IAWJ Present at the Summit of African Women Judges & Prosecutors on Human Trafficking and Organized Crime

Vatican City | The Pontifical Academy of Sciences hosted a two-day Summit of African Women Judges & Prosecutors on Human Trafficking and Organized Crime on December 12 and 13. IAWJ Board Members, Hon. Saida Chebili, Hon. Ngozi Emehelu, Hon. Hannah Okwengu, and Hon. Susana Medina represented the IAWJ at the Summit along with over twenty IAWJ members. 

Almost fifty women participated in the conference. The goal was for them to share information, experience, knowledge, and best practices on the issue. The Summit was a continuation of last year’s Summit of Women Judges on Human Trafficking and Organized Crime. This year,  with a focus on Africa due to the large number of African victims of trafficking. 

IAWJ member,Judge Olatoregun said that this was an important occasion for African judges to come together because they “are involved in adjudication on human trafficking and modern slavery issues.” She highlighted the high levels of African victims, especially in her country: Nigeria. IAWJ Member, Judge Chikere compared human trafficking to slavery. She said that trafficking thrives in Africa due to the economic constrains that the citizens face.

The judges present, realeased a Final Statement of the Summit of African Women Judges on Trafficking in Persons and Organized Crime. It reads:

“Human trafficking and smuggling are two aspects of the same complex transnational and global crime that arise from organized crime. We do not hesitate to classify it as a crime against humanity.”

“The African continent, and especially sub-Saharan Africa, is particularly affected by this crime. Poverty, destitution, lack of education, ignorance, lack of job opportunities, discrimination, gender bias and social exclusion suffered by millions of people, as well as the indifferent or complicit gaze of governments and the international community, continue to worsen this situation.”

Judges “seek to guarantee access to free justice for victims, adopt measures to prevent their revictimization, recognize their rights (political, social and economic), restore their freedom and dignity, provide them with tools for their empowerment, their economic independence and the integral reparation of the damage.”

Read the full statement here.