Today, 30th July 2017, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) joins the rest of the world in calling for an end to trafficking in persons. The World Day against Trafficking in Persons was adopted in December 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly, through Resolution A/RES/68/192, and is commemorated every year. This year’s global theme — “Let’s act now to protect and assist trafficking victims" — provides an opportunity to raise awareness on the crime and on the situation of victims of trafficking in persons.
SADC acknowledges that the crime of trafficking in persons poses public security concerns worldwide, and the SADC region is not spared from the effects of this heinous crime that is largely of a transnational nature. It is important to collectively address this challenge vigorously.
The Baseline Report on Trafficking in Persons in the SADC Region, published in 2016, emphasises that the impacts of trafficking in persons are far-reaching affecting individuals, communities and the wider region, thereby depreciating the socio-economic fabric of the region’s citizens as well as impacting negatively on SADC’s peace and security agenda.
In view of the public security concerns posed by trafficking in persons in the SADC region and beyond, SADC condemns the crime and encourages Member States and strategic partners to strengthen their interventions and cooperation to end trafficking in persons, guided by global, regional and national legislative frameworks, and effective programmes.
SADC responses to the crime are guided by the 10 Year SADC Strategic Plan of Action on Combating Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (2009-2019). This strategic framework, underscores a holistic approach covering Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnerships, and identifies ‘victim support and witness protection’ as a key priority, which resonates well with this year’s theme.
Victim protection and assistance can only be achieved through cooperation between governments and relevant strategic partners. The majority of SADC Member States have developed strategic frameworks and action plans on trafficking in persons that also emphasise the need to cooperate in order to provide victims of trafficking in persons with the appropriate protection and assistance. We encourage the rest of the Member States to do the same.
SADC remains committed to addressing the crime of trafficking in persons.