Your Royal Highnesses


Cabinet Ministers,

Regional Administrator,

Members of both Houses of Parliament,

Excellencies Members of the Diplomatic Corps

United Nations Resident Coordinator

UNODC Regional Representative

Acting National Commissioner of Royal Eswatini Police Service

Senior Government officials

Non Governmental Organisations represented here

Members of faith based organisations

Distinguished guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my honour, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, to welcome you all to this event where we are commemorating the World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

This is a day when we all commit to fighting a scourge and an injustice that has been appropriately referred to as ‘modern day slavery’ -  a phenomenon that targets the most vulnerable of our society with the lure of jobs and better opportunities but eventually leads to horrifying experiences, inhumane treatment and abuse.

Traffickers know no boundaries and are quite industrious in adapting their strategies and operational patterns to continue with their evil acts of trading with human life and tricking more vulnerable people into their sphere of influence for easy exploitation. This day reminds us of our duty as countries, governments, partners and all stakeholders to keep our citizens safe from these heartless predators and to spread the word that we will not tolerate nor bear with traffickers in our society and across our borders.

And there is no better way to achieve that than to upscale our prevention measures, effectively empower our law enforcement agencies to arrest offenders and facilitate the prosecution of these criminals, ensuring they face the full wrath of the law, while putting in place the right systems to make sure that victims are adequately protected.

In line with this year’s theme “Human Trafficking: call your Government to action,” the government of Eswatini has responded to calls to eliminate this savage act that remains a stain to human dignity through several interventions over the years. These include putting together intervention plans and strategies and successfully prosecuting offenders, among others.

Today we are launching the National Strategic Framework and Action Plan 2019 -2023 following the end of the previous plan in 2015. This is a tool aimed at guiding the various stakeholders on their respective roles and responsibilities in fighting this scourge which will, in turn, demonstrate our concerted efforts to realising the necessary goal of ending this appalling crime. Many lessons were learnt from the previous strategy, one of which was the adoption of multi sectoral consultations which integrated the various yet diverse players such as government, faith based and non-governmental players.

I believe that these consultations have brought all players on board, with all identifying sector specific activities as per the objectives. This will ensure a high implementation rate of the Action Plan. Another key aspect in the new strategic document is the monitoring and evaluation of progress and performance.  All players are therefore expected to deliver as planned.  I have all the confidence in the efficiency of the National Strategic Framework and Action Plan as it will deliver on data driven and well co-ordinated National response. 

May I implore all role players to honour their obligations, take collective responsibility and deliver in accordance with their specific institutional mandates. My gratitude goes to all stakeholders who worked tirelessly to put together this Strategy which will go a long way in ensuring that our Nation meets the requisite targets of stamping out human trafficking.

His Majesty’s Government is also happy to note the conclusion of three criminal cases on human trafficking which saw two convictions of offenders in our courts. This was achieved through improved effectiveness of our law enforcement agencies and enhanced case monitoring systems.

We also appreciate the improved national co-ordination efforts involving various stakeholders which have resulted in the training of Emergency Response Team officials done in collaboration with Save The Children Eswatini, and the implementation of the country’s National Referral Mechanism. I have no doubt that all these interventions have played a role in improving our ranking by the Washington Trafficking in Persons Office from tier 2 Watch list, to tier 2.

While acknowledging Government’s resolute efforts in combating human trafficking, I must hasten to state that there is room for improvement and we need to strengthen all our intervention programmes in order for Government’s actions to be more pronounced and visible.

This includes enhancing the investigation and prosecution pillar through intensified case monitoring, accurate and consistent data capturing and capacity building for law enforcement agencies. Such actions will expedite the prosecution of cases and help protect the rights of victims. There is also a need to increase cooperation with non-state players for the development and dissemination of tools such as the Victim Identification Guidelines and National Referral Mechanism.  

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, may I take this opportunity to pass my gratitude to our international friends and partners for working closely with Government to tackle this scourge. My appreciation goes to the United States of America, United Nations agencies and our local partners such as Save the Children Eswatini.

Government is determined to come up with more intervention programmes which we hope to unveil to the public soon.  These programmes, it is anticipated, will improve victim care and support, and enhance National Co-ordination and Public outreach programmes.

It is now my pleasure, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government to declare the National Strategic Framework and Action Plan to Combat People Trafficking 2019-2023 officially launched.

Thank you. May God bless us all.

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