Southern Times Writer
The SADC Secretariat has urged members of the bloc to remain vigilant and adapt to the changing methods of human traffickers.
The call came as the region observed World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30, which was this year themed “Committed to the Cause - Working on the Frontline to End Human Trafficking”.
Trafficking in persons (TIP), SADC warned, could increase as authorities expended human, financial and technological resources on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic at the expense of other priorities.
The capacity of many governments and non-governmental organisations to provide essential services related to combatting TIP and assisting victims has also been eroded by the focus on the global COVID-19 emergency.
The SADC Secretariat said, “SADC commends the frontline service providers, and implores them to remain vigilant and adapt responses to the changing methods of the traffickers, especially in this COVID-19 pandemic.
“Member States are also called upon to continue capacity building and awareness programmes to frontline service providers, and strengthen information sharing on TIP amongst stakeholders in order to provide tailored expertise to address TIP.”
Capacity building and legislative reform have been the cornerstones of the region’s response mechanism to TIP.
The Revised SADC Strategic Plan of Action on Combatting Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (2016-2023), provides a blueprint for responses at both multilateral and domestic levels.
The SADC-UN Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Programme on “Making the SADC Region Safer from Drugs and Crime” (2013–2023) has leveraged human and financial resources in combatting TIP.