U.S. Ambassador Dennis. Hankins met with Mali’s Minister of Justice and Human Rights Malick Coulibaly August 29 and congratulated him on Mali’s achievements and advancement to Tier 2 on the recently released 2019 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. Ambassador Hankins thanked Minister Coulibaly for his partnership and Mali’s unprecedented efforts in the last year to prevent trafficking.
Ambassador Hankins highlighted the Government of Mali’s efforts to safeguard vulnerable populations and children from traffickers, including the landmark National Action Plan to Combat Trafficking of Persons, and the successful investigation, prosecution and conviction of the largest number of traffickers in Malian history. Also noted were Mali’s unprecedented steps to address official complicity, and efforts to establish a national agency to combat trafficking in persons.
Ambassador Hankins reiterated the United States’ support, and encouraged the Government of Mali to build on this year’s success. Among the recommendations cited in the report are:
- Engage directly with armed groups to stop the practice of recruiting minors as child soldiers.
- Develop and train officials on standardized mechanisms to identify trafficking victims.
- Train and equip law enforcement officials on effective investigation techniques.
- Regularly train judges and prosecutors on the 2012 anti-trafficking law and standardize refresher trainings.
- Continue to allocate a dedicated budget, resources, and personnel to the anti-trafficking committee and institutionalize monthly meetings to improve operationalization of anti-trafficking policies and inter-ministerial coordination.
- Follow the established protocol for referring children allegedly associated with armed groups to care, and release any children inappropriately detained.
- Continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses and convict traffickers, including any complicit government officials or employees.
- Apply punitive sentencing as prescribed in the 2012 anti-trafficking law.
- Expand and strengthen implementation of programs for the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) of former child combatants.
- Address specific needs of child ex-combatants, including psycho-social care, family reintegration, education, and vocational training.
Continue to provide funding and in-kind support to NGOs that help identify and assist trafficking victims.