Human trafficking and the unlawful sending of citizens to work abroad have resulted in physical injuries, human rights abuses, and the death of thousands of Ethiopians. This situation forced the government to prepare a new draft law, which is approved by the parliament on Thursday.
Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing international crimes in the world. It’s regarded as human rights violations by international conventions. United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines Trafficking in Persons as:
the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.
Ethiopia approved an anti-trafficking proclamation in 2015, which states criminalized labor trafficking and sex trafficking, prescribing a penalty of 15 to 25 years imprisonment and a fine of 150,000 to 300,000 ETB. According to the 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report, in 2018, the Ethiopian justice officials convicted more than 1000 traffickers under the 2015 proclamation. However, the report suggests that there is a lack of law enforcement efforts against domestic trafficking crimes.
Additionally, the report said the government managed to intercept 10,000 adults and children across Ethiopia in 2018. Most of them were about to cross the Ethiopian border for work in Gulf countries and other African countries.
“The Government of Ethiopia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so,” reads the trafficking report.
The newly approved Human Trafficking Proclamation helps the country to live up to the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, which Ethiopia accepted previously.
The proclamation aims to achieve the government’s plan of prevention of human trafficking, the legal accusation of the criminals, restoration of the victims of trafficking, and strengthening international cooperation. The Parliament approved the Law with the full vote.