A committee of the National Assembly has started scrutinizing the Anti- Human Trafficking amendment bill which if approved by Parliament will result in human traffickers and abductors receiving a jail term of at least 25 year when found guilty by a court of law.
The Committee scrutinizing the bill is the National Security and Foreign Affairs and is chaired by Kaoma Central Member of Parliament Morgan Sitwala.
The amendment bill has defined “trafficking in persons” as the recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring, receiving or obtaining a person, within or across the territorial boundaries of Zambia by means of the threat or use of force.
Other forms of trafficking of humans are by coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.
When the bill is approved by the National Assembly and assented to by the President, it will amend the principal Act of 2008 and lead to the establishment of the Department of the Anti-Human Trafficking and the appointment of a Director in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The proposed amendments state that a person who intentionally engages in trafficking in persons, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than twenty years and not exceeding thirty years.
It also states among other penalties that where a victim is trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, the offender is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for a term of not less than twenty-five years and may be liable to imprisonment for life.
Further, the proposed law says where the trafficking in persons result in the death or grievous bodily harm of a victim, the offender is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for a term of not less than thirty-five years and may be liable to imprisonment for life.
After the committee stage scrutiny where stakeholders are invited, the bill will be referred back to the whole house of Members of Parliament to debate for possible approval and onward submission to the President for assent.