Judges’ Colloquium Strengthens Judicial Processes for Trafficking Cases in Maldives

Posted: 
05/06/16

Maldives - A first-ever meeting of the top judiciary in the Maldives devoted to human trafficking closed yesterday in the Indian Ocean island nation, with the issue of a letter and pledge of commitment.

Maldives is a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking, and a source country for women and children. The Prevention of Human Trafficking Act was passed in December 2013 and the Government of Maldives has so far prosecuted one case under the Act, which is waiting judgement.

While the government has made progress through its recent initiatives, increased efforts to address human trafficking are required specifically in the areas of prosecution and protection.

The Department of Judicial Administration and IOM therefore collaborated to organize the colloquium for the judiciary – the first such conference of judges where trafficking was the central focus. It aimed to strengthen the justice delivery mechanism in compliance with international standards.

In total, 35 judges, including judges from the Supreme Court, High Court, Criminal Court, Juvenile Court and Chief magistrates from the island courts, participated.

The specific objectives were strengthened understanding and application of justice through an approach which prioritizes the victims; effective application of the anti-trafficking act; and strengthened links between judges and prosecutors.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the colloquium, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed said: “The crime of human trafficking is a violation of humanity itself and needs to be eradicated completely. It is a crime which should not be tolerated.” He emphasized the commitment of the judiciary to do its part in tackling the issue.

IOM is currently implementing Phase II of a project: “Comprehensive Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons in the Maldives”.

Maldives Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed noted that the Maldivian economy is in the midst of an economic transformation with ambitious targets to increase GDP, undertake major infrastructure projects and expand tourism.

“In pursuing the developmental agenda in the context of an increasingly globalized world, the Government of Maldives is fully committed to combat human trafficking and promoting safe and orderly migration,” he said.

The colloquium closed with a formal commitment by the judiciary of the Maldives to combat trafficking in persons and the signing of an open letter and pledge of commitment to eradicate human trafficking in the Indian Ocean nation.

For further information please contact Shareen Tuladhar at IOM Maldives; Tel: +94 11 5325 300; Email: shtuladhar@iom.int

Chief Justice Abdullah Saeed (left) and IOM Chief of Mission Giuseppe Crocetti shake hands in front of the pledge to stop human trafficking in the Maldives. Photo: IOM 2016