Photograph — New York Criminal Attorney

The Senegalese government in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the U.S Department of State has launched a new online database for human trafficking cases.

The government revealed on Wednesday that the online database otherwise known as the ‘Systraite’ system will collect information on victims, convictions and traffickers in a bid to curb the growing trade of people in Senegal.

The Systraite system will collect data on trafficking survivors such as their country or region of origin, age, gender, types of abuse they faced, and other data including methods of referral procedure before courts and traffickers’ profiles.

IOM gave judicial personnel in juvenile courts likewise prosecutors computers and internet modems to document the trafficking cases they handle. 

Prior to the launch, IOM together with the National Unit for Combating Trafficking in Persons (CNLTP) organized training sessions on the use of the system. Systraite will be deployed in five pilot regions: Dakar, Kedougou, St. Louis, Tambacounda and Thies, the most affected regions in Senegal.

Awa Ndour, a programs officer at the CNLTP said that this online database resulted from the lack of formal statistics on human trafficking in the West African country. “We wanted to create a data collection system that will allow us to analyze the evolution and trends in human trafficking,” said Ndour in an interview with Thomson Reuters Foundation.

In a 2019 report by the European Country of Origin Information Network (ecoi.net), forced begging is the most prevalent form of trafficking in Senegal. With nearly 30,000 children forced to solicit for money in Dakar, the country’s capital. 

A Humanium study also shows that many koranic teachers –Daara Serigne make beggars out of the students in their schools. This forced act makes the children popularly known as Talibes vulnerable and exposed to all sorts of danger which affects their physical and mental wellbeing. 

Girls and women are not left out of the trafficking trade. They are forced into sex trafficking and domestic servitude by their traffickers who also transport them to other neighbouring countries in Europe and the middle east.

With the introduction of this digital database, it allows for better tracking of trafficking survivors and thus facilitates the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators. The Systraite system has the capacity to bring an end to human trafficking in Senegal if every judicial outfit not only recognises but utilizes it. 

By Treasure Nnabugwu.

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