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Panel for combating human trafficking has no bank account yet

Panel for combating human trafficking has no bank account yet

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Dec 11, 2017 - 15:22

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Officials of the High Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons claim making headway in arresting individuals involved in human smuggling.

But the officials have been unable to create a bank account for the panel so far. The commission was formed in 2011 under the chairmanship of the justice minister.

The panel was set up in close coordination with the ministries of interior, foreign, hajjinfo-icon, public heal, information, refugee and womeninfo-icon affairs.

The Supreme Court, the Afghanistaninfo-icon Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), National Directorate of Security (NDSinfo-icon), Attorney General Office (AGO) and civil societyinfo-icon organisations are part of the body.

Technical committees and provincial wings of the commission also been formed and made functional. The 16-member panel is led by the justice minister.

Interior Ministry’s senior secretary on security affairs, deputy investigation officer at AGO, Supreme Court, AIHRC and civil society representatives, secretaries of the ministries concerned, deputy director of NDS and heads of the Union of Legal Experts and Defence Lawyers Union are members of the commission.

The commission has held 23 meetings since its inception at leadership level. Some sessions had been conducted to review different issues, including achievements in terms of combating human trafficking.

Objective

The High Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons was set up to review the factors motives behind the kidnappings and how to prevent them. Defining punishment for human and migrant traffickers and forging cooperation at the international level in the fight against human trafficking are the main goals of the commission. 

Activities

According to the commission’s work on joining the protocol on human trafficking, migrant trafficking on land, sea and air, creation of the national human trafficking strategy 2016-2018 and the plan for implementation of priorities and public awareness programmes are listed as main objectives of the body.

Achievements

Mohammad Hassan Saleemi, secretary of the high commission, said 1,268 alleged human traffickers had been arrested since 2015. Their cases have been referred to the judiciary.

He said in 2016, 568 cases of human trafficking, 278 incidents of kidnapping and 1,966 of hostage-taking were reviewed by the NDS and Interior Ministry. Of them, 408 cases have been sent to the AGO.

At least 245 of the accused, including women, have been tried on human trafficking charges, according to Saleemi, who recalled 376 networks of human traffickers were unearthed in 2016.

He said 720 youth had been barred from fleeing to foreign countries. The findings of the Interior Ministry show that most human trafficking incidents took place in Herat and Nimroz provinces.

After amending the law of trafficking and migrants trafficking the for Combating Trafficking in Persons was enabled to create a bank account to collect revenue and expenditures of the commission but Bank account has yet to be created.

Secretary of the commission acknowledged that so far they were unable to create a bank account for the commission.

He termed the creation of bank account a necessity and said: “In line with the new law the Finance Ministry should create a special bank account so that the commission would task a special committee to look after the expenses and spent the revenue to support the victims of trafficking.”

“It is not too late a formal letter was being sent to the Finance Ministry,” he added.

Panel for combating human trafficking has no bank account yet

KABUL (Pajhwok): Officials of the High Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons claim making headway in arresting individuals involved in human smuggling.

But the officials have been unable to create a bank account for the panel so far. The commission was formed in 2011 under the chairmanship of the justice minister.

The panel was set up in close coordination with the ministries of interior, foreign, hajj, public heal, information, refugee and women affairs.

The Supreme Court, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), National Directorate of Security (NDS), Attorney General Office (AGO) and civil society organisations are part of the body.

Technical committees and provincial wings of the commission also been formed and made functional. The 16-member panel is led by the justice minister.

Interior Ministry’s senior secretary on security affairs, deputy investigation officer at AGO, Supreme Court, AIHRC and civil society representatives, secretaries of the ministries concerned, deputy director of NDS and heads of the Union of Legal Experts and Defence Lawyers Union are members of the commission.

The commission has held 23 meetings since its inception at leadership level. Some sessions had been conducted to review different issues, including achievements in terms of combating human trafficking.

Objective

The High Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons was set up to review the factors motives behind the kidnappings and how to prevent them. Defining punishment for human and migrant traffickers and forging cooperation at the international level in the fight against human trafficking are the main goals of the commission. 

Activities

According to the commission’s work on joining the protocol on human trafficking, migrant trafficking on land, sea and air, creation of the national human trafficking strategy 2016-2018 and the plan for implementation of priorities and public awareness programmes are listed as main objectives of the body.

Achievements

Mohammad Hassan Saleemi, secretary of the high commission, said 1,268 alleged human traffickers had been arrested since 2015. Their cases have been referred to the judiciary.

He said in 2016, 568 cases of human trafficking, 278 incidents of kidnapping and 1,966 of hostage-taking were reviewed by the NDS and Interior Ministry. Of them, 408 cases have been sent to the AGO.

At least 245 of the accused, including women, have been tried on human trafficking charges, according to Saleemi, who recalled 376 networks of human traffickers were unearthed in 2016.

He said 720 youth had been barred from fleeing to foreign countries. The findings of the Interior Ministry show that most human trafficking incidents took place in Herat and Nimroz provinces.

After amending the law of trafficking and migrants trafficking the for Combating Trafficking in Persons was enabled to create a bank account to collect revenue and expenditures of the commission but Bank account has yet to be created.

Secretary of the commission acknowledged that so far they were unable to create a bank account for the commission.

He termed the creation of bank account a necessity and said: “In line with the new law the Finance Ministry should create a special bank account so that the commission would task a special committee to look after the expenses and spent the revenue to support the victims of trafficking.”

“It is not too late a formal letter was being sent to the Finance Ministry,” he added.

“The commission members have organised several meetings on amending the law on trafficking in persons, awareness about consequences of the practice and coordination in preventing the crime. A technical committee that was recently created seeks to enhance the commission’s performance,” he said.

The Ministry of Finance also did not provide necessary information about why a bank account for the commission has not been opened yet. It said any office needing to open a bank account should approach the ministry and then Da Afghanistan Bank met the request.

Deputy Minister of Finance Mohammad Aqa Kohistani told Pajhwok Afghan News the ministry, if approached formally, would process the request for opening the panel’s bank account.

Under Article 28 of the law on trafficking in persons, the Ministry of Finance is responsible for opening a bank account for the revenue collected from human traffickers.

Helping the victims

The commission’s secretary said 29 support centres had been opened for the protection of human trafficking victims, including women and children, across the country.

The centres belonged to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and some non-governmental organisations. The victims, after being rescued from traffickers, are housed in these centres for some time. They are later handed over to their families.

But those affected by mental healthinfo-icon problems underwent medical treatment at the centres before they were handed over to their families once, the official explained.

No protection for male victims

Salimi said they were faced with a shortage of support centres for male victims of human trafficking. Men were currently protected for a limited period of time, the official added.

The commission has asked the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to open a centre for the protection of male victims of human trafficking.

While responding to a question about lack of support centers for men victims, Maryam Zarmati, procurement manager at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, and member of the High Commission of Trafficking in Persons, said that women and children were more subject to trafficking in persons and that was the reason they had no support centers for men.

Considering to traditions, people believe that men can receive support of the society by one or another way, but children and women could be easily affected therefore they need support centers, she said.

Zarmati said that currently they had no plan for providing a support center for men victims due to their limited financial resources.

Factors behind trafficking

The commission’s secretary said the bad economic and political situation, violations of social and cultural etiquettes, forced marriage, aloofness from parents or lack of company and increasing population were reasons for trafficking in persons. He said a national survey was underway to find accurate information about the main factors.

On the other hand, experts say there are many factors contributing to trafficking in persons. The two main factors are prolonged war and poverty in Afghanistan.

mds/nh/mud

 

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