Human Trafficking Remains Threat

| May 29, 2015

Members of the community and security agencies need to fight human trafficking and smuggling trends that threaten the safety as well as security of the country.

Speaking at a public forum on human trafficking in Gaborone on May 27, Senior Superintendent Kegakgametse Malete said although the country did not have statistics on the magnitude of the problem at home, there was need to sensitise the general populace and other stakeholders on the issue.

She, however, noted that this transnational crime had affected every country in the world, Botswana included and most of the victims, especially with regard to human sexual trafficking, were subjected to incidents of forced slavery, sexual exploitation and removal of their organs such as kidneys.

The victims, she said, were usually recruited through coercion or force while those who are smuggled are usually cooperating with the smugglers and they can freely move around in search for jobs wherever they are and decide to come home later on.

Snr Supt Malete, who is also the National Crime Prevention Coordinator, said victims are usually reluctant or fearful to report such incidents therefore it was difficult to quantify such incidents.

This organised crime, she noted, is a serious form of crime which generates huge profits for perpetrators and at the same time fuels corruption on the part of officials such as immigration officers.

Mr Malete however cited lack of strategies, planning and policies and ineffective criminal justice response as some of the operational challenges in fighting the crime.

Meanwhile, Botswana has formulated the Anti-Human Trafficking Act No 32 of 2014 to address the problem hence the need for law enforcement agencies to acquaint themselves with the legal instrument for its effective implementation.

Another speaker at the forum, Ms Veronica Dabutha from Masiela Trust said abandoned children especially those living in squatter camps were usually vulnerable to incidents of sexual trafficking and some of them fall pregnant at an early age.

She however said it was usually rare to learn that some of those responsible had been brought to book. Some of these incidents, she added were prevalent in Jwaneng and Selebi-Phikwe squatter camps, where young girls are mothering children.

The problem, she said, was compounded by the fact that these young mothers have no national identity cards or birth certificates for their children and as such they cannot access some government services such as the provision of free ARV.

During the session, one victim of human trafficking, who luckily came back home within three months after she was taken to Canada in November 2008, said Batswana should be careful of people who promise them work overseas as she also fell for the trap.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Human Rights

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