IOM and Botswana Ministry of Justice Launch Awareness-Raising Campaign to Combat Human Trafficking in Botswana

Gaborone, Botswana - The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Botswana, announce the official launch Countering in persons project on 17 October 2023. The primary objective of the project is to strengthen efforts to address trafficking in persons in Botswana by strengthening policies and legislation to ensure the protection of trafficking survivors and reduce the risk of human trafficking and exploitation, in line with international standards and best practices, as well as ensuring that Government stakeholders and the public are able to detect and refer potential Victims of Trafficking, in line with elements of the National Anti-Trafficking Action Plan. The 24 months project is funded by IOM Development Fund. The past week, IOM and Ministry of Justices launched first set of awareness raising campaign aimed at combating human trafficking in Selebi Phikwe, Bobonong and Francistown.

Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice Botswana Ms. Thobo Letlhage speaking at the Anti Human Trafficking awareness for law enforcement officers in Francistown says human trafficking is a complex crime which needs a multi sectoral approach. In December 2023. Minister of Justice Honourable Shamkhani tabled before Parliament a bill to enhance the Anti Human Trafficking Act of 2014 amendments. Parliament agreed and in January this year on the 12th His Excellency the President of Botswana Dr Mokgweetsi Masis assented the Bill and on the 12th of February this year again the Minister commenced the Act. Last year there were five cases of trafficking in persons reported by the Botswana Police services, 3 Trafficking for sexual exploitation, 1 trafficking for labor exploitation and 1 unspecified. Currently, between January and April 2024, the Botswana Police services inform us that they are dealing with six cases of Trafficking in persons involving  14 individuals of which two are Batswana".

The awareness-raising campaigns seeks to educate communities, raise awareness, and promote collaboration to effectively address this pressing issue in Botswana. By engaging diverse stakeholders such as village development committees, faith-based organizations, NGOs, town councillors and general public, the campaign aims to create a network of informed and empowered individuals committed to combating human trafficking and protecting vulnerable populations.

Ms Masedi MOSA-SEBELE the National Programme Officer IOM Botswana, alluded that Francistown and Selebi Phikwe areas are  considered hotspots for trafficking in persons in country hence the importance to provide awareness raising in these areas. She reinforces the need to bring different stakeholders in one room to discuss ways to combat Trafficking in Persons, bearing in mind that SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) region is said to be an origin, transit, and destination of human trafficking, Botswana inclusive.

Activities under the campaign include tailored awareness campaigns in priority areas such as Selebi Phikwe, Bobonong, and Francistown. These campaigns will involve a range of participants and target audiences, including the public, village leaders, faith-based organizations, NGOs, and government officials. Participants will receive information on identifying trafficking incidents, reporting suspicious activities, and implementing prevention strategies to combat human trafficking effectively.

One of the participants, Ms Bianaca Ramatebele " I have learnt a lot today as I have been clueless about risks associated to travelling and relocating to other countries. What I thought was that a recruiter can just connect me to the potential employer, and I travel for job opportunity to the UK. I did not research to ask more probing questions. Recently I have been in communication with one recruiter in Gaborone, some on the alarms I noted was the request to make payments oof money amounting BWP 10 000, even prior to my departure, worst case this could be Trafficking. I appreciated the awareness we received today "

Furthermore, the campaign will include sensitization sessions on the recently passed Anti-Human Trafficking Amendment Act and the dissemination of the National Anti-Trafficking Action Plan (NAP) for the period 2023-2028. These activities aim to raise awareness among relevant authorities and key stakeholders, highlight key provisions of the legislation, and foster collaboration to combat human trafficking in Botswana.

The campaign team consists of key stakeholders, including the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, NGO Council Officer, IOM Project Manager, Project Support Assistants, Communication Officers, and Drivers. Together, they will oversee the strategic implementation of the campaign, mobilize resources, provide victim support, and coordinate awareness activities to combat human trafficking effectively.

The awareness-raising campaigns will also be conducted in other areas and regions in Botswana, to mention but a few, Kasane, Shakawe, and Masungo (these are alos considered hot spot areas for Trafficking in Persons). In Gaborone, be on the lookout for a national Countering Trafficking in Person symposium, which will cover a larger spectrum of audiences, including development partners, academia, students, private labour, and trade unions NGOs, FBOs, Law enforcement officials, and Immigration officials 

For more information on the awareness-raising campaign, ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking in Botswana and all IOM project in Botswana, please contact Daphne Madisa,, focal Person Communication.