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Somalia: Triple Emergencies of COVID-19, Flooding & Locusts Makes Somalia Susceptible to Human Trafficking

Mogadishu — While simultaneously suffering from the coronavirus pandemic, flooding and a locust crisis, Somalia, could well see a rise in the number of people who are susceptible to human trafficking.

"As more people find themselves in vulnerable circumstances as a result of displacement from floods, drought and conflict, it is assumed that some of them are likely to seek "greener pastures" it is anticipated that in this state of vulnerability they could become susceptible to human trafficking and exploitation," Isaac Munyae, Programme Manager for Migrant Protection and Assistance at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Somalia, told IPS over email.

"Somalia has a very long coastline and as I am speaking to you, we don't have the capacity to control all of it, but our police maritime unit who have close cooperation with other forces in the country are always engaged in routine operations using speed boats, but to fully control such a long coastline needs much capacity than we currently have," the head of the Department for the Fight Against Smuggling and Human Trafficking, Abdiwakil Abdullahi Mohamud, told IPS.

Munyae added that additional factors that resulted in susceptibility to human trafficking included, "poverty as a result of loss in livelihoods caused by displacements for whatever reason, family pressures, social factors such as child marriages and forced labour and customary practices and lack of appropriate legal frameworks for protecting the rights of mobile population".

"When I say passports, I mean European, American, Canadian or Australian passports, because if you are a citizen of any of these countries, then it is easier for you to be an MP, a minister or get a well-paid job in Somalia," she told IPS, adding that most Somali parliament members, government ministers, general directors and other key staffers are all dual citizens.

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