The Parliament of Sierra Leone has last Thursday considerably debated the Anti-Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Act 2021.

The Bill seeks to provide for the continuing in existence of the National Task Force on Human Trafficking, provide for continuing the existence of a secretariat to assist the task force, provide for the prosecution of the offence of human trafficking, provide for the prosecution of the offence of migrant smuggling, to provide for economic alternatives to human trafficking or smuggling of persons and to provide for other related matters.

Presenting the Bill to the House, the Minister of Social Welfare Baindu Dassama-Kamara said the process of drafting the bill started in 2016, and that stackholders from the 14 districts were consulted to contribute to the Bill in other to have a better law that would stand the test of time. She said the Bill was divided into eight-parts and highlighted the numerous benefits when the Bill would have been enacted into law.

Hon. Rose Marie Bangura, Parliamentary Chairperson of Social Welfare Committee commended the Minister for bringing the Bill to Parliament and urged MPs to do due diligence on the document. Hon. Rose Marie has also requested for the Bill to be committed to the Legislative Committee for further deliberations.

Hon. Abdul Karim Kamara said it was sad for Sierra Leoneans to be trafficked outside the country. He said this human trafficking was mainly done by Sierra Leoneans. He highlighted several committees’ reports including the Committee on Labour that have been tabled in Parliament for consideration by the House; adding that these reports were to be debated and recommendations adopted and forwarded to relevant MDAs to take the necessary actions.

Hon. Dr. Mark Mamoud Kalokoh in his submission highlighted the importance of the Bill and called for its timely and urgent passage into law.

Rounding up the debate, the Acting Opposition Leader, Hon. Hassan Sesay said trafficking was a perennial problem and pleaded for its passage and enforcement. He called for lawbreakers be punished in order to deter others from doing the trafficking.

In concluding the debate, the Acting Leader of Government Business, Hon. Bashiru Silikie referred to the Bill as “non-controversial”, and noted that Parliament would do due diligence on the Bill, whilst highlighting the effects of migration relative to human trafficking.