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Understanding Human Trafficking

Greetings dear readers. With so much happening in the world around us these days it is also important to also take some time to disect some critical issues that affect our society.
The Will of Hope is a Trust  working on raising awareness on the issue of human trafficking in the country.
You must be thinking to yourself... what... I only heard of drug trafficking and perhaps only a bit of human trafficking.
Well that is the reason this esteemed Trust has decided to engage me, an experienced journalist who has travelled to three continents and also been attached to the United Nations headquarters to bring you a series of features through various forms of media to raise awareness on this topic. Today we will begin by getting an understanding of the topic. Human trafficking is a global problem. It affects every continent and most countries.
Africa is predominantly an origin for victims of human trafficking and Asia is an origin and destination region.
 Finding a solution for this multi-layered process has been tricky. 
But in the year 2000, after several years of negotiation, the UN put forward the “Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons especially women and children. For the first time, the international community agreed to a definition of trafficking.
The Protocol,  which came into force on December 25, 2003 defines human trafficking as “the action of recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, or receipt of persons by means of threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim for the purposes of exploitation, which includes exploiting the prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices, and the removal of organs. (Bales, Trodd and Williamson 2009)”.   
Around 800 000 men, women and children are trafficked each year across international borders into slavery, and human trafficking is now the third largest source of income for organised crime after drug smuggling and arms smuggling.
 Of the 800 000 victims, around 80% are female and 50% are children.

Swaziland has been identified as a source, transit and destination location for people who are conducting human trafficking activities. In November 2009, the government of Swaziland defined human trafficking as a serious crime that has very harmful effects and passed a law to deal with this problem. The name of the law is the People Trafficking and People Smuggling (Prohibition) Act of 2009.
Unfortunately in Swaziland, human trafficking has not been well researched and is hardly documented. Reference to Swaziland as being the site of human trafficking activities has been through reports conducted in the region or that which relates to countries such as Mozambique and Swaziland which share borders and where a greater awareness of the phenomenon exists. On the other hand, the media in Swaziland and abroad have published certain instances of Swazi women, men and children being trafficked. The US State Department Human Rights report (2010) indicated that Swazi women are trafficked to South Africa for the purpose of forced cohabitation often involving sexual abuse.
The police and immigration department have also reported an increase in women and children disappearing to neighbouring countries. Although, no research has been done in this regard, indications are that they are lured to employment or taken through false marriages in which they find themselves working as sex slaves.  
The government of Swaziland passed a law on human trafficking in November 2009 in an effort to curd human trafficking within the borders of Swaziland. The law is known as the People Trafficking and People Smuggling (Prohibition) Act of 2009. It applies to all cases of human trafficking and smuggling.
The law, which came into effect March 1, 2010 further states that cases of human trafficking or smuggling that take place on any aeroplane or ship registered in Swaziland or which are done by a citizen or permanent resident of Swaziland on any aeroplane or ship or any place outside the country  can be dealt with by the law as if they were committed in Swaziland. Join me again next week Monday as I discuss more on this topic, especially how it affects us as Swazis. Hope you are on board and feel free to interact with me on this topic on my email address and also state what else you would like to know about this issue.
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