Seychelles says report on trafficking in persons a distortion of reality


27-June-2013

Such is the response of the Seychelles Committee on Trafficking in Persons to the US State Department's 2013 Report on Trafficking in Persons in which Seychelles is featured and which was rejected by the government last week.

In a statement, the Committee has described the report as being poor in its analysis and based on anecdotal evidence.

The Committee, which consists of representatives from social development, employment, immigration, police, Office of the Attorney General, Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority, as well as non-governmental organisations such as Waso and the National Council for Children and other relevant sectors, has described the report as a distortion of the reality on the ground.

“The Committee on Trafficking in Persons (TIP Committee) denounces the narrative of Seychelles in the 2013 report and refers to it as a distortion of the actual situation and reality in the country. A plethora of inaccuracies and misrepresentations have been identified throughout the narrative, which have belittled the efforts being made on the ground to address the problems of trafficking in its local context,” says the Committee in its statement.

The Committee has urged the US State Department to review and address the shortcomings in their reports that would provide for a more accurate account and better help the fight against human trafficking across the globe.

“While aware that the US State Department’s report is aimed at increasing the global efforts to combat trafficking in persons, we do not believe that reporting on uncorroborated and unsubstantiated claims is an appropriate avenue by which this can be achieved. We question the methodology and veracity of the report, and are concerned about the logic and transparency behind the rating system….
We strongly recommend that the US State Department seeks to improve its methodology and develop greater consistency and accuracy in the information reported in order to produce reports that can be used as a basis to assess progress,” the statement reads.

The Committee has said that it has been working with partners to enact its plans, which includes its work with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime on drafting new legislation on human trafficking and developing a National Action Plan on trafficking.

It is to be recalled that the Seychelles government also denounced the 2012 report as being grossly distorted. In an attempt to address issues on the ground and concerns with the US State Department reporting style, the newly convened Committee met with David Campbell, the Political Officer from the US embassy in Port Louis, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in October 2012. The discussions centred on addressing these concerns and discussing the action plans intended to address local issues relating to human trafficking.

Meanwhile the National Assembly, through a motion tabled by the leader of government business Marie-Antoinette Rose, also rejected the report and questioned the credibility of the sources and methodology used to obtain information for the report.

While admitting that prostitution exists in Seychelles along with other social ills brought about primarily by substance abuse, Ms Rose said the situation is not alarming and there is a national effort to address the situation.


 

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