Seychelles blasts ‘Trafficking in Persons’ report


25-June-2012

In a letter sent to the US Chargé d’Affaires accredited to Seychelles, Troy Fitrell, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam, questioned the validity of reports based on “desk based study” with no meaningful exchanges with local authorities.

“The report has highlighted certain isolated cases which have been amplified to supposedly reflect what is happening in the country at large.  We do not agree with the approach being undertaken, because while it is accepted that there are problems related to prostitution and abuse in Seychelles, as there are in many other countries, the report generalises the existing cases in a manner which creates a false perception of the overall situation.
 
“The Seychelles government also deplores the fact that the report seems to be based on no in-country analysis, nor real engagement with the local authorities concerned.  In fact it should be noted that the correspondence requesting information for this report was received on March 20, 2012 with a deadline for responses of March 23.  Such unreasonable deadlines lead us to question the authenticity in methodology of the whole report and the findings derived from them,” said the minister.

The minister also pointed out that, contrary to what was published, social workers in Seychelles are very much engaged and regularly conduct home visits of those reportedly affected by prostitution.

“Since social workers are regularly engaged in such efforts, such a statement [made in the report] shows a regretful lack of recognition of their efforts, and thus simply undermines the status of their profession in front of an international audience.  The Seychelles government is proud of the role played by social workers to engage with persons and families affected and this report completely ignores all the efforts that they are undertaking.”

Minister Adam went on to explain that the Seychelles government has recognised that there are many improvements to be made and has been actively pursuing assistance in updating certain legal frameworks and in boosting local training and capacity. As the report correctly noted, one of the government’s key partners who have been approached for assistance are the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 

Seychelles appeared in the TIP report for the first time in 2011 at tier 2. Since then significant efforts has been done to raise awareness on trafficking in persons, take steps (through UNODC/ SADC) towards assessing our legislative provisions to identify shortcomings in dealing with trafficking issues and to create a network of agencies on the issue.

The Social Affairs Department and other government ministries and agencies have been regularly implementing sensitisation campaigns to warn adolescents of the dangers of risky behaviour such as prostitution. These are held in schools and in the communities.

A revision of existing legislation is already on-going and the Social Affairs Department is currently working with the Attorney General’s Chambers in that direction.

A part of the national plan to tackle social ills, the activities being pursued by the Social Affairs Department relating to prostitution and the trafficking of persons have been merged into the Social Renaissance Action Plan for implementation.

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