U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Zimbabwe
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||12 June 2007|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Zimbabwe, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3e423.html [accessed 25 December 2014]|
Zimbabwe (Tier 2)
Zimbabwe is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Rural Zimbabwean children are trafficked into cities for agricultural labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sexual exploitation. Zimbabwean women and children are reportedly trafficked for sexual exploitation in towns along the borders with the four surrounding countries. Young women and girls are also lured to South Africa, People's Republic of China, Egypt, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Zambia with false employment offers that result in involuntary domestic servitude or commercial sexual exploitation. Women and children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia are trafficked through Zimbabwe en route to South Africa. Small numbers of South African girls are trafficked to Zimbabwe for forced domestic labor.
The Government of Zimbabwe does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Over the last year, the government displayed a more vigorous commitment to addressing trafficking in persons issues. To further its efforts to combat trafficking, the government should complete investigations of pending cases and prosecute suspected traffickers; advance comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation; and launch a broad awareness raising campaign that educates all levels of government officials, as well as the general public, on the nature of trafficking and the availability of assistance for victims.
Zimbabwe's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts significantly increased; during the year, the government investigated cases of trafficking and registered its first anti-trafficking conviction. Zimbabwe does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, though existing statutes outlaw forced labor and numerous forms of sexual exploitation. In June, a magistrate's court in Harare convicted a woman under the Criminal Law Act for, under the guise of providing legitimate employment, procuring a minor and forcing her into prostitution; she was sentenced to four years in prison. Nine other separate criminal cases against traffickers are currently being prosecuted in the magistrate's court or are under investigation by police. Zimbabwean police made concerted efforts to halt commercial sexual exploitation throughout the country, arresting both individuals in prostitution and their clients; apprehended minors were not detained, but instead were interviewed by the police's Victim Friendly Unit (VFU) and referred for counseling. In early 2006, Interpol's local office established a Human Trafficking Desk to coordinate Zimbabwe's involvement in international investigations; the government seconded two police officers to staff this desk. During the year, the officers worked on several human trafficking investigations, including an ongoing investigation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malawian police, and IOM to secure the return of a Zimbabwean trafficking victim and investigate the culprits.
Zimbabwe's protection of trafficking victims improved during the reporting period. In contrast to the previous reporting period, there were no reports of government harassment of NGOs working against trafficking last year. Although the government lacked resources to provide protective services, VFU and immigration officials utilized an established process for referring victims to international organizations and NGOs that provide shelter and other services. NGOs reported that, during the year, government officials interviewed and generally referred trafficking victims for counseling and assistance in an expeditious manner. For example, police and the Department of Social Welfare referred two trafficking victims to IOM's reception center for deportees at the Beitbridge border crossing. In 2006, the government identified at least 12 trafficking victims and Zimbabwe's embassy in South Africa referred two additional victims to IOM. The government encourages victims to assist in the prosecution of traffickers and offers foreign victims relief from deportation while they receive victim services and their cases are investigated. South African authorities deported 109,532 Zimbabweans in 2006; the growing number of illegal migrants deported from South Africa and Botswana, combined with a crippling lack of resources, severely impeded the government's ability to effectively identify victims of trafficking among the returnees.
Human trafficking received increasing attention during the year, though efforts remained modest. There is a general lack of understanding about trafficking across government agencies, especially at the local level. However, senior government officials frequently speak out about the dangers of trafficking and illegal migration, and the state-run media printed and aired warnings about false employment scams, prostitution, and exploitative labor conditions. In April 2006, the government established an inter-ministerial taskforce on trafficking, but the taskforce took no concrete action during the year. Zimbabwe has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.