8 attempts of trafficking in infants born out of wedlock in Tunisia (INLTP Report 2019)
23/01/2020 21:06, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP)- The year 2019 saw eight attempted trafficking of infants, born out of wedlock, 11 cases of servitude or similar practices, among 775 cases of trafficking in persons, including 348 cases of economic exploitation of children and 361 cases of forced labour, according to a report from the National Authority to Combat Trafficking in Persons (French:INLTP) presented Thursday in Tunis.

During Thursday's celebration of the national day for the abolition of slavery and servitude, INLTP President Raoudha Laabidi revealed that the number of people involved in these crimes reached 841 people, including 346 women (41.1%), against 495 men, including 538 Tunisians (64%) and 303 foreigners, involved in cases of forced labour, with 296 cases among 473 other cases.

The role of women has been particularly important in crimes of sexual exploitation, having been involved in 29 cases out of a total of 45 such crimes, in 185 cases of forced labour out of a total of 473, and in 130 cases of economic exploitation out of 309 such cases.

Laabidi said in this regard that among the 1,313 crimes related to trafficking in persons, the case of "children from the Regueb camp" represents "the most dangerous case recorded in the previous year", pointing out that 200 similar camps endangering the future of children were discovered in Tunisia, after the closure of the Regueb camp.

A total of 31 children between the ages of 13 and 18 were taken into care, in coordination with civil society and government institutions, in addition to the establishment of a socio-psychological care plan to identify the factors that contributed to the polarisation of these children, according to the report.

In this regard, Laabidi praised the efforts made by State institutions in caring for victims, highlighting the role of the Ministries of Education and Health, which took care of 78 victims. She stressed that the cases of trafficking in persons in 2019 were characterised by a three-dimensional parity distribution.

Girls and women account for about half of the registered victims of trafficking in persons in 2019, the report reveals. They account for 57% of all recorded cases (748 cases), the source states.

About half of the cases of trafficking in persons involve children (612 victims), the report adds, while the number of foreign victims amounted to 631, or 48.1% of the total number of cases recorded, particularly in the area of forced labour.

Economic exploitation accounts for more than 83.6% of all cases of trafficking in persons, half of which involve forced labour, followed by economic exploitation of children, whether in marginal economic activities or begging (32.4%), the report says.

Laabidi noted that cases of trafficking in persons reached 68.3%, slavery-like practices 166.7%, forced labour 76.2%, economic exploitation of children (59.8%) and sexual exploitation (10.8%).

On the other hand, Laabidi indicated that the INLTP will launch from February 13 and 14, 2020 distance learning courses to help combat trafficking in persons, presenting on this occasion, the procedural guide for judicial police officers in the prevention and fight against trafficking in persons.

For her part, Mayor of Tunis, Souad Abderrahim, stressed that the municipality of the capital is open to cooperation with INLTP and ready to support it in caring for certain victims, stressing the importance of including crimes of organ trafficking in Tunisia in the relevant statistics and reports, given the large number of complaints filed on this subject by associations.

The historian Ines Mourad Dali, for her part, referred to the situation of "blacks in Tunisia", while Saadia Mesbah, president of the "Mnamti" association, stated that the black minority in Tunisia, whose number varies between 4,000 and 5,000 people, "suffer from certain racist practices that manifest themselves through pejorative nicknames referring to their skin colour".

For her part, the Council of Europe's representative in Tunisia, Imen Khalifa, spoke of her organisation's commitment to support Tunisia, which has ratified the convention to combat trafficking and sexual exploitation of children, which will enter into force on February 1.

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