The government increased anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. The 2014 Anti-Human Trafficking Act criminalizes all forms of trafficking, essentially tracking international law and making it a crime to use force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of exploitation. The 2014 Act defines “exploitation” broadly to include not only forced labor and prostitution, but also forced or child marriage and child labor. The Act prescribes penalties for sex and labor trafficking of up to 25 years imprisonment or a fine of 500,000 pula ($46,852), which are sufficiently stringent; however, allowing for a fine in lieu of imprisonment for sex trafficking is not commensurate with the penalties for other serious crime, such as rape. Similarly, provisions of the Children’s Act criminalize various forms of child trafficking, subject to fines or imprisonment of both. Sections 57 of the 2009 Children’s Act makes it a crime to induce, coerce or encourage a child to engage in prostitution, subject to two to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of 50,000 pula ($4,685). Section 114 of the Children’s Act makes it a crime to abduct or sell any child or to use any child to beg, subject to a fine of between 30,000 ($2,811) and 50,000 pula ($4,685), imprisonment of five to 15 years, or both.
The government investigated 12 trafficking cases and prosecuted 18 defendants under the 2014 Act, compared with five investigations and seven prosecutions in the previous reporting period. The government secured its first ever trafficking conviction, which was under the Anti-Human Trafficking Act. The High Court sentenced the trafficker, a South African woman, to 18-months imprisonment, nine of which were suspended. The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) appealed the sentence to seek a more stringent penalty; the appeal was pending at the close of the reporting period. The DPP established a specialized anti-trafficking unit and appointed two trained focal points, one law enforcement officer and one prosecutor, to monitor the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of officials complicit in human trafficking offenses.
In June 2016, the Ministry of Defense, Justice, and Security (MDJS) and a consortium of international organizations and donors hosted a course for trainers of criminal justice practitioners and law enforcement on employing a victim-centered approach in investigations and prosecutions. The government provided transportation for law enforcement officers stationed countrywide to participate in the training. In December 2016, the DPP conducted a one-day workshop on the Anti-Human Trafficking Act for judges of the Industrial Court responsible for labor disputes, Additionally, the police service included in its curriculum a section on human trafficking to educate recruits on the anti-trafficking law, victim identification, and investigation of human trafficking cases. The government requested mutual legal assistance and completed joint investigations with Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Kenya on trafficking cases.