Africa in Perspective Migration, Mobility and Modern Slavery in Africa

The ongoing economic crises in Africa and the ease in mobility occasioned by free movement policies and protocols have made Africans increasingly vulnerable to migration, therefore, allowing different forms of modern slavery to thrive.

Editor’s note: This essay is available in print in our latest issue on Modern Slavery in Africa. Buy the issue here.

The movement of people and goods from one destination to the other is indispensable as far as human life on earth is concerned. The act is so imperative that its enhancement has been put into perspective by most regions of the world. In order to enhance human mobility, ease movement of goods, and strengthen symbiotic relations across national borders, most states across different sub-regions and regions of the world have deferred their sovereignty by collectively signing free movement pacts that permit movement along their borders with little or no restrictions.

Today, there are several free movement pacts and protocols signed by some of the blocs in Africa (although some are yet to be implemented). These agreements are signed under the auspices of blocs within the continent such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Southern African Development Community, Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa, the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, East African Community, the Economic Community of Central African States. From the aforementioned sub-regional organizations, the free movement protocol of the ECOWAS is the most visibly implemented and the comeuppance of its implementation attests to a political recognition that mobility is essential for regional economic integration and development.

This essay is available online to paying subscribers only. To read the full essay, start a subscription from $1.99 / month (students) and $5.99 / month (everyone else) here