How Tanzania tackles human trafficking

THE Vice-President Dr Philip Mpango has reaffirmed Tanzania’s commitment in preventing and fighting against illegal business of human trafficking through addressing various social, economic, cultural and political factors that make people vulnerable and involved in the vice.

Dr Mpango made the statement in Dar es Salaam yesterday, during the opening of Anglican Church’s consultative forum bringing together bishops, pastors and senior Anglican Church leaders from Tanzania and other countries in the world, with specific focus on fighting against human trafficking.

The Vice-President noted that the government in collaboration with other stakeholders continues to take concrete steps to accelerate economic growth, reduce poverty and improve social welfare to avoid human trafficking.

“The government continues to build strong institutions to facilitate the investigation and operation of human trafficking cases as well as enacting laws including the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2008,” he added.

Moreover, Dr Mpango said that the establishment of the Prevention of Human Trafficking Secretariat made Tanzania to be the second country in Africa, to have a special tool to prevent and fight against human trafficking.

“The government also continues to provide training to law enforcement organs including Police Force and Immigration Officers, Judges, Prosecutors, Local Government Leaders, Social Welfare Officers and other stakeholders. We provide them with knowledge and tools to fight the vice,” he said.

Elaborating, the VP said the government’s efforts enable at least 905 victims to be rescued from the jaws of human traffickers.

He further said that a total of 73 cases of human trafficking involving 133 criminals have been brought to court, while a total of 86 criminals have been found guilty and sentenced to serve various jail terms.

On the other hand, Dr Mpango urged the church to recognise the great responsibility they have to educate their believers on doing justice, including paying their domestic workers well, instead of abusing and underpaying them.

He also called on religious organisations in the country to cooperate with the government in identifying and helping the human trafficking victims by providing them with shelter, medical care, spiritual services and counselling that will make it easier for them to live well in society.

“I urge the church in cooperation with the government to identify the perpetrators of human trafficking and report them to the relevant authorities, so that they can be brought to justice in order to protect the present and future generations,” he said.

On his part, the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Tanzania Dr Maimbo Mndolwa said that in various circumstances, human trafficking victims get in the business without realising it and later, they accept the situation of exploitation and dehumanisation.

He said that the illegal business is a big sin in today’s world, saying the church must team up with the government to find different ways to end the problem.

Archbishop Mndolwa said that Tanzania has been chosen as the host of the forum due to the efforts made by the government to fight human trafficking.

Earlier, United Society Partners in the Gospel General Secretary Rev Dr Duncan Dormor said that in the conference they hope to share experiences as well as set a firm intention to work together in the world to step up the fight against human trafficking.

He expressed the firm commitment of the church to collaborate with governments in the world and other stakeholders.

Rev Dormor added that the exploitation of human rights and dignity through illegal human trafficking business violates the Christian faith, which states that every human being is created in God’s image and has great value before his sight.

The Anglican Church forum on fighting against human trafficking will be held for seven days with the theme “Set my People Free: The Call of the Church against Human Trafficking.”

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