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US, UN support Morocco’s efforts to combat human trafficking

US, UN support Morocco's efforts to combat human trafficking
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Morocco has undertaken major initiatives in its fight against human trafficking, as part of the national strategy extending from 2023 to 2030. These sustained efforts have resulted in the recording of a minimum of 474 identified victims and the apprehension of more than 720 individuals involved in these criminal activities, US officials have revealed.

The US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco, Puneet Talwar, unveiled a new $2.5 million grant to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Rabat on Friday, with the aim of stepping up the fight against the scourge of human trafficking, ensuring the protection of victims and working towards their social and economic reintegration after rehabilitation.

In response to Rabat’s and Washington’s stated commitment to the Protocol to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the relevant UN agencies and organizations will support Moroccan initiatives in this field, thanks to the US grant.

This collaboration will materialize in particular through the establishment of reception and accommodation centers for victims, in line with the objectives and content of the national plan to combat and prevent human trafficking, as well as the national referral mechanism for victims of this abomination.

At the event, Talwar stressed that combating human trafficking, supporting and assisting victims, and developing preventive approaches in this field, are universal concerns. He affirmed that the United States of America is firmly committed to strengthening partnerships with international organizations and governments to put an end to this scourge, actively involving civil society in these efforts.

The ambassador explained that his country’s grants are primarily aimed at supporting governments in providing support and compensation to victims, as well as cracking down on individuals involved in such crimes, while putting in place protective measures. In particular, he praised Morocco’s strategy in this area, underlining the Kingdom’s efforts to reduce and combat human trafficking. Morocco has developed a series of mechanisms to help victims and track down criminals.

Nathalie Fustier, UN Resident Coordinator in Morocco, emphasized that human trafficking is a complex phenomenon, affecting millions of people worldwide, regardless of age or gender. She asserted that protecting these vulnerable groups and strengthening international cooperation are essential to effectively combat this scourge.

Likewise, she noted that Morocco has taken significant steps to combat this crime, signing the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons in 2011, and subsequently adopting appropriate legislation to this end. In 2019, the Kingdom set up the National Committee for the Coordination of Measures to Combat and Prevent Human Trafficking, demonstrating its ongoing commitment to combating this crime, she recalled.

According to the coordinator, “Moroccan efforts have led to the identification of at least 474 victims and the arrest of more than 720 people involved. In addition, Rabat launched the national strategy to combat human trafficking in Morocco 2023-2030, as well as opening the first government assistance center for victims of human trafficking last April”.

Furthermore, the Moroccan and American officials present acknowledged that Africa faces significant challenges and threats, but confidently underlined Morocco’s commitment to addressing them, noting that collaborative programs are in place to strengthen international judicial cooperation and coordination with African countries, while highlighting the importance of cooperation and exchange of experience in this field.

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