Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Mozambique
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||4 June 2008|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Mozambique, 4 June 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/484f9a2e37.html [accessed 6 March 2015]|
MOZAMBIQUE (Tier 2 Watch List)
Mozambique is a source and, to a much lesser extent, a destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. The use of forced and bonded child laborers is a common practice in Mozambique's rural areas, often with the complicity of family members. Women and girls are trafficked from rural to urban areas of Mozambique, as well as to South Africa, for domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation in brothels; young men and boys are trafficked to South Africa for farm work and mining. Trafficked Mozambicans often labor for months in South Africa without pay before employers have them arrested and deported as illegal immigrants. Traffickers are typically part of small networks of Mozambican or South African citizens; however, involvement of larger Chinese and Nigerian syndicates has been reported. Small numbers of Mozambican children and adults are reportedly trafficked to Zambia for agricultural labor. Zimbabwean women and girls are trafficked to Mozambique for sexual exploitation and domestic servitude.
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. Mozambique is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for the second consecutive year for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons over the last year.
Recommendations for Mozambique: Vigorously investigate and prosecute suspected traffickers; enact the recently passed anti-trafficking legislation; launch a nationwide public awareness campaign; and investigate and prosecute public officials suspected of accepting bribes to overlook trafficking crimes or free traffickers.
The Government of Mozambique passed comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation at the end of the reporting period, and concrete law enforcement efforts increased modestly. In August 2007, the Council of Ministers approved and forwarded to the National Assembly for debate and passage a comprehensive law against human trafficking containing specific provisions on prosecution, protection, and prevention. The law was unanimously passed in April 2008, though its penalties will undergo further technical revision by the Ministry of Justice to increase the punishment for traffickers from eight to 12 years' imprisonment to 16 to 20 years' imprisonment. Before passage of this law, the government applied at least 13 relevant penal code articles to prosecute trafficking cases.
While the government conducted investigations into cases of human trafficking, there were no prosecutions or convictions of traffickers during the reporting period. Mozambican police reported breaking up trafficking schemes and arresting several transporters and facilitators; the traffickers behind the operations were never apprehended. For example, in November 2007, a labor inspector found approximately 100 workers – who had been fraudulently recruited with promises of good working conditions – subjected to conditions of forced labor by a local flower company. The Labor Inspectorate suspended the company's operations, but did not file criminal charges against the company. In January 2008, police in Manica Province stopped a truck carrying 39 children from several northern provinces bound for Maputo, ostensibly to enroll in Islamic schools. Police arrested the driver and an accompanying adult and opened an investigation into the incident. While a parallel investigation by the Attorney General's Office concluded that the children were traveling with parental consent, none of Maputo's Islamic schools had received applications for the enrollment of the children, leading police and NGOs to classify the incident as human trafficking. In March 2008, South African authorities apprehended a Mozambican female alleged to have trafficked Mozambican girls to Pretoria for forced prostitution; the Mozambican government immediately dispatched investigators from the Attorney General's office and the Criminal Investigative Police to South Africa to assist in the investigation and discuss possible extradition. Many lower-ranking police and border control agents are believed to accept bribes from traffickers, severely hindering Mozambique's prosecution efforts. In November 2007, the government extended coverage of a one-day trafficking seminar for new police officers in the country's central provinces to include the northern provinces. Training began in Nampula and, in January, commenced in Cabo Delgado and Niassa provinces.
The government's efforts to protect victims of trafficking continued to suffer from limited resources and a lack of political commitment; government officials regularly relied on NGOs to provide shelter, food, counseling, and rehabilitation for victims of trafficking. Moreover, the government continues to lack formalized procedures for identifying potential victims and transferring them to NGOs with the capacity to provide care. In December 2007, the Ministry of Interior expanded from 151 to 155 the number of police stations with an office dedicated to women and children victimized by violence, including cases of trafficking; these offices registered complaints and filed reports of trafficking crimes before informally referring victims to NGOs for care. Between January and October 2007, the offices received 89 kidnapping cases; their director believes a majority of these cases involved human trafficking, but were recorded as kidnapping due to a lack of trafficking-specific legislation. In 2007, the Ministry of Labor transported more than 40 abused workers back to their provinces after they were found in slave-like conditions in the capital. In addition, police, with assistance from an international NGO, arranged for 39 rescued children to be flown back to their home areas. In March 2008, police rescued children from their traffickers and transported, with the assistance of the Ministry of Social Welfare, them to their home province. The government encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers, and did not penalize victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked. The government does not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they would face hardship or retribution.
The government's prevention efforts remained weak; it has yet to launch a nationwide campaign to foster public awareness of human trafficking among government officials and private citizens. As result, most Mozambicans, including many law enforcement officials, reportedly still do not have a clear understanding of what constitutes trafficking. During the year, law enforcement officials publicized several trafficking cases and government-owned media outlets covered such stories. In the weeks following the March 2008 arrest of a Mozambican trafficker in South Africa, the press ran almost daily articles on updates to the case, the need for passage of the anti-trafficking law, and at least four newly discovered cases of trafficked Mozambican children. In June 2007, the Moamba District government partnered with an NGO to jointly host a series of anti-child trafficking-themed events in Ressano Garcia, including a march through the town, theater presentations, and speeches, to celebrate the Day of the African Child.