There is a need for an all-inclusive, multidimensional approach to effectively respond to human trafficking, a Fijian official said here on Thursday.
Speaking at the commemoration of the United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Persons here on Thursday, Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Defence Manasa Lesuma said while strengthening of internal controls is crucial to Fiji’s overall ability to counter all forms of human trafficking, this issue is one that is cross cutting across government agencies and all stakeholders.
Fiji acceded to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime or more commonly known as the Palermo Convention and its three protocols in 2017, he said, adding that prior to this Fiji’s Crimes Act 2009 had already criminalized trafficking in persons into national laws, paving the way for the first prosecution in 2010.
He said this was followed by an amendment to Fiji’s Immigration Act 2011, and Fiji’s 2013 Constitution further cemented this national priority.
Lesuma said Fiji’s judiciary is prosecuting more and more cases of all forms of human trafficking, with widely publicized cases in the local media exposing the scourges of this degrading crime.
“This shows that human trafficking exists within the paradise we call home and that we are not immune, as this form of transnational crime also crosses through our borders and more importantly is also orchestrated within Fiji.”
Lesuma added that while men are also susceptible to being trafficked for the purpose of forced labor, statistics reveal that children and women are more vulnerable than male adults.
For women and girls, it is worse because apart from the demand for their labor, they are also exploited sexually, he said.
Lesuma acknowledged the efforts of the relevant stakeholders that have been creating awareness and strengthening collaboration to address issues on human trafficking.
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