Seychellois officials on lookout for trafficked persons undergo three-day training course
The exercise was requested by the government to strengthen the coordination between partners in the criminal justice system on matters of trafficking in persons. (Global Panorama, Flickr) Photo License: CC-BY SA 2.0
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles is looking to harmonise the Trafficking in Persons Act, the penal code and other relevant laws following recommendations made at a three-day scenario-based training exercise to strengthen coordination on the issues of trafficked persons.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) led the excercise following the government's request for training to strengthen the coordination between partners in the criminal justice system on matters of trafficking in persons.
The purpose of the July 6-8 exercise was to assess the functionality of the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons Act. It also aimed to identify potential areas of enhancing national coordination and cooperation on investigating and prosecuting such cases.
Seychelles ratified the Trafficking in Persons laws in 2014 and subsequently enacted the Prohibition against Trafficking in Persons Act the same year.
When launching the workshop last week, Linda William-Melanie, the Principal Secretary for Social Affairs, said that "enacting legislation alone does not suffice. There is a need to test the effectiveness of this legislation and in so doing continuously enhance the capacity of law-enforcement officers, prosecutors and the judiciary."
Among participants at the exercise were police officers, immigration officers and officials from the Attorney General's office – the main officials who work with the crime of trafficking in persons.
"The Seychelles' criminal justice system has awakened to the fact that there is a risk of increased possible child sex trafficking offences through the far-reaching arm of social media as a new source of attracting unsuspected child victims. Two recent convictions of perpetrators of child sex trafficking through the use of social media were possible because of provisions of the Prohibition against Trafficking in Persons Act," William-Melania said.
Seychelles will also work on how to gather information from different agencies involved in the fight against trafficking in persons.
The head of transnational organised crime, illicit trafficking and terrorism programmes at the UNODC, Johan Kruger, the training facilitator, said that "the fight against trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants requires a multi-jurisdictional and transnational approach."
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is on the Tier 2 list of the United States' Human Rights Reports of 2020.
The report stated that "the government of Seychelles does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so."
As part of its recommendation the report states that Seychelles must "provide specialised training to government officials, including members of the National Coordinating Committee of Trafficking in Persons, law enforcement officials, social workers, immigration officials, and labor inspectors, on victim identification and referral procedures, including for victims of sex trafficking."