IOM Egypt marks World Day Against Trafficking in Persons with a community event

Ahram Online , Thursday 5 Aug 2021

The aim of the event was to raise awareness within migrant communities against human trafficking

A yoga session organised as part of the IOM's community event

To mark World Day against Trafficking in Persons, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Egypt organised a community event on Saturday 31 July with a focus on ending child labour. The event was attended by 165 participants, including migrants and scouts.

The aim of the event was to raise awareness within migrant communities against human trafficking by distributing booklets with information on migrants’ rights, Egypt’s anti-human trafficking laws, and access to national resources to seek assistance and mitigate exposure to and the risk of exploitation.

Child labour is one of the most frequent forms of trafficking involving children. Other forms that mainly target children include forced begging, sexual exploitation, and forced domestic work.

“The IOM reiterates its solidarity with all victims of child labour and all first responders who provide protection. It is only by working together that we can put an end to such horrible abuse and exploitation. This year, the IOM celebrates World Day against Trafficking in Persons with a focus on ending child labour; such events remind us of the importance of empowering communities in combating this crime in all its forms,” said Laurent de Boeck, the IOM’s chief of mission to the Arab Republic of Egypt.

The event also tackled the subject of human trafficking through games and interactive sessions, raising awareness on the issue, mental health and psychosocial support, nutrition, and fitness. There were also information sessions on positive parenting and child protection for parents, outlining preventative measures to keep children safe both online and offline.

The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood and Holol for Development and Consulting also presented their services and provided their brochures for further migrant assistance.

Ali Abdelrahman, who was representing the Eritrean community in Egypt, stated that “we were very happy to interact with each other in this event. It has been three years since some of our community members have gone out of their homes. Many people did not know about the COVID-19 vaccination [campaign] and were worried about it. Today, we were able to understand the difference between several vaccines and the importance of getting vaccinated. We also learned about human trafficking, as we [are all in] risk of [being involved in] smuggling and child labour. Through this event, we were able to gain awareness about these global crimes.”

Participants in the IOM's community event marking the World Day against Trafficking in Persons

Amal, a Sudanese community leader, mentioned that she enjoyed the event and found learning about counter trafficking, nutrition, and practicing Yoga to be quite beneficial.

She was thankful for the event’s focus on protecting and caring for children along with giving them a chance to live a normal childhood, saying “the children were so happy to the extent that they refused to leave the event, as they do not hang out often. The day was very special; there were competitions and prizes for children. We would like to thank the IOM for giving us this opportunity.”

The event was organised with the support of the Dutch government through the COMPASS programme; the European Union through the Regional Response to COVID-19 in North African Countries and the Regional Development and Protection Programme; and the Japanese Supplementary Budget through Empowering Women, Migrants, and Host Communities in Egypt to Cope with the Impacts of COVID-19 through mental health and psychosocial support services.

Additionally, The Finnish government — which fosters the health and protection of vulnerable migrants transiting through Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen — along with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs — which has been strengthening the sphere of protection for victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants in Egypt while preventing irregular migration and human trafficking — were also involved in the planning of the event.

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