ZAMBIA: Tier 2

Zambia is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Most trafficking occurs within the country's borders and involves women and children from rural areas exploited in cities in domestic servitude or other types of forced labor in agriculture, textile, mining, construction, small businesses such as bakeries, and forced begging. Zambian children may be forced by jerabo gangs engaged in illegal mining to load stolen copper ore onto trucks in Copperbelt Province. While orphans and street children are most vulnerable, children of affluent village families are also at risk of trafficking because sending children to the city for work is perceived to confer status. Zambian boys and girls are exploited in sex trafficking by truck drivers in towns along the Zimbabwean and Tanzanian borders and by miners in the mining town of Solwezi. Zambian boys are subjected to sex trafficking in Zimbabwe and women and girls are subjected to sex trafficking in South Africa. Domestically, extended families and trusted family acquaintances continued to facilitate trafficking.

Women and children from neighboring countries are exploited in forced labor or sex trafficking after arrival in Zambia. Nationals from South and East Asia are exploited in forced labor in textile factories, bakeries, and Chinese-owned mines. Chinese traffickers brought in Chinese women and underage girls for sexual exploitation in brothels and massage parlors in Lusaka; traffickers used front companies posing as travel agencies to lure Chinese victims and coordinated with Zambian facilitators and middlemen. The transnational labor trafficking of Southeast Asians through Zambia for forced labor in construction in South Africa continued and was linked to criminal groups based there.

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. The government held the fourth national symposium on trafficking in persons to encourage national collaboration and raise awareness. It enhanced its victim identification methods by developing and launching protection tools to assist officials and service providers in screening for victims among vulnerable populations. However, the government's inability to report the number of victims identified and assisted in 2014 and the drop in its efforts to increase the availability of shelter options, in addition to the significant reduction of its anti-trafficking budget, raise serious concerns about the government's political will and capacity to provide adequate services to human trafficking victims. While the government investigated cases involving a small number of victims from neighboring countries, it failed to criminally investigate more organized trafficking operations involving foreign companies and did not seriously address internal trafficking, including child domestic servitude.


Implement the 2008 anti-trafficking act by ensuring use of a broad definition of trafficking that does not rely on evidence of movement, but rather focuses on exploitation, consistent with the 2000 UN TIP Protocol; amend the trafficking law so that force, fraud, or coercion are not required for cases involving children under the age of 18 to be considered sex trafficking crimes; increase anti-trafficking funding and continue to improve government services for victims through the establishment of additional shelters; investigate and prosecute internal trafficking cases involving both children and adults in prostitution and forced labor; continue to train police, immigration officials, prosecutors, and judges on investigating and prosecuting trafficking crimes; increase the number of labor inspectors and ensure they are trained on trafficking indicators; formalize and implement victim identification and referral procedures; improve coordination among service providers to prevent detention of male victims and facilitate their placement in shelters; actively use the new database to compile information on trafficking cases and trends for use by all stakeholders; and continue to conduct public awareness campaigns.


The government maintained anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, initiating four prosecutions in 2014, compared to three prosecutions in 2013. The anti-trafficking act of 2008 criminalizes some forms of trafficking; although contrary to international law, it requires the use of threat, force, intimidation, or other forms of coercion for a child to be considered a sex trafficking victim. The act prescribes penalties ranging from 20 years' to life imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape.

The government investigated five potential trafficking cases, initiated prosecution of four of these cases, and convicted one defendant of trafficking. The government convicted a Zambian woman for exploiting seven Congolese children in forced labor; sentencing remained pending in the High Court. A majority of the trafficking cases investigated involved cross-border trafficking of women and children for labor and sexual exploitation; the government failed to investigate internal cases involving Zambian children in prostitution and domestic servitude or forced labor in the Zambian mining and agricultural sectors. In one case pending from the previous reporting period, the government did not obtain a conviction of a suspected recruiter and trafficker for their alleged enslavement of a Zambian girl in domestic servitude. Generally, criminal investigations into forced child labor offenses or cases in which victims were not moved across borders were rare; the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS) Child Labor Unit cited mediation with parents as the usual process for handling child labor cases. The government remained limited in its capacity to adequately monitor the mining and agricultural sectors and failed to criminally investigate or prosecute companies responsible for labor trafficking in these sectors; allegations of large or foreign companies and foreign governments exerting influence over officials remained a concern. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking offenses.

Training covering the 2008 anti-trafficking act was included in all law enforcement courses at the police academy, as were investigation techniques and procedures to identify and protect victims. The government continued use of its database to track trafficking case data, and in 2014 it expanded the piloted program to include additional police stations. The government increased its partnerships in the region by initiating routine coordination of anti-trafficking efforts with Zimbabwe and South Africa during the reporting period.


The government decreased efforts to protect victims and did not increase its capacity to more aptly do so. It continued to rely on international organizations and local NGOs to provide the majority of victim care, with only modest in-kind support and acknowledged a shortage of shelters in the country, particularly for male victims. The government allocated 570,000 kwacha ($89,400) for its anti-trafficking budget, a significant decrease from the previous year's budget of 1,358,700 kwacha ($213,000). The government was unable to report the number of victims identified due to the lack of a shared database and adequate coordination among service providers; however, international organizations identified 11 victims of labor exploitation, two victims of sexual exploitation, and two victims of both labor and sexual exploitation.

The government, in cooperation with international partners, developed and launched a series of protection tools to assist officials and service providers in identification of trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as migrants and unaccompanied minors. However, without data on its efforts to identify and refer victims during the year, it is unclear how these new procedures were implemented. The government reportedly continued use of its national referral mechanism, while the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (MCDMCH) oversaw the placement of victims in NGO shelters and continued to provide in-kind assistance. Government officials, in partnership with international organizations, offered routine assistance to victims, including medical care, counseling, court preparation, repatriation or regularization of immigration status; however, it was unclear how many victims benefited from these services during the year. The government offered legal alternatives to the removal of victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution; however, it is unclear how many victims received such assistance in 2014.

Zambia's Minimum Standard Guidelines on Protection of Victims of Trafficking outline minimum requirements for victim care, to include establishment and upgrade of existing shelters. While the government made vigorous efforts to increase the availability of shelter options in previous years, government agencies and NGOs reported a lack of resources to establish or upgrade additional shelters in 2014. The MCDMCH continued to oversee a 40-person shelter opened in 2012 in Luapula province, in addition to two NGO shelters which remained in operation. MCDMCH's construction of a new shelter in Kapiri Mposhi, a key transit point on the border with Tanzania, which was planned to start in 2013, remained incomplete. NGO shelters did not provide accommodation for male victims over the age of 12. As a result of the lack of shelter availability and resources, it was not uncommon to house victims, even children, in jail for short periods of time.


The government maintained efforts to prevent trafficking. In June 2014, it hosted the fourth National Symposium on Human Trafficking, focused on protecting migrants from trafficking and exploitation, bringing together government and other stakeholders to discuss allocation of resources, capacity of law enforcement, victim identification, and fast-tracking of human trafficking cases involving migrants. The government reported continued work on its 2012-2015 national action plan to combat trafficking, in partnership with NGOs and international organizations. The national secretariat and an inter-ministerial committee continued to oversee national anti-trafficking efforts; however, neither was able to meet outside of the symposium during the reporting period – limiting its effective oversight of efforts during the year. The 2014 national budget included allocation of funds for MCDMCH and MLSS to conduct trafficking awareness-raising campaigns organized in 14 targeted districts with an observed increase in suspected or reported trafficking cases.

During the year, MLSS employed 58 labor officers, a decrease from 108 in the previous reporting period; new officers did not receive anti-trafficking training. MLSS officials regulated fees paid by workers to recruitment agencies to screen for exploitative labor recruitment practices. MLSS, in conjunction with international organizations, conducted training for domestic worker recruitment agencies and domestic employee centers to assist the agencies in detecting trafficking situations and ensuring workers were aware of their rights. In the previous reporting period, the government began a review of the Employment Act to determine how to best address potential abuses in the informal sector that are not adequately covered under the current law, including domestic service; however, the review and its amendments remained incomplete. The government conducted multiple raids to remove individuals facilitating prostitution or purchasing services to reduce the demand for commercial sex; however, it did not make efforts to reduce the demand for forced labor. Zambian peacekeepers received anti-trafficking training on how to identify and protect potential trafficking victims. The government did not provide anti-trafficking training or guidance for its diplomatic personnel.


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