November 18, 2019
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh says human trafficking is one of the worst crimes against humanity, noting that over the years the act has become so serious that even the international community and well-meaning countries use it as a yardstick to mention how much governments is doing to protect citizens.
He was speaking last Friday, November 15th at his Tower Hill office in Freetown during a training workshop for journalists on how to report and raise awareness about the increased incidents of human trafficking in the country and the sub region.
He said the training of journalists was part of the National Action Plan on trafficking in persons, thus noting that the issue of human trafficking has become so rampant that it has attracted international attention.
He added that they were on the process of elaborating a special presidential action in trafficking person.
He said a couple of weeks ago, the Government of Sierra Leone passed the score card which means that relatively the country is doing well when it comes to international performance benchmarks.
He disclosed that they have already established relationship with some Middle Eastern countries to see how they could build strategic relations to focus on human trafficking.
Speaking earlier, Secretary to the Vice President, Barbar Fortune stated that human trafficking in the country has become worst to the point that Sierra Leone is ranked among risk countries in the world.
He said as part of government’s effort to show commitment in protecting its citizens; they have formed a proactive response team that is empowered to take every step to ensure that the act is not only minimized, but be eradicated.
He said the activity is one that the government is implementing within the rapid response plan to combat human trafficking and people smuggling, recently put together by the anti-trafficking task force that is headed by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs.
He said as part of the implementation of the rapid response plan, the government through the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, has put in place certain mentions that will try human trafficking cases in a very speedy manner.
He said special application has been made to the High Court to ensure that all pending trafficking cases before the magistrate courts, as well as the fresh ones, should now be tried in the High Court instead of going through preliminary investigation at the lower court.
He said the government through the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affair has provided a building to be used as specialised recovery centre for victims of human trafficking, adding that at the centre victims are provided with social services including community integration.
He said government will also ensure that they soon embark on mentions that will build the capacity of diplomat, police, prosecutors, judges and counter-trafficking as well as provide training for other key stakeholders to make it every body’s business.
He said the one day workshop was intended to encourage the media to partner with other stakeholders in the fight against the trafficking of human beings, noting that they wanted the media to take the lead in the fight against trafficking.
Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Mohamed Haji-Kella, said human trafficking is affecting families in the country because when a member of the family is trafficked without knowing what is happening to him or her, it would then become an emotional problem to the family.
Head of the International Organizations for Migration (IOM)Alhaji Sanusi Tejan Savage, said his organization through its various programmes will continue to support and complement the government efforts in the fight against human trafficking, especially in the area of capacity building and delivery of quality direct assistance to victims of human trafficking and improved capacities to undertake public information activities.
He said the training of journalists was timely as the need to create awareness against human trafficking and smuggling has never been more important than the day journalists can contribute in the fight.