CenHTRO Launches Anti-Trafficking Programs in Senegal
Thursday, May 26, 2022
CenHTRO recently traveled to Senegal for the CenHTRO/APRIES National Launch of Programs to Counter Sex Trafficking in Kédougou, on Thursday, April 21, 2022, in Dakar. The launch gathered the diverse expertise of international missions, national ministries, and local stakeholders under the same roof, mobilizing high-level actors in response to a local issue.
CenHTRO Director Dr. David Okech gave a presentation of preliminary findings from
our baseline research on the sex trafficking of girls and women aged 15-30 in Kédougou, home to the vast majority
of the country’s artisanal gold mining activity. (PDF) Those findings show that a large proportion of severe sex trafficking survivors in
the area claim Nigerian citizenship, which highlights the transnational aspect of
Senegal Program Manager Nnenne Onyioha-Clayton and Country Coordinator Aminata Diagne Barre produced and hosted the launch. They were assisted by CenHTRO staff and students: Dr. Claire Bolton, Elke Yath, André Gallant, Helen Bryant, and Shaeny Cassim-Itibar.
Our Senegal implementation partners—Free the Slaves and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)—laid out their programming activities to address the protection of survivors, the prevention of human trafficking, and the prosecution of traffickers.
Attendees noted that the presence of high-level Senegalese government ministries at the launch—including the Ministry of Mines and Geology and the Ministry of Women, Family, Gender, and Child Protection—demonstrated a strong commitment and willingness to address the problem. Discussion of human trafficking in Senegal, it was also noted, is often limited to child labor. Our event offered a welcome opportunity to expand the national conversation on human trafficking.
Kédougou, a region that shares international borders with Mali and Guinea, was represented by a key group of government and community stakeholders, including Mr. Saér Ndao, Governor of Kédougou. Mr. Ndao presided over a panel titled “The Fight Against Sex Trafficking: Challenges and Perspectives.” The presence of the Kédougou delegation, which traveled over 400 miles (644 km) to attend, underscored the seriousness of the issue as well as local stakeholder conviction to counter it.
Prominent speakers at the launch included Mr. Mamadou Saliou Sow, the Senegal Secretary
of State to the Keeper of the Seals in charge of the Promotion of Human Rights and
Good Governance; Jonathan Fisher, Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Senegal
and Guinea-Bissau; and Dr. Mody Ndiaye, Permanent Secretary of the National Unit for
the Fight against Human Trafficking (CNLTP). Representatives of the embassies of Burkina
Faso, Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, and Switzerland also attended.
A Kédougou stakeholder commented that “CenHTRO/APRIES did not have a national launch, but an international launch.”
The work described in this article was funded by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.