U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Zimbabwe
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||3 June 2005|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Zimbabwe, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d871c.html [accessed 28 December 2014]|
Zimbabwe (Tier 2 Watch List)
Zimbabwe is a source and transit country for small numbers of women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Women and children were reportedly sexually exploited in towns on the Zimbabwe border with South Africa. There were also reports of Zimbabweans being lured by false job promises to other countries, particularly the United Kingdom, where, upon arrival, they were debt-bonded, had their passports confiscated and movement restricted, and were exploited in sweatshops or brothels. There was also evidence of trafficking of Zimbabwean children into exploitative labor conditions, including children forced to work long hours in Zimbabwe and bordering countries as unpaid domestic or agricultural laborers without access to schooling. There were unconfirmed reports that trafficking victims from other African nations transited Zimbabwe on their way to South Africa.
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. Zimbabwe is placed on the Tier 2 Watch List for a second consecutive year reflecting the need for additional progress in its efforts to eliminate trafficking. To further its efforts to combat trafficking, the government should continue taking steps to gather comprehensive trafficking data, including prosecution statistics, and establish additional mechanisms for providing victim services.
The government made modest progress in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the last year. While there is no law specifically criminalizing trafficking in persons, existing codes criminalize transporting people across borders for sex, procuring a person for prostitution, allowing children to frequent brothels, abduction, and forgery of travel documents. The constitution prohibits slavery, servitude, and forced labor. During the year, the Attorney General's office began developing an anti-trafficking education and training program for prosecutors and judges to equip them to better utilize existing law to address trafficking-related issues in prosecutions. Statistics were unavailable on the prosecution of trafficking-related cases; however, the government actively investigated false employment scams that led to trafficking, a crime syndicate producing fake passports, and multiple cases of Asian girls transported to Zimbabwe and exploited for pornography. In November 2004, the government co-hosted a regional working meeting on trafficking in persons in Harare that focused on regional cooperation between law enforcement and NGOs to conduct investigations and identify and provide care for victims. The government is also collaborating with international organizations and the governments of neighboring countries to develop a regional plan of action that will focus on assessing the scope of the problem and formulating anti-trafficking legislation.
The government made modest progress in protecting trafficking victims during the reporting period. The Ministry of Public Service, Social Welfare, and Labor began construction of a transit center at the border town of Beitbridge to assist deportees from South Africa in returning to their homes, including temporary shelter and counseling for those who are victims of sexual exploitation. Victims of sexual abuse and exploitation have the option to have their cases heard in the Victim Friendly Courts, which were created in 1997 to accommodate children and victims of sexual offenses.
The government demonstrated a commitment to prevent trafficking during the last year, and officials publicly expressed the government's determination to work on the issue. The state-run media prominently featured articles about trafficking in persons, describing employment scams and other types of trafficking. A national police point of contact was established to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts. The government, though the Ministries of Education, Home Affairs, and Public Service, Labor, and Social Welfare, worked with a children's home to provide schooling and vocational training to orphans at risk of child labor and trafficking in persons. In 2004, the government opened new birth registration centers around the country to make it easier for parents to obtain birth certificates for their children, who are less vulnerable to exploitation because they can then access social services more easily.