Seychelles to draft law on human trafficking


Ms Alexander addressing …

She was speaking at the opening ceremony of a two-day workshop held by the Seychelles Human Trafficking Committee in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The plan aims to put in place comprehensive and effective legislation to deal with human trafficking, as Seychelles currently does not have a particular law in place that addresses the problem. The legislation is expected to convert the numerous international treaties on human trafficking that have been ratified by Seychelles into domestic law.
“Human trafficking, often described as modern-day slavery, is a world-wide scourge,” said Ms Alexander.

 “It is not restricted to any particular country, region or continent, and it permeates indiscriminately across all economies, ages, races and genders. It creates victims who are often the most vulnerable members of society; often with no access to education and financial help or support. There is nothing more degrading, demeaning or dehumanising than being sold into the sex trade or being forced into manual labour and criminal activity.”

Ms Alexander said that it was very difficult to know precisely how many people suffer directly from human trafficking. No official research has yet been conducted to identify the extent of the problem in Seychelles.

“The difficulty in assessing the numbers of trafficked persons, both locally and internationally, speaks volumes to the nature of the crime and the challenges faced in combating it,” said the minister. “It happens in the shadows; we often do not see it, and we may hardly notice it.”
It has been reported that human trafficking is the second most lucrative organised criminal activity in the world, second only to drug trafficking, and is thought to be worth about US $36 billion annually.

According to the US State Department’s Trafficking In Persons Report issued in July 2012, the government of Seychelles was placed on the Tier 2 Watch List, a category described as “countries in which governments do not fully comply with the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA)’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.”

The government has disputed the claims made in the report, calling into question the methodology and objectivity used for the report’s research, but Joseph François, the co-chair of the Seychelles Human Trafficking Committee, does admit that Seychelles has not done enough to address the issues from a policy and legislative perspective.

“One of the reasons we have not been doing that much is because of capacity issues,” he said.
“We lack expertise in this area, and funding was virtually non-existent for us to implement these provisions. Now the UNODC, the US State Department and IOM have stepped up their efforts and they are on board to make sure we have access to funding.”

“We need to raise awareness, we need to train our people to protect victims, and at the same time, because we are dealing with organised crime, whenever we do catch one, we need to be able to handle it effectively and make it a deterrent for others. It’s a billion-dollar industry, so people will be tempted if they know your legal framework doesn’t exist or have reports on the issue, so we need to tackle both the research and the legislation issues simultaneously as much as possible.

… the delegates at the launch of the workshop

Mr François said the committee has already requested the UNODC to conduct thorough research in Seychelles to find out the extent of Seychelles’ trafficking problem.
“We need people with expertise who are used to seeing symptoms of the problem abroad and guide us as to what to look for,” he said.

“It will not be enough in time to give us a better rating for the June 2013 Trafficking In Persons Report because that report will cover efforts which took place last year, and last year we were still in the project planning stage and requesting assistance. Realistically, we will definitely see an improvement in the 2014 report, I am very positive about that.”

Send your comment :

Name *

Email *

Comment *