U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Mozambique
Mozambique (Tier 2 Watch List)
Mozambique is a source and possibly 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 and/or South African citizens; however, involvement of larger Chinese and Nigerian syndicates has been reported. Zimbabwean women and girls are likely 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 its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons over the last year. To further its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should prosecute and convict arrested traffickers; ensure the passage of anti-trafficking legislation; launch a public awareness campaign; and investigate and prosecute public officials suspected of accepting bribes to overlook trafficking crimes or free traffickers.
While Mozambique took steps toward the passage of anti-trafficking legislation during the reporting period, concrete law enforcement efforts decreased. Mozambique does not prohibit any form of trafficking in persons, though its penal code includes at least 13 articles under which trafficking cases can be charged. Nevertheless, there were no prosecutions or convictions of traffickers in 2006. In March 2007, the Ministry of Justice presented to Parliament a framework law on child protection that provides comprehensive guidelines for future laws concerning the sale and trafficking of children. The Ministry also finished drafting a comprehensive law against human trafficking that contains specific provisions on prevention, prosecution, and protection. In early 2007, the Ministry and a local NGO conducted a series of three forums in the northern, central, and southern parts of the country that allowed for public debate of the draft law. Many lower-ranking police and border control agents are believed to accept bribes from traffickers, severely hindering Mozambique's prosecution efforts. Police reported breaking up several trafficking schemes, arresting several drivers and facilitators, but not the traffickers behind the operations. For example, in February 2007, police stopped a bus driver in Manica attempting to transport 24 undocumented Mozambicans across the border into South Africa; the distinction between smuggling and trafficking could not be made at that point in the transport process. The Ministry of Interior, with support from UNICEF, conducted anti-trafficking training for more than 70 police officers in Gaza, Tete, and Zambezia provinces.
The government's efforts to protect victims of trafficking continued to suffer from a lack of resources; government officials regularly relied on NGOs to provide shelter, food, counseling, and rehabilitation for victims of trafficking. The government encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers, and it did not penalize victims for unlawful acts committed as a result of their being trafficked. During the reporting period, the Kulaya Healing Center in the government-run Maputo Central Hospital assisted trafficking victims with medical care and counseling. In 2006, the Ministry of Interior expanded from 96 to 151 the number of police stations with offices dedicated to women and children victimized by violence; these offices registered complaints and filed reports of trafficking crimes before turning victims over to NGOs for care. During the year, these offices received 47 human trafficking cases, some involving multiple victims, from NGOs and, occasionally, from police. Police officers reportedly returned victims to their homes. In May, a local NGO opened the country's first permanent shelter for child trafficking victims, which was constructed on land donated by the Moamba District government.
The government's prevention efforts remained weak. Most anti-trafficking educational workshops were run by NGOs with government participation. During the year, law enforcement officials publicized several trafficking cases and government-owned media outlets covered such stories.