The SADC Secretariat, on 31 October 2017 in Gaborone, Botswana, launched a booklet on lessons learnt on trafficking in persons across the SADC region.
The booklet, titled Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Persons: lessons from the SADC Region, aims to share lessons from SADC Member States in an effort to improve the regional response to the crime.
In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary in Botswana’s Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security, Ms Segakweng Tsiane, highlighted that while the lessons learnt booklet is not the ultimate goal, it is important in that it “will serve as a good tool for SADC Member States to further build and improve capacity in response to the crime of human trafficking”.
Also speaking during the launch, the Director of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs at SADC Secretariat, Mr Jorge Cardoso, applauded Member States for tirelessly working towards preventing and combating this heinous crime. He reiterated the call made by the Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, during the World Day against Trafficking in Persons on 30 July 2017, that it is important for Member States to collectively address the abhorrent crime of trafficking in persons vigorously.
The region’s commitment to global, continental and regional legislative frameworks on trafficking in persons is evidenced by all SADC Member States being party to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and to the Convention’s supplementing Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children.
In addition, 13 out of the 16 Member States have specific stand-alone legislation criminalising trafficking in persons, while the remaining two are using several pieces of legislation to criminalise this practice. “However, the critical challenge lies in implementing and enforcing the legislation,” Mr Cardoso said.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for Southern Africa, representative, Ms Samantha Munodawafa, praised the Member States and the Secretariat for the “strong commitment to the cause of combating trafficking in persons in the SADC Region”.
She further said that the UNODC and SADC Secretariat “are very proud to have accompanied Member States on their respective journeys in the fight against trafficking in persons, and are in awe of the many remarkable achievements by Member States, at times with minimal resources”.
The lessons learnt booklet was published with support from the European Union through the Regional Political Cooperation (RPC) Programme of the SADC Secretariat, and is available, both in print and on the SADC website, in the three SADC working languages.
The launch was attended by officials from the Government of Botswana, the SADC Committee of Ambassadors and High Commissioners, the diplomatic community, international organisations, and members of the media fraternity.