Zim commits to tackling transnational organised crime

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Victoria Falls (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe is committed to collaborating with other African countries to combat transnational organised crimes such as human trafficking, a senior government official has said.

Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage permanent secretary Aaron Nhepera said this while addressing participants of the inaugural workshop for stakeholders of the Continental Operations Centre being hosted by Zimbabwe in the resort town of Victoria Falls.

Through the African Union, African countries have set up the Continental Operations Centre in Khartoum, Sudan, to improve the overall migration governance regime on the continent, specifically the management of irregular migration and other transnational organized crimes.

Nhepera said for example, Zimbabwe was working closely with other Southern African Development Community member states, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to combat transnational organised crime through sharing of information and intelligence.

He said the country had also domesticated the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons through an Act of Parliament, the Trafficking in Persons Act (Chapter 9.25), which criminalizes human trafficking

“The same Act also established the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Inter-Ministerial Committee, which is chaired by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. The Committee is tasked with spearheading the national response to human trafficking. It also undertakes awareness campaigns to sensitise citizens against human trafficking,” he said.

“This amply demonstrates that human trafficking and illegal migration are real, hence the need for close co-operation and collaboration, not only between and among intra-state agencies but regionally and continentally. To this end, the establishment of the Continental Operational Centre in Sudan is a timely and welcome development.”

Nhepera said the workshop should agree on a feasible operational model and successfully formulate the five-year strategic plan of the Continental Operational Centre.

“Let me take this opportunity to urge participants here present, to be guided by the principle of sharing information, co-operation and unity which will undoubtedly lead to the successful operationalisation of the Khartoum Centre,” he said.

Speaking at the same event, African Union Commission senior technical adviser for migration governance and liaison Peter Mudungwe said the upsurge in transnational organised crimes such as irregular migration on the continent, the establishment of the Khartoum centre was long overdue.

“The Khartoum Centre will bring together law enforcement agencies in member states in the fight against transnational organised crimes and irregular migration. It is therefore imperative that right at the beginning of operationalising this centre, we as a Commission come back to the primary stakeholders of this centre to consult on how best we should move forward in operationalising the centre.

“This workshop, therefore, marks a critical step in the process of preparing the strategic plan of the Khartoum Centre. With your support as the primary stakeholders of the Centre, together we can develop a centre that will evolve into a continental leader in its mandated area of work,” he said.

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