Judge Oumou Elkhairou Niaré-Samaké Honored as 2024 Anti-Human Trafficking Hero by U.S. Government for Outstanding Leadership

Judge Oumou Elkhairou Niaré-Samaké Honored as 2024 Anti-Human Trafficking Hero by U.S. Government for Outstanding Leadership

Embassy of the United States in Mali

Press Release

No.: 2024 – 001 FR Bamako, Mali, July 2, 2024

Judge Oumou Elkhairou Niaré-Samaké honored by the American government in 2024 In Person Heroes for Exceptional Leadership

Bamako, Mali – July 1, 2024 – The U.S. Embassy in Mali is proud to announce that Ms. Samaké Oumou Elkhairou Niaré has been recognized as one of the U.S. Department of State’s 2024 Anti-Human Trafficking Heroines. This prestigious honor recognizes her unwavering commitment and exceptional contributions to combating human trafficking and organized crime in Mali.

The awards ceremony, chaired by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, recognized individuals for their tireless efforts to protect victims, punish perpetrators, and address underlying vulnerabilities exploited by traffickers. Ms. Samaké Oumou Niaré joins the ranks of these global heroes who work in often difficult conditions to defend the fundamental rights and freedoms of all.

A renowned magistrate and dedicated community leader, Ms. Samaké is currently Coordinator of the National Integrated Program to Combat Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime (PNIL) and Coordinator of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking and Associated Practices (CNLTPPA) in Mali.

His tireless commitment led to the recent adoption of a new National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking in Mali, as well as the revision of the penal code to criminalize human trafficking. Under his leadership, Mali was promoted to Tier 2 on the list of countries most affected by human trafficking in 2023, after several years on the watch list, a testament to the significant progress made through his heroic efforts.

Ms. Samaké Oumou Niaré also played a crucial role in developing new criminal laws to strengthen penalties for human trafficking and hereditary slavery. Her hard work and dedication inspired change and strengthened human rights protections in Mali despite the challenges faced.

As a judge and presiding judge, she has also dealt with numerous cases of gender-based violence and contributed to the conviction of many offenders. Her work in a difficult patriarchal context demonstrates exceptional determination and courage.

“Receiving the Anti-Trafficking Hero Award is a tremendous honour and a testament to the recognition of our shared fight for justice and human dignity,” said Ms. Samaké.

The U.S. Embassy expresses its deep gratitude to Ms. Samaké Oumou Elkhairou Niaré for her dedication and exemplary service and reiterates its commitment to supporting all initiatives aimed at eradicating human trafficking in Mali and around the world.