Habari za Punde

49TH CPA AFRICA REGION CONFERENCE A Parliamentary Agenda for combating human trafficking and modern day slavery in Africa and the promotion of human rights

Hon. Simai Mohammed Simai (Member of House of Representatives – Zanzibar)August 19th, 2018
 Gaborone, Botswana

1.0      Introduction
Right Honourable Chairperson, CPA Africa Region,
Honourable delegates from various CPA Braches and sub- branches,
Invited guests, ladies and gentlemen

In the first place, allow me to convey my sincere appreciation to your office for affording me the opportunity to address this congregation on the important topic that reflects the welfare of our societies in Africa and elsewhere around the globe. Before I venture in discussing this topic, i think it is imperative to briefly define the term ''Human Trafficking''.  

Human Trafficking or as sometimes referred as Trafficking in persons is defined in the relevant UN protocol as  ''the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation[2]. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs[3]. Human trafficking infringes human rights as it denies one's inherent right to be free. As stated in Universal declaration of human rights under article 4, “no one shall be in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms’.
After the campaign which was seeking to abolish slavery became successful and that vice came to an end, greedy traders evolved a modern day slavery which is commonly referred to as '' Human Trafficking'' to which human beings are being abused and exploited against their will. Hence, human trafficking is another form of slavery. In this regard, although the campaign to end slavery and slave trade are greatly commended, however, we should reserve our compliments for such efforts as today men, women and children are still being coerced, drugged, tricked, and sold to do dangerous and degrading work against their will.

2.0      Types of Human Trafficking
In most cases, the kinds of human trafficking in Tanzania and Africa in general are those that involve unfriendly house maid labour, forced child labour, bonded labour, cheated or unfair contracted job, sex trafficking, child soldiers, sale of body parts, and debt bondage. These types of human trafficking fall in Intra state trafficking and intercontinental trafficking. The world has over past recent years witnessed another type of human trafficking which is trafficking in human organs. In resolution 59/156 of 20 December 2004, entitled ‘Prevention, combating and punishing trafficking in human organs, the United Nations General Assembly required the Secretary-General to prepare a study on the extent of the phenomenon for submission to the Commission on Crime Prevention an d Criminal Justice at its fifteenth session[4]. Following that resolution, the workshop on the subject matter was held and the paper thereof was released[5].
3.0 How does human trafficking operates

Traffickers search for soft reachable people whose environment invites controllability. The affected groups are those people with undocumented status, difficult with shelters, poverty and under poverty people and people who use drugs.
It is said that trafficking in people represents the third largest source of profits for organized crimes after drugs and guns, generating billions of dollars each year. Organized crime groups operating within and across borders often run trafficking networks. These networks are structured, organized, well-funded, and operated beyond the reach of law enforcement.
The traffickers use promises of better life to attract people who want to migrate abroad to find employment. In the cases of children, the use of adoption procedures has also been noted. Looking more specifically at trafficking in women, the recruitment takes various forms, including advertising in newspapers or through the use of marriage bureaus. While some trafficked women know they will work as prostitutes, they do not know that they may be kept in slavery-like conditions where they will be unable to escape from their exploiters.
Human trafficking has been practiced in different countries including Tanzania, where a significant number of women are taken with unreliable contracts to abroad especially Middle East for house maid jobs. Eventually, they return home with empty hands; just narrating their life lasting humiliating stories. As stated earlier, this vice has spread globally and African continent is not exempted. In Western Africa the problem of human trafficking also prevails as girls are taken to Europe with greater hopes of better job opportunities. With such hopes, these girls accept the burden of passing difficult journeys from West African countries where upon their arrival, they become goods to be sold to other syndicates that transport them to Europe, as famous route via Italy and Spain. Poverty, conflict and war have been motivating human trafficking as a number of people is trafficked for the hope of better life abroad.
Traffickers typically maintain subservience through debt-bondage, passport confiscation, physical and psychological abuse, rape, torture, threats of arrest and deportation, and threats to the trafficked person’s family. Victims often find themselves cut off from the outside world, unable to speak the local language, and without identification or documentation. In extreme cases, the people do not know where they are. Consequently, it becomes difficult to find help. In other cases, trafficked people fear the police because the law enforcement system is, or is perceived to be, corrupt or because they fear immediate deportation. Trafficked people often are afraid to return to their country of origin because of remaining smuggling debt, fear of public humiliation upon disclosure of the work that they performed, and possible further victimization of the victims as well as their families.
4.0      Causes for human trafficking

Many people who lack financial stability are likely to become victims; however, human trafficking does include a vast demographic of victims: men and women, adults and children, educated and uneducated people, foreigners and natives. Generally, anyone can become a victim of human trafficking.

Victims of human trafficking usually show vulnerability to their perpetrators. Some of these vulnerabilities include: poverty, illiteracy, unstable/abusive family life, unemployment, corruption in government, unstable economy, violent conflicts/wars, health epidemics, natural disasters, high demand for services, and lack of rights.

The AU issued “The Khartoum Declaration on AU-Horn of Africa Initiative on Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants during its meeting on Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants in the Horn of Africa - Khartoum on 16th October 2014. The AU through this Declaration, noted with concern the variety of pull and push factors creating conducive environment for human trafficking and Smuggling, including conflicts, persecution, poverty, natural disasters and unemployment as well as unilateral economic sanctions and external debts that have negatively impacted on development; “

Like in many of the developing countries, In Tanzania, Poverty and lack of sufficient economic opportunities make women and children potential victims of traffickers associated with internal criminal organizations. They are vulnerable to false promises of job opportunities in other countries.  Many of those who accept these offers from what appears to more legitimated sources find themselves in difficult situations as the actual situation turns to be contrary to what was promised.

The girls transported to Middle East, in most cases, find themselves in slavery kind of home jobs that they ought to serve a huge number of family members or houses, with very low wages not as stipulated in their working contracts. The boys are forced to work at transit Goods Company as drivers at very low wages and unfriendly working conditions. To some extent, inefficient law enforcement mechanism make the human trafficking more possible as human traffickers scares no law to bind them.

5.0      The scope of the problem
As stated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, virtually every country in the world is affected by Human Trafficking crimes[6]. It is estimated that more than two million people are affected with human trafficking conduct annually. The world statistics reveal the first global assessment of the scope of human trafficking and what is being done to fight it. This includes an overview of trafficking patterns; legal steps taken in response; and country-specific information on reported cases of trafficking in persons, victims, and prosecutions.
According to the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, the most common form of human trafficking (79%) is sexual exploitation. The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls. Surprisingly, in 30% of the countries which provided information on the gender of traffickers, women make up the largest proportion of traffickers. Other forms is forced labour (18%), although this may be a misrepresentation because forced labour is less frequently detected and reported than trafficking for sexual exploitation. And It is said 20% of all trafficking victims are children.
Despite international labour standards and a UN Protocol against human trafficking, millions of victims, particularly children - made vulnerable by poverty and exploited by criminals - are working in mines, sweatshops, brothels and plantations - trapped by debt and violence. In a perverse commercialization of humanity, they are used like products and then thrown away.
One of the alarming incidents of human trafficking that outraged regional bodies in Africa including ECOWAS is the auction of African migrants as slaves in Libyan territory. ECOWAS has been condemning all forms of assault on the dignity and integrity of human beings wherever they may be. It passed the resolution to condemn human trafficking in Abuja in November, 2017.
6.0 Parliamentary Efforts in Fighting Human Trafficking
On part of East Africa, there have been some efforts put by legislatures in a bid to fight the vice of human trafficking. This includes the regional Assembly, The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) which enacted a law that compels its member states to prevent human trafficking and prosecute perpetrators of the crime. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Bill, 2016, came after an international report showed that the crime of trafficking in persons is prevalent in all East African Community partner states. According to the Trafficking in Persons Report of 2016, Kenya and Uganda are in Tier 2; Rwanda and Tanzania are in Tier 2 Watch List, while Burundi falls in Tier 3[7].
The Bill was moved by Dora Byamukama (Uganda) and received affirmation from the House, in its fifth session held in Zanzibar, Tanzania. This bill sought to provide a legal framework for the prevention of trafficking in persons, protection mechanisms and services for victims and development of partnerships for co-operation to counter trafficking in persons in the community.
On its side, Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU) in conjunction with UNICEF issued a Handbook for Parliamentarians No. 09 of 2005[8] In Combating Child Trafficking. The handbook guides parliamentarians on various strategies to engage on war against human trafficking especially trafficking of children. The strategies include urging respective parliaments to establish standing or select committees to address the problem of child trafficking by making a follow up of issues pertinent to the child trafficking.
Also the handbook has extensively tried to discuss the issue of funding the war towards eradicating child trafficking through budgetary processes at the level of parliaments. Through the handbook, parliamentarians and their respective parliaments are urged to ensure that adequate funds are available in combating child trafficking. The funds should focus on the protection efforts, capacity building initiatives and victim protection and assistance. IPU through this handbook insists that parliamentarians should use their influence to ensure that governments are committing more funds in combating child trafficking.
Apart from these international and regional parliamentary forums of IPU and EALA, national parliaments have also played a significant role in combating this vice through enactment of several legislations that seek to combat human trafficking. This is especially true for the countries that have been much affected by the human trafficking including the West African and East African countries.    
7.0      Initiatives to curb the problem in Tanzania
In 2008, The Tanzanian parliament enacted the Anti Trafficking in Persons Acts. Pursuant to the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977, this Act is implemented in both parts of the Union that is Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar. A number of perpetrators of human trafficking vice have been apprehended and prosecuted under the provisions of this Act. The Act is very comprehensive as it covers and encompasses every type of human trafficking and hence it becomes difficult for human trafficking traders to evade the enforcement of this Act whenever arraigned.

8.0 Public Participation in the fight against Human Trafficking
The Tanzanian relevant authorities have been playing their role in fighting the human trafficking in the country. This includes the curbing of the operation of internal and external human trafficking. Notably, Tanzania has been used as a destination but also a route for human trafficking, en route to Southern Africa.

Among the reasons for successful operations of curbing human trafficking in Tanzania is public participation especially in sharing information to government authorities. Good Samaritans have been according cooperation to the authorities that enable the apprehension of perpetrators of this vice of human trafficking.

By this cooperation, the relevant authorities in Tanzania has been able to reveal the complications ensued as a result of trafficking unskilled labourers to Middle East including the inhumane acts to these unskilled labourers inflicted upon them by their employers. As a consequence, the government was compelled to restrict Tanzanians youths from going abroad for the purpose of being domestic workers and performing other unskilled jobs in some countries. The restriction is subjected to compliance of the given procedures that include obtaining of permit from the country, having proper and detailed contract with the envisaged work place among others.

9.0 Initiatives taken to address the problem in Africa
Different instruments have been passed in Africa seeking to address the problem of human trafficking in the continent. This paper tries to provide some of these instruments and their relevance towards curbing this problem in Africa:

Ø  Khartoum Declaration on AU-Horn of Africa Initiative on Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants. The declaration among others agrees to Addressing the social, economic, environmental, cultural, security and political factors that make people vulnerable to human trafficking and smuggling such as poverty, unemployment, social exclusion and marginalization, humanitarian emergencies as well as demands and policies that foster exploitation in destination countries;
Ø   Ouagadougou Action Plan to combat trafficking in human beings especially women and children. The plan insists the empowerment of women and girls through national policies.
Ø  Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development (2008). The Agreement targets achieving gender equality by 2015 by improving education, socio- economy welfare of women so as to prevent them from traffickers. The agreement signed by all 14 member states.
The charter provides right to children. Article 27 of the Charter provides that Children should be protected from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.   For instance, in most trafficking cases, children become victims of sexually abuse. 

10.0    Recommendations

Ø  Legislations.
African parliaments should be ready to ratify agreements and protocols that seek to address human trafficking.  Also, it is imperative for the respective Governments in Africa to enact Laws against traffickers.  

Ø  Enforcement of the legislations
It is time for us (parliamentarians) to manage the rules we have made ourselves. Our people are being abused by this illegal business; human rights are being violated for beneficiaries of few people. It is therefore significant to improve our oversight role to our respective governments to ensure that they increase their performance towards the implementation of the laws against human trafficking. This includes taking measures establish rehabilitation centres to assist victims of human trafficking, especially women and children and ensure their safety, protection and facilitate their recovery and social reintegration.

Ø  Poverty reduction
We as parliamentarians should insist on promoting the empowerment of girls and women in their national policies so as enable them economically to be independent. The empowerment of women and girls through national policies is an important part of combating trafficking as a significant number of victims of trafficking fall in that vice because of the promises and hopes of better life due to economic hardship existing among them.

By providing viable employment or other livelihood opportunities to youths in general and in particular for young women at risk, especially in regions prone to trafficking would significantly reduce the problem.

Ø  Awareness / education
The key preventive measure to combat human trafficking is to ensure provision of education and trainings, including life-skills, awareness raising and counselling to the people.

Ø  Civil society and NGO involvement
Government should engage civil societies and NGOS in combating human trafficking. This is because NGOs and CSOs have a wide range in reaching people especially those found in remote areas. We as parliamentarians should play our role to ensure that our governments set aside an appropriate amount of money to fight this problem including empowering these CSOs and NGOs in fighting human trafficking.

Ø  Review of the Legislations
There is a need for African countries to review their laws that are meant to combat human trafficking in order to ensure that such laws are relevant and up to date. For instance, the issue of punishment for perpetrators of human trafficking offences should be reviewed to ensure that adequate punishment is imposed to those perpetrators.

11.0 Conclusion

The world and in this context African continent is taking much efforts to combat the human trafficking. Despite such efforts and the efforts that are taken by the African parliaments towards eradication of human trafficking, our parliaments should put more efforts and come with more elaborate and feasible strategies if we are serious in addressing this problem. Due to intensity of the problem, parliaments should be more active and act seriously to end this problem. The anti human trafficking should be a dominant parliamentary agenda that needs to be extensively discussed in a bid to find adequate means to end the problem. This is because although our efforts have yielded some positive results, yet we have a long way to go towards eradication of this problem.   

In concluding, let me borrow the words of the former Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Koffi Annan who said, ''Inspired by the abolitionists of two centuries ago (who fought slave trade and slavery), let us fight against exploitation and oppression and stand up for freedom and human dignity''[9]. We, the parliamentarians across the African continent, have great role to play towards achieving this better end for the dignity of human kind, our countries, our continent and the entire globe.

statement was made by Koffi Annan, the former UN Secretary General while addressing the House of Lords and House of Commons in London on 8th May, 2007 in commemorating two centuries of the abolition of Slave Trade.

[2]Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime: Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 55/25 of 15 November 2000

[3] Ibid.

[5] The Vienna Forum to fight Human Trafficking 13-15 February 2008, Austria Center Vienna
Background Paper: 011 Workshop: Human Trafficking for the Removal of Organs and Body

[6] http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/index.html?ref=menuside

[7] Tier 1 comprises countries whose governments fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards: Tier 2 are countries that do not fully comply with the TVPA minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into the compliance with those standards. Tier 2 Watch List is similar to Tier 2 but countries in this category further commit to undertake additional steps over the next year in combating trafficking in persons. Countries in Tier 3 do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are yet to make significant efforts to do so.

[8] IPU Handbook for Parliamentarians on Child Trafficking, No. 09 of 2005

[9] Note, 1.

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