IOM launches project to combat human trafficking in Burundi

Secretary-General António Guterres vows to improve UN’s handling of sexual exploitation and abuse./Getty Images

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in partnership with the Government of Burundi, has launched a project to strengthen government capacity to combat trafficking in persons (TiP).

The $3 million project, funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, will be known as Burundi Counter-Trafficking 2019-2022 and will be expected to run for the next 3 years combating human trafficking and other cross-border crimes.

According to the US Trafficking in Persons Report, Burundi is a source country for trafficked persons, where adults and children are coerced into forced labour, prostitution, domestic servitude and other forms of sexual exploitation throughout the region.

While speaking during the launch ceremony, First Vice-President of Burundi, Gaston Sindimwo said that human trafficking cannot be fought effectively without an integrated approach based on respect for human rights and taking into account the national, regional and global nature of the phenomenon.

“A joint action by all stakeholders at the national level as outlined in the Plan, which is our focus today, is aimed at continually improving our collective perception of the issues related to trafficking in persons and combining our efforts to maximize our effectiveness,” he added.

Also in attendance was, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Burundi, Caecilia Wijgers, who said that trafficking in persons ‘is a subject that requires all of us to find a solution for these tragic cases, where ordinary people find themselves one day in a nightmare when they believed they would start a promising phase of their lives’.

“We appreciate that IOM’s programme has an integrated approach, as it is a problem for which we must work together across various disciplines.”

According to IOM, An estimated 346,000 Burundians remain in neighboring countries as refugees while 130,000 Burundians are internally displaced.