Com­bat­ing Hu­man Traf­fick­ing

Southasia - - 13 -

The Mal­dives has been ad­mit­ted to the In­ter­na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Mi­gra­tion (IOM), thereby rais­ing the to­tal num­ber of mem­ber coun­tries to 146 span­ning all global regions. The IOM, es­tab­lished in 1951 as an in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion, sup­ports or­derly man­age­ment, in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion, prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions and hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance among coun­tries ad­dress­ing mi­grant is­sues, with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on coun­tries deal­ing

with refugees and in­ter­nally dis­placed peo­ple.

In 2010, the Mal­dives saw a steep rise in hu­man traf­fick­ing, which be­came the sec­ond largest con­trib­u­tor of for­eign cur­rency to the Mal­dives, stand­ing at US$123 mil­lion. Close to 308 cases of ex­pats leav­ing their spon­sors were re­ported and more than 4000 pass­ports be­long­ing to il­le­gal work­ers were found.

The in­clu­sion of the Mal­dives in a reg­u­la­tory body such as the IOM is ex­pected to pro­vide some se­cu­rity to mi­grant work­ers and im­prove their wel­fare and life­style. The IOM also hosted a work­shop in the Mal­dives ti­tled, ‘In­te­grated Ap­proach to Com­bat­ing Traf­fick­ing in Per­sons,’ which was aimed at train­ing po­lice of­fi­cers to combat hu­man traf­fick­ing. The Mal­dives de­spite be­ing a Small Is­land De­vel­op­ing State at­tracts im­mense tourism and serves as a breed­ing ground for South Asian eco­nomic mi­grants, who cur­rently con­sti­tute one quar­ter of the to­tal pop­u­la­tion.

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