The government decreased anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. The 2014 Anti-Human Trafficking Act criminalized labor and sex trafficking. The law defined trafficking broadly to include all child labor. The law prescribed penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment or a fine of 500,000 pula ($51,000), which were sufficiently stringent; however, by allowing for a fine in lieu of imprisonment, with regard to sex trafficking, these penalties were not commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Sections 57 of the 2009 Children’s Act criminalized inducing, coercing, or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution, and prescribed penalties of two to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of 50,000 pula ($5,100), penalties which were significantly lower than those prescribed under the 2014 anti-trafficking act.
The government investigated six trafficking cases and launched prosecutions against eight defendants under two sections of the 2014 anti-trafficking act, compared with 12 investigations and 18 prosecutions in the previous reporting period. The government did not convict any traffickers compared with one conviction during the previous reporting period. The Directorate of Public Prosecutions’ (DPP) appeal of a partially suspended sentence for a convicted trafficker initiated in the previous reporting period remained pending. The DPP established specialized anti-trafficking units 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 April 2017, the Ministry of Defense, Justice, and Security (MDJS), in partnership with an international organization, trained magistrates and high court judges on Botswana’s Anti-Human Trafficking Act and appropriate sentencing for offenders. The government provided transportation for law enforcement officers stationed countrywide to participate in the training. The government supported 15 workshops, organized by an international organization and Southern African Development Community (SADC), for front-line responders including child protection and law enforcement officers, district officers, and border officials on victim protection procedures. Additionally, the police service included a section on human trafficking in its curriculum to educate recruits and in its in-service training for officers on the anti-trafficking law, victim identification, and investigation of human trafficking cases.