8 December 2013, Male’; The President Yameen Abdul Gayoom has yesterday signed into law the first-ever legislation prohibiting human trafficking in the country. The new landmark legislation makes trafficking in persons a criminal offence in the Maldives. The law is also the first piece of legislation to be enacted by President Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
Commenting on the enactment, Minister of Foreign Affairs H E Ms. Dunya Maumoon said, “this enactment demonstrates the political will of this Administration to combat human trafficking in the Maldives. It is a historic piece of legislation that goes to the core of protecting and safeguarding human dignity and the Maldives is proud to be amongst those country’s that now prohibits trafficking de jure. This is indeed a big step forward in consolidating the national human rights framework and symbolizes the principles on which President Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s Government stands on”, ended the Minister.
The law criminalizes forced labour and fraudulent recruitment as acts of human trafficking. The legislation also focuses on the plight of victims of trafficking and stipulates measures to ensure their protection and reintegration. It also stipulates harsher punishments for perpetrators of trafficking offence.
The issue of trafficking in persons is a grave concern for the Government of Maldives, given its domestic and international commitments. In this regard, it had forged a strong partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and bilateral partners such as the Governments of Australia and the United States and has worked towards strengthening local measures against trafficking. The Government hopes to operationalize all regulations that fall under the law at the earliest.