Kasane, 11-13 October 2021 – UNODC in collaboration with the Department of Defence, Justice and Security convened a Judicial Training of Trainers Against Trafficking in Persons (TiP) in Kasane, Botswana from the 11 to 13 July, which is part of UNODC priorities in the SADC Region in enhancing the capacity of criminal justice practitioners in the response to human trafficking using human and victim centred approaches under the joint UNODC-SADC Regional Programme (2013 -2023). The Regional Programme aims to support the SADC countries 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; build the capacity of judicial officers on Sentencing principles on anti-trafficking in persons and lastly to build judicial officers capacity on adult learning principles for effective judicial reasoning.

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. 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.

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 Judicial Trainings on Combating Trafficking in Persons for Judges and Magistrates in order to strengthen the adjudication of trafficking in persons cases. The convening of training of trainers for criminal justice practitioners on anti-trafficking in persons remains a key intervention in the response to human trafficking in the region. Hence, such trainings enhance the institutionalization and sustainability of anti-trafficking in persons interventions in the region.

During the official opening of the workshop, Hon. Thomas Mmusi, Minister of Defence, Justice and Security said that “judicial education on emerging crimes like human trafficking is extremely important. Complex legislation which we continue to draft, and other legal issues in today’s world require continual education and training. In addition, increasing media scrutiny also require that our judicial decisions are appropriate, fair and palatable to the general public to whom we account. This Training of Trainers workshop on Combating Trafficking in Persons, is therefore, indicative of Botswana’s efforts to ensure that we have an accountable, highly educated, resourceful and competent judiciary”.

UNODC has over the years provided technical support to the Republic of Botswana on the domestication of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol. This support has involved the strengthening the collection and analysis of human trafficking data, supporting the harmonization and operationalization of the Trafficking in Persons Act, building the capacity of criminal justice practitioners on combating trafficking in persons and supporting awareness raising initiatives on combating trafficking in persons.

The outcomes of the workshop include the following: the trained judicial officers will convene workshops whether formal or informal with their colleagues within the next three months; more training on Psycho-social issues related to TIP on the handling of Children and Witnesses will be convened for judicial officers in Botswana as that was identified as a gap during the training; the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security will collaborate with UNODC to develop human trafficking sentencing guidelines.

Group discussion: Human Trafficking case analyses

Furthermore, after the 3-day training of trainers, the participants were able to describe indicators of human trafficking; critical role of Judicial Officers in Human Trafficking cases and understanding the vulnerabilities including victims and witnesses; distinguish human trafficking from smuggling of migrants; discuss current global debates on the element of exploitation and the  issue of consent; describe and apply key sentencing considerations and describe and apply key principles relating to non-criminalization of trafficked persons. The training workshop was attended by Judges and Magistrates from across all Botswana’s districts; officials from the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security, officials from, the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ-Botswana Chapter) and UNODC officials.

This Training of Trainers was held under the Southern Africa Migration Management (SAMM) Project which is a model of ONE-UN approach collaborative effort between 4 UN development and humanitarian agencies: the ILO, the IOM, UNODC and UNHCR. The overall objective of this programme is to improve migration management in the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region.