Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed has called for a concerted effort from law enforcement agencies, government authorities, civil society and international organisations to combat human trafficking in the region.

Speaking at the Dissemination Meeting on the Regional Study and the Maldives Country Study on the SAARC Convention on Trafficking, Vice President highlighted the extent to which human trafficking, especially trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation, were spread in the world.

He said while the problem is global, the worst forms of trafficking were found in Asia where millions of people are exploited each year.

“Trafficking on this level cannot escape the attention of local and national law enforcement authorities”, he added.

Recalling the findings of the study, Vice President expressed concern that “human trafficking could become a growing problem in our country”.

The study jointly conducted by International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) mentions the Maldives as both a source country and a destination country.

The Vice President also highlighted the recommendations made in the report to the Maldives to combat trafficking.

The report recommends that the Maldives enact comprehensive anti-trafficking legislations and make provisions for repatriation of victims.

Speaking in this regard, Dr Waheed said the government was working on many fronts to combat the issue, and the Maldives already had the mechanism in place for smooth repatriation of those who are victims of trafficking.

Dr Waheed further lauded today’s meeting as the beginning of a new, more vigorous effort to put in place not only the system but also the legislation and the governmental machinery to combat trafficking.

Today’s meeting, jointly organized by Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, Department of Immigration and Emigration, IOM and ADB was held at the conference hall of Nalahiya Hotel, this morning.