Gaborone — Front-line officers are central to the effective administration of the national anti-human trafficking agenda.
This was said by the Minister of Defence, Security and Justice, Mr Kagiso Mmusi during the commemoration of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on Thursday.
This year's commemoration was held under the theme: Committed to the cause -Working on the Frontline to end Human trafficking.
Minister Mmusi noted that front-line officers helped in efforts to detect cases in relation to human trafficking and to protect victims.
He indicated that all their efforts were notable as they continued to ensure that crime that lead to human trafficking were not committed with impunity.
"Front line officers such as police, immigration, social workers, members of the civil society and media officers provide valuable information as to what obtains on the ground," he said.
Minister Mmusi also noted that as front-line officers continued to display notable efforts, they were offered training that capacitated them on the crime of human trafficking.
"Cases of human trafficking are often complex and require substantial training and resources to investigate and conclude. Since last year February to date we have conducted 20 targeted training to front-line officers in order to increase detection and protection of the victims," he said.
He said statistics revealed that since last year February to date, 16 cases had been reported and were before the local courts.
Additionally, he said 49 victims had been detected, and the victims needed shelter, access to health facilities, food, clothing and other forms of protection.
Minister Mmusi highlighted that as the country was currently seized with challenges that emanated from the emergence of COVID-19, economic consequences were likely to exacerbate migrant smuggling and cross-border trafficking of persons as people were going to be pushed to seek green pastures.
Meanwhile, Minister Mmusi noted that as the combat against human trafficking continued, the ministry had taken a decision to develop the Biennial Trafficking in Person Report for the country.
He said the publication would be in line with international best practices, fostering strategic partnership which in the long turn, would ensure effective operationalisation of Anti-Human Trafficking Act.
For her part, the Secretary for Safety and Security at the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security, Ms Botlhale Makgekgenene said human trafficking was a serious criminal activity that inflicted brutal forms of oppression, deprived forms of liberty and often resulted in the loss of lives for those who fell prey to it.
She, therefore, said there was need to heed to the clarion call and do what was possible to prevent trafficking so as to assist the government to protect citizens from becoming victims.
Source : BOPA