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Frontline testimony: MANUEL Henriques police officer from Mozambique dedicated to tackle human trafficking and protection of children

30 July 2020: 1. Introduction: My name is MANUEL, Henriques, Deputy Inspector of Criminal Investigation, responsible for the Special Area to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Illicit Trafficking in Immigrants and Child Protection, in the General Directorate of the National Criminal Investigation Service in Mozambique. I am a 17-year-old criminal investigator, of which, 5 years to dedicate myself to a subject of human trafficking and protection as children.

In my day-to-day life, my concern is with the dignity of the human person, especially women, young people and children, who are considered different forms of exploitation inside and outside the country.

Nestles the last 5 years of the course with my professional duty, managed to recover 47 recordings, nationally and internationally. He receives a complaint, begins investigations and ends with rescuing victims and arresting suspects. The victims were assisted and integrated into the homes. Directly coordinates and monitors research and monitoring actions, among them, in Mozambique and not abroad. The largest number of young people are male, recruited in the provinces of Inhambane, Gaza and Maputo for labor exploitation in South Africa. Female women and children for sexual exploitation in South Africa, Tanzania and within the country, and children for child exploitation at the national level.

2. Notable moment:

In these 5 years, there have been several moments that have marked my professional life in criminal investigation and assistance to victims of human trafficking. But the highlight goes to two cases, one in Tanzania and the other in South Africa.

2.1. In the first case, a 16-year-old victim, recruited in Cabo Delgado and transported to Tanzania where she was subjected to sexual exploitation and forced labor. Thanks to the Tanzanian authorities who informed me that there was a Mozambican victim on the trafficking trail in Tanzania. I coordinated all activities in Mozambique and with the Tanzania Anti-Trafficking Committee. I coordinated with the Police, the Attorney General’s Office, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Action, which located the victim’s family; Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, INTERPOL, High Commissioner of the United Republic of Tanzania in Mozambique, with a view to the rescue of the victim, his repatriation and subsequent family integration. This was all possible. I went to Tanzania, picked up the victim and proceeded with his family reintegration. We managed to arrest the trafficker, she was accused ofthe crime of trafficking in persons for sexual and labor exploitation and will be tried and convicted for her actions, soon.

2.2. In the second case, the victim was recruited in Maputo and transported to Pretoria, South Africa, where she was subjected to sexual exploitation. Internally I coordinated the investigative actions. We worked closely with INTERPOL to articulate with the South African authorities. We were able to monitor and coordinate actions with Shelter, where the victim was taken in after the escape from captivity; the Consulate of Mozambique in Johannesburg and the International Organization for Migration, which culminated in the rescue of the victim, repatriation to Mozambique, family integration and social and medical assistance.

3. Challenging moment:

The challenging moment of my journey in assisting victims was when I discovered that a victim was pregnant as a result of sexual exploitation in South Africa and because the victim’s family does not have adequate conditions to assist the child. The heaviest is the authors have not yet been found. This case does not let me catch the dream. But I believe that we will win and take the perpetrators to court. The victim already has a baby and obviously needs a lot of help.

4. In general:

From my experience in the investigation of human trafficking and assistance to victims, I learned that human trafficking corresponds to the slavery of modern times. It is a heinous and little idiopathic crime subordinated to the logic of organized crime associated with a range of illicit acts. It calls into question the constitutional cornerstone – the dignity of the human person, the inviolability of the physical and moral integrity of the victims. It transposes geographical, social, cultural and religious barriers. It is a very violent crime particularly for the victims. The human being is seen as merely a reusable and always profitable “consumer good”.

I learned that cooperation between the various actors is essential to prevent and suppress the crime of trafficking in persons, protection and assistance to victims. I noted that cooperation for it to be fruitful must come from concerted action between various actors and be carried out at all levels, both nationally and internationally: Cooperation between States, police and judicial forces, victim support institutions, international governmental and non-governmental organizations. -governmental, private sector and media, covering the three main pillars in the fight against trafficking: Trafficking Prevention, Protection of Victims and Conviction of Traffickers.

Assisting victims and fighting human trafficking is a must for all of us!

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Henriques Manuel

Head of the Specialized Area of Combat to Trafficking in Persons, Illicit Trafficking in Migrants and Child Protection

Mozambique Criminal National Investigation Service

+ 258 820221360

+ 258 84 9277972