The Minister of Home Affairs Motlalentoa Letsosa has rolled sleeves to eradicate Human Trafficking in the country.
This emerged after Letsosa joined forces with the International Organisation for Migrates (IOM) to inaugurate the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), National Referral Mechanism (NRM) and Diplomatic handbook documents marked to strategize a contest against the stubborn crime in Lesotho.
Letsosa told the press this week that his ministry has been toiling tirelessly to draw-up a plot that would see the surging human trafficking records rooted-out in the country. He alluded that there has been alarming cases of human trafficking in the past two weeks which prompted them to shut residence permits for three months with immediate effect after catching of a syndicate wherein non-resident foreigners illicitly hold this countryâ€™s citizenship and documentation which enables them to use Lesotho as a transit country to infiltrate other countries.
He also said few months back the Ministry launched a document entitled National Strategic Framework and Action Plan in Combating Trafficking in Persons 2021-2026. He indicated the importance of the document as to ensure effective national coordination and cooperation to effectively prevent trafficking in persons. It also improves identification, protection and support of Victims of Trafficking in persons (VoT). The document further ensures successful investigation, prosecution of the offense of trafficking.
â€œToday we are here to launch another set of useful documents in the fight against human trafficking. The first document is Diplomatic for Consular Personnel Assistance and Protection of Victims of Trafficking. The booklet aims to equip consular personnel with the capacity to handle possible trafficking and the document will also give people an overview of what human trafficking is,â€ said Letsosa.
He continued that, â€œAnother equally important booklet is â€˜National Referral Mechanism for Protection of VoT. The booklet will support the coordinated identification referrals and provision of protection assistance for VTOâ€™s in line with national policy, legislation and international best practice. This document will be used by different government ministries, NGOs and other people who wish to eradicate human trafficking in Lesotho,â€ he said.
Letsosa also said the document will provide guidance principles that strictly have to be observed when dealing with VTOâ€™s, those include right based approach, none discrimination and gender-sensitive and child-centred approach.
â€œThe last document we are launching is Law Enforcement Standard Operating Procedures. The aim for the booklet is to support law enforcement officers to manage trafficking in persons in a coordinated and consistent manner in line with national policy and international best practice. All law enforcement agencies LMPS, NSS, LDF, Public prosecution will benefit from using this document,â€ he said.
Head of IOM Eriko Nishimura said the inauguration of the SOP is one of the important milestones that they wanted to see happen in Lesotho as to strengthen the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) response, safety, protection and rehabilitation of human trafficking in Lesotho.
â€œThe overall objective to curb TIP in Lesotho, the United States (US) Government has provided financial to the project titled Supporting Lesotho in TIP Prevention and Protection. The IOM has been implementing this project since March 2020 and it will end in February 2022,â€ Nishimura said.
Nishimura also mentioned that the project also aims to strengthen identification, protection and referral of potential victims of trafficking at district and national level. She also stated that the project supported Lesotho in developing three documents presented by the Minister of Home Affairs.
â€œWe are going to guide Lesotho on how to tackle human trafficking cases and shed a light on how the diplomats contribute to the identification of suspected case of human trafficking and how such cases should be reported. We are also going to help on how victims should be repatriated to Lesotho and receive rehabilitation and reintegration assistance upon their arrival,â€ said Nishimura.
She also said that the IOM has agreed with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations to organize the virtual training to sensitize the diplomats abroad on human trafficking. She also expressed appreciation for the Minister of a Home Affairs for leadership, support and commitment towards strengthening border management and security in Lesotho.