Kenya passes law to protect against human trafficking

[JURIST] Kenya's parliament passed a law on Wednesday that will provide greater support to victims of human trafficking and will make it easier to secure convictions for perpetrators. The Victim Protection Bill [text] provides improved support to victims of crime, including the provision of a place of safety, food, medical treatment, psychosocial support and police protection. The bill also establishes a fund to assist and repatriate victims. Although Kenya passed a law in 2012 to counter human trafficking, the country has been on the US Department of State's Tier 2 watch list [text] for trafficking for the past three years for failing to making serious efforts to combat the crime. Since the Counter Trafficking in Persons Act became law, there have been few prosecutions due to the high threshold of evidence required to convict. Very few victims have been willing to give evidence due to the trauma they have endured. However, those in favor of the new law [Guardian report] believe that once victims are able to undergo counseling with the help from the funds the government will set aside, they will be in a position to address the court more confidently with the assistance of a lawyer

Last October Human rights experts from the UN, the Council of Europe (COE) and the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) [official websites] jointly called for global cooperation [JURIST report] in the fight against the transnational trafficking of persons. This joint statement follows a report filed by UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Joy Ezeilo [official profile] last June urging [JURIST report] the international community to focus on the human rights of trafficked individuals when criminalizing and prosecuting human trafficking as well as a statement by the European Commission regarding its plans to end human trafficking in Europe [JURIST report]. Human trafficking [UN News Centre report], "a multi-billion dollar industry which has trapped some 21 million men, women and children in forced labor," occurs across the globe but is most prevalent [JURIST backgrounder] in regions of conflict. The European Commission identified key risk factors as poverty, gender inequality, and social unrest.

 

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