Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 13:11 GMT

2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Zambia

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 19 June 2012
Cite as United States Department of State, 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Zambia, 19 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fe30c82c.html [accessed 20 April 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.

ZAMBIA (Tier 2)

Zambia is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Most trafficking occurred within the country's borders and involved women and children from rural areas exploited in cities in domestic servitude or other types of forced labor in the agriculture, textile, and construction sectors, as well as in small businesses such as bakeries; there are also reports of Chinese, Indian, and Lebanese nationals in forced labor in textile factories and bakeries. Zambian boys and girls are recruited into prostitution by women who formerly engaged in prostitution. Children are also brought from villages and made to serve as guides for groups of blind beggars. While orphans and street children are the most vulnerable, children of affluent village families are also vulnerable to trafficking, because sending children to the city for work is perceived to confer status. Zambian trafficking victims have been identified in South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Namibia; Zambian boys are taken to Zimbabwe for prostitution.

To a lesser extent, Zambia is a destination for migrants from Malawi and Mozambique who are forced into labor or prostitution after arriving in Zambia. The transnational labor trafficking of Indians and Bangladeshis through Zambia for use in construction continued, and was linked to criminal groups based largely in South Africa. Congolese children and Somali nationals are also smuggled through Zambia; some may become victims of trafficking after reaching South Africa. An increasing number of Chinese and Indian men recruited to work in Chinese- or Indian-owned mines in Zambia's Copperbelt Province are reportedly kept in conditions of forced labor by mining companies.

The Government of Zambia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the year, the government completed upgrades to one shelter and more than quadrupled the national anti-trafficking budget from the equivalent $3 million to $13 million. It prosecuted four suspected trafficking offenders and conducted training for officials in both Zambia and neighboring countries. The government, however, did not dedicate adequate law enforcement attention to internal trafficking, including forced labor in the mining sector, child prostitution, or domestic servitude. Although government-provided protection for victims remained weak, officials identified 120 potential trafficking victims and provided services to 68 of them through its continued partnerships with international organizations and NGOs. Shelter space remained insufficient, and the government held victims in jail alongside traffickers for extended periods. The government has yet to develop and implement systematic procedures for the identification of trafficking victims and their referral to care; in some cases, when unable to locate a trafficking offender, the government deported potential victims.

Recommendations for Zambia: Implement the 2008 anti-trafficking act by ensuring the use of a broad definition of human trafficking that does not rely on evidence of movement, but rather focuses on exploitation, consistent with the 2000 UN TIP Protocol; amend the trafficking law so that force, fraud, or coercion are not required for cases involving children under the age of 18 to be considered sex trafficking crimes; staff and convene the National Committee, as required by the 2008 anti-trafficking act; investigate and prosecute internal trafficking cases, including companies and individuals who use forced labor in the mining sector; continue to train police, immigration officials, prosecutors, and judges on investigating and prosecuting trafficking crimes; differentiate the process of victim identification from the prosecution of cases, delinking the identification and protection of trafficking victims from the successful prosecution of a trafficker; develop bilateral agreements for cooperation with additional governments in the region, including the DRC and South Africa; formalize and implement victim identification and referral procedures; screen children accused of crimes for evidence of coercion by traffickers; continue to improve government services for trafficking victims through the establishment of additional shelters; increase the number of labor inspectors; institute a unified system for compiling information on human trafficking cases and trends for use by all stakeholders; and continue to conduct public awareness campaigns.

Prosecution

The Government of Zambia maintained strong anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period through the prosecution of four trafficking offenders and the first-ever allocation of trafficking-specific funding to law enforcement entities. It did not, however, convict any trafficking offenders. Although the Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2008 criminalizes human trafficking, it requires the use of threat, force, intimidation, or other forms of coercion for a child to be considered a sex trafficking victim. The Act prescribes penalties ranging from 20 years' to life imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The government increased its anti-trafficking budget from the equivalent of $3 million to $13 million, which included the first-ever allocation of trafficking-specific funding to the Zambia Police Service's Victims Support Unit (VSU). In 2011, the VSU revised its intake forms to include trafficking as a reportable offense.

In 2011, the government investigated several potential trafficking cases and prosecuted four suspected offenders; one led to an acquittal, and three prosecutions remained ongoing at the close of the reporting period. After Zambia Immigration intercepted their illegal transport of foreign nationals in fall 2011, authorities charged two alleged offenders with attempted trafficking; these two cases remain pending trial. The government failed to dedicate adequate attention to internal trafficking cases, including child prostitution, domestic servitude, and forced labor in the mining sector. Authorities reported investigating only one case of internal trafficking, in which they charged a suspect under the 2008 anti-trafficking act with forcing a 14-year-old Zambian girl to perform domestic labor; although the suspect was released from prison, the investigation is ongoing. Although the government expressed interest in addressing well-documented problems of forced labor in the mining sector, and the Minister of Mines threatened to revoke the license of a Chinese-run coal mine over poor safety standards, the government did not take tangible steps to address specific instances of reported forced labor in the sector.

Building on a foreign donor-funded train-the-trainer program, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) officials led two trainings for 50 law enforcement officials in Northern and Copperbelt Provinces. Specific anti-trafficking training is included in all law enforcement courses at the police training academy, covering the 2008 anti-trafficking act, investigation techniques, identification of victims, and protection of victims and witnesses. The government increased its partnerships in the region by concluding anti-trafficking cooperation memoranda of understanding with Angola and Namibia in March 2012. In summer 2011, Zambian immigration officers traveled to Malawi to train immigration officers on human trafficking.

Protection

The government increased its capacity to provide victim protection during the reporting period through the completion of upgrades to one shelter. It continued, however, to rely on international organizations and local NGOs to provide the majority of victim care, without affording any direct financial assistance to such entities. Zambia Immigration Service and the VSU identified a total of 70 potential victims and referred 18 to IOM or a local NGO for care. The Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (MCDMCH) referred 50 children in prostitution to an NGO for care. The government continued to increase the availability of shelter options for victims; during the reporting period, it identified four shelters in need of repair and completed such upgrades to one shelter in Luapula Province, which will have a capacity to provide care for 40 victims.

Given a continued shortage of adequate shelter, the government jailed trafficking victims alongside their traffickers for months at a time. The government provided some direct services, including medical care and counseling, to an unknown number of trafficking victims through both the government-run University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka and NGO-run community response centers, which are staffed by VSU officials. While existing NGO shelters offered limited accommodation for women and children, no services were available for men. Additionally, efforts to identify and refer victims remained ad hoc. The MCDMCH and the MHA collaborated with the UN Joint Program on Human Trafficking on a three-day workshop in Eastern and Western Provinces in January 2012 to provide training on local implementation of an anti-trafficking action plan and development of an effective outreach strategy.

The government offered legal alternatives to the removal of victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution; during the reporting period, Zambian Immigration provided temporary residency and a travel document to one Rwandan victim of sex trafficking identified by UNHCR and assisted by IOM. The MCDMCH drew on existing social assistance programs to repatriate at least one Zambian and one foreign victim during the year. Without proper procedures for the identification of victims and adequate shelter space, the government arrested, jailed, and penalized victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, including children accused of crimes; for example, when authorities were unable to locate the trafficking offenders in trafficking cases under investigation, victims were routinely deported without receiving victim services. Officials encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers; during the reporting period, the government provided sign-language interpretation and other assistance to three speech- and hearing-impaired Zambians to facilitate their testimony in court.

Prevention

The Zambian government maintained its efforts to prevent trafficking during the reporting period. In 2011, the government continued implementation of its 2011-2012 National Action Plan and drafted a 2012-2015 plan in March 2012. The government's efforts are coordinated through the National Secretariat; the National Committee, a higher-level policy-making body, remains under formation, awaiting one final appointment. The six members of the Secretariat met monthly and held meetings on specific cases as necessary. The government continued strong partnerships with IOM, the ILO, and UNICEF through the UN Joint Program on Human Trafficking, enabling targeted prevention activities during the year, including the "Break the Chain of Human Trafficking" campaign that brought trafficking awareness to urban centers and rural areas in 2011 and early 2012. In January 2011, the government passed Statutory Instrument 3 establishing minimum wages and conditions of employment for domestic workers and granting labor inspectors access to inspect informal establishments, including private homes, to detect exploitation; there is no evidence the government began implementation of the instrument during the year. As part of the implementation of the National Action Plan, the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting, and Labor (MIBL) trained 50 labor officers on the 2008 anti-trafficking act, the labor act, and the 2011-2012 national action plan and partnered with the ILO to train an additional 154 staff during the year. In November 2011, the MIBL also trained recruitment agencies on trafficking; currently, the MIBL is investigating allegations of fraudulent recruitment for employment. Nonetheless, effective action to combat labor trafficking was hampered by an inadequate number of labor inspectors; while the government claims that 81 inspectors are necessary to carry out an adequate inspection schedule across Zambia, the MIBL currently employs only 13. The MIBL launched 10 district-level Labor Networks in November and December 2011, and appointed a Labor Network Coordinator to oversee these efforts; the networks, comprised of labor, immigration, police, and social welfare officers, will prevent and track cases of labor trafficking. The government did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts during the reporting period. The Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defense provided anti-trafficking training to Zambian troops prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions.

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