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'End Modern-Day Slavery, Its Covert Nature'

PINI BOTHOKO
Kgosi Kebinatshwene Mosielele PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Kgosi Kebinatshwene Mosielele of Bahurutshe boo-Manyana has called on government to encourage equality within tribes as the country is faced with human trafficking tragedy.

Kgosi Mosielele said as traditional leaders they are concerned by cultural beliefs that impact on the livelihoods of the minority tribes in Botswana that need immediate attention.

He pointed out that children from minority tribes continue to be trafficked to cattle posts, towns and cities to become slaves to the elites.

Mosielele made the remarks recently at the commemoration of World Day Against Trafficking in persons held at Tlotlo Conference Centre in Mogoditshane.  He said magosi have also observed that there are elites who own ranches around the country particularly in the Kgalagadi area who traffic people, mainly children, from minority tribes to become their slaves.

“This has been going on for a long time and I do not see anything being done because probably the legislators and the communities within our governance are the ones who are perpetrating this,” Mosielele told the gathering. He asked government to stem the tide of human trafficking locally before pointing fingers at other countries.

“I would like to implore the government to do something about this before we go internationally. There is no point in us pointing fingers at other countries and people practicing this evil practice without necessarily looking deeply into what is happening in our own country.”

For his part, the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Kagiso Mmusi said human trafficking is a serious security challenge that is both local and transnational in nature.

“We have 49 victims

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of human trafficking that need shelter, access to health facilities, food, clothing and other forms of protection. If we take the various acts and means that constitute the crime of human trafficking in accordance with the Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2014, I think you will agree that our statistics may not necessarily reflect the situation on the ground,” he said.

The United Nations biennial global trafficking in persons report indicated that in 2018, 31% of all victims of human trafficking in sub-Saharan Africa were trafficked for sexual exploitation, 63% for purposes of labour exploitation whilst five percent were for other forms of exploitation. In Botswana, statistics show that from February 2019 to date there are 16 cases before the courts.

Mmusi further stated that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has warned through a research brief issued during the month of June that COVID-19 restrictions and the subsequent economic consequences are likely to exacerbate migrant smuggling and cross border trafficking of persons as people are going to be pushed to seek greener pastures. The minister said such a development would further apply strain on the criminal justice system that would have to cope with the influx.  Mmusi added this might even underscore the covert nature of the crime. The commemoration was held under the theme, ‘Committed to the Cause – Working on the frontline to end human trafficking’.



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