The National, Friday July 19th, 2013
PARLIAMENT yesterday failed to pass new Criminal Code provisions on human smuggling and trafficking.
The bill, tabled by Justice Minister and Attorney-General Kerenga Kua, failed to secure the minimum of 56 votes required to become law.
Only 52 MPs were present in the chamber and leader of government business James Marape was forced to move a motion to rescind voting on the bill until the next sitting in Parliament.
The proposed legislation provides for hefty penalties for human smuggling and trafficking offences.
The proposed penalties are 15 years for people smuggling, 20 years imprisonment involving children under 18 and life imprisonment if death occurs.
The proposed penalty for human trafficking is 20 years imprisonment to be increased to 25 years if it involves a child under 18 years and life imprisonment if death occurs.
Speaking on the new changes, Kua said human smuggling and trafficking were growing concerns throughout the world and the Government had to take a tougher stand on these issues.
“This action is in compliance to and shows the commitment of the government on transnational crimes,” he said.
He added that human smuggling and trafficking also undermined national security and breached immigrations laws and therefore were crimes against the state.
“It must be criminalised and carry hefty penalties as a deterrence to offenders,” he said.