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Regional Case Digest for Southern Africa Assists Judicial Officers to Prosecute Suspected Traffickers

Justice Fiona Mwale

It was a victory for law enforcement against a crime that had originated in cyberspace. The accused, ML, had been using Facebook over a period of four years to lure and groom young girls by promising modelling jobs and money.

He requested them to send him nude pictures and, once received, blackmailed the victims by threatening to expose their identities if they refused to engage in sexual acts with him and the co-accused. In some instances, these acts were filmed.

The accused was eventually sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment for his guilty plea on 26 counts of, inter alia: sexual assault; extortion; possession of indecent photographs; possession of prohibited visual recordings; and recruiting, harbouring, transferring, and receiving a child while knowingly or recklessly disregarding that the person is a child for the purpose of exploitation.

This case (R v ML & Ors Cr S 63/19) occurred in Seychelles and is featured in a Regional Case Digest launched in 2022 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)’s Southern Africa office. The digest is meant to assist judicial officers to improve the identification of and conviction for the crime of trafficking in persons.

Explaining the significance of the Seychelles case was Justice Fiona Mwale, an experienced judge from Malawi who was commissioned by UNODC to lead a seminar meant to increase the knowledge of judicial officers in identifying and prosecuting the crimes of trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling.

Justice Mwale said the case in Seychelles illustrated that nothing has complicated the fight against human trafficking like the onset of cyberspace. “All you need to commit cybercrime is an IP address,” Justice Mwale noted.

She explained that cybercrime can be cyber-dependent or cyber-enabled. The former can only be enacted using computers, computer networks or other forms of information and communications technology (ICT), such as the creation and spread of malware and hacking to steal sensitive personal or industrial data.

On the other hand, cyber-enabled crimes are traditional crimes that can be increased in their scale or reach using computers, computer networks or other forms of ICT. Unlike cyber-dependent crimes, they can be committed without the use of ICT. Thus, in many instances, a simple cellphone can be used. Even inmates with access to cellphones in prisons have been found to run phishing scams.

However, identifying, investigating, and convicting criminals operating in cyberspace and on digital networks is complex.

According to Justice Mwale, this is because law enforcement authorities cannot easily access and secure evidence – or secure cooperation across borders – in instances where the perpetrator and the victim are in different places.

More significantly, to effectively deal with human trafficking perpetuated through cybercrime – such as the case listed above in Seychelles – there is a need for a certain level of digital expertise, which law enforcement officials do not always have.

The seminar represents just one instance in which UNODC’s Regional Case Digest can help illustrate criminal methodology, helping prosecutors and judicial officers to identify and convict criminals. The digest provides references to challenges specific to Southern Africa, including child trafficking, sexual exploitation, and the significance of customary practices.

The Regional Case Digest was developed in both digital and hard copy versions in the official languages of the Southern Africa region: English, French and Portuguese. Funding for the digest was provided by the European Union through the Southern Africa Migration Management (SAMM) project.

  • Story by Wilson Johwa, UNODC Southern Africa

Readers Digest. Available in three languages

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Human Trafficking: Prevalent in Public Discussions but Not in the Courts

Pretoria – South Africa is a preferred country of destination for many types of migrants, including unaccompanied children and smuggled migrants. The crime of trafficking in persons is also an issue of concern, with women and children being major victims.

However, like everywhere in the world, human trafficking is characterized by a very low rate of prosecution. While it has always been hard to detect such cases, the onset of the internet and advances in technology have made it even harder to catch those involved. Traffickers use the cover of the web to recruit their victims, to advertise their services and to move the proceeds of their crimes.

On the bright side, the average conviction rate globally has tripled since 2003 when the United Nations Trafficking in Persons Protocol entered into force. But this is off a very low base. Thus, human trafficking is hardly in decline.

In 2018 about 50,000 victims of human trafficking were detected and reported by 148 countries, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Even then, the actual number of victims could be higher.

Suspected cases in South Africa are more likely to be in private conversations and on social media than in the courts. This points to the need for improvements in both law enforcement and prosecution, according to the country’s Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, John Jeffery, expressing what holds true across the world.

This view is also shared by Vincent Ratshibvuma, a judge based in Mpumalanga, one of South Africa’s nine provinces, which borders Mozambique and Eswatini. “That is why I made a case for the NPA (the National Prosecuting Authority) to be trained in such cases since they are the ones who bring cases to court,” he said.

Mr Jeffery and Judge Ratshibvuma were speaking at a colloquium of judicial officers jointly organized by UNODC and the South African Judicial Education Institute (SAJEI). The gathering was meant to familiarize magistrates with the intricacies of trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling.

Mr Jeffery described trafficking in persons as a crime that does not stop at national borders and “that’s why cooperation is important.”

Justice Ratshibvuma noted that all of South Africa’s neighbours had signed the Trafficking in Persons Protocol. The treaty provides for countries to receive practical assistance to draft national anti-trafficking in persons legislation, in addition to creating related strategies and assisting victims. “Unless you have the cooperation of your neighbours fighting trafficking in persons is not going to work,” said Justice Ratshibvuma.

UNODC Southern Africa Regional Representative Jane Marie Ongolo said the organization is involved in the compilation of a Southern African Regional Case Digest to assist with the prosecution of cases. “We realized that, sadly, the highest percentage of crimes in the region relate to trafficking for sexual exploitation, and mostly involve minors,” she said.

UNODC is also cooperating with the South African Police Service to roll out  trainings that will reach officers throughout the country. The aim is to close the identified gap in evidence gathering and follow-up.

Teresa Horne, a judicial trainer with SAJEI, elaborated on what she sees as the growing use of ordinary residences and hotels as brothels.

According to Dr Ongolo, Africans continue to move across the continent in search of economic opportunities, hence policymakers need to work at making migration safe, regular and a force that can be harnessed for development, both in the countries of origin and destination.

She said contrary to perceptions that many Africans are making their way to Europe, the vast majority of those thinking about migrating have no interest in leaving the continent and have no intention of moving permanently.

“An argument can be made that migration is etched in Africans’ DNA, that Africans have and will always move within and across the continent, and that they are not about to stop,” Dr Ongolo said.

About the Southern Africa Migration Management (SAMM) project

The judicial colloquium was organized under the SAMM project which is funded by the European Union and is a collaboration of four UN agencies: UNODC, ILO, IOM and UNHCR, under the one-UN model. The overall objective is to improve migration management in the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region. https://www.sammproject.org/

Story by Wilson Johwa

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OPINION: Social media makes it easier for human traffickers to ensnare victims

The internet has revolutionised human trafficking. It has presented recruiters with more convenient ways to connect with targeted victims, usually with fake job offers, or to find buyers for their products, such as human kidneys, and even to livestream acts of exploitation, writes Jane Marie Ongolo

Key to any human trafficking operation is the recruiter, often occupying a position of authority in the community. They may be the leader of the trafficking ring but are often just someone credible, even with significant religious or political standing.

Consider the documented case of a teacher from Lesotho who persuaded students to look for women most likely to accept employment “abroad”.

Five young women were duly introduced to the teacher who deceitfully briefed them on the available work and where it was – an offer they readily accepted. However, upon getting to the destination, in South Africa, they were promptly sold into sexual exploitation.

In another documented case, the organizer, a Congolese woman, promised the relatives of five children that they would get better education in Zambia. When a deal was finalized, the woman arranged for transportation to enter Zambia irregularly. On arrival, she put the five children to work in her business, selling commodities and food.

Victims treated as commodities

The Southern Africa region is not free from human trafficking, a crime that entails the recruitment, transportation, harbouring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them for profit. Traffickers of human beings treat their victims as commodities that can be used and sold for financial gain, without regard for human dignity and rights.

Essentially, traffickers can be divided into two broad categories: groups that can be defined as organized criminal groups and opportunistic traffickers operating alone or in cooperation with one or other traffickers. In the latter category are business owners, intimate partners and other family members.

Whatever the organizational structure, traffickers usually target the most marginalized and vulnerable such as those with mental disorders and undocumented migrants, along with those living in poverty, the unemployed as well as abandoned children and those in dysfunctional families. In the SADC region cases have been reported of people living with albinism being trafficked for their organs.

Trafficking can involve travelling to another country. However, most detected victims across the world are citizens of the countries where they are detected – but are usually subject to significant geographical movements often to unfamiliar parts of their region where a different language is spoken.

A more convenient way to target victims 

While the scenario of an influential community member doubling up as a recruiter is still a reality, the internet has revolutionized human trafficking. It has presented recruiters with more convenient ways to connect with targeted victims, usually with fake job offers, or to find buyers for their products, such as human kidneys, and even to livestream acts of exploitation.

Through the internet it is also possible to anonymously arrange logistics such as transport and accommodation for victims, in addition to moving and hiding proceeds of crime.

In the recruitment phase for human trafficking, two types of strategies can be identified. ‘Hunting’ is when traffickers proactively target specific victims or clients in order to gain access to victims and establish connections with potential buyers or exploitative services. ‘Fishing’ involves human traffickers posting adverts online and waiting for potential clients of victims to respond. They may include fake job adverts or the offer to buyers for certain services.

Thus, it is critical that guardians and educators teach children how to navigate the internet safely. Social media presently a significant danger, not least because it is now such an indispensable  part of life, with WhatsApp and Facebook, among the most popular.

It is concerning that a third of children who participated in a 2020 child survey (conducted by the Youth Research Unit at the Bureau of Market Research, Unisa and Unicef) had met someone face-to-face during the previous year whom they had first got to know on the internet. The last time they met the person face-to-face, they experienced feelings of happiness (58,8%) and excitement (43,7%).

Globally, 50% of detected human victims of human trafficking were for sexual exploitation and 38% for forced labour, while 6% were subjected to forced criminal activity and more than 1% to begging. Smaller numbers were trafficked for forced marriages, organ removals and other purposes.

Women and girls still the primary target

This is in contrast to the situation in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region where the majority of detected victims of human trafficking are exploited for the purpose of forced labour. They are put out to work – such as selling goods in markets, begging and labouring on farms, quarries and in mines.

Victims of human trafficking are invariably kept against their will through fear of physical violence. In other instances victims are prevented from fleeing because they have been forcibly introduced to drugs, or have been deceived into believing that they owe the traffickers huge amounts of money for services provided, such as the provision of a false ID, transportation or housing.

Research by UNODC and others shows that globally the share of children among detected trafficking victims has tripled, while the share of boys has increased five times over the past 15 years. However, women and girls are still the primary target of trafficking globally, making up 46% and 19% of all victims of trafficking respectively.

“Loverboy” cases have also been reported in the SADC region. This is where male traffickers romance potential female victims for months and even years, building a relationship of trust, before trafficking them into sexual exploitation or forced labour.

In the SADC member states the number of trafficking cases recorded fell between 2017 and 2020, likely due to increased focus on the crime of human trafficking. More countries have developed specific laws prohibiting such crimes after ratifying the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (the Trafficking Protocol).

As of August 2020, 169 countries had enacted legislation that criminalizes trafficking in persons, in line with the protocol. Across the world the average conviction rate tripled since 2003 when the Protocol entered into force, although convictions have been lowest in sub-Saharan Africa.

Conviction rate has tripled 

Between 2017 and 2020, 484 cases of trafficking in persons were recorded in the SADC Regional Trafficking in Persons Database, set up in 2014 by member states, the SADC Secretariat and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

There were 212 cases from nine SADC member states in 2017 – 130 of them were registered in South Africa alone. In 2018, 151 cases were registered in 11 SADC countries, with the number falling to 55 cases from eight member states. The number of recorded cases rose again to 66 cases from eight member states in 2020.

Detection is particularly difficult and even where suspects have been identified building up a case for prosecution is a process fraught with technicalities. It doesn’t help that human trafficking is often conflated with people smuggling and irregular migration, leading to further complications.

Working with other UN agencies, development partners and member states, UNODC is supporting member states with training meant to boost detention and prosecution, along with assistance for victims. Just as important is awareness raising and ongoing data collection to support evidence-based programming.

In the words of one stakeholder, the human trafficking cases they encountered happened by coincidence and not because of targeted efforts. Hence the aim of support efforts underway is to ensure that detection and prosecution happen by design rather than by accident.

About the Southern Africa Migration Management (SAMM) project.

The SAMM project is funded by the European Union and is a collaboration between four UN agencies: ILO, IOM, UNODC and UNHCR, under the one-UN model. The overall objective is to improve migration management in the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region. https://www.sammproject.org/

# Dr Ongolo is the Southern Africa Regional Resident Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

END.

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Southern Africa Migration Management (SAMM) Project Scholarships offered to obtain the “Diploma for Labour Migration Experts and Practitioners”

The Southern Africa Migration Management Project (SAMM) is offering scholarships to obtain a Diploma for Labour Migration Experts and Practitioners, providing an opportunity for participants to master the qualitative understanding of labour migration governance and protection of migrant workers’ rights through a package of intensive and challenging training courses – distance learning and residential phases to be furthered complemented by a capstone project in one of the fields of expertise covered in the programme.

The scholarships are being offered to national tripartite constituents (3 representatives of the Ministry of Labour, 3 representatives of workers’ organisations, and 3 representatives of employers’ organisations) of each of the 16 SADC countries to obtain the “Diploma for Labour Migration Experts and Practitioners”. In addition, the SAMM project is offering 9 scholarships per Regional Economic Community (SADC, COMESA, IOC): 3 to Ministries of Labour represented at the RECs level, and 3 to Workers’ representation and Employers’ representation each.  In total, SAMM will be able to offer 9 scholarships to each country + 9 to each RECs.

On achieving the Diploma for Labour Migration Experts and Practitioners, successful candidates will gain advanced knowledge in core areas of Labour Migration and cutting-edge skills to design policies, which ensure and optimize governance of Labour Migration, be able to demonstrate the achievement through a recognised certification from the ITCILO; and be part of a growing network of Labour Migration Experts and Practitioners to serve as an ongoing platform for exchange.

The training activities developed under the Diploma emphasizes experiential, results-based, learner centred methodologies such as lectures, discussions, case studies, open discussion, role-play exercises and extensive group work in which learning needs are assessed and matched and aligned with principles and guidance intended to turn learning outcomes into practice under seven main themes:

  1. Gender-sensitive labour migration policies and/or strategies regulating labour migration at national and/or regional level;
  2. International labour standards, national legislation on the protection of migrant workers and promoting an evidence-based public discourse;
  3. Bilateral labour migration agreements (BLMAs) across the region and with third countries;
  4. Fair recruitment and decent employment for migrant workers including regulatory legislation on Private Employment Agencies (PEAs), and strengthening of Public Employment Services (PES)’ capacity;
  5. Social Security Portability of Benefits for migrant workers;
  6. Recognition of qualifications of migrant workers at national and bilateral level, as well as support to Regional Qualifications Frameworks at REC’s level;
  7. Labour migration statistics (indicators, module, inclusion in labour market information systems, etc).

 

Other areas that will be also covered are the following:

  1. Labour Migration Administration;
  2. Refugees and IDPs’ access to the labour market;
  3. Impact of immigration on developing countries’ economies;
  4. Reducing Remittances’ transfer cost;
  5. The role of migrant workers and the Diaspora in attaining the SDGs.

 

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UNODC launches a Trafficking in Persons Handbook for Judicial Officers in South Africa

Johannesburg, 11-13 April 2022 – UNODC in collaboration with the South African Judicial Education Institute convened a Judicial Training Against Trafficking in Persons (TiP) in Johannesburg, South Africa from the 11 to 13 April, which is part of UNODC priorities in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Region in enhancing the capacity of Judicial Officers in the response to human trafficking using victim centred approaches under the joint UNODC-SADC Regional Programme (2013 -2023). The Regional Porgramme aims to support SADC member states to respond to the evolving threats and challenges related to crime, drugs and terrorism in all its manifestations.

The objectives of the training were to strengthen capacity of Judicial officers to effectively address trafficking in persons with a special emphasis on vulnerabilities of victims and the trauma they suffer; strengthen Judicial officers’ understanding of vulnerability and its role in presenting challenges to evidence and using tools that explain psychology and culture with special emphasis on child victims to resolve the evidential challenges and to build the capacity of judicial officers on Sentencing principles on anti-trafficking in persons. Lastly, the workshop also acted to launch the Trafficking in Persons Handbook for Judicial Officers in South Africa.

The training workshop was in line with UNODC Strategic Vision for Africa 2030, which aims to provide innovative ways to support Member States and stakeholders over the next 10 years to strengthen crime prevention, enhance the effectiveness of criminal justice systems, counter organized crime and corruption, promote balanced drug control and improve the rule of law.

In the Southern African Development Community (SADC), one unique trend that stands out in the region is that convictions on human trafficking remain low. However, UNODC has over the years convened Regional Judicial Trainings on Combating Trafficking in Persons for Judges and Magistrates to strengthen the adjudication of cases. As such, the convening of anti-human trafficking trainings for judicial officers remains a key intervention in the response to human trafficking.

During the official opening of the workshop, Mr. Vincent Spera, Consul general, US Embassy to Republic of South Africa said that “Human trafficking is such an important issue for us to work on together. It erodes the rule of law, the safety of communities, the security of borders, and the strength of economies and it transcends borders, so we need a global coalition to confront it”.

Mr. Vincent Spera, Consul general, US Embassy to Republic of South Africa

Meanwhile, Dr. Gomolemo Moshoeu, Chief Executive Officer, South African Judicial Education Institute (SAJEI), said that “Trafficking in Persons is a very complex and serious human rights issue. Some of the common features of TIP are coercion, deception, slavery or forced labour, etc.  TIP is linked to different crimes like corruption, money laundering, terrorism, and others. The focus is on the profit margin. Adjudication of TIP requires constant refining of skills hence we are here today”. She went on to say that “SAJEI is celebrating 10 years in operation. It comes to mind that 10 years ago I was requested to start the Institute with an empty office, desk and telephone. Today, the Institute has African and international footprint which we are proud”

Dr. Gomolemo Moshoeu, Chief Executive Officer, South African Judicial Education Institute (SAJEI)

The Judicial training was made possible thanks to technical and financial support of the US Government State Department to Combat Trafficking in Persons (JTIP) and the European Government under the framework of the Southern Africa Migration Management (SAMM) Project

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UNODC launches a Regional Trafficking in Persons Case Digest for the Southern Africa Development Region

Johannesburg, South Africa – 22 – 23 March 2022 – UNODC Regional Office for Southern Africa convened a three-day Seminar for Prosecutors from the SADC Region to share experiences on prosecuting cases of Trafficking in Persons.

Up to 3 prosecutors from each of the SADC countries participated, physically and virtually.

The main aim of the litigation seminar was to build a healthy body of jurisprudence on TIP in the region and, consequently, to increase the number convictions obtained in the region on trafficking in persons.

Second, the meeting also acted to launch the UNODC Regional Trafficking in Persons Case Digest, which is a compilation and in-depth analysis of over 80 groundbreaking cases across the SADC Region. The Digest was developed over the entire 2021 from contributions of experts from the entire region and globally. It has references to key issues in the Region including labour exploitation, (harmful) cultural practices, sexual exploitation, types of evidence, evidential issues and challenges among many other themes and sub-topics.

The need for a Trafficking in Persons Case Digest emanates from the complexity of trafficking cases. Not only do these cases require proof by means of a number of elements, but each element, in itself, can require a constellation of circumstances to prove it. Moreover, the covert nature of the crime and the vulnerabilities of its victims make for typical evidential difficulties which can lead to wholesale exonerations, if not well understood.  Thus, the Digest is expected to be of significant value to prosecutors and judicial officers in the region.

During the opening of the seminar, Hon. John Jeffery, Deputy Minister of Justice, observed the need for international cooperation noting that “Trafficking in Persons is a daunting crime to prosecute, as it is often a hidden crime that does not stop at the borders of a country”. He went on to say that “All SADC member states acknowledge that they are affected by Trafficking in Persons as source, transit and destination countries for victims of trafficking. This is demonstrated by the fact that most SADC member states are parties to the Palermo Protocol and are taking domestic measures to implement their international obligations in this regard and/or have specific legislation to prevent and combat Trafficking in Persons”

Mr. Ilias Chatzis., the Head of the UNODC Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section said that “one of the six change enablers of UNODC Strategic Vision for Africa 2030 is forging strong partnerships, hence it is in this pretext, that UNODC is convening the regional litigation seminar for prosecutors to strengthen bilateral and regional cooperation in combating trans-national organized crime”.

In the Southern African Development Community (SADC), one unique trend that stands out in the region is that convictions on human trafficking remain low. UNODC has over the years convened regional workshops on Combating Trafficking in Persons for Prosecutors, Judges and Magistrates in order to strengthen the prosecutions and adjudication of trafficking in persons cases. Furthermore, such workshops strengthen regional and cross regional collaboration on combating trans-national organized crime especially trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.

The workshop saw three days of robust discussions focusing on Trafficking in Persons cases where exploitation did not transpire; focusing on subtle means of control including family complicity; focusing on victim consent; focusing on weaknesses in victim behaviors and how courts address them as well as focusing on issues arising in regard to child trafficking were deliberated on and strategies to address such issues were elaborated on.

The prosecutors, whilst speaking on elements of different cases they have encountered, demonstrated the gravity of the crime that Trafficking in Persons is. The trauma and harm that the victims are put through. Above that, the dedication that the Criminal Justice Sector has, to combat Trafficking in Persons cases, based on the efforts they put in to ensure that the perpetrators are arrested and prosecuted, and victims rescued and rehabilitated.

The meeting was made possible thanks to technical and financial support of the US Government State Department to Combat Trafficking in Persons (JTIP) and the European Government under the framework of the Southern Africa Migration Management (SAMM) Project.

  Panel Discussion: Malawi, Eswatini, Seychelles & Zimbabwe

Virtual participation: UNODC technical expert

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UNODC Trains members of the Anti-Trafficking Inter-Ministerial Committee (ATIMC) of Zimbabwe on Combating Trafficking in Persons

Mutare, 8-11 November 2021 – UNODC, under the framework of the Southern Africa Migration Management (SAMM) project and in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage facilitated a four-day training workshop from the 8 – 11 November 2021 on combating Trafficking in Persons (TIP) for members of the Anti-Trafficking Inter-Ministerial Committee (ATIMC) of Zimbabwe. The training workshop was convened in line with the priorities of the joint UNODC-SADC Regional Programme (2013 -2023) and also in line with UNODC Strategic Vision for Africa 2030, which aims to provide innovative ways to support Member States and stakeholders over the next 10 years to strengthen crime prevention, enhance the effectiveness of criminal justice systems, counter organized crime and corruption, promote balanced drug control and improve the rule of law. Furthermore, UNODC is committed to gender mainstreaming and exercises a proactive gender perspective in the process of assessing the implications of any planned action for both women and men, hence, the workshop was designed in line with UNODC Gender Strategy.

The main objectives of the workshop were to build capacity of members of the Anti-Trafficking Inter-Ministerial Committee (ATIMC) on the identification and investigations of TIP cases; to build the capacity of members of the ATIMC on TIP victim interview techniques; to build the capacity of members of the ATIMC on the international legal framework of TIP (including distinguishing TIP and the smuggling of migrants and to strengthen the coordination mechanisms of the ATIMC in the response to Trafficking in Persons (TIP).  Human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Zimbabwe, and traffickers exploit victims from Zimbabwe abroad. Internal trafficking is prevalent and underreported. Traffickers exploit Zimbabwean adults and children in sex trafficking and forced labour, including in cattle herding, domestic service, and mining (gold and diamonds). More than 71 percent of child labour occurs in the agriculture (tobacco, sugarcane, and cotton), forestry, and fishing sectors, where children weed, spray, harvest, and pack goods. Zimbabwe is a transit country for Somalis, Ethiopians, Malawians, and Zambians end route to trafficking in South Africa. Zimbabwe is a destination for forced labour and sex trafficking. Traffickers’ subject Mozambican children to forced labour in street vending, including in Mbare.

Mozambican children who work on relatives’ farms in Zimbabwe are often undocumented and cannot enroll in school, which increases their vulnerability to traffickers (JTIP, 2021).

During the official opening of the workshop, the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Mr A.D.T. Nhepera said that “considering the dynamic nature of human trafficking and the technical expertise required to ensure that our strategies remain relevant, it is necessary to keep updating our knowledge and skills through such training workshops to allow us to execute our duties as expected”. He went on to say that “this training workshop is in line with the National Plan of Action which requires us to engage in capacity building through training workshops to equip all resource persons with the relevant knowledge and skills to fight human trafficking”.

Group discussion: Human Trafficking case analyses

Furthermore after the 4-day training workshop, the participants were able to describe indicators of human trafficking; distinguish human trafficking from smuggling of migrants; apply the correct techniques for interview victims of trafficking in persons and understand their roles and responsibilities in combating trafficking in persons in Zimbabwe.   The training workshop was attended by Police officers, Immigration officials, Social workers, Prosecutors and labour inspectors who are all members of the Anti-Trafficking Inter-Ministerial Committee (ATIMC).

The Southern Africa Migration Management (SAMM) Project, funded by the European Commission, is a four-year project to improve migration management in the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region. The SAMM Project is implemented by the ILO in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The overall objective of this programme is to improve migration management in the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region.

 

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IOM, supported by the EU, donates medical items to support the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s COVID-19 response

 

Gaborone, Botswana 12 November 2021 — Since the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 pandemic in Botswana on 30 March 2020, the Government of Botswana has implemented targeted responses to curtail the spread of the virus and minimize the socio-economic effects of the pandemic.

As a way of complementing the ongoing efforts of the government, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with funding from the European Union, is enhancing capacity through the provision of medical supplies containing personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in support of Botswana’s national response to COVID-19, particularly at borders. The handover of these essential supplies will take place in Gaborone in the presence of government officials and partners.

The protective equipment includes 85,000 surgical masks, 650 face shields, 40,000 latex hand gloves, and 375 liters of hand sanitizer. The donation is part of IOM’s response and support within the framework of the Southern Africa Migration Management (SAMM) project in Botswana. It aims at strengthening the operational capacity of immigration officials at border crossing points to facilitate safe migration in the face of the pandemic.

“IOM expresses its delight to the Government of Botswana for the proactive action taken to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19 in the country. It is extremely grateful to the immigration officials and health professionals who have ensured that the country’s borders remain safe amidst the pandemic. We are proud to complement the Government of Botswana’s efforts and to support the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in their operational response. The donation of PPEs will help keep immigration officials safe while they perform their duties of ensuring safe and orderly Funded by the European Union
migration at the borders”, said Mr. Charles Kwenin, IOM Regional Director for Southern Africa.

“The European Union is a staunch supporter of multilateralism and a loyal partner to the United Nations, so I am particularly pleased that we were able to join hands today with the IOM, to support the Ministry’s border operations by providing PPEs. We have trust in multilateral action, and I know this approach has support also from the Government of Botswana”, said Silvia Bopp-Hamrouni, Deputy Ambassador of the European Union to Botswana and SADC.

The COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably affected many people’s livelihood worldwide, leading to an increasing number of persons opting to migrate in search of better opportunities, and Botswana is no exception. Therefore, IOM is scaling up its interventions in Botswana with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the Department of Health, and other stakeholders. The aim is to strengthen Health, Border and Mobility Management1 approaches including assistance to vulnerable and stranded migrants in the mixed migration flows2 to prevent disease outbreaks. IOM remains committed to helping the Government of Botswana address the operational needs of the immigration officials in the country.

The provision of the PPE supplies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic is generously supported by the European Union within the framework of the SAMM project aimed at strengthening the management of migration in the Southern Africa region.

For more information, please contact Mr. Tunde Omoyeni, Regional Coordinator SAMM project at somoyeni@iom.int

1 https://www.iom.int/resources/health-border-and-mobility-management-hbmm
2 Mixed migration | Migration data portal

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6th Ministerial Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA) Maputo, Mozambique

Ministers and Senior Experts of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), with representatives of IOM, partners and donors. Maputo, Mozambique, 28 October 2021.

 

PRESS RELEASE

6th Ministerial Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA)
Maputo, Mozambique

Maputo, 28 October 2021 – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Office for Southern Africa,  the  Secretariat for the Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA), facilitated the sixth Ministerial meeting of the Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA), in Maputo, Mozambique, from 25 to 28 October 2021.

The four day meeting convened Migration Experts and Senior Officials of SADC Member States from ministries with migration related functions and responsibilities notably; Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Labour, Health,  , Human rights, Social Welfare/ Development, Youth and Gender and relevant partners including technical  experts  from UN sister Agencies such as; ILO UNHCR, UNODC among others, under the theme “Reviewing Approaches to Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration in the Context of COVID-19 in the Southern Region”.

The impact of COVID-19 pandemic and the related preventive measures such as, border closures, lockdowns, suspension of international flights etc, heavily affected migrants in countries of origin, transit and destination. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the unique challenges faced by governments and communities in managing public health threats along the migration continuum and the interlinkages between public health and managing safe migration, including at borders, especially at Points of Entry (PoEs) on an unprecedented scale.

The COVID-19 pandemic’s overall impact on human mobility globally cannot be understated – limiting all but the essential movement of persons and creating a triumvirate of crises – health, protection and protracted socioeconomic impacts. Between March 21 and December 29, 2020, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Office for Southern Africa recorded a total of 166,872 migrant returnees from countries within and outside the Southern Africa Region.

“Migration has always been with us, but with the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, we felt the need to deliberate with all the relevant ministries of the SADC Member States with mandates on migration, as well as with partners, including the Regional Economic Communities (RECs); to reflect on how we can collectively work on harmonized approaches to ensure safe, orderly, and regular migration, in the Southern African region, in accordance with the Global Compact of Migration (GMC)”, said Charles Allan Kwenin, IOM Regional Director for Southern Africa.

The discussions formulated recommendations on issues around human mobility, borders and managing public health threats in the region, protection needs of migrants, strengthening the approaches for the collection and use of migration data in Southern African region, and unpacking the Integrative and Mobility Agenda for Socio-Economic Recovery (Skills Mobility & Diaspora Engagement).

The Ministers adopted the key recommendations of the MIDSA as well as the Maputo Diaspora Declaration, thus requesting IOM in collaboration with relevant United Nations (UN) Agencies and partners, in coordination with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states and the Secretariat, to develop a regional programme and a regional diaspora policy to facilitate the engagement of the Diaspora and transnational communities as agents of development among SADC member states.

In its capacity as the current Chair of SADC, the Government of Malawi will host the next MIDSA meeting in 2022, at experts and  senior officials level.

For more information, please contact Mr. Wonesai Sithole, Regional Policy and Liaison Officer  wsithole@iom.int

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWBoUZj33ag
Interview: Charles Allan Kwenin, IOM Regional Director for Southern Africa
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