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UNODC Regional Representative for Southern Africa renews call to end impunity of traffickers

By United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC)

PRETORIA, South-Africa, January 24, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Human Trafficking is a crime against humanity. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.

Human trafficking involves an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them. Human trafficking does not necessarily require the crossing of borders between countries, but can just as well occur within a country and often goes unnoticed since the presence of local victims do not always raise suspicion within the environment in which they are abused.

In order to combat human trafficking effectively it is vital that countries ratify the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, but also develop, adopt and enact comprehensive legislation that criminalises all aspects of human trafficking and provide for protection and support to victims of this heinous crime.

At the recent African Union (AU) / Southern African Development Community (SADC) conference on combating Human Trafficking attended by delegates from the SADC Member States and the AU, UNODC Regional Representative, Mr Mandiaye NIANG, commended the SADC Member States on their commitment, as most of them have ratified UNTOC and its Protocol on Trafficking in Persons. He emphasized that ratification has to be followed by implementation through legislation and effective policy.

UNODC hence calls upon all SADC Member States, including South Africa, who have not yet enacted legislation against human trafficking to consider enacting appropriate legislation aimed at preventing, investigating and prosecuting all forms of human trafficking, whilst also providing protection and support to victims of this crime, whether national or foreign.

Mr Niang said: “UNODC calls human trafficking 'a crime that shames us all'. When fellow humans are treated as commodities, our own humanity is diminished. Let us turn shame into action and remove the stain from our soil, from our souls.”