BY ORATILE OTSETSWE
Botswana is described as a source, transit and destination country for women, men and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking.
This was revealed at the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) 2018 Human Trafficking in Botswana Youth Conference under the hash tag #GAKEREKISIWE. Botswana government is taking care of 31 victims of human trafficking that are housed at some shelters in the country.
Intensified public awareness on human trafficking in Botswana is required as a lot of Batswana families might be practicing Trafficking in Persons (TIP) without their knowledge.
Speaking on the overview of human trafficking in Botswana Deputy Manager in the Ministry of Justice and Security, Madoda Nasha said they revealed human trafficking does not occur between countries only but it is possible for it to happen within the country in its forms of exploitation is forced sex, or prostitution, forced labour or services, slavery, domestic servitude, or removal of organs.
Nasha expressed concern that poor families are vulnerable to human trafficking because they give their children to stay with wealthier families who then promise to take good care of their kids and end up taking advantage and subject them (poor children) to forced and hard labour in their farms and some as domestic workers.
He revealed that the cases of human trafficking are often difficult to trace since the victims do not know they are being trafficked. He added that women and children are the most vulnerable to trafficking because of unemployment and poverty they are subjected to.
Nasha further noted that the anti- trafficking national action plan that the nation has to be educated on outlines the activities for prevention and avoidance of trafficking.
The remedy for human trafficking is to educate, develop and implement communication strategies so that people can be cautions and avoid to be affected by human trafficking.
“The strategies take into account the needs of different groups; ensure monitoring, evaluation of communication strategies, education of public about harmful cultural religious practices that can promote human trafficking like slavery and marriage of minors.
Nasha warned the youth to use social media carefully because the traffickers are always finding modern ways to capture vulnerable victims.
“We have 31 victims of human trafficking placed at shelters that the government is looking after .We have people that are mandated so that if they are children included they go to school. We have to make human trafficking understable at local level and we have to present it at level the public will understand.” Nasha said
The laws criminalising TIP include The Anti ÔÇôTrafficking Act of 2014,No.32 which imposes a fine not exceeding P500 000,or imprisonment of a term not exceeding 25 years, or both to anyone convicted of the crime. Section 114 of the Children’s Act of 2009 provides for the offence of “Abduction and Trafficking inn Children” which attracts a penalty of a fine of up to P50 000.00 or to imprisonment for a term of not less than five years but not more than 15 years.