Section 3: Recommendations to the Government for Future Steps
Bookmark/Search this post with
The enactment of the law represents the first step towards the combating of trafficking and the protection of all victims. Yet, to be effective, the law needs to be accompanied by a comprehensive policy on the local and national levels. After her visit to Egypt, the UN Special Rapporteur recommended that the government develop a comprehensive, holistic and integrative national plan of action on combating trafficking in persons. This plan of action should clearly set out strategic objectives, responsibilities of all stakeholders, measurable indicators as well monitoring and evaluation tools.44
In developing this plan of action, the government is urged to consider the experiences of other countries in combating trafficking in persons and examples of good practices. When examining the international experience in the fight against human trafficking, it is advisable to establish a strong institutional mechanism responsible for tackling the issue of trafficking in persons as well as to set up a national action plan that serves as a country-specific check-list for the goals the state aims to achieve. Finland, for instance, besides having a governmental action plan on human trafficking, which was revised in 2008 in order to fully include the human rights approach, has recently mandated its Ombudsman for Minorities to serve as a National Rapporteur for Trafficking in Human Beings. The new office is responsible, inter alia, for providing the government with recommendations on legal aid.45 A similar role could be taken on in Egypt by an Ombudsman office within the National Committee for Combating and Preventing Trafficking in Persons.
In relation to law enforcement, international and comparative experience show that the most common barriers in preventing or resolving trafficking cases are the victims' distrust of the criminal justice system, fear of law enforcement (retaliation and deportation in particular), sense of shame, lack of knowledge about their rights, public personnel’s lack of training, lack of resources and lack of interpreters. In Egypt, distrust in the criminal justice system is exacerbated by the fact that law enforcement agencies are known for their mistreatment of many of the groups at risk of being trafficked, namely street children, people involved in sex work and migrants.
Jamaica’s experience of establishing a dedicated taskforce within the national police to deal with human trafficking, together with a robust anti-trafficking legislation, has proved effective in gradually increasing the vigor with which perpetrators are prosecuted.46 Law enforcement agencies could also benefit from training on the impact of trauma on a victim’s memory of events that may explain inaccuracies in victim testimonies. This may be of special importance, since inaccuracies in testimonies are often mentioned among the greatest challenges for the authorities.
Developing information campaigns for the general public aimed at promoting awareness of the dangers associated with the crime of trafficking in persons is another area that deserves more attention in Egypt, since the government continues to do very little to raise awareness of trafficking and sex tourism. Another reason for concern is the fact that Egypt did not provide anti-trafficking training for its troops before they got deployed on international peacekeeping missions last year.47 These practices must change in light of the new piece of legislation.
Finally, the state should ensure that civil society is fully involved as an active partner in the fight against human trafficking. To this end, the state should strive to increase the capacity of civil society organizations working on trafficking in persons and use their knowledge and experience to engage with them in a meaningful collaboration to help provide the maximum protection possible for victims of trafficking.
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights encourages freedom of information.