Somali Anti-Trafficking CSOs Embrace Information-Sharing in the Region’s First Collaborative Data Collection Exercise

22 December 2021
Research Innovation

Nimo Mohamed Ali  | Executive Director, Candle of Hope Foundation
Smita Nagi  | Gender and Human Rights Officer, IIDA Women's Development.
Julia Macher  | CEO, Freedom Collaborative

A lack of data around human trafficking in Somalia and its regions has previously hampered local organizations and the government in their efforts to address the issue effectively. In order to close this information gap and gain greater insight into the situation, the Somali Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Coalition recently undertook its first data collection exercise with support from Freedom Collaborative and GIZ, and published its findings in a report. It is intended that awareness and analysis of this trafficking data collection will help inform future policy and decision-making in the region.

What is the CSO Coalition?

The Coalition, an informal group of anti-trafficking CSOs, is embedded in a wider Regional CSO Network supported by the Better Migration Management (BMM II) Programme, which comprises more than 60 anti-trafficking CSOs from the Horn of Africa. The Programme is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and co-financed by the European Union (EUTF). Along with Freedom Collaborative and GIZ, the Somali CSO Coalition officially launched the report, titled “Human Trafficking and Risky Migration Routes: Data insights from Somali Civil Society Organisations,” with Somali government partners in November 2021.

This report includes data from 206 route submissions by the participating organizations. The illustration above displays all origin, transit and destination routes that have been mapped based on submissions made by the contributing CSOs.

The first of its kind

This is the first time that the participating organizations have contributed to a structured data collection exercise concerning human trafficking and risky migration routes in this region. They conducted a mapping of human trafficking routes in Somalia and Somaliland, including South-Central Somalia, Somaliland, Jubaland and Puntland, and gathered details about the recorded cases. The CSOs which took part are Candle of Hope Foundation (CoHF), IIDA Women’s Development Organization (IIDA), Tadamun Social Society (TASS), Voices of Somaliland Minority Women Organization (VOSOMWO) and Women’s Action for Advocacy and Progress Organization (WAAPO).

The mapping exercise provides crucial information in the fight against human trafficking, such as trafficking hotspots, routes, modes of transport used and types of exploitation. It will increase access to evidence-based data on human trafficking in order to improve strategic decision-making and advocacy efforts towards an inclusive policy development process. The research can also play a role in agenda-setting, the defining of policy problems and the triggering of policy responses, as well as identifying migration policy gaps.

The case data collected reveals the countries of origin and the transit and destination locations of trafficked persons, the variations in the length of migration journeys and their cost and the wide range of industries of exploitation they enter.

Launching this report was indeed very timely as most of the CSOs involved in this exercise are currently working on their activity plans for 2022-23. The collected data will be utilized to inform planned interventions and eventually to measure the impact of projects in addressing human trafficking. The CSOs will also use the data as a guide to develop tools and risk assessments, especially in the identified trafficking hot spots. Similarly, relevant actors in this field can use this information to guide operational, tactical and strategic decisions. The same can be shared across organizations in the Horn of Africa.

The importance of collaboration

A wide range of actors and stakeholders, including local communities, civil society organizations, academia, the private sector, trade unions, migrants, and many more, are affected by migration policies, have a role in or affect the effective implementation of these policies, or have specific expertise in the field of migration. This research will open and strengthen dialogue with the various migration policy stakeholders in Somalia and advance the discourse of migration governance in the region.

The inherent value of collaboration has resonated deeply with Somali CSOs in the Regional CSO Network through partnerships which have created a collective vision of transformative social change — this can now be further catalysed through showcasing their capacity to undertake such an extensive joint mapping exercise in the region. It is our hope that this research will serve as a reminder of the added value that civil society brings to our joint efforts to combat human trafficking.

This article has been prepared by Nimo Mohamed Ali, Smita Nagi and Julia Macher as contributors to Delta 8.7. As provided for in the Terms and Conditions of Use of Delta 8.7, the opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of UNU or its partners.

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