Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2018, 07:53 GMT

Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Special Cases - Swaziland

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 - Special Cases - Swaziland, 4 June 2008, available at: [accessed 24 January 2018]
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.

The existence of a significant human trafficking problem in Swaziland is suspected but unsubstantiated by adequate, reliable reporting. Government officials lack understanding of what constitutes trafficking in persons, but have publicly acknowledged that it occurs within the country, though the extent of the problem is unknown. To combat trafficking, the government should consider launching a public awareness campaign to educate the Swazi population on the nature and dangers of human trafficking, investigating well-known "hot spots" of child prostitution for situations of trafficking, and enacting appropriate laws to prohibit all forms of human trafficking.

Scope and Magnitude. Swaziland is a source, transit, and likely a destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation, but the existence of a significant number of trafficking victims is unconfirmed. Anecdotal evidence indicates that Swazi girls, particularly orphans, are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation and domestic servitude in the cities of Mbabane and Manzini, as well as to South Africa and Mozambique for the same purposes. Swazi boys may be trafficked for forced labor in commercial agriculture and market vending. Some Swazi women are forced into prostitution in South Africa and possibly Mozambique after migrating to these countries in search of work. Small numbers of Mozambican women may be trafficked to Swaziland for sexual exploitation, and perhaps transit through the country en route to South Africa. Mozambican boys migrate to Swaziland to obtain jobs requiring low-skilled manual labor, such as car washing, livestock herding, and portering; some of these boys may be victims of human trafficking.

Government Efforts. While Swaziland has no law specifically prohibiting trafficking, existing statutes against crimes such as kidnapping, forced and compulsory labor, aiding and abetting "prohibited immigrants" to enter the country, brothel keeping, and procurement for prostitution could be used to prosecute traffickers. However, a draft bill – the Sexual Offenses and Domestic Violence Bill – which specifically criminalizes sex trafficking and mandates psychological services for victims, remains under review for the third year. Penalties under this draft bill would be severe and include death if the trafficking victim is under 16 years of age or the trafficker belongs to an organized trafficking ring. No case of child labor or trafficking has ever been presented to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution for action, nor has any official report of trafficking been made to the Royal Swaziland Police Service's Domestic Violence, Child Protection, and Sexual Offenses Unit.

The relationship between the government and elements of civil society on the issue of human trafficking is strong; however, the government has not made the issue a priority and depends on the NGO sector to provide victim care. While the police's Child Protection Unit lacks training in regard to identifying and combating trafficking, its staff has shown interest in the issue and works with NGOs to provide assistance to crime victims. The Social Welfare Department of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare operates a half-way house for abused women that could provide shelter to trafficking victims.

There were no government-run anti-trafficking campaigns during the reporting period. However, in late 2007, the Ministry of Home Affairs' Gender Unit participated in the organization of an event that was part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign organized by local NGOs to fight abuse of women and children; a portion of the event addressed human trafficking. In 2007, the government provided approximately $9.4 million for orphaned and vulnerable children to attend school, which reduced the opportunities for child trafficking. The government did not undertake activities to reduce demand for commercial sex acts during the year. Swaziland has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

Search Refworld