Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 - Zambia

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 14 June 2010
Cite as United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 - Zambia, 14 June 2010, available at: [accessed 27 May 2016]
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 forced prostitution. Most trafficking occurred within the country's borders and primarily involved women and children from rural areas exploited in cities in involuntary domestic servitude or other types of forced labor. Zambian trafficking victims have also been identified in South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Namibia. While orphans and street children are the most vulnerable, a government report shows that children of more affluent village families are also vulnerable to trafficking, as sending children to the city is perceived as a status symbol. Some child domestic workers receive adequate room and board, but others are starved, beaten, deprived of sleep, and/or overworked to the point of exhaustion, practices indicative of forced labor. To a lesser extent, Zambia is a destination for migrants from Malawi and Mozambique who are exploited in forced labor or forced prostitution. An increasing number of Chinese and Indian men recruited to work in Chinese or Indian-owned mines in Zambia's Copperbelt region are reportedly exploited by the mining companies in forced labor. After work hours, some Chinese miners are confined to guarded compounds surrounded by high concrete walls topped by electrified barbed wire. Zambia's geographic location, numerous porous borders, and immigration enforcement challenges make it a nexus for trafficking from the Great Lakes Region to South Africa. Increasing numbers of South Asian victims are trafficked through Zambia to South Africa. Officials believe transnational trafficking through Zambia is becoming increasingly organized and linked to criminal groups based largely in South Africa. Traffickers often supply victims with fake documents, and the same travel document is sometimes used for multiple individuals.

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 reporting period, the government increased and improved law enforcement efforts against trafficking offenders. It also took greater steps to raise public awareness of trafficking and address demand for sex and labor trafficking. Services available for victims, however, remain inadequate, and victim assistance facilities, which the government is required by law to construct, have not been started.

Recommendations for Zambia: Continue to train police, immigration officials, prosecutors, and judges on effectively investigating and prosecuting trafficking crimes; formalize and implement victim identification and referral procedures; improve government services for human trafficking victims as provided for in the new law; increase officials' awareness of the specific provisions of the new anti-trafficking law, particularly among labor officials; and investigate and prosecute mining company personnel who operate their mines using forced labor.


The Government of Zambia's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts increased over the past year. Zambia's comprehensive Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2008 criminalizes all forms of trafficking. The law prescribes penalties that range from 25 years' to life imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Two Zambian men successfully prosecuted under the new act in 2009 for selling their children to Tanzanian traffickers are being held in prison pending High Court sentencing. There are currently nine new trafficking prosecutions pending. Immigration and police officials note that transnational trafficking offenders are often convicted for immigration violations due to lack of sufficient evidence to prosecute under anti-trafficking legislation. Such was the situation in the well-publicized case of a Namibian immigration official accused of trafficking Zambian children for labor. Prosecutors were generally able to prove the transportation of a victim and sometimes were able to prove the recruitment of victims, but often lacked adequate evidence to prove an intent to exploit a victim through force, fraud, or coercion upon the victims' arrival at the final destination. Parliament considered but has not yet passed draft amendments to the immigration law that include anti-trafficking provisions. In partnership with IOM, the government distributed simplified copies of the anti-trafficking law to border posts. The first class of 120 police officers with specific anti-trafficking training graduated in late 2009 from a police training college. NGOs trained 240 police, police prosecutors, local court justices, and magistrates in the skills necessary for investigating and prosecuting child trafficking cases. There is no evidence that the government tolerates official complicity in trafficking crimes. A working-level official was charged under the Immigration Act with facilitating the illegal entry of a prohibited immigrant, reportedly due to lack of evidence to support conviction under the anti-trafficking act. The Zambian Police Victims' Support Unit (VSU) forged a partnership with an NGO to revise its data collection practices on trafficking to improve monitoring and reporting.


The government showed some progress in its efforts to protect trafficking victims over the reporting period. The government did not develop or implement systematic procedures for the identification of trafficking victims, nor did it demonstrate use of a formal mechanism for referring victims to NGOs for protective services. It has not yet funded projects mandated by its anti-trafficking law, such as establishing shelters for victims of trafficking. During the reporting period, officials informally referred 33 victims to IOM, which provided case management and referrals to secure shelters with some psychological counseling, medical treatment, and assistance dealing with the police. Some also offered brief training in income-generating activities such as sewing or handicrafts. Of the 33 Somali, Congolese, Rwandan, Zimbabwean, and Zambian victims referred to IOM by government officials, 25 were under 18 years of age. The new law provides legal alternatives to the removal of victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution, though the government did not report how many victims, if any, benefitted from these legal alternatives in the last year. Due to limited secure shelter space, foreign victims willing to return to their home countries were sometimes housed in detention facilities before repatriation. The Zambian government did not penalize victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. Officials encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers; currently victims are working with authorities in two open cases. In another case, however, the victims reportedly disappeared from a temporary shelter before the case could be concluded.


The Zambian government maintained its efforts to prevent trafficking. In October 2009, the Cabinet approved a national Plan of Action, and established an inter-ministerial anti-trafficking secretariat. Pending approval of a national communication strategy, the government continued to work with NGOs on public awareness projects like IOM's "Break the Chain of Human Trafficking" campaign. Campaigns targeted potential trafficking victims and those who might drive the demand for trafficking. The government supported partners' programs with high-level participation at events and conferences, arranging speakers, and issuing public statements. The VSU regularly featured trafficking on its weekly "Police and You" radio program. To combat internal trafficking, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services and UNICEF harnessed the influence of traditional leaders through outreach to 50 tribal chiefs and their assistants. The military did not provide anti-trafficking training to troops participating in peacekeeping missions. There were no reports of Zambian peacekeepers exploiting trafficking victims.

Search Refworld