Saturday, May 03, 2008

Human Trafficking Law Needed in Southern Africa

From World Politics Review:

The absence of laws criminalizing human trafficking and the failure to implement those that do exist are fueling growth of the problem across southern Africa, according to delegates to a conference for the Southern African Development Community sponsored by the International Organization for Migration.

"Victims of human trafficking are exposed to extreme forms of dehumanization and exploitation. They are transported through a well-oiled trafficking system, using intricate and extensive networks to transports their 'human cargo,'" South African Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba told IRIN News.

Because of the clandestine nature of the crime and the unwillingness of many victims to speak out, few traffickers are ever charged with crimes. Those that face the criminal justice systems in the region routinely escape punishment or are convicted on other, lesser charges.

Delegates to the conference, held in the South African port city of Durban, called for a unified strategy to combat the problem, including the coordinated passage of anti-trafficking laws and greater intelligence cooperation across national boundaries. On April 10, Mozambique 's first anti-trafficking law was unanimously passed by the country's parliament. Mozambique's new law, which provides for up to 20 years imprisonment for convicted offenders, is expected to serve as an example for other African countries.

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