Seychelles introduces law against human trafficking: Convicts can get up to 25 years jail time
Expensive shoes and clothing may hide the reality of woman who has been forced to work as an expensive prostitute, who has been trafficked to work in another country against her will. Pictured: Christian Laboutin high heels (Arroser, Wikipedia) Photo license: CC-BY-SA 3.0
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles has introduced a new harsher anti-trafficking law to target traffickers of persons, where guilty traffickers can get a sentence of 25 years imprisonment and a fine of $65,000, which is the harshest punishment reserved if their victim is injured or dies during the trafficking.
The Seychelles Home Affairs and Transport minister Joel Morgan presented the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons law to the National Assembly yesterday, which was approved by the legislative body of the 90,000 Indian Ocean island nation.
Under the new law a human trafficker can face a minumum sentences of 14 years jail time and a $41,000 fine for human trafficking, in a law which provides for the seizure of assets of the convicted trafficker, as well as giving the authorities the right to prevent anyone who is suspected of trafficking or having connections to human trafficking, from entering the Seychelles.
The law provides for certain protections to the victims of human trafficking as well as witnesses.
Human trafficking covers the exploitation of persons in terms of sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery, and involuntary servitude, with the use of threats, abduction, coercion, fraud and deception.
“The potential scale of the problem of trafficking in persons in the country, its trends and scope appears to be underestimated or unknown, and needs to be further investigated by the government and law enforcement agencies,” said Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, in a statement to the Seychelles press following her first official visit to the country from 27 to 31 January following a standing invitation issued to the UN by the government of Seychelles in November 2012.
Ezeilo, who is a Nigerian human rights lawyer and professor, warned that although no official statistics exist, anecdotal evidence suggested that the islands of Seychelles, which has a large influx of both tourists and migrant workers, does have a rising trafficking problem.
Ezeilo however commended the government for its resolve to fight human trafficking, saying that a number of preventative measures had already been put in place, such as the ratification of key international conventions and the amendment to the Employment Act, which established a national minimum wage for all workers, including foreigners.