THIRD JUDICIAL COLLOQUIUM ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Kasane, 9-11 July 2019 - UNODC and the Department of Defence, Justice and Security convened the third Judicial Colloquium Against Trafficking in Persons in Kasane, Botswana from the 9 to 11 July.

In the Southern African Development Community (SADC), one unique human trafficking trend that stands out in the region is that convictions for this offence remain low, only one hundred and one (101) over a period of 3 years, meaning, an average of 2 convictions per country per year in the region. Botswana has not been an exception to this regional trend, as despite the country's achievements in combatting trafficking in persons, no convictions were made over the last year. Hence, strengthening legislation, building and sharing of expertise in investigating, prosecuting and adjudication of human trafficking are crucial. As such, this Colloquium sought to further build the capacity of judicial officers to effectively adjudicate trafficking in persons cases and ensure access to justice and fair treatment for trafficking victims.

Some of the objectives of the Colloquium were to:

Botswana Chief Justice, Hon. Terrence Rannowane, stated during the opening ceremony of the Judicial Colloquium that his vision was "to achieve a world class judiciary with regional and global ranking and presence", noting that human trafficking was a relatively sophisticated phenomenon. "Human trafficking, he said, strips the affected individual of any dignity and decency; it is an injustice that could visit and affect anyone of any age, gender or nationality."

UNODC has provided member states with assistance on the implementation of the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its Trafficking in Persons Protocol across the world. This Colloquium is part of efforts to strengthen national criminal justice responses in Botswana, which enacted a Trafficking in Persons Act in July 2014.

After the 3-day Colloquium, and under the leadership of UNODC trainer Mrs. Rahel Gershuni, the participants were able to describe and apply to local cases the elements of the crime as set out in international and domestic legal framework; distinguish it from smuggling of migrants; discuss current global debates on the element of exploitation and the issue of consent; understand evidential challenges to anticipate when relying on a victim-witness; have a victim-centered approach at pre-trial, trial and post-trial stages; describe and apply key sentencing considerations and describe and apply key principles relating to non-criminalisation of trafficked persons.

The Colloquium was opened by Hon. Shaw Kgathi, Minister, Ministry of Defence, Justice & Security (MDJS) and the Chief Justice, Hon. Terrence Rannonwane, together with Ms. Matshidiso Bokole, MDJS Permanent Secretary, Mr. Charles Neary, Representative of the US Embassy, Ms. Tiphanie Crittin, UNODC Officer, and Hon. Justice Tapiwa Marumo, Vice President, International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ - Botswana Chapter), along with members of the highest benches of the Judiciary of the Republic of Botswana.

This Colloquium was held under the Global Programme against Trafficking in Persons, jointly with UNODC Regional Office for Southern Africa, thanks to the financial support of the United States of America and contributed to the implementation of SDG 16 of the Agenda 2030.