IOM Remains Committed to Support Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Protect Victims

The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), in cooperation with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and other UN Agencies, has over the last two years strengthened collaboration with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) aiming to enhance efforts to prevent and combating trafficking in persons, says Mohamed El Zarkani, IOM Bahrain Chief of Mission following the US State Department release of its annual Trafficking in Person (TiP) Report for 2021, which upgraded KSA to tier 2.

The KSA’s efforts to combat trafficking in persons, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulted in an upgrade in the US State Department TiP Report for the second year.

IOM has been working with the KSA government providing technical assistance to help establishing and implementing the country’s National Referral Mechanism (NRM) as well as the National Trafficking in Persons Strategy and National Action Plan (2021-2023). Whilst building around Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnership, IOM continues to provide capacity building for a broad spectrum of national stakeholders mandated with combating human trafficking in the KSA.

“The elevation of the KSA to a higher ranking in the US State Department TiP Report for the second year in a row is indeed an encouraging achievement. IOM wishes to commend the efforts of the government of the KSA in combating Trafficking in Persons despite the Covid-19 complications,” said Mohamed El Zarkani, IOM Bahrain Chief of Mission. “The news is particularly promising to IOM as a partner organization to the government. We remain committed and determined, together with our colleagues in UNODC, to support the KSA in its journey to combat trafficking in persons and to protect the victims from this organized crime”

“On behalf of the UN Family in KSA, I wish to congratulate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on its elevation to Tier 2 in the US State Department’s Report. I am delighted to see the Kingdom’s efforts being recognized in this global report and proud with the contribution and support that our agencies are providing to the KSA government in this process.” Said Nathalie Fustier, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this year, IOM and the Saudi Human Rights Commission (HRC) renewed an anti-trafficking partnership agreement (April 2021 – March 2022), following a fruitful year of cooperation. The renewed agreement builds upon and expands work undertaken in the first year to fight trafficking in persons.

“Honored by the recognition we have received for our efforts to combat trafficking, over the past two years. Under Vision 2030, the Kingdom is committed to improving the quality of life not just for some — but for all. Today’s achievement is a testament to the Kingdom’s commitment to realizing this vision,” stated Mr. Awwad Alawwad, Chairman of the National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking (NCCHT) and President of the Human Rights Commission.

“We look forward to continuing our work in the year to come and to further enhancing our capabilities to combat this crime with our local and international partners. Today, we renew our pledge to combat human trafficking and to better serve victims and potential victims of this crime.”, added Sarah Al Tamimi, Vice Chair of the NCCHT.