UNOCD calls for effective ways of dealing with trans-national organised crime

There is a need to improve efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of ensuring Peace, Justice and Strong institutions to help Botswana combat human trafficking and trans-border crimes, which are escalating at a high rate in recent years.

Police statistics indicate that there are over 100 people missing without a trace, many people continue to be captured for labour and sexual crimes and there is a strong presence of syndicates that deal with human trafficking, cyber-crimes and trans-national offences.

A report by the Ministry of Justice has made recommendations for Government and other stakeholders to investigate, prosecute and convict traffickers; hand down substantial sentences; amend the anti-trafficking laws to remove the sentencing provisions, and create and implement standard operating procedures.

"There is need to conduct comprehensive training for prosecutors and judges in accordance with the 2014 anti-trafficking laws and improve capacitation through workshops. It is also imperative to support the provision of legal identity and ensure that implementation is strong, that regulations and oversight of labour recruitment and also improve public awareness campaigns."

Botswana is currently on Tier 2 and findings indicate that the country does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making effort. Some of the efforts in Botswana include prosecuting and convicting traffickers and court sentencing traffickers; offering adequate prison terms; cooperating with foreign governments on trafficking investigations; identifying victims and improving victim care.

The report indicates that despite knowledge of labour crimes, there is still no effort to investigate how Government lacks formal procedure for victim care, for example.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and crime (UNOCD) says a way of countering trafficking in persons effectively, is to tackle related forms of transnational organised crime, as well as cybercrime and corruption.

The UN agency also stated that the Trafficking in Persons Protocols highlights a need to address poverty, underdevelopment and the lack of equal opportunity, and to also raise awareness to combat human trafficking.

The report indicates that 50 percent of victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation, 38 percent for forced labour, six per cent for forced criminal activity and one percent for begging.

The report notes that the climate crisis necessitates governments to sharpen their focus not only on taking action to limit the severity of this crisis but to also mitigate the worst outcomes for vulnerable populations.

"Political and civil instability, and economic uncertainty exacerbates the pre-existing human trafficking vulnerabilities. It also indicates that in most cases, crisis situations expose deficiencies in the efforts of governments, international organisations and global community, to protect and support vulnerable populations from human trafficking."

The report notes that while climate change does not discriminate, minority groups and vulnerable communities are more likely to experience its impacts, and consequently be more vulnerable to exploitation - which calls for the need to accelerate commitments to combat human trafficking.

The UN has unveiled proactive action recommendations and key actions that Governments can take to prepare for the climate crisis and they include: accelerating decarbonisation, investing in green jobs and sustainable growth, and confronting climate risks; the establishment of the NGO Refugees International Climate displacement programme, which plays an important role in advancing and developing solutions to ensure that people displacement due to climate change disasters get humanitarian assistance.