JUBA, South Sudan 

South Sudanese law enforcement is handicapped by legal provisions on how to handle crimes of human trafficking, a senior police official said Wednesday.

The only solution can be to reform the relevant laws, said Lieutenant General James Pui Yak, deputy inspector general of Police, telling a press conference that an existing legal gap affected police, prosecutors, judges and labor inspectors.

Speaking on the release of the country’s first report on human trafficking, Yak said: “We must admit, therefore, that crimes of human trafficking and migrants smuggling are not effectively handled due to inadequacy or huge legal gaps in our present legal documents, and lack of capacity in law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, judges and labor inspectors.”

He said the government was examining data and the specific nature of these crimes.

“These challenges can be addressed by reforming the laws about crimes on trafficking in persons and accession to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, training law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and judges so that they can handle the issues professionally,” he said.

Jean-Philippe Chauzy, chief of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) mission in South Sudan, said the report was important for the country and provided key recommendations for the government and partner agencies to work together to address human trafficking.

Chauzy warned that trafficking — along with child abduction and underage labor, among others — was being carried out in the hospitality and entertainment sectors.

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