ECOWAS Declaration on the Fight against Trafficking in Persons

Date entry into force
Date of Adoption

We, the Heads of States and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) solemnly declare as follows:

Deeply Concerned over the suffering caused by the growing incidence of trafficking in persons within the West African Sub-region and from our Member States to other parts of the world, Asserting that it is fully unacceptable that human beings are traded, bought, sold, placed, or abducted thus being denied their most fundamental human rights;

Condemning trafficking in persons, especially women and children, as a violation of fundamental human rights, and as a criminal act;

Disturbed by the extensive and growing role in trafficking in persons by transnational organised criminal networks, whereby our Member States are used as countries of origin, transit and destination, Recognizing that poverty, lack of education and lack of equal opportunity make persons, especially women and children, vulnerable to becoming victims of trafficking;

Deeply concerned that perpetrators of trafficking in persons, using coercion, abduction, fraud, or deception are taking advantage of the social or economic vulnerabilities of men, women, and children, in order to exploit them;

Acknowledging that children who become victims of trafficking are particularly vulnerable and need special measures of protection for their development and well being;

Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, particularly Article 4, which states that “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms”;

Recalling further the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 1999 International Labour Organization Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, and the 1999 African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, particularly Article 15 (Child Labour); Article 16 (Protection Against Child Abuse and Torture); and Article 29 (Sale, Trafficking and Abduction);

sw Ratification Table:
Member StateDate DepositedDate RatificationDate Signature