Swaziland (Tier 2)
Swaziland is a source, destination, and transit country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking, domestic servitude, and forced labor in agriculture. Swazi girls, particularly orphans, are subjected to sex trafficking and domestic servitude in the cities of Mbabane and Manzini, as well as in South Africa and Mozambique. Swazi boys are exploited within the country through forced labor in commercial agriculture and market vending. Some Swazi women are forced into prostitution in South Africa and Mozambique after voluntarily migrating to these countries in search of work. Traffickers reportedly force Mozambican women into prostitution in Swaziland, or transit Swaziland with their victims en route to South Africa. Mozambican boys migrate to Swaziland for work washing cars, herding livestock, and portering; some of these boys subsequently become victims of forced labor.
The Government of Swaziland does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Over the last year, the government displayed steady progress in its investigation and prosecution of suspected trafficking offenses, formation and training of trafficking-specific emergency response teams, and effective utilization of the Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force to coordinate interagency efforts. Despite these recent improvements, anti-trafficking training is needed to ensure the proper interpretation and effective implementation of the 2009 anti-trafficking law and sustain continued progress.
Recommendations for Swaziland: Complete and disseminate regulations to fully implement the 2010 anti-trafficking legislation; complete and begin implementing the draft national anti-trafficking action plan; investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, and convict and punish trafficking offenders; proactively identify trafficking victims among vulnerable groups; institute a formal system to refer victims for assistance; institute a unified system for documenting and collecting data on human trafficking cases for use by law enforcement, immigration, labor, and social welfare officials; and continue to conduct visible campaigns to educate the public about the dangers and risks of trafficking in Swaziland and neighboring countries.
The Government of Swaziland increased its law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking during the reporting period. Although no trafficking offenders were convicted, authorities prosecuted three suspected trafficking offenders. In December 2009, the king signed "The People Trafficking and People Smuggling (Prohibition) Act, 2009;" this comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation became effective in March 2010, after its publication in the government's official gazette. The act prescribes penalties of up to 20 years' imprisonment, plus a fine to compensate the victim for losses, under Section 12 for the trafficking of adults and up to 25 years' imprisonment under Section 13 for the trafficking of children; these penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with other serious crimes. The government has not yet started drafting implementing regulations for the law. As a result of the government's establishment of a trafficking-specific hotline in June 2010, law enforcement authorities investigated seven suspected child trafficking cases based on tips received. Five of these cases involved Swazi victims subjected to sex trafficking in South Africa who ultimately filed charges in South African courts. Upon learning of the five cases, the Royal Swazi Police collaborated with NGOs and law enforcement counterparts in South Africa to effect the safe return of the victims. In the sixth case, the police arrested a suspected trafficking offender on kidnapping charges for the trafficking of a foreign boy for the purposes of cattle herding; the offender was released on bail and the case remains pending before the Swazi courts. In 2010, a Swazi prosecutor withdrew the case of two Swazi women who allegedly trafficked a teenage girl to South Africa due to insufficient evidence.
The Government of Swaziland demonstrated increased capacity in protecting trafficking victims and identified seven victims during the reporting period. The government assisted multi-purpose shelters run by NGOs by providing professional services, including health care and counseling at the government's expense. During the reporting period, the government's interagency Task Force established and trained emergency response teams in Swaziland's four regions, intending to coordinate the government and NGO response to trafficking cases at the local level. Between March and September 2010, the Task Force organized three workshops for members of emergency response teams; the workshops – one funded by a foreign donor and two jointly funded and organized by IOM and the Swaziland government – focused on identifying and working with victims, cooperating with NGOs, investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases, and trial preparation. The government continued to draft a formal referral process to guide officials in transferring trafficking victims from detention to shelters. Some cases of trafficking were not adequately investigated, leading to victims being charged with immigration violations and placed in detention facilities. The teams also trained staff of the 55 tinkhundla centers throughout the country to proactively identify instances of trafficking within their routine case work. The government did not offer foreign victims alternatives to their removal to countries where they may face retribution or hardship.
The government increased its efforts to prevent trafficking during the reporting period. In March 2010, the prime minister officially launched the Task Force for the Prevention of People Trafficking and People Smuggling that had been created in July 2009. In October 2010, he announced the formation of a Secretariat to coordinate the work of the task force and serve as the lead for the government's anti-trafficking efforts. The task force met monthly to share information and served as a forum for the collection of law enforcement and victim assistance data. It continued to draft a National Plan of Action and led several events to raise public awareness. The task force conducted public awareness activities at the Swaziland International Trade Fair in Manzini in August and September 2010 and the Day of the African Child in June 2010, targeting traditional leaders, students, young women, and parents with messaging on preventing child trafficking and how and where to report suspected cases. The anti-trafficking hotline – funded and managed by the government – officially launched in June 2010, and received more than 5,000 calls between June 2010 and January 2011, including from seven trafficking victims. In November 2010, the government passed a law to allow domestic workers to unionize. Some domestic workers brought civil suits against their employers, often regarding underpayment of wages or dismissal issues. The government did not undertake efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex acts during the reporting period. Swaziland is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.