Govt. to seize funds linked to human trafficking in Maldives

Male’, Maldives —The President of Maldives, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has ratified the second amendment to the Maldives Anti-Human Trafficking Act (Act no. 12/2013) which allows the state to seize funds and assets that are linked to human trafficking happening in the Maldives.

The new amendments to the Maldives Anti-Human Trafficking Act was passed by the parliament on Wednesday, 14th April 2021, at the 29th sitting of the first session of the People’s Majlis for this year.

The new amendment to Article 12 of the Act defines actions that constitute as trafficking of a person which stated that transporting a child to the Maldives with the intent of exploiting them, or transporting a child out of the country with the same intent, would be considered trafficking.

Along with this, moving a child within the country and recruiting them to a workforce while under a guardianship would also be considered as an act of trafficking under the new amendments.

Unlike the previous laws related to human trafficking in the Maldives, the amended version states that an individual who orders to traffic a child or has altered the travel documents of a person being trafficked will be identified as a criminal.

The decision to amend this bill comes after Maldives became a part of the agreement, “Countries Against Transitional Organized Crime.” All the countries in this agreement will need to amend their Human Trafficking law in accordance to the protocol presented by the agreement.

The most important amendment brought to this bill is removing instructions from the initial law that states that if an individual is proven guilty for the Human Trafficking act, then the court will decide on a punishment for the individual and that the court must take the financial status of the perpetrator into consideration when setting compensation as a verdict. The new amendment does not have any such instruction.

Additionally, the new amendment states that the perpetrator must compensate for any financial loss and health issues caused to the victim due to Human Trafficking.