NAIROBI, OCTOBER 6, 2020 (CISA)-“Government agencies must give priority to prosecution, investigation and policing urgently than before. Similarly, the creation of special courts with specific preparation on Human Trafficking crime to offset the workload and to fasten judgement processes,” the Santa Marta Group (SMG), an alliance of the Catholic Church and law enforcement, working with civil society to counter Human Trafficking has said.
“There is an urgency for the Church, governments and Civil Society to take up the responsibility and moral obligation to this very important and noble cause to cure the society. The horrific organ harvesting, sales of children and commodification and exploitation of persons for sex and servitude businesses in some societies is spreading across and this continues to dehumanise the society. This is inhumane and is a great indication of moral decadence in the society and it can only get worse with time unless we do something in our different yet very effective capacities,” they said at the third SMG Africa Conference held virtually on September 23-24.
Weakness of systems in the church, governments and society were mentioned as enablers of human trafficking.
“One notable obstacle to the process of eradicating HT is the clandestine practices and cartels supported by people who hold the greatest responsibility in society. Across our nations, there are some issues very pertinent and they keep changing dynamics in enhancing HT thus calling us to be on the wake throughout,” the Santa Marta group noted.
The noted the risk of not reaching the targets underlined in the Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 that seeks to, “Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and Human Trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.”
The group noted that some underlying conditions leading to human trafficking include, poverty, lack of sharing of resources, joblessness, bad governance and corruption, egoistic politicking, unlimited and uncontrolled use of the internet and the Covid-19 lockdowns.
“The issues of war and conflict in many African nations, the status of the family and especially the fate of women poses another set of problems. A false promise to better living has been used as an alternative to people’s accrued problems,” they pointed out.
They noted the continuation of migration of peoples from Africa to Europe and the Middle East countries based on pseudo-promises of green pastures and an invention of non-existing multinational companies with false opportunities for jobs.
To facilitate eradication of HT, Santa Marta Group recommended equipment of justice systems to the law enforcement departments of the States and equal enhancement of the various forms of economic, institutional, political, and social empowerment of communities and individuals to protect themselves against trafficking.
The conference hosted Catholic clergy, the civil society, Media, and law enforcement leaders from Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, DRC, Ivory Coast, Eswatini, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Egypt, South Sudan.