Trafficking in Persons Interim Assessment - Lesotho
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||24 February 2010|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Interim Assessment - Lesotho, 24 February 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b8e7a73c.html [accessed 21 August 2014]|
[From the introductory text accompanying this report on the U.S. Department of State website: "In most cases, the Interim Assessment is intended to serve as a tool by which to gauge the anti-trafficking progress of countries that may be in danger of slipping a tier in the upcoming June 2010 TIP Report and to give them guidance on how to avoid a Tier 3 ranking. It is a tightly focused progress report, assessing the concrete actions a government has taken to address the key deficiencies highlighted in the June 2009 TIP Report. The Interim Assessment covers actions undertaken between the beginning of May – the cutoff for data covered in the June TIP Report – and November. Readers are requested to refer to the annual TIP Report for an analysis of large-scale efforts and a description of the trafficking problem in each particular country or territory."]
The Government of Lesotho has made progress in combating trafficking in persons since the release of the 2009 TIP Report. Although the government has neither identified any trafficking victims nor prosecuted any trafficking offenders, it has taken steps to understand the trafficking situation within its borders and begun to develop a coordinated official response. In September 2009, the government established the Multi-Sectoral Anti-Human Trafficking Committee, comprised of relevant government agencies. The Committee is considering expanding membership to NGOs and other interested organizations. Its plan of action for its first year includes the drafting of comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, conducting targeted public awareness campaigns, and holding regional consultative workshops. Sufficient funding, however, has not been made available to the committee by the government. The Lesotho Mounted Police Service independently applied for and secured funding from a foreign government for materials and officer training in trafficker and victim identification. In early December 2009, the Government of Lesotho and the Government of South Africa announced their new anti-trafficking cooperative relationship, through which their respective security agencies have joined forces to bring human traffickers to justice. The countries' law enforcement agencies have been holding meetings in towns along their shared border to sensitize the public to the dangers of trafficking.
Although earlier in the year the subject of trafficking was absent from the press, local newspapers have begun to regularly report on the government's nascent anti-trafficking plans and activities. Awareness among government officials, law enforcement, and social service providers of the ways in which they may encounter trafficking during the course of their duties is also increasing. As the general awareness of trafficking grows, however, more victims are likely to be identified; the government has no laws or procedures in place to protect victims and few facilities equipped to provide them with basic care services.