Comesa countries join efforts to fight human trafficking

Representatives from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa bloc countries have agreed to step up efforts to curb human trafficking in the region.

Representatives from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa bloc countries have agreed to step up efforts to curb human trafficking in the region.

The resolution was made during a three-day workshop that opened in Kigali on Wednesday.

“We have experienced the worst crimes against humanity. Rwanda is committed to cooperate in any way possible to ensure that cross-border crime is dealt with,” said Venantia Tugireyezu, the Minister in the President’s office.

The participants were drawn from immigration departments and law enforcement agencies from the respective countries.

Tugireyezu said while countries are advancing towards opening up to free trade and movement of citizens, there must be vigilance to ensure  peace and security.

Participants said the Common Market might be key in promoting trade among countries.

Sexual slavery

Hudson Jefter Mankhwala, from Malawi, called for more education programmes to enable immigration officers easily detect criminals.

“Women and girls, disabled people and children are the most victims of human trafficking; they are taken for forced labour and sex slavery,” Mankhwala said.

He said sometimes unsuspecting people are duped with offers of jobs.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime says about 79 per cent of cases related to human trafficking target girls and women for sex slavery.

At least 2.4 million people are exploited by criminals annually, estimates show.

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