Egypt lawmakers approve human trafficking bill
Egypt lawmakers approve human trafficking bill

The Egyptian Parliament [official website, in Arabic] on Monday voted to enact new legislation [press release, in Arabic] aimed at combating the growing number of human traffickers along its coast. Smugglers and their middlemen will now face prison terms or fines [Reuters report], and the law also penalizes anyone who aides trafficked migrants during their journey. However, the law also provides health, legal and economic assistance to migrants. The bill passed with a two-thirds majority in the legislature. Syrian refugees and other migrants en route to Europe are especially vulnerable [DOJ report] to becoming trafficking victims. Earlier this year, the US government recommended that Egypt increase investigations and prosecutions of human smugglers.

Human trafficking [JURIST op-ed] is one of the most controversial issues affecting the international community. In February UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed [JURIST report] that increased funding and international cooperation are needed to successfully combat human trafficking. With a vote of 14 in favor, the UN Security Council last October introduced [press release] a resolution to allow the EU to inspect and seize vehicles suspected of smuggling migrants. Authorized under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the resolution permits certain nations to board ships in order to prevent human trafficking [JURIST report]. US Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced in 2015 that the Department of Justice will fund [JURIST report] a $44 million grant to fight human trafficking. Last year, Human Rights Watch called on the government of Thailand to authorize a UN-assisted inquiry [JURIST report] into human trafficking in the country. International experts also urged [JURIST report] the Malaysian government to make improvements to its efforts to combat human trafficking that same year.