2011 Trafficking in Persons Report
Zambia is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Child victims, primarily trafficked within the country for labor and sexual exploitation, tend to be female, adolescent, and orphaned. In exchange for money or gifts, relatives or acquaintances often facilitate the trafficking of a child to an urban center for prostitution. Children are sometimes trafficked as a consequence of soliciting help from strangers such as truck drivers. Many Zambian child laborers, particularly those in the agriculture, domestic service, and fishing sectors, are also victims of human trafficking. Traffickers most often operate through ad hoc, flexible networks of relatives, truck drivers, business people, cross-border traders, and religious leaders. Organized rings offer Zambian women false job or marriage offers, then traffic them to South Africa via Zimbabwe for sexual exploitation, or to Europe via Malawi. Zambia’s geographic location, porous borders, and lax immigration enforcement make it a nexus for transnational trafficking from the Great Lakes region and Congo to South Africa for agricultural labor. Adults and children from Malawi and Mozambique are occasionally trafficked to Zambia for forced agricultural labor.
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. During the reporting period, the government made strong efforts to increase and improve law enforcement efforts against trafficking offenders, to raise public awareness of trafficking, and address demand. Services for victims, however, remained inadequate and the new antitrafficking law has yet to be enforced.
Recommendations for Zambia: Continue to train police, immigration, and court officers on implementation of the new trafficking law; formalize and implement victim identification and referral procedures; improve government services for human trafficking victims as provided for in the new law; increase anti-human trafficking awareness, particularly among government labor officials; and monitor the employment and labor recruiting agencies and hold labor recruiters accountable for fraudulent recruitment practices that contribute to forced labor.
The Government of Zambia’s anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts produced concrete results over the reporting period. Zambia’s president signed the comprehensive “Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2008” into law on November 19, 2008. In the months since its entry into force, no investigations or prosecutions were started under its provisions. The new law criminalizes all forms of trafficking. The law prescribes sufficiently stringent penalties for trafficking that are commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape; penalties range from 25 years’ to life imprisonment, depending on various circumstances. Two trafficking offenders were prosecuted and convicted in 2008 under anti-trafficking provisions in earlier laws. In April, the Kasama High Court sentenced two men to 20 and 25 years’ imprisonment, respectively, for child trafficking. The men were caught in 2006 attempting to sell an eight year-old boy for forced labor. A lack of financial resources, trained personnel, and technical capability, coupled by petty corruption at borders, police stations, and other lower-level government offices, constrain the government’s ability to combat trafficking. With NGO assistance, the Zambian Police Victims’ Support Unit is revising its data collection practices on trafficking to improve monitoring and reporting. The Zambia Law Development Commission published a manual on the new anti-trafficking law for police and prosecutors, and began training officials in February 2009. The government worked with NGOs to train police nationwide on human trafficking issues, and to develop a cadre of trainers within the Zambian Police Service (ZPS). One such trainer and an immigration official conducted four months of follow-on anti-trafficking training at border posts around Zambia. The ZPS also instituted a national hotline for police officers, to connect them directly with ZPS officers trained to identify and investigate trafficking.
The government made minimal efforts to protect victims of trafficking over the reporting period. Its close cooperation with IOM, UNICEF, and the YWCA has not resulted in the provision of adequate services for victims identified within Zambia or repatriated from destination countries. The government has not yet allocated funds for projects mandated by its anti-trafficking law, such as the establishment of government centers for victims of trafficking. During the year, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Gender in Development Division of the Cabinet Office provided limited financial support to NGOs which run shelters housing victims of trafficking along with victims of domestic violence or other crimes. The government did not have a formal mechanism for referring victims to NGOs for these services. Shelters offer some limited psychological counseling, medical treatment, and assistance dealing with the police; some also offer brief training in income-generating activities such as sewing or handicrafts. The new law prohibits the summary deportation of a trafficking victim and provides legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution. The government generally does not penalize victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. The government encourages victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers. Courts may order a convicted trafficking offender to pay reparations to victims for damage to property, physical, psychological or other injury, or loss of income and support.
The Zambian government demonstrated increasingly strong efforts to prevent trafficking over the reporting period. In January 2009, it formed an interagency committee on trafficking, and approved a national antitrafficking policy and an accompanying communications strategy developed in association with NGOs and other stakeholders. IOM and a local NGO operate a 24-hour hotline for Zambians to report possible trafficking cases or ask about the bona fides of offers to work abroad. The media extensively covered Zambian police raids of suspected brothels in high-density neighborhoods; police officials were quoted in the press stressing that prostitution is illegal and dangerous for both the clients and the prostitutes. The Zambian government’s interagency committee on trafficking obtained weekly air time on ZNBC, the nation’s largest television broadcaster, and on a national radio station to talk about trafficking issues. The government launched its “Break the Chain of Human Trafficking” trafficking prevention campaign with assistance from IOM. The government targeted both potential trafficking victims and those driving the demand for the services of human trafficking victims with its information campaign. It also worked with IOM to monitor movement patterns along the Zambia-Zimbabwe border for evidence of forced migration and human trafficking. The military has no specific measures in place to provide anti-trafficking training to troops currently participating in peacekeeping missions. New military personnel, however, will receive trafficking awareness training as part of a new anti-trafficking curriculum being developed for training academies.