Strengthen laws against human trafficking
Published On February 12, 2015 » 2622 Views» By Administrator Times » Opinion
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HUMAN trafficking is the latest evil that has gripped Zambia and, looking at the rate at which this crime is being perpetrated on an almost daily basis, it is rapidly getting out of proportion and, therefore, requires urgent solution to stem it.
The culprits associated with this crime are quite sophisticated with a high degree of complexity and seem to be well-organised such that it is very difficult for law-enforcement agencies to detect them at first sight.
This is a headache not only to the Zambian Government but to other countries globally whose leaders are spending sleepless nights to fight this menacing evil.
Not a day, week, or even a month passes without an incident of human trafficking, and this has since become almost impossible to fight and stamp out.
Just two days ago, police in Luapula Province rescued two men destined for Tanzania in what was discovered as a human trafficking ploy.
The two men, one Zambian and a Congolese national, were abducted by two suspects from Tanzania to go and work in that country.
The circumstances under which they were recruited are unclear and these victims had no valid papers to warrant their transportation to Tanzania.
In most cases, these culprits who appear to be decent and posing as investors or job recruitment agents, have succeeded in their crime without any hindrance and sometimes are known to be working closely with some unscrupulous locals who make a few hundred dollars to sell their own nationals.
They hoodwink job seekers, especially girls who are desperate to work in foreign countries where they are promised high salaries and other benefits but end up as sex slaves or human sacrifices, in the case of children.
A number of these same culprits are well-known to some of our law-enforcement officers who provide some kind of cover for them.
Most of the suspects have escaped with lenient prison sentences, including very little fines which they can readily afford and get back to their criminal activities once again.
Recently, a human trafficking researcher Merab Kiremire disclosed that more than 10 young girls and a high number of women and children in Zambia were trafficked per week and this figure could have increased three-fold by now.
While this crime is entrenching its roots in Zambia, there is need for concerted efforts by both the Government and citizens to work closely in order to arrest the situation.
What is currently lacking is a piece of legislation that will criminalise the vice so that culprits can get maximum punishment from their crimes.
This can be done by amending the Penal Code as defined in the United Nations (UN) protocol and incorporated into the Zambian domestic laws by an Act of Parliament.
The current law is not strong enough to deal sternly with the perpetrators of this crime and hence a sharp rise in the vice.
There is also urgent need to strengthen the capacity of the Immigration Department and other law-enforcement agencies so that they can be able to deal decisively with offenders.
Massive sensitisation programmes through workshops for law-enforcement agencies to raise awareness can also help to reduce human trafficking activities in Zambia and the region at large. OPINION

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