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2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Mozambique

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 19 June 2012
Cite as United States Department of State, 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Mozambique, 19 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fe30ca9c.html [accessed 24 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

MOZAMBIQUE (Tier 2)

Mozambique is a source, transit, and, to a lesser extent, destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The use of forced child labor is common in agriculture, including on tobacco farms, and in commercial activities in rural areas of the country, often with the complicity of family members. Women and girls from rural areas, lured to cities in Mozambique or South Africa with promises of employment or education, are exploited in domestic servitude and the sex trade. Young Mozambican men and boys are subjected to forced labor on farms and in mines in South Africa, where they often labor for months without pay and under coercive conditions before being turned over to police for deportation as illegal migrants. Some Mozambican adults are subjected to forced labor and forced prostitution in Portugal. Some women and girls from Zimbabwe and Malawi who voluntarily migrate to Mozambique are subsequently subjected to sex trafficking or domestic servitude. Mozambican or South African trafficking networks are typically informal; larger Chinese and Nigerian trafficking syndicates are reportedly also active in Mozambique. In addition, South Asian alien smugglers who move undocumented South Asian migrants throughout Africa reportedly also transport trafficking victims through Mozambique. Recent reports indicate that South Asian citizens and companies in Mozambique pay the initial travel costs of illegal Bangladeshi and Pakistani migrants, whom they later maintain in bonded labor.

The Government of Mozambique does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In 2011, the government continued to increase its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, including more than doubling its number of trafficking prosecutions – totaling 11 new cases – and achieving seven convictions, some with significant prison sentences, under the 2008 anti-trafficking act; this data was reported as part of a new effort to track trafficking case data by province. The government instituted a new two-week course at its law enforcement training center for new officers. Despite these advances, the government made minimal efforts to protect trafficking victims, raise public awareness, and prevent the use of forced child labor.

Recommendations for Mozambique: Take concrete steps to finalize and issue necessary regulations to implement the protection and prevention provisions of the 2008 anti-trafficking law; develop a formal system to proactively identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations and refer victims to care; continue to build the capacity of the police anti-trafficking unit, the labor inspectorate, and the Women and Children's Victim Assistance Units to investigate trafficking cases and provide short-term protection to victims; continue training for law enforcement officers in victim identification, particularly at border points; finalize the national action plan to coordinate the government's efforts, with resources allocated to its implementation; and investigate reports of official complicity in human trafficking and vigorously prosecute, where appropriate, those implicated in trafficking offenses.

Prosecution

The government demonstrated significant progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. The Law on Preventing and Combating the Trafficking of People, enacted in 2008, prohibits recruiting or facilitating the exploitation of a person for purposes of prostitution, forced labor, slavery, or involuntary debt servitude. Article 10 prescribes penalties of 16 to 20 years' imprisonment for violations, penalties which are sufficiently stringent and exceed those for other serious crimes, such as rape. In 2011, the government compiled data on its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts for the first time. It reported seven investigations carried over from 2010, 15 new investigations, 11 prosecutions, six convictions, one acquittal, and 16 ongoing investigations carried into 2012, although it did not provide details on the facts in these cases. The court in Manica province convicted and sentenced two trafficking offenders to two years' imprisonment for the attempted trafficking of a child; further details regarding this case are unknown. In addition, at least one convicted trafficking offender in Sofala province received a sentence of eight years' imprisonment, while a conviction in Gaza province resulted in a sentence of 10 years' imprisonment. The remaining three cases that resulted in convictions carried sentences of less than two years' imprisonment. Police investigative techniques, training, capacity, and forensic abilities are known to be very weak, particularly outside of the capital. Local experts report that these shortcomings led to the acquittal of three alleged offenders in Manica province.

The Interior Ministry's investigative police maintained a seven-member unit that specialized in addressing violence against women and children nationwide, including handling trafficking cases, although the government did not report on the unit's specific anti-trafficking efforts in the last year. In late November and early December 2011, the government instituted a two-week anti-trafficking course at the police training center for all newly recruited police officers, border guards, customs and immigration agents, and rapid intervention police (riot police). The course, taken by 1,500 recruits in 2011, provided instruction on recognizing trafficking cases, protecting victims, the rights of children, domestic abuse, and child custody law. Separately, 120 customs, immigration, and border police agents received NGO-funded training on identifying trafficking cases.

During the reporting period, there were reported cases of government officials facilitating trafficking and trafficking-related crimes. Trafficking offenders commonly bribed law enforcement officials to allow them to move trafficking victims within the country and across national borders into South Africa and Swaziland, sometimes without passports. In January 2012, police in Beira announced the arrest of two Sofala Provincial Civil Identification Services officials for illegally providing Mozambican identity cards to four foreign citizens. Sources also reported an ongoing investigation at the Ressano Garcia border post, attempting to root out official corruption and possible complicity in illegal acts, which may or may not include trafficking.

Protection

The Government of Mozambique demonstrated little progress in its efforts to protect victims. The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) began drafting regulations for the non-criminal portions of the anti-trafficking law that would address assistance to victims. In parallel to this effort, in March 2012, the parliament approved a draft law on the protection of victims and witnesses of all crimes, including trafficking victims and those who cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases. The government provided very limited funding to NGOs or international organizations undertaking anti-trafficking work in Mozambique. Government officials continued to rely on NGOs to provide shelter, counseling, food, and rehabilitation to victims. An NGO managed the country's only permanent shelter for child trafficking victims, while the Ministry for Women and Social Action funded the staff's salaries and the district of Moamba provided the land for the shelter. The government lacked formalized procedures for identifying potential victims of trafficking and referring them to organizations providing protective services. The Interior Ministry's Women and Children's Victim Assistance Unit continued to operate facilities in over 200 police stations throughout the country that provided temporary shelter for an unknown number of trafficking victims and referred victims to NGOs offering services. In 2011, the Institute for Judicial Support, a government body that provides legal advice to the impoverished, began to offer legal assistance to abused women and children, including an unknown number of trafficking victims. The government offered very limited reintegration assistance to repatriated trafficking victims. The government encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenders. The government did not provide temporary residency status or legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they might face hardship or retribution and it continued to deport foreign trafficking victims without screening them for possible victimization. Although NGO contacts reported no instances of trafficking victims having been detained, fined, or jailed for unlawful acts committed as a result of having been trafficked, the lack of formal identification procedures impaired the government's ability to ensure that no trafficking victims received such penalties.

Prevention

The Government of Mozambique demonstrated decreased trafficking prevention efforts during the reporting period and lacks a single national body to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts across ministries. A national action plan to combat human trafficking exists as a subsection of the government's current five-year anti-crime plan, and the MOJ began drafting an independent plan specific to trafficking. The Ministry of Labor employed labor inspectors, but they were too few in number, lacked resources such as transportation, and had generally not received adequate training regarding human trafficking. Consequently, the government did not adequately monitor for child trafficking and labor violations, especially on farms in rural areas, and judges frequently dismissed cases because inspectors did not properly prepare evidence. The number of public awareness campaigns decreased from the previous year, when the government was more active in distributing information on human trafficking to students, outgoing travelers, community leaders, and businesses. The government did not make an effort to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts during the year. In July and August 2011, the Caucus of Women Parliamentarians led delegations of public officials and civil society leaders to the cities of Quelimane and Nampula to conduct two days of training for local officials and to raise awareness among the public of the legal remedies provided by anti-trafficking, spousal protection, and family laws.

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