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Immigration on high Alert against human trafficking

By William Madouk Garang

The Directorate of Civil Registry, Nationality, Passport and Immigration is on high alert against the influx of human trafficking cases after four suspected victims of human trafficking were caught at the Juba International Airport.

The Directorate raise alarms on rampant human trafficking cases across the East African Region and advice the public to be vigilant and report any suspected case to the concerned authority.

“Immigration is very serious and wants to cooperate with foreign embassies and foreign nationals who are the country. This is not a South Sudanese’s problem, it’s also a regional problem it’s a problem of Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya,” Colonel James Mapuor Acuoth, Director of Information and Public Relation at the Directorate said.

In an interview with Juba Monitor, Mr. Mapuor claimed that four Eritrean nationals alleged to be victims of human smuggling cases were detained and undergoing investigation.

He said that they suspected human traffickers to be behind the case adding that though no traffickers were arrested they would not leave any stone unturned to bring culprits to book.

“This is an alarm, like recently maybe four days ago people turn up especially Eritrean citizens they turn up in Juba International Airport without proper documents,” Mapuor warned.

“They were four [victims of trafficking] and when they were asked how did they come to Juba without proper documents, they [victims] said some people put them in the aeroplane and we [they] find ourselves here in Juba,” he added.

He added that recently Director General of Immigration Atem Marol held a meeting with his Kenyan counterparts and International Organization for Immigration and human trafficking was the topic of concern for the East Africa region.

“Last year, we have recorded one case between Uganda and South Sudan [whereby] two sisters were trafficked from Uganda to South Sudan so the police intervened and they were later on reunited with their families in Uganda and there are many cases we are following right now,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the Spokesperson of the South Sudan National Police Service, Maj-Gen Daniel Justine confirmed the case and added that forces were deployed in hotspot border areas to tackle trafficking.

“We are now carrying out the patrolling in the areas [where trafficking is] because you see our border is not big but it is very bad, so you can’t put soldiers all over the border so, we know the areas and routes traffickers are using and our forces are on the ground,”

Gen. Justine added that the task force was being travelled to areas such as Eastern Equatoria, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Rumbek to do some awareness in regard to human trafficking.

“Because our people when traffickers or victims come, our areas we use to welcome them thinking that these are our guests, they are just on a journey to where they want to go, so we create awareness to our community to report any suspicious,” he added.

Human traffickers are said to have continued to exploit both locals and foreign victims in South Sudan, women and girls particularly those from rural areas or who are internally displaced are among the vulnerable to servitude.

According to the Department of State, the government of South Sudan has not made a significant effort to address trafficking persons and has no proper documented impact.

A report published by the US department in July 2020, revealed government does not fully meet minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so.

The report added that due to dire humanitarian situations and resources traffickers lure victims with fraudulent offers of employment in hotels and restaurants.

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