CAIRO, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Egypt on Tuesday hosted the first regional forum of national coordinating bodies on fighting human trafficking and migrant smuggling in Africa.
Supported by the United Kingdom, the forum is organized by the National Coordinating Committee for Preventing and Combating Illegal Migration and Trafficking in Persons (NCCPIM-TIP) in cooperation with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, Egypt's state-run MENA news agency reported.
The three-day event aims to provide a platform for national coordinating bodies from 18 African countries along the central and western Mediterranean migration routes, to exchange experiences on good practices in combating human trafficking.
The forum will support the establishment of coordination mechanisms and institutional frameworks for the fight against human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
"Regional cooperation is a key pillar to enable our countries to shift the course towards greater progress and development," NCCPIM-TIP Chairperson Naela Gabr said in her address during the event.
She underlined the importance of the forum for exchanging information, best practices and insights among national coordinating mechanisms for combating human trafficking and migrant smuggling in African countries.
"I'm sure that soon the day will come to transform from countries that export illegal migration and whose citizens are at risk of human trafficking, to countries that export high-quality production with the hands of their citizens," Gabr added.
The forum is expected to identify common challenges in addressing human trafficking and migrant smuggling, take stock of national coordination activities against both crimes, exchange experiences in preventing the illegal activities, and share promising practices and lessons learnt in the protection of trafficked persons and smuggled migrants.
It will also discuss ways forward in improving regional coordination and cooperation against migrant smuggling and human trafficking.