Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 November 2014, 15:45 GMT

2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Mozambique

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 27 June 2011
Cite as United States Department of State, 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Mozambique, 27 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e12ee5cc.html [accessed 27 November 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 laborers 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 forced domestic service and the sex trade. Young Mozambican men and boys are subjected to conditions of forced labor in South African farms and mines, where they often labor for months without pay and under coercive conditions before being turned over to police for deportation as illegal migrants. Mozambican adults are subjected to forced labor and forced prostitution in Portugal. Women and girls from Zimbabwe and Malawi who voluntarily migrate to Mozambique are subsequently subjected to sex trafficking or domestic servitude. In early 2010, police discovered a network trafficking 30 to 40 African, Asian, and Eastern European women and girls each month through Mozambique to South Africa; Chinese women trafficked as part of this ring arrived in Mozambique on container ships and were later sold for $1,000. 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. The government prosecuted and convicted trafficking offenders for the first time under its 2008 anti-trafficking law. The government reported the arrests of 21 suspected trafficking offenders and 32 others on kidnapping and possible trafficking charges. The government increased prevention efforts, placing billboards in high-visibility locations, distributing 8,000 posters, and training local officials about legal remedies provided under the anti-trafficking law in the provinces of Sofala and Nampula. Despite these efforts, the government made minimal efforts to address official complicity in human trafficking and protect trafficking victims.

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; make greater efforts to prosecute, convict, and punish trafficking offenders, particularly those perpetrating forced labor and forced prostitution offenses; develop a formal system to proactively identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations and a mechanism to refer victims to care; continue to build the capacity of the police anti-trafficking unit and victim support 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; develop a national action plan to coordinate government 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. Enacted in 2008, the Law on Preventing and Combating the Traffic in People prohibits recruiting or facilitating the exploitation of a person for purposes of prostitution, forced labor, slavery, involuntary debt servitude, or the removal of body parts. Article 10 prescribes penalties of 16 to 20 years' imprisonment, penalties which are sufficiently stringent and exceed those for other serious crimes, such as rape. In 2010, the Provincial Court of Manica convicted six offenders in three separate cases under the anti-trafficking law for the attempted sale of three children into forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation. In one case, the court convicted and sentenced a trafficking offender to eight years' imprisonment for purchasing a child with the intent of subjecting the child to forced labor; the court also convicted the child's father and sentenced him to six years' imprisonment for selling his 7-year-old daughter in December 2009. In another case, the court sentenced three offenders to four, eight, and 12 years' imprisonment, respectively, for selling a foreign child into commercial sexual exploitation in May 2010. Another case involved the attempted labor trafficking of an elementary school-aged boy for which his trafficker was sentenced to two years' imprisonment.

The Criminal Investigative Police (PIC), a seven-member unit specialized in handling trafficking cases nationwide, reported the arrest of 21 alleged trafficking offenders and 32 others on kidnapping and possible trafficking charges; all of these cases have been sent to the Attorney General for trial. In 2010, the anti-trafficking brigade in Maputo, established in 2008 under the National Police, became operational, collaborating closely with the PIC in the arrest of suspected traffickers.

The government continued partnerships with NGOs to provide anti-trafficking seminars for new police officers throughout the country. Mozambique's Center for Judicial Training in Matola included a session on trafficking in all its provided trainings; during the reporting period the government provided 95 judges with such training. During the reporting period, there were reported cases of government officials facilitating trafficking and trafficking-related crimes. Traffickers commonly bribed law enforcement officials to allow their movement of trafficking victims internally and across national borders into South Africa and Swaziland, sometimes without passports. In February 2011, two policemen were arrested and investigated for allegedly accepting bribes and facilitating the movement of illegal migrants, some of whom were likely victims of human trafficking. The government did not report additional efforts to investigate, prosecute, convict, or sentence officials complicit in trafficking crimes.

Protection

The Mozambican government continued to show little progress in its efforts to protect victims. Implementing regulations for the non-criminal portions of the anti-trafficking law have not yet been issued, hindering the application of its protection and prevention provisions. Recognizing these gaps, the Minister of Justice in October 2010 tasked the Office for Technical Legal Reform to issue the necessary regulations. The government provided no funding to NGOs or international organizations assisting in 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. The government continued to lack formalized procedures for identifying potential victims of trafficking and referring them to organizations providing protective services. Women and Children's Victim Assistance Units (GAMCs), established by the National Police, continued to operate in police stations throughout the country and provided temporary shelter for and worked with regional social workers to counsel an unknown number of trafficking victims; during the reporting period, the National Police established 27 new units, with a total of 231 now in existence. Additionally, the Ministry of Interior, in collaboration with UNODC and the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Organization, established a "train the trainer" program, placing 20 trainers across the country who will train GAMC staff on victim identification and referral to NGO services; this training has increased authorities' understanding of the scope of human trafficking, including the potential for men to be victims of trafficking. The Ministry for Women and Social Action (MMAS) provided reintegration assistance to three Mozambican trafficking victims who were repatriated from South Africa. The government encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers. However, the government continued to deport foreign trafficking victims without screening them for possible victimization, and the lack of formal identification procedures impaired the government's ability to ensure that all trafficking victims were not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. 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.

Prevention

The government demonstrated increased trafficking prevention efforts during the reporting period. There is no single national coordinating body and no national action plan to guide the government's anti-trafficking efforts. In May 2010, the GAMC, funded by IOM and the National Police, placed anti-trafficking billboards in high visibility locations such as Ressano Garcia and around Maputo's downtown bus terminal, both departure points for travelers bound for South Africa. In December 2010, in partnership with NGOs, the GAMC designed and published brochures warning against the dangers of trafficking for distribution in schools.

In January 2011, in Quelimane (Zambezia Province), the GAMC director launched a modest campaign to increase public awareness by distributing 8,000 anti-trafficking posters to schools and community leaders, to direct presentations on trafficking. In November 2010, the Women's Caucus of the national legislature led a team of parliamentarians to the provinces of Sofala and Nampula to conduct training for local officials and to raise awareness about legal remedies provided under anti-trafficking, spousal protection, and family laws. Also in November, MMAS held its second annual National Conference on Women and Gender, which featured a session on trafficking. In July 2010, the Provincial Court of Zambezia convicted two offenders under the anti-trafficking law and sentenced them each to 20 years' imprisonment, a fine of $13,200, and payment of court costs for the transport and kidnapping of a young boy whose eyes and genitals were later removed for use in a ritual practice in Malawi. Inspectors with the Ministry of Labor took little initiative to prevent or combat child labor and were unable to monitor child labor in outlying areas. Additionally, there were no mechanisms in place for making complaints regarding forced child labor. The Ministry of Tourism, in May 2010, co-hosted an international conference with an NGO on the dangers of child sex tourism; following this conference, several hotels and restaurants adopted a code of conduct on prevention of child sex tourism. The government did not take any significant measures to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts during the year.

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