East African countries have vowed to strengthen their cross-border cooperation to fight transnational human trafficking, officials said on Tuesday.
Noordin Haji, director of Kenya’s of public prosecutions, told a regional forum in Nairobi that human trafficking is a growing threat in the region that is being fueled by a number of factors including globalization.
“We recognize we have a problem on transnational human trafficking and so the regional governments will work together to defeat the criminal networks,” Haji said during the opening ceremony of the fifth conference of the network of heads of public prosecutions and criminal investigations in the east African region.
The day-long event brought together directors of public prosecutions, directors of criminal investigations and deputy attorney-general from Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia.
The overall aim of the forum is to strengthen the rule of law by ensuring effective investigation and prosecution of complex crimes and intensifying inter-agency collaboration at the regional level.
Haji said that transnational criminal networks are taking advantage of weak enforcement measures to exploit innocent victims.
He revealed that discussions are ongoing to develop an east African strategy that will comprehensively address human trafficking and migrant smuggling cases.
George Kinoti, director of Kenya’s criminal investigations, said that human trafficking can only be defeated through regional cooperation as victims are typically lured from one country and taken to third party states.
Kinoti observed that investigators and prosecutors in east Africa will follow an inter-agency approach to arrest and convict those involved in human trafficking.