Vice President urges legislation to combat human trafficking

Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed spoke yesterday at a meeting on human trafficking in the South Asia region, and called for an effort from law enforcement agencies, government authorities, civil society and international organisations to combat human trafficking in the region.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) produced a report on the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking of Women and Children for Prostitution, where they said the Maldives is a country “where the primary form of trafficking is forced labour.”

Dr Waheed noted although the problem is global, Asia has the highest index of human trafficking.

The vice president said there was a concern that “human trafficking could become a growing problem in our country,” and noted the suggestions made by the ADB and IOM.

He said the government is working on combating the issue, and has mechanisms in place to repatriate victims who are brought to the Maldives.

He said there needed to be a more vigorous effort to form legislation and governmental machinery to combat trafficking.