The Anti-Human Trafficking Advisory Committee (AHTAC) held its first quarterly meeting for this year 2023 in Honiara on 31 March 2023.
The meeting was chaired by Assistant Commissioner (AC) Crime and Intelligence Ms. Patricia Leta of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF).
In the first meeting, members had endorsed the AHTAC Communication Strategy. A communication tool for raising awareness for law enforcement, communities, frontline workers, public servants, and provincial governments to mitigate the risks of vulnerabilities on trafficking in person.
AHTAC members consisted of law enforcement, service providers and international organizations. AHTAC was established under terms of reference since 2012 purposely to lobby and advocate for government and development support for gender related violence, trafficking of women, girls and vulnerable members of the society for the purpose of sexual and labour exploitation.
Deputy Director Immigration Mr. Christopher Akosawa says, “The committee has also endorsed a joint Cabinet paper for government accession to United National Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC). The Cabinet paper was prepared by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration, Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade. The joint Cabinet paper is ready to go before Cabinet for endorsement in the second quarter of 2023.”
Deputy Director Akosawa says, “International Organization for Migration (IOM) also confirmed their support for combating trafficking in Solomon Islands in which they are implementing a number of projects for raising awareness in Malaita, Makira, Guadalcanal, Isabel and Choiseul Provinces. The projects target communities assisting them to understand what is human trafficking and people smuggling including researches into domestic trafficking.”
Director Akosawa says, “The United nation convention has supplementary protocols including; trafficking in person by air and sea, money laundering and proceeds of crimes, and the drugs and arms trafficking.”
“The government has strong commitment despite the delay of expediting the process of allowing; it remained committed to legislating human trafficking and people smuggling including money laundering and proceeds of crimes,” says Mr. Akosawa.
He assured AHTAC members that Immigration is prioritizing Immigration legislative reform addressing the current gaps in the trafficking legislation. The AHTAC national action plan 2020 – 2025 to review the current trafficking in person law incorporated under the Immigration Act 2012 to become a standalone trafficking in person legislation.