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 forced labor in agriculture, textile production, 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 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 facilitate trafficking.

Women and children from neighboring countries are exploited in forced labor or sex trafficking in Zambia. Nationals from South and East Asia are exploited in forced labor in textile factories, bakeries, and Chinese-owned mines. Chinese traffickers bring in Chinese women and girls for sexual exploitation in brothels and massage parlors in Lusaka; traffickers use front companies posing as travel agencies to lure Chinese victims and coordinate with Zambian facilitators and middlemen. Southeast Asians who transit Zambia are subjected to forced labor in construction in South Africa by South African criminal groups. Potential trafficking victims from Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Syria were identified in Zambia.

The Government of Zambia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government investigated 13 cases, nine of which were prosecuted, and five of these cases resulted in convictions. The government identified 192 potential trafficking victims during the reporting period, but it was unclear how many of these victims received protective services. The government did not improve the condition of its shelters and lacked means to shelter male victims of trafficking. The government's minimal budget for anti-trafficking efforts severely limited its capacity to provide services to victims. The anti-trafficking inter-ministerial committee did not meet during the reporting period. In addition, limited training provided for investigators, police, prosecutors, magistrates, and judges on human trafficking continued to hamper the government's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. Although the government investigated cases involving victims from neighboring countries, it did not investigate more organized trafficking operations involving foreign companies or address internal trafficking, including forced child labor and domestic servitude.


Amend the 2008 anti-trafficking act to use a broad definition of trafficking that does not rely on evidence of movement, but rather focuses on exploitation; amend the trafficking law to enable prosecution of child sex trafficking without an element of force, fraud, or coercion; increase resources for victim services, including to expand the availability of shelters and ensure alternative services are available for male victims; investigate and prosecute internal sex and labor trafficking cases involving both children and adults; 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, and train law enforcement and social welfare officials on their use, including in vulnerable populations; improve coordination among service providers to prevent detention of male victims; compile and share information on trafficking cases and trends; strengthen coordination and collaboration efforts between relevant ministries; and develop and adopt an updated multiyear national anti-trafficking strategy and action plan and continue to conduct public awareness campaigns.


The government maintained anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, initiating nine prosecutions in 2015, compared with four prosecutions in 2014. The anti-trafficking act of 2008 criminalizes some forms of trafficking; 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 13 potential trafficking cases, in comparison with five cases the previous year. It initiated prosecution of nine traffickers, compared with four the previous year, and convicted five traffickers. A majority of the trafficking cases investigated involved cross-border crimes; the government did not investigate internal cases involving Zambian children exploited in prostitution and domestic servitude or in forced labor in the Zambian mining and agricultural sectors. In one case, the government convicted and sentenced a Congolese man to 18 months' imprisonment for the exploitation of five children in forced labor in Australia; the government recommended review by High Court for a sentence longer than 10 years. Officials rarely investigated forced child labor offenses or cases in which victims were not moved across borders; the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS) Child Labor Unit used mediation with parents as the usual process for handling child labor cases. The government had limited capacity to monitor the mining and agricultural sectors and did not investigate or prosecute companies for labor trafficking in these sectors; allegedly, large or foreign companies and foreign governments exerted influence over officials, preventing investigations. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking offenses.

The national police academy trained an unknown number of officials on the 2008 anti-trafficking act, case investigation techniques, and procedures to identify and protect victims. The government maintained a database to track trafficking case data. The government continued its partnerships in the region through routine coordination of anti-trafficking efforts with Zimbabwe and South Africa during the reporting period.


The government made minimal efforts to assist victims. It was unclear whether the victims identified were victims of trafficking, as officials often conflated cases of smuggling and trafficking, and it did not increase its capacity to adequately protect victims. The government identified 192 potential trafficking victims during the reporting period. It provided modest in-kind support and otherwise relied on international organizations and local NGOs to provide the majority of victim care. The government allocated 50,000 kwacha ($4,500) for its anti-trafficking budget, as in the previous reporting period.

Officials and service providers used standard procedures to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as migrants and unaccompanied minors. The government expanded its national referral mechanism to provide for vulnerable migrants, including asylum-seekers, refugees, unaccompanied and separated children, stranded migrants, and stateless persons. 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, and repatriation or regularization of immigration status; however, it was unclear how many victims benefited from these services during the year. The Department of Immigration, in partnership with an international organization, trained officers at ports of entry to identify and interview potential victims of trafficking. 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 2015.

The government did not increase the availability of shelter options and government agencies and NGOs reported a lack of resources to establish or upgrade additional shelters in 2015. Government and NGO shelters lacked sufficient capacity to serve victims, especially men. The MCDMCH operated a 40-person shelter in Luapula province, and oversaw two NGO shelters. MCDMCH's planned construction of a new shelter in Kapiri Mposhi, a central transit point, which was planned to start in 2013, remained incomplete for the third consecutive year. NGO shelters did not provide accommodation for male victims older than age 12. As a result of the lack of shelter availability and resources, it was not uncommon for the government to house victims, including children, in jail for short periods.


The government maintained minimal efforts to prevent trafficking. It did not host a fifth National Symposium on Human Trafficking during the reporting period, which in the prior four years focused on protecting migrants from trafficking and exploitation. The government did not review or update the 2012-2015 national action plan to combat trafficking. The national secretariat and an inter-ministerial committee were ineffective in their oversight of national anti-trafficking efforts, as overall prevention efforts decreased and prior annual engagements were not upheld during the reporting period. The anti-trafficking inter-ministerial committee did not meet during the reporting period. In collaboration with an international organization, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MCDSS) launched an awareness-raising campaign called "Safe Migration: My Right, My Responsibility," aimed at capacity building for district stakeholders in Chipata, Livingstone, Chilalabombwe, Nakonde, and Sesheke in order to assist in the identification of trafficking victims. Additionally, MCDSS provided anti-trafficking training to 80 officials through the production of radio messages to highlight and raise awareness of the indicators of human trafficking at community radio stations in Eastern, Copperbelt, Central, Southern, and Lusaka Provinces.

During the year, MLSS did not employ any labor inspectors due to funding constraints, a significant decrease compared to 58 labor officers employed the previous year and 108 in 2013, leaving the number of inspectors inadequate and inefficient in identifying potential labor trafficking cases. MLSS officials regulated fees paid by workers to recruitment agencies to screen for exploitative labor recruitment practices. In 2013, the government began a review of the employment act to determine how best to address potential abuses in the informal sector, including domestic service, that are not adequately covered under the current law; the review remained incomplete. The government did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex or 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 for its diplomatic personnel.


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