July of 2018, Sudanese authorities freed a total of 642 victims of human trafficking in the eastern states of Khartoum, Kassala and Gedarf.

Sudan, which is considered a country of origin and transit for irregular migration and human trafficking, has, over the past few years, been making efforts to tackle the phenomenon, by enacting harsher laws and legal frameworks to combat human trafficking. The new measures include stricter punishments for traffickers, ranging from death to imprisonment from five to 20 years.

There have also been attempts at outreach in the hopes of fostering strategic partnerships with several European countries as well as the European Union. In addition, the state has also tightened security at primary crossing points and transit hubs that are used by human traffickers. Trafficking hotspots include Sudan’s eastern border with Eritrea, the border with Ethiopia, as well as the border with Libya.

Sudan, with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration, has launched a national plan to combat human trafficking in 2018 and 2019.

According to the latest UNHCR report on Sudan, the country hosts the eighth largest refugee population globally. The report indicates 906,000 refugees are currently living in the country.

TMP – 10/08/2018

Photo credit: Sally Hayden/The Irish Times. Photo caption: Children go to school in Shagarab camp, eastern Sudan.

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