Civil society organizations are putting pressure on the government of Botswana to criminalize human trafficking, a crime that is worsening in Botswana.
Last year over 1 000 Batswana were trafficked overseas, especially to Canada and England.
The minister of Defense, Justice and Security, Ramadeluka Seretse, confirmed that legislation to criminalize human trafficking is under way.
Speaking to The Sunday Standard, Seretse said, “My ministry has taken a firm decision to criminalize human trafficking, which has become a problem,” adding that currently there is no legislation that addresses or deals specifically with human trafficking.
Seretse said that the Attorney General Chambers is busy drafting the legislation and hoped to bring the legislation to Parliament sometime next year.
The Program Officer at Child Line Botswana, Olebile Machete, said, “We have recently established a steering committee that will focus on human trafficking,” adding that the main purpose of the committee is to fight human trafficking, particularly in children.
Machete said the committee will therefore educate lawmakers, implementers as well as the public about human trafficking.
He said that Child Line, which has partnered with other stakeholders, like the Department of Social Services, police, Immigration and churches, is advocating that parliament must pass a law that specifically deals with human trafficking and make it punishable.
“Once a law has been passed, it will be very easy to deal thoroughly with human trafficking,” he said.
Sister Prisca Gaibuse, of the Association of Religious Women, said, “The church has embarked on a campaign to educate and sensitize the public about human trafficking that has become a matter of urgency in Botswana.”
Late last year, the Ministry of Defence , Justice and Security issued a press statement warning the public of the existence of “unscrupulous individuals and companies operated by both Batswana and foreigners that are preying on unsuspecting citizens with false promises of obtaining employment , study and traveling opportunities outside Botswana, to places such as Australia, Canada, Ireland, UK and USA”.
“These criminal syndicates will often approach their victims through seemingly legitimate sounding newspaper advertisements, as well as emailed invitations, to initially lure their victims,” read part of the statement, signed by Isaac Kgosi, the Director of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security. “Given the above, the Ministry advises the public to exercise caution in dealing with situations that promise overseas opportunities.”