IOM Somalia Mobilizes Communities to Address Human Trafficking in the Puntland State of Somalia

Puntland State of Somalia: Human trafficking is a global issue that continues to affect many societies around the world. Human trafficking involves recruitment, transfer, transport, and harboring of people through the use of fraud, deceit, coercion, abduction, or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purposes of exploitation. Exploitation can include labour exploitation, slavery or similar practices, organ removal, sexual exploitation, unpaid labour, to name a few forms.

IOM Somalia is creating awareness on human trafficking and its associated risks, while also assisting national authorities, non-governmental organizations, media, and academic institutions in detecting and countering human trafficking. IOM strengthens the capacity of government institutions and partners to assist victims of trafficking and provides technical support to national authorities in the development of legislative and policy frameworks in order to better address the crime. 

Through generous funding from the European Union (EU), under a project named “Prevention of Child Trafficking and Gender-based Violence (GBV) as well as Protection and Care for Victims in Somalia”, and the Government of Japan, IOM is implementing a project in the regions of Bari, Mudug, Nugal and Galgudud in the Puntland state of Somalia.  IOM Somalia seeks to raise human trafficking awareness and to mobilize the public to advocate for better care and protection of victims of trafficking, and facilitates the provision of comprehensive protection and assistance together with partner organizations.

Through a radio programme on Radio Daljir (Bossaso, State of Puntland), IOM has been supporting the airing of messages, talk shows and public service announcements (PSA) on the risks and negative consequences of human trafficking, with emphasis on child trafficking and GBV, as well as on the question of where to address concerns, to report incidents or to seek help. The radio programme ran weekly with live talk shows every Thursday on the first and third weeks of the month with a repeat on the second and fourth weeks of the month.

During a monitoring visit to Radio Daljir in April 2015, staff of the Coordination Office of IOM Somalia had the chance to listen to testimonies of the show’s participants who had witnessed cases of human trafficking. Some told about friends or relatives who had fallen into the hands of smugglers and human traffickers. Others had assisted survivors and have now become advocates for victims. “I have seen photos of my friends in Europe on Facebook and even received them on WhatsApp messenger and sometimes I think life out there is enjoyable and interesting,” said Mohamed (not his original name), one of the radio listeners who sent a short text message to Radio Daljir during the radio programme replay that coincided with IOM's monitoring visit to the radio station.  

“Most victims of trafficking are deceived with false promises such as fake job offers and false assurance of being assisted to reach their desired destinations, but on arrival at their destination they are not allowed to leave, but are held against their will and become slaves or sources of income to the traffickers,” notes Hussen Madar, the programmes producer at Radio Daljir (Bossaso). “Some listeners initially confused smuggling with trafficking and the panelists usually clarify the differences in our talk shows as well as inform listeners on the risks associated with the hazardous journey and the challenges they encounter in the process,” added Mohamed Abdi, the Radio station director.

“We used to think of human trafficking as a foreign issue and not as something that could happen here in our own land. I have reported two cases of smuggling to the police using the telephone number you provided in the show and I hope they are following up,” noted one of the male callers in the programme replay that was running during the visit. Another male panelist who participated in the talk show stated: “Human trafficking is a crime and violation of human rights and taking someone away from their home through coercion, deception, fraud, to exploit them means destroying their life and their dreams.”

IOM Somalia will continue to support counter-trafficking efforts with the primary aim of preventing human trafficking in persons and to protect victims while offering them options of safe and sustainable reintegration and/or return to their home countries.

For further information, please contact Joseah Mutai Kipkoskey at IOM Somalia, Tel: 00 254 736 682204, Email: jkipkoskey@iom.int