Human trafficking continues to be one of the major concerns for law and security agencies in the country.
In order to improve effectiveness in addressing human trafficking cases, the permanent secretary of Defence, Justice and Security, Matshidiso Bokole stated that they have over the past year intensified efforts to facilitate training of frontline officials in law enforcement, social welfare and to an extent, the judiciary.
Bokole said that the primary objective of the two-day workshop on trafficking in persons held at Gaborone International Convection Centre (GICC) was for the media, more than it is for anyone else, to gain a better appreciation in anti-human trafficking matters, particularly on the applicable law.
It is a norm that when people hear about human trafficking they automatically think of other countries but little do they know that it also happens here in Botswana, either within the country or across borders.
“This workshop has been specifically designed for media practitioners in Botswana, in order to enhance their understanding of the crime of human trafficking and equip them with response mechanisms whenever they encounter such cases,” Bokole said.
She stated that the crime of human trafficking has in recent times become a global phenomenon that has grown much more than would have been anticipated.
She said that this crime does not only violate human dignity but also goes on to inflict untold mental and physical torment on the victim, which is in
In reference to the 2010 United Nations Protocol, Bokole said it is to prevent, suppress and punish, Trafficking in Persons, especially of women and children, which supplements the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, underscoring the seriousness which the international community attaches to the crime of human trafficking.
Moreover, she explained that as a signatory to the convention and supplementing protocol; Botswana moved to enact the Anti-human Trafficking Act of 2014, which is further and subsequently amended in 2018 to enhance it by including the offences such as Smuggling of Persons, as well as prescribing commensurate punitive measures in the form of custodial sentences and fines.
“For instance, section 3 of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act, 2018, any person who smuggles another person into or out of Botswana, whether or not the smuggling is to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit commits an offence of smuggling and is liable to a fine not exceeding P200,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 15 years or both,” Bokole stated.
In addition, Bokole indicated that Botswana has so far detected and investigated 21 cases of human trafficking out of which 16 are at various stages of prosecution before court. She added that, so far, one case has been completed.