A first-ever meeting of the top judiciary of Maldives devoted to human trafficking took part in the island country earlier this month, resulting in the issue of a letter and pledge of commitment.
The meeting, which gathered 35 judges from the Supreme Court, High Court, Criminal Court, Juvenile Court and Chief magistrates from the island courts, was co-organised by the Department of Judicial Administration and International Organization for Migration (IOM) to strengthen the justice delivery mechanism in compliance with international standards.
Maldives is a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking, and a source country for women and children. The Prevention of Human Trafficking Act was passed in December 2013 and the Government of Maldives has so far prosecuted one case under the Act, which is waiting judgment. While the government has made progress through its recent initiatives, increased efforts to address human trafficking are required specifically in the areas of prosecution and protection.
Maldives Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed noted that the Maldivian economy is in the midst of an economic transformation with ambitious targets to increase GDP, undertake major infrastructure projects and expand tourism.
“In pursuing the developmental agenda in the context of an increasingly globalized world, the Government of Maldives is fully committed to combat human trafficking and promoting safe and orderly migration,” he said.