UK: Anti- trafficking laws are anti-immigration laws

By Xanthe Whittaker  Saturday, 18 December 2010

Anti- trafficking laws are anti-immigration laws, according to research by sex worker rights network, x:talk project. Their report, Human Rights, Sex Work and the Challenge of Trafficking, was recently released and is an appraisal of anti-trafficking measures from some of the people who have been most affected by them: sex workers.

While no one would want to underplay the gross human rights violation that trafficking amounts to, the x:talk report argues that laws and measures introduced to address trafficking have been more effective at rounding up migrant sex workers and charging them with prostitution and immigration crimes than supporting and assisting genuine victims of trafficking.

‘Rescuing’ victims of trafficking?

Take, for example, Pentameter 2, a joint policing and UKBA operation aimed at ‘rescuing’ victims of trafficking. This series of raids on 822 indoor sex venues across the UK resulted in the conviction of just 15 people on trafficking charges, in contrast to the 122 people who were arrested for immigration offences during the operation.

Human trafficking has been framed in the UK in terms of a sexual offence whose victims are women, and with little distinction made between trafficking and prostitution per se. The x:talk report expresses concern that this policy focus has the effect of creating a moral panic around women working in the sex industry. And that is particularly the case for migrant women, who have become the target of immigration round-ups and, as a result, have been pushed into more underground, less safe pockets of the industry. Irregular immigration status has also been a major mechanism of blackmail and control by people who do seek to exploit or control these women.

Not just women

The report also argues that anti-trafficking efforts are failing to recognise or address the needs of men and transgender people who are trafficked, as well as people trafficked into non-sexual work. Between 2003 and December 2008, a total of 92 people were convicted of sex trafficking, compared with four convictions for labour trafficking.

In terms of protecting the human rights of trafficked people, the UK offers no national coordinated framework for providing services to victims of trafficking. As recently as August this year, the SOCA [Serious Organised Crime Agency] website defined trafficking as: “the movement of illegal immigrants for exploitation within the UK,” which it isn’t—trafficking does not always involve cross-border migration or breaches of migration law, yet it would appear it has been adopted by the UK authorities as yet another front in the protection of UK border integrity.

The report calls upon the Government to rethink its trafficking policy. It recommends that to protect the human rights of migrants against exploitation in the UK (sexual or otherwise), the UK must sign and ratify theConvention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families and that, in general, a migrant’s immigration status cannot be invoked to undermine their human rights.

Xanthe Whittaker is the co-ordinator of the X: talk project publication Human Rights Sex Work and the Challenge of Trafficking. X: talk projectis a grassroots sex workers network made up of people directly working in the sex industry.

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RSA: The Anti-Trafficking Bill, the Immigration Act and the Refugee Appeal Board

The original article here

The Justice Portfolio Committee’s announcement that it will not be ‘fast-tracking’ the Anti-Tracking Bill [‘ATB’] is to be welcomed by allowing for greater reflection on the proposed mechanics of this complex and critical Bill.

 

Some of the current provisions of the ATB, and particularly aspects of the immigration-related issues, as currently formulated, are in danger of failing the victims of trafficking, when it really matters, given the frailties of the Immigration Act [‘IA’] and the Department of Home Affairs.

 

A critical requirement of the proposed anti trafficking legislation is its capacity to create a safety net for the trafficked person by protecting the vulnerable victim against return to a situation where he or she would be at risk. To achieve this, the Department of Home Affairs is empowered, under certain conditions to allow the victim to reside in SA and where necessary to be allowed to earn a living whilst here.

The ATB accordingly provides for various amendments to the IA to permit, for example, a visitors permit to be issued to a trafficked person who is deemed to be vulnerable. The proposed amendment also provides that in particularly dire or intractable situations such that, the victim may not be able to return home, may also be permitted to apply for permanent residence.

In terms of the Bill, the discretion to decide whether or not a person is to be protected – whether by way of temporary or permanent residence – is vested in the Director General of Home Affairs. And therein lies one of the weaknesses of the ATB, particularly if the Director General has a discretion and decides, in exercising it, that a person does not qualify for an appropriate permit.

 

And the history of the current Immigration Act should not be forgotten. On the same day as Parliament passed the Immigration Act in 2002, the Minister of Home Affairs announced that the Act needed to be amended. A substantial amendment was brought about in 2004 and came into operation in July 2005. A further amendment was passed by Parliament in 2007 [Act 3 of 2007]. Astonishingly, three years later this Amendment has still not come into operation despite having been rushed through Parliament at the time to deal with urgent problems in the current Act – particularly with regard to temporary residence permits. And now, after a series of Ministerial assurances since then, the Department is once again busy designing a substantial re-working of the Act.

 

The bottom line, as Home Affairs’ officials dealing with permits will concede, the Act is flawed in significant respects. And now the ATB wades into this morass without seeking to effect any corrections to the Act.

 

In terms of sections 8(3) and 8(4) of the IA, “any decision taken in terms of the Act” that negatively affects a person, can be appealed to the Director General. And should that appeal be declined by the Director General a further appeal lies to the Minister of Home Affairs in terms of section 8(6) of the Act. For purposes of the 2002 Act, Parliament expressly intended that there be two internal appeals available to an aggrieved person.

 

But the anomaly of how one now appeals to the Director General against a decision taken by the Director General [a problem that was created by the rushed 2004 Amendment Act], was considered in the matter of NCUBE v MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS [ECHC 2074/08 per Pakade J, 18 December 2008]. The Court held there that even where the Director General has delegated his authority, the decision by the official duly delegated, has in fact still been taken by the Director General. The Court went on to hold that all decisions taken in terms of the Act are in fact taken by the Director General. The Minister’s application for leave to appeal on this point was refused and the Minister did not pursue this point in an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal. The Court in Grahamstown held that there is in fact only a single appeal and that appeal lies to the Minister.

 

But the law reports and media are replete with instances of what might diplomatically be termed ‘unfortunate’ decision-making by the Director General and/or the Minister of Home Affairs and/or their respective delegates.

 

The irony is that the Department of Home Affairs has at its disposal the ideal resource to determine questions such as whether or not it is dangerous for the victim to be returned to his country of origin or the country from which he or she was trafficked. This is the Refugee Appeal Board.

 

Whilst the Appeal Board is currently understaffed and under-resourced it is not only independent but it has assembled over a decade of experience in deciding precisely such questions. It would be the idea vehicle to which to refer appeals from persons seeking protection as vulnerable trafficked persons – so long as it was also adequately resourced to take on this added duty.

 

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Uganda People News: Activists Urge Government To Implement Human Trafficking Laws

First published: 20091112 12:39:20 PM EST

The government of Uganda has been urged to implement Trafficking in Persons Act to curb child trafficking in the country.

Parliament passed the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2008 in April 2009.

According to the Act, a person (or persons) found guilty of committing the offence is imprisoned for 15 years. President Museveni assented on the Act in October 2009.

The Programme Officer at the African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect, Anselm Wamboga complains that Uganda has many laws passed but are never implemented.

Wamboga says that the government needs to ensure that functional structures are established to implement the Persons Act.

The latest research by ANPPCAN on abuse of children’s rights in Uganda indicates that over 99 cases of trafficking have been reported at police.

More on women’s rights in Uganda here

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UGANDA ANTI-TRAFFICKING LAW COMING

Article here 8 Apr 2007
When lawmakers return to the House after the Easter recess, a unique bill is expected to come to the floor; a law against trafficking in persons. Trafficking is more than a word in the dictionary. Uganda, according to several experts, is fast turning into a gangster’s paradise. And the evidence is there. Reports on increasing drug use, foreign women being held hostage for prostitution and children bought and sold like chattels have shocked many.
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Reports show that young children from war torn areas of Northern Uganda and Karamoja are being trafficked across borders into Southern Sudan. There have also been reports of Karimojong children being sold routinely at cattle markets. Internal trafficking like smuggling of people across borders by organised crime cartels requires tougher laws.

The tales continue to trickle in. In one Kampala neighbourhood, Police moved to investigate suspicious people neighbours say were not seen during the day. The raid on Dec 16 2006 uncovered five Sri Lankans.

Shaul Hameed Rifan, Zainul abdeen, Thavaloganathan Tharmaraj, Sundaram Abiram and Sivaramalingam Mayuran had been prisoners for months. The trial led to Shafiq Ur Rehman and Ur Reham Attiq. The two were found at Embassy Hotel in Kabalagala in possession of fake documents and multiple passports.

Police sources say the men had “good” local connections because their passports had not been stamped upon entry in Uganda to possibly conceal their comings and goings even though they had passed through Entebbe Airport. Little is known about their local accomplices because, according to one investigator, they were hurriedly deported.

Trafficking in prostitutes

The story is becoming all too common. Several times the police have bust rings of Indians and Pakistanis trafficking in prostitutes held hostage and brutalised. The porous borders are also beginning to directly leak not only systems of organised crime but also a culture of substance abuse.

Drug traffickers are finding Uganda an easy target because of its weak drug laws turning, Entebbe International Airport into the region’s main conduit of narcotic drugs, experts point out.

According to records from the Aviation police at Entebbe Airport, heroine worth $70,000 (Shs 124million) was confiscated at the airport in 2006 between April and November alone. Police say the fine of Shs 1 million for possession of narcotics in the National Drug Policy Authority statute is no deterrent because the drugs were so much more valuable.

“Stronger laws are required,” said former Police Spokesman Edward Ochom.

Document fraud

He says the majority of the traffickers in Uganda are Tanzanians. “60 percent of those arrested are Tanzanians, we don’t know why,” Ochom said. Many times, because of local document fraud, many traffickers have Ugandan passports; both genuine and forged. Heroine is a major drug trafficked.

One Tanzanian, John Mwanjabala, died on December 8 at Entebbe Grade B hospital after swallowing more than 100 pellets of heroin narcotic drugs he was smuggling to Tanzania through Entebbe Airport. The drugs, which were worth Shs27 million, weighed 1000 grams.

Traffickers tend to come or go to countries in the Middle East or Asia, police say.

Just like the airport most border posts are not properly secured. Police would for example require expensive gadgets.

According to a 2005 annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) heroin traffickers appear to be shifting their operations to airports near large cities in African countries including Uganda [Entebbe]. Drugs are then smuggled back to conduits like Kenya and find their way to North America and Europe.

Trafficking law

Between 1998 and 2000, when the police first noticed an increase in drug activity, they impounded and destroyed 422 tons of Cannabis (marijuana) leaving the country. Also seized were 33 kg of hashish, 19 kg of heroin worth US$ 5.7m and cocaine worth US$1.2 million.

In 1999 the anti-narcotic unit arrested 961 people for drug-related offences, of whom police were able to investigate, prosecute and secure the conviction of 434.

A law on trafficking in persons will help tighten the noose on the human resource that fuels this vice.

At Butabika’s recently established alcoholic clinic there is a marked increase in cases of cocaine addiction. “I used to sniff cocaine and smoke bangi, I did this for five years,” Mary Anne [not real name] confided to a group therapy session which was attended undercover by Sunday Monitor journalists posing as patients. Many more will be hurt until tough laws stop traffickers and their trade.

 

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Anti-Child Trafficking Law Gathers Dust in Uganda

AllAfrica.com  Flavia Nalubega 20 August 2010

The government should hurry the enactment of the anti-child trafficking Bill which was passed 10 months ago into law, child activists have said.

The law is meant to protect children from kidnap, abduction and labour. Activists yesterday blamed the delay on laxity by Ministry of Internal Affairs, which took the law lightly.

“The Ministry has neither put in place an office to enforce this law nor has it sensitised the masses on how the law works,” Mr Haruna Mawa, the communications officer for the African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect, said.

However, the law enforcers said they have ensured that the practice is brought to a halt.

“The minister has not yet issued a statutory instrument for the law to be implemented but we are fighting the practice,” Mr Binoga Moses, the commissioner of Police said.

According to the 2008 Child Abuse Report by ANPPCAN, 33 per cent of the people said child trafficking exists but cases are not reported to the authorities.

 

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Police undergo training in human rights cases

Daily News From ISSA YUSSUF in Zanzibar, 2nd February 2011

OVERSIGHT bodies are important mechanism in the checks and balances in administration at all levels in public and private organization, Ms Mary Massay, Executive Secretary of the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG) has said.

Ms Massay said that as a national human rights institution with overall mandate in the promotion and protection of human rights in Tanzania, CHRAGG needs specialised courses to equip its staff with modern skills of handling cases of human rights violation.

”It therefore needs collective commitment by both development partners and oversight institutions to work together to ensure effective protection of human rights,” said Ms Massay when closing a week-long training on investigative skills in policing.

The training which attracted participants from police, prisons and human rights activists from Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar was co-organised by African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF) and CHRAGG and funded by Germany Technical Agency (GTZ).

According to APCOF coordinator Mr Sean Tait, this was the first ever investigative skills training which intended to improve police skills in handling human rights violations.

”We had 26 participants in this training in Zanzibar; these are trainers of training who are supposed to transfer the knowledge to others in their respective areas of work.
“The aim is to ensure that Human Rights are respected,” said Mr Tait.

He observed that violation of human rights in many countries was still high and joint efforts including having better investigative skills, were required to control the problem.

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Zanzibar women lawyers decry child abuse

Daily News From ISSA YUSSUF in Zanzibar, 7th February 2011 @ 11:00, Total

IN a 30-minute documentary depicting abuse of children and women in Isles, members of the Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association (ZAFELA) called for joint efforts to end the menace.

The video documentary recorded under the support of Open Society Initiative for East Africa (OSIEA) advocates for the importance of upholding the rights of children and address the issue of increased rape and abandonment of children.

The documentary includes voices from parents, law enforcers, lawyers and government officials. It raises awareness about the importance of joint efforts against abuse and ensuring that criminals are convicted in courts of law.

“This documentation made in December last year aims at raising awareness and encouraging people to report any abuse against women and children to the police for legal action,” Ms Amina Talib, ZAFELA deputy chairperson, said.

It was revealed at the launch of the documentary DVD at People’s Palace – Forodhani, that reported and unreported incidents of abuse against children and women, mainly raping were becoming frequent, “more than 150 were reported in 2010 alone,” Ms Amina said.

ZAFELA members have attributed the abuse against children and women in Zanzibar to laxity of law enforcers, children and parents’ ignorance about law, stigma, outdated clauses in the laws and corruption.

During the launch of the DVD and fundraising for ZAFELA Amina stressed that when it comes to improving the lives of children, everyone has a role to play. “We all have a responsibility of doing our duties as a human being and help eliminate all forms of violence against children.”

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Project Management Training in Nairobi

Program Duration:  7th Feb – Fri. 11th Feb 2011 (8:30am – 4:00pm)
Venue: Shalom Hse, Off Ng’ong Rd, On St. Daniel Comboni Rd. Nairobi.

KARDS Development Consultants will commence a training program on Basic Project Management.

Program Design and Schedule:

The Basic Project Management program lasts for five days and is divided into three sessions per day. 

1. Morning session (8:30am – 10:30am) followed by a thirty minute coffee break.
2. Mid morning session (11:00am – 1:00pm) followed by a 1 hour lunch.
3. Afternoon session (2:00pm – 4:00pm).

 

Program Objective:

  • To equip participants with skills and techniques to guide them in initiating and managing     sustainable projects.
  • To help the participants understand the dynamics involved in managing projects.

Program Outline:

  • Exploring General Project Dimensions & Features
  • Project Idea Testing & Needs Assessment
  • Project Feasibility Study
  • Project Design & Appraisal
  • Project Launch & Support Mechanism
  • Project Proposal Formulation
  • Project Cycle Management: Participatory Planning
  • Project Monitoring & Evaluation
  • Introduction to Project Budgeting
  • Project Appraisal & Fundamental Decision Making Tools
  • The Role of Information Technology in Project Management
  • Introduction to Effective Project Resource Management

Costing: A fee of KES 9,500 is charged per participant. This fee is inclusive of registration, tuition, course materials, morning tea and lunch.
Eligibility: Those new to project management, project managers who wish to develop their professional practice in this discipline and middle level staff seeking to build their project management skills and knowledge.

Accommodation facilities can be pre-arranged upon timely request.

For any further information on the training program, please contact us at;

Tel No.  0720 812 638, 0736 935 387

Email: info@kardsafrica.org OR kards_koinonia@yahoo.com

Website: www.kardsafrica.org

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“Kaa chonjo” you could become a victim of human trafficking

Lost and helpless,

Her passport taken away
Her ID taken away
In search of a better way
Paid them to chase the dream life
But ended up paying with her freedom
Lost without friends in a foreign land
Her dreams lost to slave masters
Beaten and abused,
Raped and they were amused.
Left his home country,
Only to be forced into labour
Paid with lashes,
His dreams, burnt down to ashes
His whole life flashes,
Because he would rather die
Than be forced to live a lie,

Open your eyes,
Feel the cries;
Of Kenyans in the Middle East
Trafficked like worthless beasts
Feel the cries;
Of young girls in our streets,
Enticing you to the sheets,
Only to give that money to pimps

Feel the cries;
Of child beggars,
On their feet, jiggers
On their hands, blisters
On their feet, barely slippers
Of their clothes, tatters
If only for their masters,
To elicit your unknowing pity
And in their bowls throw in that fifty
Kaa chonjo, ndio uwe sauti yao

It all started in the name of poverty,
Parents selling off some of their children,
If only to be able to take care of the rest
It all started in the name of culture,
Women and animals being offered,
To appease rival tribes as peace offerings
It all started with colonization,
Paramount chiefs exchanging their subjects,
For pieces of silver, mirrors and bottles
It all started with urbanization,
Smugglers promising desperate young people,
With jobs and a better life in the city,
Only for them to be forced into prostitution,
Only for them to be forced into drug peddling
It all started with ignorance
You and me in the dark
Not knowing that slavery exists, today!
Not knowing that we could fall prey, today!
Kaa chonjo, ndio uwe sauti yao

Entire communities engage in this
From Indians to Africans
Arranged marriages, the village match-maker
A Young girl abducted by the riverside,
Taken home by the men and defiled
Only for the community to sing praises
Telling her that she is most fortunate
A husband she doesn’t choose,
A man she doesn’t love
Every night she cries in her sleep
Kaa chonjo, ndio uwe sauti yao.

Kaa chonjo, ndio uwe sauti yao is Swahili for ‘be alert so that you can speak up for the voiceless’. The phrases are borrowed from the Anti-human trafficking campaigns of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Tanzania and Kenya.

Poem by Bernard Muhia – Poet and writer. Bernard is a journalist by profession, and a youth activist and poet by passion. He write and perform poems for weddings and corporate events. He has written two poetry e-books; The Mobile Office and Be Still which are available at http://www.bernardmuhia.com/. He was shortlisted for the 2010 Storymoja Hay poetry award and he currently hosts the Fern Poetry Prize.

 

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Tanzania ‘witch-naming’ under way

Albino children in a school for the blind in Tanzania 

Many people with albinism are living in fear in Tanzania

Thousands of people in Tanzania have been taking part in an exercise aimed at identifying those behind the killing of albinos for ritual purposes.

The process – in which people fill in forms anonymously, naming those they suspect of involvement – was ordered by President Jakaya Kikwete.

But some fear the nationwide exercise, which has begun in the Lake Zone area, could be used for personal vendettas.

Witchdoctors reportedly buy albino body parts to make “magic” potions.

Since late 2007, 45 albinos have been slaughtered in Tanzania.

Forty-four of the killings have taken place in the Lake Zone district.

Police believe the killers are selling their victims’ limbs, hair, skin and genitals to traditional medicine practitioners who make potions promising to make people wealthy.

Superstitious miners and fishermen in the region hoping to get rich quick have been accused of fuelling the demand.

President Kikwete has said the murders have brought shame on the country and urged the public not to fear retribution for naming the culprits.

But correspondents say it is not clear how effective the exercise will be in a society which believes in witchcraft and where confidence in the legal system is wearing thin.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last month decried the albino killings during his official visit to the country.

The government issued a ban on all traditional healers in January in an effort to stop the killings and several have been arrested since then on suspicion of flouting the order.

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