In recent times, the issue of irregular migration and human trafficking has dominated the headlines and political agenda across the world. There is constant media coverage of African migrants, in particular, leaving the continent on perilous journeys through the desert and the Mediterranean Sea with hopes of crossing to Europe. It is considered to be the deadliest migration route in the world, and the arrival of some to the Canary Islands has drawn attention to the problems of illegal migration.
Additionally, in Libya, African migrants are being sold into slavery and subjected to atrocities that abuse the human rights that Africans and the African Union (AU) and the UN try to uphold. As these headlines run on news programs, such as CNN, a mockery is made of Libya’s membership to the AU.
Young women and men from Africa also travel to the Gulf Regions in search of greener pastures but without correct, legitimate and reliable information, they can be exploited because there is an expansion of human trafficking and smuggling networks that prey on these migrants.
There are many African intellectuals, entrepreneurs, developers, health workers, engineers, teachers, human resource experts, and other professionals who have the potential and ability to positively contribute to the development of Africa, but they are often misled, deceived, and convinced to migrate to developed countries on promises of better opportunities. Upon arrival in the developed countries, the people who could be helping African development, some become victims of human trafficking and caught in unbearable circumstances.
Human migration, as old as human being and complex as human character, is unstoppable. Humans will always be moving and have the desire to create a better life for themselves and their families; however, failed migrants reveal that they did not comprehend the consequences of migrating illegitimately and many migrants who return to their native country grapple and struggle to reintegrate into society.
Socio-cultural beliefs, lack of accurate information on migration, lack of development, no proper governmental regulatory system, geographical proximity, local and increasingly global economic, lack of education, and the mind-set of potential migrants that the Western world or the urban areas is a haven for anybody who wants to get rich overnight among others, are factors that contribute to irregular migration with respect to Africans.
The Network of African Organizations for Migration and Development (NAOMAD) develops pragmatic solutions to counter irregular migration, human trafficking and protection of vulnerable children on the move. NAOMAD empowers and improves migration communities and low income communities through developmental outcomes in a holistic approach for accelerated socio-economic development of Africa.
It seeks to build coordination and strengthen local and transnational cooperation between multi-stakeholders and organizations devoted to improving the migration patterns and development of Africa while combating, irregular migration, human trafficking and protecting vulnerable children on the move for African advancement.
NAOMAD works to ensure the safe and dignified management of migration, encourage entrepreneurial skills training, assist in local initiatives for economic empowerment as alternatives to irregular migration; promote international cooperation on migration issues, assist in search for practical solutions to migration problems through developmental approaches, and provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, reintegration of deportees/stranded migrants, human trafficked victims and vulnerable children on the move for Africa development.