On December 15th a news report was published by the Council of Europe about the introduction of a National Referral Mechanism framework in the Middle East and North Africa. It is important that the links between the ongoing work in Europe and other parts of the world are understood, as many individuals who are trafficked and exploited in Europe originate from other continents. As a transit and source country Tunisia was invited by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to adhere to the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings in 2018.
Based on a human rights approach to detect and identify human trafficking victims and to refer them to appropriate services that can ensure support adapted to their needs, the establishment of NRMs is one of the key recommendations of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings . It provides a platform for multi-sectoral co-operation enabling all competent institutions to better protect the human rights of victims, taking into consideration the specific needs of women and children.
It is aimed at professionals – from public officials and members of civil society, to representatives of international organisations and the media – who work directly or indirectly to help victims of human trafficking. The NRM was launched on 15 December during a hybrid conference held online and at the Municipality of Tunis. Among those attending are Raoudha Laabidi, President of the National Body for Combating Trafficking in Persons, Marcus Cornaro, Ambassador of the European Union to Tunisia, Pilar Morales, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Tunisia and representatives of ministries, independent and governmental bodies, civil society, international organisations, experts and legal professionals from countries of the Southern Mediterranean region and sub-Saharan Africa.