Officials and activists have called for improved efforts to fight against human trafficking in the face of rising technology. On Tuesday, November 22, activists, academics and government officials, among other dignitaries from different parts of the continent convened in Kigali for the Africa Regional Freedom from Slavery Forum, where they discussed a number of things including external factors connected to modern-day slavery in the region, issues of forced labor and sexual exploitation, among others. ALSO READ: Why human trafficking remains a peace, security threat for EAC Addressing the forum, Theophile Mbonera, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, noted that though there are continued efforts to eradicate human trafficking, the traffickers are adopting new techniques of sustaining the crime. “With the advancement of technology and the use of social media, traffickers now lure and recruit their victims without applying force and any suspicious means. These advanced tactics used by human traffickers call for improved efforts and collaboration between states and non-state organisations inn fighting this horrible crime,” he said. According to statistics from the Ministry of Justice, between 2018 and October 2022, 879 suspected cases of human trafficking were thwarted, and 67 per cent of these involved female victims. Mbonera highlighted that eradicating human trafficking remains a priority for the government of Rwanda, adding that they are determined to be at the forefront of the fight against any form of modern day slavery “by putting in place mechanisms to protect citizens from being trafficked or participating in this vice.” Jean-Paul Ibambe, a lawyer working with the Legal Aid Forum (LAF), a non-governmental organisation that assists survivors of human trafficking to get justice told The New Times that human trafficking crimes are both hard to investigate and prosecute since their perpetrators are often very crafty. “Our investigators and prosecutors need to invest much in human resource and capacity building. They need to be foresighted as they try to prevent or respond to these crimes,” he said. Awah Mbuli, a Cameroonian survivor of human trafficking (trafficked to Kuwait), told The New Times that if any person finds themselves in a situation where they are being trafficked, they should try as hard as possible to use technology to capture evidence and share it. “For example, for my case, I used to take videos of the things that happened to me when I was trafficked. That is the main evidence you have,” she said. She also called for measures to provide free legal assistance to survivors of human trafficking. ALSO READ: Human trafficking: MPs call for coordinated response in EAC Bukeni Waruzi, the Executive Director of Free the Slaves, an international non-governmental organization and lobby group established to campaign against the modern practice of slavery around the world, called for coordinated efforts to fight the practice across the world. “No one single government, no single entity can do it by itself. It requires global concern,” he said. Pointing to the seriousness of the human trafficking, he noted that it is the third largest illegal business in the world, making up to more than $150 billion a year.