March 13, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese parliament expects to receive a draft bill from the cabinet soon containing an anti-human trafficking law, a legislator said today.
- An unidentified girl, former sex slave, looks out in a shelter in this November 30, 2006 file picture. (REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel)
The Vice-Chairman of the parliamentary subcommittee on Legislation and Justice Tahani Tour al-Diba said that the national assembly will likely take up the bill in the next parliamentary session.
She revealed that the law punishes those involved with human trafficking with up to 20 years imprisonment.
Al-Diba made the remarks after meeting the Second Secretary at the U.S. embassy who is in charge of this dossier.
She went on to say that an entire article of the proposed law addresses the issue of cross-border crime.
The Sudanese parliamentarian said she told the US delegation that there are efforts by the presidency, national assembly and the Interior Ministry to control presence of foreigners whom she said are the main cause of human trafficking activities in the country.
She noted that existing national laws contain provisions dealing with human trafficking that are incorporated in penal code, maritime law and Child Law.
The U.S. state department 2012 report on human trafficking identifies Sudan as a "source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking".
"The Government of Sudan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. While the government took some initial steps during the reporting period to acknowledge the existence of trafficking, draft anti-trafficking legislation, prosecute suspected traffickers, demobilize and reintegrate child soldiers, and waive overstay fines for foreign domestic workers, its efforts to combat human trafficking through law enforcement, protection, or prevention measures were undertaken in an ad hoc fashion, rather than as the result of strategic planning" the report said.
The U.S. called on Khartoum to "enact a comprehensive legal regime to define and address human trafficking crimes and harmonize various existing legal statutes; increase efforts to investigate suspected human trafficking cases, increase prosecution of trafficking offenses, and convict and punish trafficking offenders".
Eastern Sudan in particular is believed to be serving as a passage to migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia who seek to reach Europe with the help of human smugglers.