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Tribune issues

Fight against trafficking in persons

Priority over law enforcement and awareness campaigns

mardi 17 juin 2008 | Nivo T. A.
JPEG - 35.7 ko
« Sylvana Rodriguez, political officer in the US Embassy ».

Madagascar has granted a Tier 1 ranking in combating trafficking in persons among Sub-Saharian African countries. Ambassador Mark Lagon, director of the Trafficking in Persons, Bureau at the State Department and James Knight, director of the East African Bureau at the State Department congratulated Madagascar on this Tier ranking, during the digital video conference since Washington, organized in the American Cultural Center, last Thursday. The 2008 Trafficking in Persons Report released by the Department of State was also launched during that conference hosted by U.S. Ambassador Niels Marquardt, many representatives of Malagasy government and organizations contributed in the fight against trafficking in persons in Madagascar.

The Department of State is required by law to submit a Report each year to the U.S. Congress on foreign governments’ efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons. This Report is the eighth annual TIP Report. It is intended to raise global awareness, to highlight efforts of the international community, and to encourage foreign governments to take effective actions to counter all forms of trafficking in persons.

Sylvana Rodriguez, political officer in the US Embassy in Madagascar is willing to answer our questions related to trafficking in persons. Interview.

Madagascar Tribune : What do the tiers of the « Trafficking in Persons Report » mean ?

- Sylvana Rodriguez :
Tier 1 : Countries that fully comply with the act’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
Tier 2 : Countries that do not fully comply with the minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance. Countries on Tier 2 requiring special scrutiny because of a high or significantly increasing number of victims ; failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons ; or an assessment as Tier 2 based on commitments to take action over the next year.
Tier 3 : Countries that neither satisfy the minimum standards nor demonstrate a significant effort to come into compliance. Countries in this tier are subject to potential non-humanitarian and non-trade sanctions.

Could you explain more on what Madagascar has done to achieve « Tier 1 ? »

- First of all, Madagascar adopted a comprehensive anti-trafficking law and significantly increased its law enforcement to combat human trafficking.
Then, it took actions against government officials involved in trafficking. In 2007, the ministry of Labor released a decree listing prohibited forms of child labor and clarifying the application of the labor code to child workers. There was also a strict prosecution of sex tourists in some tourist areas. For example, the prosecution of the Swiss national and the suspension of the District Chief in Nosy Be for selling fake identity cards to minors, as well as the president of the Tribunal.

What is the United States Embassy doing to combat trafficking in persons in Madagascar ?

- The U.S. Government has taken significant actions to combat trafficking around the world. Since 2003, the US Embassy contributes in funding the International Labor Organisation-International Program for the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO/IPEC) in its projects related to prevention of child labor in Madagascar. In 2006, the embassy allocated US$ 800.000 to international and national organizations such us UNICEF, CRS (Catholic Relief Services) who are in charge of programs against trafficking in persons.

Recently, the US Embassy launched an invitation to tender for organizations intended to carry out projects on prevention of trafficking in persons, protection of victims and prosecution of human traffickers. Priority is given to the fight against child labor. An amount of US$ 4 million will be allocated to this program.

What should be the urgent actions for Madagascar ?

- « There is much to be done. Madagascar should continue its anti-trafficking efforts. The urgent actions should be the implementation of database on the state of human traficking in Madagascar. The empowerment of armed forces, including policemen and gendarmes in investigating and prosecuting instances of trafficking is also very important. In the region level, there should be an action related to law enforcement training and assistance to victims of trafficking ».

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-  Youth’s Column

This column is dedicated to young people, every Tuesday. Feel free to share us any success story, suggestion or interesting ideas or thoughts on specific subjects. You can also send us your jokes. You can mail us on andrianarynt yahoo.fr.

Faratiana Rakotoarisoa is the first who is launching this “ Youth’s Column ”.

“ Hi ! I’m Fara and I’m an active promoter of the English language here in Madagascar. I have lived in the United States for 16 years and English is my native language. I also speak Malagasy, but you will hear the American accent in my pronunciation of some Malagasy words, for example « trondro » sounds like « tsonjo » !

After coming from the United States and spending eight years here, I have noticed that the English language has become extremely popular. To aid in the promotion of English language, I am one of the founders and leaders of the I.C.E. Club and I am on the coordinating team of the EXCELL Association. I want to share my experience from the EXCELL Association with you.

Last year, I attended Camp EXCELL, which is an American Summer Camp held in Madagascar. I can say that it was really an interesting 10 days in Majunga. The camp’s focus was on Excellence in English Language and Leadership, hence the name of the association - EXCELL. I benefited most from the lessons on leadership, but I also had a great time sharing my English skills with other campers. Since all the camp’s activities were in English, it was a guaranteed way for English learners to improve their rapidity in English communication.

Now I am on the coordinating team of the EXCELL Association and I am helping to organize this year’s Camp EXCELL because I believe that it is an experience every English learner should profit from.

Today’s leaders need to speak English and it’s quite impossible to travel to the USA to learn English. So the USA has come to spend 10 days with us, by means of Camp EXCELL ! If you are interested in Camp EXCELL or would like to have more information about it, you can email excellcamp yahoo.fr.
I hope you are convinced that Camp EXCELL is a unique opportunity that you shouldn’t miss ! Stay tuned to this English page for more Camp EXCELL success stories ! ”

Cheers !
Fara

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