Strengthening regional and trans-regional cooperation in the fight against human trafficking

Johannesburg, South Africa - 30 August 2018 - UNODC, under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants ( GLO.ACT), and in collaboration with the South African Judicial Education Institute (SAJEI), convened a Regional Colloquium on Trafficking in Persons for Magistrates and Judges from 22 to 24 August 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Regional Colloquium provided a platform for the magistrates and judges to deliberate on current global debates on key concepts in trafficking in persons and also how they can assist judges and magistrates. Some of the issues addressed were on the key issue of victims consent; evidentiary issues in trafficking in persons; issues of non-criminalization of victims of trafficking in persons and also on difficult issues arising in trafficking in persons cases throughout the region.

The objectives of the colloquium were to:

  • Reflect on convictions of TIP cases in the region and the rest of Africa;
  • Share regional and international perspectives on TIP legislation;
  • Discuss any questions of law arising from current TIP cases with reference to international and regional jurisprudence on the matter;
  • Discuss  evidential aspects in TIP cases;
  • Discuss judicial adjudication strategies relevant to TIP cases;
  • Facilitate cross-border and trans-regional cooperation and networking between magistrates;
  • Seek ways of integrating TIP into the judicial curricula on a sustainable basis.

During the opening ceremony of the workshop, Mr. Iglesis Roa Manuel, Head of Section for Social and Governance, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of South Africa said that: "Many countries have legislation that criminalize most forms of trafficking as set out in the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. 13 of the 15 SADC Member States have stand-alone legislation criminalizing trafficking in persons. The challenge remains to ensure successful prosecution and conviction of the criminal elements within this hideous crime."  He further said, "There is an urgent need to improve effectiveness of investigations, intensify the development of a consolidated response model, nationally and internationally, as the crime knows no borders."

Speaking about the litigation surgery, Ms. Fikile Nhlabatsi, Principal Magistrate, Kingdom of eSwatini said, "The information received has helped to declutter some uncertainties on what to consider as evidential value in TIP cases. I do believe that certain prejudices and biasness emanating from criminal law and evidence have been dampened." She went on to say that: "As judiciary representing the Kingdom of eSwatini, we wish to have training for judges and magistrates. To date, there has only been one training and considering the content we reviewed during this workshop, I do observe that further training is necessary."

Hon. Dr. Adam J. Mambi, Judge of the High Court of Tanzania, said,"The workshop was well organized. Presentation and discussions were very relevant to our work. Going forward I expect to improve my knowledge on the TIP subjects that were discussed, I also expect to transfer knowledge to my colleagues at the judiciary in Tanzania."

Some of the outcomes of the workshop were:

  • The adoption of an action plan on the integration of trafficking in persons training into judicial curricula in SADC region;
  • The establishment of an interim steering committee to lead the integration of Trafficking in Persons training into judicial curricula in the SADC region. 

Workshop participants included judges and magistrates from South Africa, the Kingdom of eSwatini, Botswana, Lesotho, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Namibia. Also taking part were our donor, the European Union, and project-implementing partner IOM. In total there were twenty three female participants and sixteen male participants.

The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT) is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine.  GLO.ACT works with the 13 countries to plan and implement strategic national counter-trafficking and counter smuggling efforts through a prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships approach. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including providing assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.

For more information, please contact:

Banele Kunene, National Project Officer,

banele.kunene@unodc.org

Twitter: @glo_act