The ECOWAS Commission has called on Member States to support the
implementation of regional Policy and Plan of Action for Child Protection and
Child Trafficking as entry points for addressing the challenges related to the
protection of the rights of women and children in the region.
In an address to the opening of a three-day training workshop in Abuja on
Monday 26th November 2012, for Member States on the Implementation of the
Policy and Action Plan, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and
Gender, Dr. Adrienne Diop, said the Commission has adopted an approach that
recognizes the linkages between child protection, trafficking in persons and
In the address delivered on her behalf by the Director of Humanitarian
Affairs, Dr. Daniel Eklu, the Commissioner noted that the three elements were
each anchored by the Child Policy and Action Plan, (now the Child Protection
Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, which was validated a month ago),
Trafficking in Persons Plan of Action and Policy on Protection and Assistance
to victims of human trafficking, and the Child Labour Regional Action Plan.
These three elements, she said, “constitute a tripod upon which the effort for
the protection of children and other vulnerable groups rest.”
The Commissioner said the meeting should serve a dual purpose of “examining
the Synthesis Report emanating from implementation of the ECOWAS Counter
Trafficking Plan of Action in the past year, and developing the capacities of
participants for both the implementation of the Trafficking in Persons Plan of
Action and comparable measures to ensure the protection of children in the
This will enable Member States to effectively address the causative factors
of child trafficking, she said, adding that there is the possibility that
the “very infrastructure established to combat trafficking, may in appropriate
cases be targeted at a number of these causes as well, and the same may be
said for employing mechanisms” established to deal with the issues related to
The Commissioner said the training will also afford the opportunity for
familiarization with the frameworks within ECOWAS for counter trafficking and
child protection, and throw up strategies required to ensure an appropriate
protective environment for children in the region.
A representative of the International Labour Organization, Mr. Krishnamoortht
Kukkikatte highlighted factors hindering the welfare and development of
children in West Africa, such as exploitation, including trafficking and
various forms of child labour.
He called for support for ECOWAS’ initiatives and the implementation of the
regional Policy and Action Plan by Member States.
Speaking in the same vein, Mr. Martin Ocaga of the International Organization
for Migration, said the UN agency fully supported ECOWAS efforts “to achieve a
Child Protection Framework System for Member States that will ensure an
environment where girls and boys are free from violence, exploitation, and
abuse, and where laws, services, behaviours and practices minimize children’s
vulnerability, address known risk factors and strengthen children’s own
The Chairman of the meeting, Mr. Kouadio Kra Herve, Director, Child
Protection, in Cote d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Family, Women and Child Protection,
called for the harmonization of various national efforts by Member States in
support of the regional initiatives for effective protection of women,
children and other vulnerable groups in the region.
He expressed the hope that the reflection by the experts would bring a new
dynamism to the way the region addressed human exploitation.