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HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Botswana’s Southern African Problem

Publishing Date : 06 September, 2015

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At the recent public forum on Human Trafficking hosted by The Botswana Society, guest speaker Senior Superintendent K. Malete of the Botswana Police noted that Botswana, like the rest of the world, is affected by human trafficking and smuggling.   

It is the slavery of our times; victims suffering the violation of their human rights at the hands of profit-seeking criminals.  Whether for sexual exploitation, organ removal, forced labour and begging, individuals of both genders, young and old, can find themselves lured or sold into such situations. They are difficult to detect by authorities and even the general public, because they are usually isolated, tightly controlled, and their documents withheld.   

Human trafficking means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, and/or harboring of such persons and controlling such persons through threats, use of force or other forms of coercion or abduction.  The use of fraud, deception, promises of benefits to a person are also used to gain control. 

It should be distinguished from the smuggling of migrants, who voluntarily enter into an arrangement to gain entry to another country or pass through illegally through a country to reach yet another.  Such persons, unlike those trafficked, usually retain their documents, can move about freely, and return home should they chose to, though such persons can fall prey to predators and end up in a situation much like a trafficked person.  

Those trafficked, on the other hand, may not necessarily cross a border; in fact from available evidence, in Africa most are trafficked inside their own country, such as a boy moved from one region to another to be used as a herd boy in a remote location, or a girl taken by a family friend to the city on promise of support and education, and instead turned into an unpaid, full-time house servant.  

Though Botswana has enacted the Anti-Human Trafficking Act effective 1 January 2015, to empower police and criminal investigators to apprehend and charge traffickers, much remains to be done in the training of officers, immigration officials, and others, and to coordinate the monitoring of human trafficking among various government, regional, and international bodies, such as SADC, the ILO, and Interpol.  

On September 9, Wednesday starting at 6:30 pm, at Livingstone Kolobeng College, The Botswana Society will host the second in its three-part public forum series, to address Human Trafficking in the SADC region.  Botswana is a major transit country for illegal human smuggling and whereas human trafficking is involved, certain to be affected by what takes place in other surrounding nations.  

Speakers on the topic will represent SADC, the US Embassy and Botswana’s Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security. The event is open to the public and the main hall is wheelchair accessible.  Refreshments will be served following the presentations and discussion.  

The event is sponsored by The Botswana Society, Livingstone Kolobeng College, Mmegi/Monitor, Weekend Post and Sunday Standard.

Public Forum: 9 September 2015, at Livingstone Kolobeng College, 6:30 p.m.



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