Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Human Trafficking Report 2015 - Seychelles Tier 2

James Michel
Seychelles is a source country for children subjected to sex
trafficking and a destination country for foreign men and women
subjected to labor and sex trafficking, respectively. Seychellois
girls and, according to some sources, boys are induced into
prostitution—particularly on the main island of Mahe—by peers,
family members, and pimps for exploitation in nightclubs, bars, guest
houses, hotels, brothels, private homes, and on the street. Young
drug addicts are also vulnerable to being forced into prostitution.
Foreign tourists, sailors, and migrant workers contribute to the
demand for commercial sex in Seychelles. Eastern European
women have been subjected to forced prostitution in private
homes. Migrant workers—including those from China, Kenya,
Madagascar, and various countries in South Asia—make up
20 percent of the working population in Seychelles and are
primarily employed in the fishing and construction sectors. Migrant
workers are subjected to forced labor in the construction sector.
NGOs report migrant workers face exploitative conditions in fish
processing plants, and fishermen aboard foreign-flagged fishing
vessels in Seychelles’ territorial waters and ports are subjected to
abuses indicative of forced labor, including nonpayment of wages
and physical abuse.
The Government of Seychelles does not fully comply with the
minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however,
it is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting
period, the government adopted anti-trafficking legislation and
began implementation of the 2014-2015 national action plan.
The national anti-trafficking committee, in collaboration with
international donors, began the development of a victim assistance
tool and conducted an extensive national awareness campaign
on trafficking. However, the government did not report any
prosecutions or convictions of trafficking offenders and did not
identify any trafficking victims. The government deports migrant
workers working for state-owned or private companies for
participating in strikes to protest poor employment conditions
without conducting comprehensive investigations and screenings
to identify if the individuals were victims of forced labor.
Use the newly adopted anti-trafficking legislation to investigate and
prosecute trafficking offenses and convict and punish trafficking
offenders; amend the penal code to harmonize the duplicative and
contradictory sections addressing sexual offenses—particularly
those related to the exploitation of children in prostitution—to
ensure the prohibition of and sufficiently stringent punishment for
the prostitution of all persons under 18 years of age and the forced
prostitution of adults; provide specialized training to government
officials—including members of the national committee on human
trafficking, law enforcement officials, social workers, and labor
inspectors—on how to identify victims of trafficking and refer
them to appropriate services; implement the national action plan
to combat human trafficking and dedicate appropriate resources
towards its implementation; provide adequate resources to labor
inspectors to conduct regular and comprehensive inspections of
migrant workers’ work sites and inform the migrant workers of
their employment rights; institute a standardized contract governing
the employment of domestic workers within private homes;
and continue awareness campaigns on trafficking to increase the
understanding of the crime among the local population and the
large number of foreign tourists and migrant workers entering
the country.
The government demonstrated minimal efforts to identify and
protect victims. It did not identify or provide protective services to
any trafficking victims. There are no shelters or protective services
specifically for trafficking victims in the country. The Department
of Social Affairs provided counseling to women in prostitution,
some of whom may have been victims of forced prostitution.
The national anti-trafficking committee began the development
of a victim assistance tool, which will include standard operating
procedures and victim identification and referral mechanisms; the
tool was not finalized at the end of the reporting period. There
were no reports of victims being penalized for unlawful acts
committed as a result of being subjected to trafficking; however,
the lack of formal identification procedures likely resulted in some
victims remaining unidentified in the law enforcement system.
Additionally, migrant workers who strike are considered to be in
breach of their work contracts and can be deported at the will of
their employers. Several migrant workers who gathered to protest
a variety of abuses relating to their employment were deported
during the reporting period; these deportations took place without
conducting comprehensive investigations or screenings to identify
if the individuals were victims of forced labor.
The government increased prevention efforts. The national
anti-trafficking committee served as a coordinating body for
collaboration and communication on trafficking matters; the
committee met regularly during the reporting period, but did not
receive a dedicated budget and relied on ad hoc funding from
various government agencies. As a result, the implementation of
the 2014-2015 national action plan was slow and many activities
remained in early planning stages. The government conducted
a two-month nationwide media campaign to raise awareness
on trafficking; the campaign was funded by an international
organization. As part of this campaign, the Ministry of Home
Affairs and Transport developed a website to educate the general
public on how to identify and report trafficking offenses. The
Ministry of Labor and Human Resource Development employed
11 labor inspectors responsible for conducting inspections of
all workplaces in the country and one labor officer assigned to
inform all migrant workers of their employment rights; government
officials acknowledged this number was inadequate and inspectors
lacked basic resources to perform their duties adequately. Despite
several complaints by migrant workers, primarily in the construction
sector, about poor working conditions, nonpayment of salaries,
and retention of passports, the government has never identified
a case of forced labor in the country. The government made no
discernible efforts to decrease the demand for commercial sex acts
or forced labor during the reporting period. The government did
not provide anti-trafficking training or guidance for its diplomatic


Saturday, 18 July 2015

Gill Wants Tight Control On Businesses On Praslin.....Who is the Communist?

The Seychelles Chamber of Commerce Sub Committee Praslin chaired by Christopher Gill, held a meeting today, with the Fair Trading Commission delegation headed by Mr. Francis Lebon. The meeting was attended by 40 people in total and addressed key issues facing the Praslin economy.

The Fair Trading Commission has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI) to share information on cases concerning abuse, manipulation, and fraud upon the free market system.

The issues discussed focus first on the monopoly practice in place on the Mahe-Praslin ferry route. This route has a price scheme that is unregulated, and route schedule is unregulated as well.
The FTC collected information to further its investigation.

The second area of discussion was the destination management company’s (DMC) control over Praslin under its current business model. Members asserted that this was in fact a monopoly in play with DMC now in the hotel business, excursion business, restaurant, transfer, and even bicycle business. The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) advised that they are aware of the problem and are perusing the matter aggressively given that Praslin has the largest amount of boat excursion charters in all of Seychelles.

The third issue discussed was the trans-shipment of perishables to be dumped on Praslin such as bread. This practice must stop, and the SCCI asked the government to take the necessary steps to cease this practice.

The fourth issue focused on cargo trading. There is 1,000 tons of capacity and only 90 tons of demand per day. Contractors must have their cargo license restricted to their own business, and must not be permitted to ship third-party cargo in order to protect the investments of dry-cargo shippers.
The fifth issue discussed was the cartel on cement sales which many believe involve Investment Promotion Act (IPA) tax-free cement. This is a fraud, and the FTC must take action.
The next meeting will take place in August as the matters discussed are urgent.


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Buy One Passport, Get One Free, Only In Seychelles!

Jenni Evans, News24
2015-07-08 14:29
Johannesburg - In an exciting turn of events Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir took the stand on Wednesday in support of his bail application at the Germiston Magistrate's Court in connection with the murder of Lebanese businessman Sam Issa.
Looking thinner than usual in a classic combination of black leather jacket, crisp white shirt, and blue jeans, the economics graduate spoke clearly and confidently after being sworn in.
Led by his lawyer Annelene Van den Heever, he told the court in slightly accented English that contrary to the correction made on the record earlier, he had only been convicted in absentia in the Czech Republic on three cases, not four, and that two more were either pending or on appeal.

He confirmed that he fled that country because he feared for his life after his father was murdered, allegedly by the government of the time.
He went to the holiday island of Seychelles and then, matters became slightly confusing.
Earlier, Prosecutor Lawrence Gcaba handed up two maroon colour Seychelles passports - one in Krejcir's name, and another in the name of Egbert Savy.
‘The Czech Republic govt tried to kill me’
Krejcir explained that there had been an attempt on his life in Seychelles and explained why he had the second passport.
''That was for the security reason because the Czech Republic government tried to kill me in Seychelles,'' he said.
Due to his health he needed an MRI scan and at that time the island did not have that equipment. So another passport was issued by the Seychelles equivalent of Home Affairs in the name of Savy.
His wife and sons were also issued Seychelles passports.
He strongly denied the State's contention that he should not be released on bail because he may be a threat to the public, and that he had threatened private investigator Paul O'Sullivan.
Confrontation with O’Sullivan
He explained a confrontation the two had in full view of the public and media at the Palm Ridge Magistrate's court.
''Sullivan threatened my wife. My wife told me in my language that he is intimidating her. I said your day is coming, prepare yourself.''
He said that this meant that O'Sullivan would have his day to be in court.
''It means your day is coming to be in court like me, to be proven that you are part of a conspiracy against me and my family.
He had received an interdict two years ago that O'Sullivan must not interfere with his family, but alleged that O'Sullivan had violated this several times.
He claimed O'Sullivan had ''threatened a lot of people around me''.
Threat claim ‘a pure lie’
He said Krejcir's associate the late George Louka had been threatened by O'Sullivan and that former Teazer's co-owner Sean Newman had also been threatened to turn against Krejcir, and that Krejcir's attorney of record, Piet du Plessis's family had also allegedly been threatened by O'Sullivan.
He accused the government of also interfering in his asylum application and it was a ''pure lie'' that he had threatened policeman Colonel Ximba.
Krejcir and Bulgarian Lybohir Grigorov face nine charges, including premeditated murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances, along with their co-accused Mfaniseni Memela, Nkanyiso Mafunda and Siboniso Miya.
Issa was killed in a hail of bullets in Bedfordview in October 2013. According to previous presentations, he owed Krejcir and others R500 000.
The application continues.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Bye Bye Papa!

A senior Etihad Airways executive was named on Thursday as the new CEO of Air Seychelles, in which the Abu Dhabi carrier holds a 40 percent stake.
Air Seychelles announced the appointment of Roy Kinnear, with effect from July 1.
Kinnear joins Air Seychelles from its strategic partner, where he held the position of senior vice president – revenue management and planning, responsible for leading the airline’s revenue management, inventory control, pricing, and revenue forecasting. He replaces Manoj Papa.
In March, Air Seychelles announced a third consecutive year of profitability after recording a net profit of $3.2 million for 2014.

The result exceeded last year’s profit of $3 million and reflects continued improvement in the airline’s key performance indicators, following Etihad Airways’ acquisition of its share in 2012 and the subsequent implementation of a turnaround plan.
Air Seychelles chairman Joël Morgan, also Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport, said: “Roy Kinnear is a highly talented industry executive with the experience and expertise to lead Air Seychelles and maintain the dynamism and momentum of the airline.
“Roy brings new skills for a new phase in the continuous and very successful evolution of Air Seychelles, which now has a strong foundation and a growing reputation that extends well beyond the Indian Ocean, as a leading airline.
“Air Seychelles is focused on extracting maximum value from its modern fleet and its expanding regional and international network, which it will grow strategically with new destinations and trusted codeshare partnerships."
Kinnear added: “I am proud to be given the opportunity to lead Air Seychelles with its demonstrated success and yet significant untapped potential. I look forward to working with leaders across all areas of the business to capture opportunities and drive performance, while continuing to build a supportive team-based culture.
“With a strong and focused team we will be able to tackle and succeed at anything we put our mind to; this is indeed a very exciting time in the evolution of Air Seychelles,” Kinnear said.

What the IMF Said On Air Seychelles

Debate over profits
The IMF mission has highlighted the differences between net income and operating income and the need to be transparent about the results of large public enterprises.
On March 12, Air Seychelles released their key results for 2014, declaring $3.2 million in net profits, however, in a statement issued from corporate communications by email on March 24, the national carrier said that the IMF had pointed out that the company was operating at a loss.
"...the IMF reviewed the airline’s profit and loss, balance sheet, and strategic plan. While the airline’s management detailed to the IMF significant growth in the business and improvement in key indicators, the IMF observed that the airline had declared a profit at a net level, which includes all revenue and costs, but had incurred a loss at an operating level," read the statement. "The IMF expressed that Air Seychelles should also disclose financial results at an operating level, in addition to results at a net level."
"There’s accounting profits, there’s public support and there’s operating results, and we think it’s useful to look at all three of them over time in the context of the strategic plan of each enterprise to come to a judgement about the role of any public support, so that was the general point that we made, and it’s relevant not only to Air Seychelles but to other large public enterprises," explained Mills at the press conference.
Government support to Air Seychelles
According to the Principal Secretary of Finance, Patrick Payet, in 2014, Air Seychelles was allocated a total of $8.5 million from the national supplementary budget to finance the purchase of Twin Otter aircraft for the airline’s domestic inter-island routes.
From the 2015 budget, Payet told SNA that the national carrier was given a capital injection of $5 million to cover its outstanding liabilities and a further $2 million to cover the marketing costs of its nonstop Paris flights, which are expected to commence in July.
Air Seychelles was established in 1977 as Seychelles Airlines and adopted the present title in September 1978. The airline was wholly owned by the Seychelles government until January 2012 when UAE's Etihad Airways bought a 40 percent share of Air Seychelles leaving the Seychelles government with the remaining 60 percent ownership.
At the press conference, Minister Adam said that all the results were included in the audited reports submitted to government by Air Seychelles.


Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Seychelles and Mauritius Tax Havens blacklisted by the EU

Rendue publique le mercredi 17 juin 2015 par la Commission européenne, la liste du top 30 des paradis fiscaux "non coopératifs" - dite "liste Moscovici" - inclus plusieurs îles de l'océan Indien, dont les Maldives et les Seychelles, mais aussi l'île Maurice, où la nouvelle fait grincer des dents.
À l’image de dirigeants d’autres pays – le Liechtenstein, Guernesey ou les Bermudes –, les autorités mauriciennes digèrent mal le fait de figurer sur cette liste noire des paradis fiscaux. Selon Le Monde, Maurice fait ainsi partie des grands centres financiers offshore qui ont "joint les dirigeants de l’OCDE par téléphone (...) pour exprimer leur courroux".
Du côté de l’île sœur, Global Finance Mauritius (GFM) – qui regroupe les institutions et les compagnies engagées dans les services financiers bancaires et non bancaires – estime en effet que "la liste noire des paradis fiscaux publiée par l’Union européenne et qui inclut Maurice est dépassée", rapporte le Mauricien.com ce mardi 23 juin.

C’est que, comme l’écrivait le site d’information au lendemain de la publication de cette liste, "Maurice a essuyé un coup de massue au niveau international". Et d’après le député Reza Uteem, porte-parole économique du parti MMM (Mouvement militant mauricien), cette inscription sur la liste noire européenne "peut avoir des conséquences graves sur le secteur des services financiers".
C’est pourquoi l’île sœur fait partie des pays "furieux de se retrouver fichés sur cette liste noire, alors même qu’ils viennent de s’engager à pratiquer l’échange automatique de données fiscales à l’horizon 2017 ou 2018 – et donc, théoriquement, à faire tomber leur secret bancaire", souligne Le Monde. D’autant qu’aucun paradis fiscal européen "non coopératif" – comme le Luxembourg – ne figure sur cette liste.

Global Finance Mauritius souligne de son côté que "Maurice s’est conformée aux normes de l’OCDE qui comprennent la transparence" et que "Maurice est considérée par l’OCDE comme un centre financier bien réglementé".

Si cette "liste Moscovici" fait autant de remous, c’est qu’elle est sujette à un problème de méthode, puisque la Commission européenne a en fait compilé 18 listes noires existant dans les pays membres, dont certaines n’auraient pas été actualisées depuis plusieurs années, selon Le Monde. Ces listes recensent 85 pays non coopératifs, Bruxelles ayant choisi de retenir ceux qui apparaissent sur au moins dix de ces listes.

Malgré les récriminations des uns et des autres – notamment venues de Maurice –, le commissaire européen Pierre Moscovici estime qu’il s’agit d’une "étape décisive pour pousser les juridictions non coopératives à rectifier le tir et à adopter les normes internationales".

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Seychelles, A safe Haven For Crooks?

eTN alert of caution on World Travel Awards

HALEIWA, HI- After eTurboNews today announced it has canceled its media partnership with the UK-based World Travel Awards with immediate effect, eTN Publisher Juergen Thomas Steinmetz issued the following statement:
"eTurboNews no longer authorizes the use of eTN branding or its logos to be used by World Travel Awards. I think it’s safe to say the award scheme and representation communicated by World Travel Awards is misleading, sometimes untrue, and may be interpreted as plain and simple fraud.”
Unsuspecting tourism boards, hotels, airlines, and attractions may have been victimized by this scheme over many years.

The next award ceremony is scheduled for the Indian Ocean event this weekend at the Kempinski Hotel in the Seychelles. According to the Seychelles Tourism Board and the Ministry of Tourism no public money was spent.

eTN is urging travel industry stakeholders to be careful before investing money to secure awards." Mr. Steinmetz added. "Travel awards, when they are legitimate, should not cost a company or organization money and mandatory marketing fees. At the very least the company issuing such rewards should not misrepresent itself and claim to be the Oscars of the travel industry"
eTN was contacted by World Travel Awards management after this announcement was made. World Travel Award is denying all allegations.