US concern about human trafficking law here - Solomon Star News


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US concern about human trafficking law here

27 June 2014

THE United States Government says Solomon Islands’ efforts to combat human trafficking is disappointing.

In 2012, the United States welcomed the passage of the 2012 Immigration Bill which would help combat human trafficking here.

The legislation, which is scheduled to finally go into force on 16 July 2014, gives necessary tools to government officials to address issues related to human trafficking.

The bill will give civil society, law enforcement, and prosecutors better tools to address trafficking crimes.

The Government of the United States ranks Solomon Islands as a Tier 2 Watch List Country in the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report. 

Tier 2 Watch List is reserved for states that have made positive initial steps but no sustained progress in dealing with trafficking. 

But a statement from the US Government says without further action, Solomon Islands may be downgraded in 2015 to Tier 3, reserved for states that have made little to no progress on this important issue.

“What can Solomon Islands do to improve its ranking? 

“First, the government will enact in July the legislation passed by Parliament which prohibits and punishes all forms of trafficking. 

“Solomon Islands should also investigate, prosecute, and punish trafficking offenders, including officials who facilitate trafficking.

“Solomon Islands can assist victims of trafficking and develop campaigns to prevent trafficking.

“Solomon Islands can also accede to the 2000 UN Trafficking in Persons (TIP) protocol.

“With these kinds of proactive steps Solomon Islands could move up in the rankings,” the statement said.

Trafficking is involuntary servitude and may or may not involve the movement of people across borders.

Trafficking can be the forcing of an underage girl to marry against her will.

Trafficking can be forced prostitution of a local or foreign national in night clubs.

Trafficking can be forcing a person to work without pay, including persons working in logging, fishing, and extractive industries.

Trafficking also involves any form of child exploitation, taking advantage of the weak and unprotected. Trafficking is modern day slavery.

Over the past decade, 159 countries outside Solomon Islands have become parties to the United Nations trafficking protocol, adopted modern anti-trafficking laws, set up specialized law enforcement units, established victim assistance mechanisms, and raised public awareness campaigns.

The US said Solomon Islands continues to be an outlier in its practices on this important issue.

“At the end of the day, the trafficking report does not just shine a light on what countries are doing. It is not a name and shame exercise.

“At its best, the Trafficking in Persons Report shines a light on the plight of victims, on the responsibility toward the survivors, on the responsibility of all of us to stamp out human trafficking once and for all.”