State of Internet Freedom in Africa 2022: The Rise of Biometric Surveillance

FIFAfrica22 |

Digital biometric data collection programmes are becoming increasingly popular across the African continent. Governments are investing in diverse digital programmes to enable the capture of biometric information of their citizens for various purposes.

A new report by the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) documents the emerging and current trends in biometric data collection and processing in Africa. It focuses on the deployment of national biometric technology-based programmes in 16 African countries, namely Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zambia.

The report published today is the ninth consecutive one issued by CIPESA since 2014 under the State of Internet Freedom in Africa series. It was released at the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica), which is taking place in Lusaka, Zambia.

The biometric data collection programmes reviewed by the report include those related to civil registrations, such as the issuance of National Identity cards, biometric voter registration and identification programmes, government-led CCTV programmes with facial recognition capabilities, national ePassport initiatives, refugees’ registration, and mandatory biometric SIM card registration.

The report highlights the key trends, potential risks, challenges and gaps relating to biometric data collection projects in the continent. These include limited public engagement and awareness campaigns; inadequate legal frameworks that heighten risks to privacy; exclusion from accessing essential services; enhanced surveillance, profiling and targeting; conflicting interests and the wide powers of third parties; and limited capacity and training. 

Consequently, the study notes that these biometric programmes are being implemented in countries with poor digital rights records, declining democracy and rising digital authoritarianism, which casts doubt on the integrity of biometric data collection programmes and the resultant databases. Thus, viewed collectively, the developments, trends and risks outlined in the report heighten concern over the growing threats to the right to privacy of personal data and potential violations of digital rights on the continent. 

Finally, the report presents recommendations to various stakeholders including the government, civil society, the media, the private sector and academia, which, if implemented, will go a long way in addressing data protection and privacy gaps, risks and challenges in the study countries. 

The key recommendations include a call to:

  • Governments to implement the laws and policy frameworks on identity systems and data protection and privacy while paying keen attention to compliance with regionally and internationally recognised principles and minimum standards on data protection and privacy for biometric data collection and require the adoption of human rights-based approaches. 
  • Countries without data protection and privacy laws such as Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Tanzania should expedite the process of enacting appropriate data protection laws so as to guarantee the data protection and privacy rights of their citizens. 
  • Governments to ratify the AU Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection (Malabo Convention) to ensure government commitment to regional data protection and privacy as a means to hold them accountable.
  • Governments to establish independent and robust oversight data protection bodies to regulate data and privacy protection including biometric data.
  • Civil society to engage in advocacy and lobby governments to develop, implement and enforce privacy and data protection policies, laws and institutional frameworks that are in compliance with regional and international minimum human rights standards.
  • Civil society to monitor, document and report on the risks, threats, abuses and violations of privacy and human rights associated with biometric data collection programmes, and propose effective solutions to safeguard rights in line with international human rights standards.
  • The media to progressively document and report on initiatives such as advocacy by civil society and other stakeholders to keep track of developments. 
  • The media to conduct investigative journalism to identify and expose privacy violations arising from the implementation of biometric data collection programmes.
  • The private sector to take deliberate efforts to ensure that all their respective biometric data collection programmes and systems are developed implemented and managed in compliance with best practices prescribed by the national, regional and international human rights standards and practices on privacy and data protection, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
  • The private sector to ensure that they progressively adopt and develop comprehensive internal privacy policies to guide the collection, storing and processing of personal data. 
  • The private sector to take deliberate efforts aimed at involving data subjects in the control and management of their personal data by providing timely information on external requests for information. 
  • Academia to conduct evidence-based research on data protection and privacy including biometrics, highlighting the challenges, risks, benefits and trends in biometric data collection programmes. 

The full State of Internet Freedom in Africa 2022 Report can be accessed here.

Kenya’s 2022 Political Sphere Overwhelmed by Disinformation

Ahead of the August 9, 2022, general elections, Kenya has been hit by a deluge of disinformation, which is fanning hate speech, threatening electoral integrity, and is expected to persist well beyond the polls. Last month, the Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) and CIPESA convened stakeholders in Nairobi to disseminate the findings of research on the nature, pathways, and effects of disinformation in the lead-up to the election, and the actions required to combat disinformation. Below is a summary of the report findings and takeaways from the dissemination event, as captured by KICTANet:

There is a lot of strange information going on around the country, and this has been happening for a while. During the Kenya Internet Governance Forum (IGF) week, the Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) in partnership with the Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) held a workshop to disseminate a report on  Disinformation in Kenya’s Political Sphere: Actors, Pathways and Effects. The research is part of a regional study conducted by CIPESA, that explores the nature, perpetrators, and effects of misinformation in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Uganda, Nigeria, and Kenya.

As Kenya nears the 2022 general elections, disinformation remains at its peak levels, both at grassroots and national levels. The availability of sophisticated technology and its ease of use has enabled a wide range of political actors to act as originators and spreaders of disinformation.

Currently, there is no law that clearly defines or distinguishes between misinformation and disinformation. However, it is an offense to deliberately create and spread false or misleading information in the country. False publications and the publication of false information are punishable under the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Act under Sections 22 and 23. It is a crime to relay false information with the intent that such information is viewed as true, with or without monetary gain. However, these same laws can also be used to silence dissent, making it a double-edged sword.

The study identifies different forms of disinformation that take place both physically and online. They include deep fakes, text messages, WhatsApp messages, and physical copies such as pamphlets and fliers. These are spread through the use of keyboard armies on social media, where politicians up to the grassroots levels hire influencers, and content creators who spread messages around them or against their opponents. This is done through mass brigading and document and content manipulation. The rationale is driven by the desire to get ahead politically or economically and is fuelled by an ecosystem that is fertile for the spread of this vice.

According to Safaricom, in the year 2017, 50% of its communications department time was spent monitoring fraud and fake information at different times. The instigators of this disinformation are influencers, politicians themselves, people they work with, and their parties.

There is a flow to how the fake news gets to the audience, and disinformation does not start with the pictures but with a plan that is part of a bigger political strategy. It starts with identifying the target audience, choosing the personnel and people to push the message, and then narrative development is done. This is followed by content development, which includes videos, pictures or memes, and audio files. Once this is done, the content is then strategically released to the unknowing public, who, without critically analyzing the information, spread it far and wide to a wider audience. This results in diminished trust in democratic and political institutions and restricted access to reliable and diverse information.

This can be addressed by having increased government engagement on social media as opposed to it being reactive only. For example, the government needs to be an active contributor to accurate information. Considering there is a space in which disinformation thrives, in particular where there is a lack of response, rumors spread. Civil society should also engage with policymakers and media representatives on enhancing digital literacy and fact-checking skills. The intermediaries should increase transparency and accountability in content moderation measures and conduct cross-sectoral periodic policy reviews.

Key Takeaways

  1. The weakest link in disinformation is the citizen, and therefore, one of the most effective ways to tackle the issue is to empower the citizenry to be able to detect and respond wisely to misinformation. If the general public is not informed, it is a lost battle.
  2. There is a thin line between misinformation and mal-information and it can easily be blurred.
  3. The Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Act 2018 is a double-edged sword that censors yet tries to get some accountability from the general public in regard to spreading misinformation.
  4. Safaricom reported that during the 2017 election, 50% of its time was spent monitoring fraudulent interactions.

 

Bridging the Gender Digital Divide is Critical for Achieving Digital Rights in Africa

By Victor Kapiyo |

Digital technologies have created new spaces for interaction and enabled new ways to connect, share experiences, work and build communities. These technologies continue to be influential and have the potential of enhancing growth and expanding opportunities for the realisation of women’s rights in Africa. Indeed, access to the internet and digital devices has become central to the empowerment of women and girls, and in enabling them to realise and enjoy their digital rights. 

Women and girls in Africa form a key constituency and a distinct category in their experiences in using the internet compared to men and boys. Plan International points out that while technology and the internet can be a great enabler for women and girls, lack of opportunities and skills, and fear of discrimination, could prevent many from using and creating digital tools and online content. 

Indeed, the growing digital gender divide in access to the internet in Africa limits the potential of the internet and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to contribute to achieving gender equality, women’s rights and digital rights for women and girls. Notably, there is a substantial divide between men and women in internet access and use globally, as a majority of the 2.9 billion people who remain unconnected are women and girls. 

According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), in 2013, only 37% of all women were online, compared to 41% of all men. In 2017, the global internet penetration rate for men stood at 50.9% compared to 44.9% for women. This increased in 2019, with ​the proportion of women using the internet globally standing at 48%, compared to 58% of men. In 2022, 62% of men were using the internet compared to 57% of women, meaning that the global internet use gender gap stands at 8%. However, this divide is more glaring in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), many of which are in Africa, where only 19% of women used the internet in 2020, compared to 86% in the developed world. 

Furthermore, the digital gender divide in Africa has continued to widen as most of the new internet users since 2013 were men. According to the GSMA, women in developing countries are 14% less likely to own a mobile phone than men and are less likely than men to utilise mobile data, social media applications or SMS services. Sub-Saharan Africa still has the most expensive data prices in the world, according to the 2021 Worldwide Mobile Data Pricing Report, with the average price for 1GB of mobile data coming in at USD 6.44. An analysis by the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) shows that 1GB of mobile broadband data became less affordable in 2021 than in 2020, following the impact of Covid-19, with the cost increasing by 12% in the LDCs.

Access remains critical to achieving digital inclusion. In countries such as Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe evidence of the digital divide exists as shown in the table below. The high cost of access is driven by taxes such as those introduced in Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia which are paid prior to accessing the internet and social media platforms. In some countries like Uganda, in addition to the high taxes, some social media platforms like Facebook are still blocked and are only accessible through Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Further, save for Zimbabwe and Lesotho, the remaining countries fall below the average internet penetration rates in Africa and globally. With respect to mobile penetration, with the exception of Mozambique and Uganda, the other four countries reviewed in this blog – Lesotho, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe – are ranked above the African and global average, according to the Datareportal

Notably, all six countries fall below African and global social media use rates.  Despite being ranked highest among these countries, Lesotho still stood at 18.7% below the African average. However, it is important to note that there is limited availability of reliable gender-disaggregated data in Sub-Saharan Africa, where inequality is at its greatest.

The 2018 After Access study on “Understanding the Gender Gap in the Global South” revealed that poorer countries from Africa such as Rwanda, Tanzania and Mozambique, showed high gender disparity in ICT access and use, with women being on the lower end. Further, sex, income, education and location were significant determinants of whether people used the internet, with women having a lesser chance and lagging behind men. The study also found that women who were more educated, with higher incomes, and living in urban areas were likely to have greater access to the internet than those in rural areas generally. 

The cost of devices was the primary barrier for the unconnected, while the price of data services was the main barrier for those who were connected. In rural areas, access to electricity was a greater challenge than mobile coverage. The study also revealed that the knowledge of the internet was lower among women in rural areas, with only 35% indicating knowledge of the internet. Indeed, sex remains a key determinant of the probability of an individual owning a mobile phone. These findings are not unique and could mirror the situation in other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Currently, several instruments such as the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (DEVAW), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), African Platform for Action, the Dakar Declaration of 1994, the Beijing Platform for Action of 1995, the Sustainable Development Goals call for the elimination of discrimination and the promotion of women’s rights and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights call for the promotion and protection of women’s digital rights. These instruments, which enjoy wide acceptance in the continent, highlight the need for stronger protection of women’s rights and could present an opportunity for the use of ICT to empower women, including through the promotion of universal internet access. 

Additionally, governments according to an A4AI report are missing out on USD 1 trillion in gross domestic product (GDP) as a result of women’s exclusion. The report notes that governments are not adopting the policies needed to bridge the digital gender gap, with 40% of 29 countries studied in 2020 lacking meaningful policies or programmes to expand women’s access to the internet. 

Empowering women and girls through the provision of meaningful access to the internet and digital technologies could undoubtedly provide them with opportunities to start businesses, and to access education, health, social and financial services. It could also be a powerful tool to enable women and girls to participate in governance, to associate, assemble and express themselves on digital rights issues that are dear to them and to develop relevant content for their empowerment. In addition, there is a need to increase women’s representation in leadership and decision-making roles within the ICT sector.  

Therefore, in order to bridge the gender digital divide, African governments need to urgently implement legislative, policy, administrative and practical measures to address the existing structural inequalities in income, education, and employment opportunities, and stem the political, economic, legal, cultural, technological and social barriers that lead to the exclusion of women and girls from accessing and using the internet and ICT. These measures should include developing affirmative action that ensures that more women and girls have access to affordable internet and digital devices, meaningful connectivity and sound digital literacy and skills. Finally, closing the digital gender gap will require that countries collect and share gender and age disaggregated data on access and use of ICT in order to help track and evaluate progress and shape policies geared towards promoting the enjoyment of digital rights by women and girls on the continent.

Combating Disinformation in Africa: Challenges and Prospects

By CIPESA Staff Writer |

As disinformation grows in form and prevalence in many African countries, the challenges to combating it are equally increasing yet measures to combat it remain inadequate and often inappropriate. This has got disinformation researchers concerned that, if more robust measures are not adopted, disinformation could become pervasive, harder to fight, and with broad social and political ramifications.

While disinformation is not a new phenomenon, a number of factors have spurred it to unprecedented levels. These include the rapid growth of social media usage, emerging media viability challenges, politicians’ increasing influence on the media, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the involvement of mainstream media in spreading disinformation.

Few actors are conducting fact-checking and contributing to fighting disinformation in the region, which is partly due to a shortage of expertise. That requires building a bigger cohort of fact-checkers and arming them with the skills to match the evolving disinformation challenges.  “We need to make fact-checking sexy,” says Rosemary Ajayi, the lead researcher at Digital Africa Research Lab. “We need to learn from the disinformation spreaders. We need to find the motivation behind the disinformation.”

Also crucial to combating disinformation is generating evidence of the form and prevalence of  disinformation, and how it originates and spreads between different mediums and communities. In this regard, the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) in conjunction with partners in five countries (Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda), is conducting a study to understand the nature, perpetrators, strategies and pathways of disinformation, and its effects on democracy actors including civil society, bloggers, government critics, and activists.

At a related workshop conducted as part of the eighth Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica), held in September 2021, experts discussed the factors fuelling disinformation, efforts to contain the problem, and  how disinformation is affecting democracy in African countries.  

Morgan Wack, a PhD Candidate at the University of Washington, said the fracturing of online media and rise of social media has broken up the consolidated media that previously existed. “This is good but it also leaves the media vulnerable and also takes resources away from entities that could have done better fact-checking,” he said.

According to various speakers at the workshop, mainstream media across the continent has increasingly become a key disinformation pathway contrary to the known pillars of traditional media as purveyors of factual and reliable information. As observed by Tessa Knight, a Research Assistant at the Digital Research Forensic Lab, many countries do not have free and independent media and so their stories are often biased. Given the difficulties in fact-checking in such countries, the information remains one-sided. 

With growing media viability concerns, newsrooms are narrowing the choice of issues to cover in order to cut costs. As Knight pointed out, given what is online, there may not be many people interested in what newsrooms are reporting. “We need to acknowledge the financial squeeze on the industry. Also, the fact that people consider other issues more important than say hospital deaths,” she added.

Nonetheless, Ajayi argued that the business model of several media organisations in countries such as Nigeria enables the propagation of disinformation, as some mainstream media were also doing the opposite of what is expected. “All I need to have a story published is to accompany it with an envelope [bribe] and this cuts across all media platforms,” she said. “There is also a close relationship between the government and newsrooms. Government spokespeople have come from the media so if they want to silence a story they know who to contact.” 

Ownership of news organisations by political actors, including individuals holding senior positions in government, also undermines media independence and often renders such media houses sources of disinformation.

There are also concerns about governments using public media platforms and manipulating private media to spread disinformation. “In Ethiopia, the media is largely funded by the government so their news is one-sided, noted Abel Wabella, Executive Director of Inform Africa’s HaqCheck

Yet Ethiopia presents a vivid example of how different political actors are using disinformation to push their agenda, including to destabilise the country. “Now people are suffering a humanitarian crisis because each side is providing contradictory information about the crisis in Ethiopia with a view of pushing their agenda,” said Wabella. He added that it is crucial to counter this disinformation to provide the opportunity for sanitised political conversations and to aid the country’s democratisation process.

Meanwhile, it was reported that during elections in Nigeria and Ghana, politicians assemble armies of commercial influencers to push their agendas that include disinformation. “In Nigeria we call them influenza because their goal is to make their content trend. They use all sorts of tactics, compromised accounts, fake celebrity accounts, fake accounts and also attaching fake giveaways to this content. They manipulate us by making us turn a non-story into a key topic of the day,” Ajayi said. She called for a multi-sectoral and multidisciplinary approach to digital literacy because fact-checking on its own does not work because “fact-checked information is not sexy like disinformation”.

Simone Tousi, a CIPESA Programme Officer for Francophone Africa, said governments in west and central Africa were also heavily relying on mainstream media to spread disinformation. This was undermining the power of mainstream media to deter the spread of disinformation.

The inadequacy of government responses to disinformation was also reflected in their legislative decisions. According to Tousi, disinformation laws and policies have had the net effect of undermining freedom of expression. Accordingly, there is an urgent need to repeal and replace these harmful laws with more progressive legislation.

Profiter de L’espace Numérique pour Combattre la Traite des êtres Mumains en RD Congo, en Gambie et en Mauritanie

Par Ashnah Kalemera et Simone Toussi |

L’utilisation croissante des technologies numériques en Afrique est entrain de faciliter les activités de traite de personnes dans la région. Cependant, ces mêmes technologies peuvent être mises à profit pour lutter contre ce fléau qui sévit sur le continent.

Avec le soutien du Fonds Africain pour les Droits Numériques (ADRF), le think tank juridique africain sur les droits des femmes (ALTOWR : African Legal Think Tank on Women’s Rights ) a étudié le rôle que joue l’internet pour faciliter la traite des êtres humains notamment dans les volets recrutement et publicité en ligne en République démocratique du Congo (RDC), en Gambie et en Mauritanie. En plus de résultats instructifs, le projet a produit un programme de renforcement de capacités sur la façon dont l’internet peut être utilisé pour faciliter ou mieux combattre la traite des êtres humains.

Selon le rapport annuel sur la traite des personnes (annual Trafficking in Persons Report), diverses formes de traite d’êtres humains sont pratiquées dans plusieurs pays africains. En 2020, pour 10 victimes de la traite, cinq étaient des femmes adultes et deux des filles. La RD Congo, la Gambie et la Mauritanie font partie des pays du continent où sévit ce fléau.

L’indice mondial de l’esclavage (Global Slavery Index), qui fait des statistiques à propos des lieux où l’esclavage moderne est pratiqué (travail forcé, traite des êtres humains et mariages forcés)  et les réponses gouvernementale à ce phénomène a classé les trois pays au 12ème, au 58ème et au 6ème rangs respectivement, sur un total de 167 pays étudiés au niveau mondial. Avec des taux de pénétration de l’internet de 19,2 % en RD Congo, de 63 % en Mauritanie et de 19 % en Gambie, les réseaux de traite des êtres humains dans ces pays s’appuient de plus en plus sur l’internet et les plateformes de médias sociaux pour recruter leurs victimes.

En RD Congo, on estime le nombre de victimes de la traite à plus d’un million, soumis . Dans la plupart du temps « au travail forcé dans les sites miniers artisanaux, à l’agriculture, à l’esclavage domestique, ou au recrutement d’enfants par des groupes armés pour le combat ou le soutien aux combattants, ainsi qu’au trafic sexuel ».

En effet, l’étude d’ALTOWR a révélé que les déplacements de populations causés par les conflits armés en RD Congo ont créé un environnement favorable à l’exploitation des communautés vulnérables. L’étude détaille des cas d’esclavage sexuel et de mariages forcés dans la capitale du pays, Kinshasa, ainsi qu’au Rwanda voisin ; des migrations clandestines vers l’Afrique du Sud via le Burundi et la Tanzanie ; et des enlèvements, ce qui entraine des maladies sexuellement transmissibles, notamment le VIH/SIDA, des grossesses non désirées et le paiement de lourdes rançons. Comme résultats de toutes les études de cas, il ressort que les auteurs de ces délits ont utilisé des plateformes de médias sociaux, notamment Facebook et WhatsApp, pour attirer leurs victimes.

Pour en savoir plus, lire : Le rôle de l’internet dans la croissance de la Traite des êtres humains en République Démocratique du Congo

En Gambie, on estime que 11 000 personnes sont victimes d’esclavage moderne, sur une population totale avoisinant deux millions d’habitants. Les femmes, les filles et, dans une certaine mesure, les garçons gambiens sont victimes du trafic sexuel et du travail forcé, et cela est favorisé par le fort dynamisme du secteur touristique dans ce pays.

La loi gambienne contre la traite des êtres humains a été adoptée en 2007 et le pays a créé l’agence nationale anti traite des personnes (National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons), dont les activités ont débuté en 2013 mais entravées par un manque ressources suffisantes. En conséquence, l’étude d’ALTOWR a révélé que les efforts pour poursuivre les auteurs de la traite des personnes s’avèrent «insignifiants ». Parmi les cas étudiés, notamment ceux de la traite des Gambiens vers le Moyen-Orient, il a été prouvé que la logistique du voyage est organisée en ligne.

Lisez plus de détails : Le rôle de l’Internet dans la croissance de la traite des êtres humains en Gambie

Entre-temps, les réformes contre la traite et le trafic de personnes en Mauritanie ne produisent pas les résultats escomptés. En effet, cette forme d’esclavage moderne «est ancrée dans la société, le statut d’esclave étant hérité et profondément ancré dans les castes sociales et le système social en général », dans un pays où l’on estime le nombre de victimes à 90 000 sur une population de quatre millions d’habitants. Située à cheval entre l’Afrique du Nord et l’Afrique subsaharienne, et dotée d’une frontière longue et poreuse, la Mauritanie constitue une voie de transit privilégiée pour les passeurs et les trafiquants entre l’Afrique, l’Europe et le Moyen-Orient.

Pour en savoir plus, lire : Le rôle de l’internet dans la croissance de la traite des êtres humains en Mauritanie

En Afrique, les trafiquants d’êtres humains utilisent internet pour identifier, recruter, contraindre et contrôler les victimes, ainsi que pour faire la publicité de services ou produits. Ils l’utilisent également pour blanchir les revenus illicites tirés de leurs activités. Les passeurs de migrants utilisent l’internet à des fins similaires. Le crime organisé en ligne en Afrique, du web visible au Dark web

 

Ces études recommandent aux gouvernements, à la société civile et aux autres parties prenantes des trois pays de recourir à ces mêmes plateformes de communication en ligne pour mener des campagnes de prévention et de protection ainsi que des actions de sensibilisation, notamment sur les risques, les services d’alerte disponibles et l’accès aux services d’aide (psychosociale, mentale, physique et juridique, y compris les services d’orientation). En ce qui concerne la répression, les recommandations insistent sur la nécessité de renforcer les compétences et les connaissances des autorités chargées de l’application de la loi afin de comprendre la traite des êtres humains faite via Internet. Ces études recommandent également de faire usage de la technologie pour protéger les témoins pendant les procédures pénales et de mettre en place un cadre légal spécifique relatif aux crimes sexuels en ligne et à la cyber-traite.

Les conclusions et recommandations de ces études ont servi à l’élaboration de supports de formation adaptés aux réalités dans chacun des trois pays, ciblant les survivants à ce genre de crime et les réseaux de lutte contre la traite des êtres humains. L’objectif des formations était de leur fournir des compétences techniques afin qu’ils puissent plaider pour la mise en place de stratégies de prévention et de protection. Ces formations ont touché un total de 63 bénéficiaires, comprenant des groupes de jeunes, des organisations de défense des droits des femmes et des organisations de la société civile. Elles ont été chaque fois précédées par une formation de formateurs dans chaque pays.

Les sujets de discussion qui ont émergé lors des formations ont servi d’agenda à deux tables rondes régionales [une en Français, l’autre en Anglais]. Elles ont exploré les moyens d’améliorer et de mettre en œuvre les cadres juridiques existants, de renforcer les contrôles aux frontières et de mettre en place des initiatives multiparti-prenantes visant à éradiquer les contraintes et pratiques socioculturelles qui nuisent aux droits des victimes. Les participants aux tables rondes étaient issus de l’Union africaine, du Centre Nord-Sud du Conseil de l’Europe, de l’unité de lutte contre la traite des êtres humains de l’Organisation Internationale pour les Migrations, ainsi que de plusieurs groupes de réflexion, réseaux et organisations de la société civile.

Comme résolutions, les participants se sont engagés à créer des groupes de travail nationaux pour la mise en place de plans d’action multi parties prenantes visant à mieux utiliser l’internet dans la lutte contre la traite des êtres humains. Les résultats de l’étude continueront à servir de référence pour le travail de l’ALTOWR et de CIPESA pour une meilleure utilisation des technologies numériques dans la lutte contre la traite des êtres humains en Afrique.

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