US to post FBI officer in Seychelles to aid in fight against human trafficking

General |Author: Sedrick Nicette Edited By: Betymie Bonnelame | June 28, 2024, Friday @ 15:11| 3492 views

Henry Jardin, the non-resident US Ambassador to Seychelles, (2nd left) with local officials at the press conference. (Seychelles News Agency)

The United States will continue to help Seychelles in its battle against trafficking in persons through various aid and expertise, said Henry Jardin, the non-resident US Ambassador to Seychelles on Friday.

Jardin told reporters that the U.S. will do this through various means, including by posting an officer of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the island nation to help local authorities.

He made the statement after the publication of the US Department of State 2024 Trafficking in Persons Report released on Tuesday. Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, maintained its Tier One status.

"I would like to commend the remarkable efforts of Seychelles in maintaining its Tier 1 ranking. Seychelles remains the only country in Africa to a Tier 1 ranking, a testament to the nation's unwavering commitment to combatting human trafficking," said the ambassador.

The Trafficking in Persons Report is an annual report issued since 2001 by the US State Department's Office to monitor and combat trafficking in persons. It ranks governments based on their perceived efforts to acknowledge and combat human trafficking.

Tier 1 consists of countries whose governments fully comply with the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA's) minimum standards. Tier 2 features countries whose governments do not fully comply with all of TVPA's minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to comply with those standards.

On Tier 3 are the countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so. 

Jardin explained that over the past year, Seychelles made commendable strides in addressing various concerns highlighted in previous reports.

The 2024 TIP Report for Seychelles highlighted key achievements that include providing comprehensive services and referrals for individuals identified as TIP victims. Other achievements are improving the conditions of shelters and assistance provided to victims, increasing efforts to prevent trafficking and significantly boosting the budget for TIP activities, and implementing formal standard operating procedures (SOPs) to guide officials in the proactive screening of vulnerable populations.

"While fewer convictions were recorded this reporting period, the report noted that law enforcement in Seychelles investigated eight trafficking cases, including two for sex trafficking and five for labour trafficking," said Jardi.

He added that the collaboration with nearby Maldives on these efforts demonstrates a strong regional partnership and commitment to addressing this issue.

The report lists several recommendations for Seychelles in its fight against Trafficking in Persons. These include providing specialised anti-trafficking training to labour inspectors to identify and report potential trafficking crimes to appropriate officials.

Additionally, the TIP Report recommended allocating adequate funding and resources for victim services, including formally establishing and allocating funds to the Trafficking in Persons Fund.

It also recommended expanding the availability of interpretation services, especially for Bengali and Hindi, to law enforcement, courts, and victim service providers and adopting and implementing the draft 2022-2025 National Action Plan, among others.

Tags: Federal Bureau of investigation, US State Department, Trafficking in Persons report


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