Zimbabwe is a country of origin, transit, and destination for trafficking in persons. Zimbabweans are trafficked to South Africa. Traffickers crossing from Mozambique to South Africa may choose to bypass the shortest route through Kruger National Park because of the danger posed by wild animals and opt for a longer, safer route through 1Zimbabwe. Street children from Lesotho’s capital, Maseru, have been trafficked to Zimbabwe.
Factors That Contribute to the Trafficking Infrastructure
Trafficking in African women and children for forced prostitution or labor is exacerbated by war, poverty, and flawed or nonexistent birth registration systems, according to a recent study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Poverty aggravates already desperate conditions caused by conflict, discrimination, and repression, and unregistered children are easy to move between countries because they never formally acquire a nationality. The study also found that Africa’s 3.3 million refugees and the estimated 12.7 million internally displaced persons are the most 2vulnerable to trafficking.
More specifically, porous borders, combined with recurrent civil and political unrest and a lack of economic opportunity, have ensured a consistent southward flow of both legal and illegal migrants in southern Africa. Trafficking victims are difficult to distinguish amid these flows. In southern Africa, traffickers capitalize on the vulnerabilities created by war, poverty, minimal education, unemployment, and general lack of opportunity. Some harmful cultural practices have caused women to be viewed as 3a sexual commodity, making them particularly vulnerable to exploitation. Women and
children trafficked for prostitution are among the most vulnerable groups exposed to 4HIV/AIDS, and children orphaned by the disease are especially vulnerable to trafficking.
Furthermore, the ongoing food crisis in the region has exacerbated already desperate conditions. It is not uncommon for parents to sell their children to passersby, believing 5that conditions could not possibly be worse elsewhere.
1 International Organization for Migration, ―The Trafficking of Women and Children in the Southern
African Region: Presentation of Research Findings,‖ International Organization for Migration, Pretoria, South Africa, 24 March 2003. 2 Jonathan Fowler, ―UNICEF: Human Trafficking in Africa Fueled by War, Economic Hardship, and Lack
of Birth Registration,‖ Associated Press, 23 April 2004. 3 International Organization for Migration, ―The Trafficking of Women and Children in the Southern African Region: Presentation of Research Findings,‖ International Organization for Migration, Pretoria,
South Africa, 24 March 2003. 4 ―Media Facts‖ for Andrea Rossi, ed., Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children, in
Africa‖ (Annunziata, Italy: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, September 2003). 5 International Organization for Migration, ―The Trafficking of Women and Children in the Southern African Region: Presentation of Research Findings,‖ International Organization for Migration, Pretoria, South Africa, 24 March 2003.
In five African countries—Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia, and 6Zimbabwe—at least 20 percent of adults are infected with HIV/AIDS. In Zimbabwe
specifically, at least a quarter of the population of 11.6 million is infected with 7HIV/AIDS, and an estimated 5,000 people die from AIDS every day.
Forms of Trafficking
A Zimbabwean official and the southern African regional Interpol office reported in June 2004 that trafficking in persons, particularly for cheap labor and sexual 8exploitation, is a growing problem in southern Africa. Of African countries, 89 percent
are affected by trafficking flows to and from other countries in Africa. In 34 percent of African countries, trafficking also takes place to Europe, and in 26 percent, trafficking 9flows to the Middle East. Twice as many African countries report trafficking in children 10as report trafficking in women.
Economic hardship pushes young Zimbabweans into prostitution. An alarmingly high number of university and college students in Zimbabwe are engaging in prostitution for food following the removal of food subsidies at universities and colleges a few years 11ago. Many poor teenagers in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, prostitute
themselves to supplement family income. Young girls frequent the city’s nightclubs to 12solicit sex; some even receive groceries for sexual services.
Because of the harsh economic climate in their home country, Zimbabwean women who work in the commercial sex industry have migrated to Mozambique in recent years. For example, such women from Mutare have ―flooded‖ Chimoio, 13Mozambique.
According to a 2002 figure, more than 5 million children, ages 5 to 17 years, were forced to work against their will in Zimbabwe. Over 90 percent lived in rural areas, 26 14percent were paid laborers, and 88 percent were unpaid family workers
Recent discoveries of human body parts in Harare have fueled fears of ritual cannibalism and potential trafficking in human body parts in Zimbabwe. There have been
6 International Labor Organization–International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor, HIV/AIDS
and Child Labor in Zambia: A Rapid Assessment (Geneva: International Labor Organization, 2003), pp.
22–23. 7 ―Researchers Say Prostitution Growing in Zimbabwe Colleges,‖ Panafrican News Agency Daily
Newswire, 23 May 2004. 8 ―Police Report Growing Human Trafficking in Southern Africa,‖ Panafrican News Agency Daily
Newswire, 15 January 2004. 9 ―Media Facts‖ for Andrea Rossi, ed., Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children, in
Africa‖ (Annunziata, Italy: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, September 2003). 10 Andrea Rossi, ed., Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children, in Africa‖
(Annunziata, Italy: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, September 2003), pp. 9–10. 11 ―Researchers Say Prostitution Growing in Zimbabwe Colleges,‖ Panafrican News Agency Daily
Newswire, 23 May 2004. 12 ―Zimbabwe: Sex for Groceries as Bulawayo Teens Resort to Prostitution,‖ Zimbabwe Standard, 15
September 2003. 13 ―Zimbabwe: Commercial Sex Workers Flock to Chimoio,‖ Daily News (Harare), 3 March 2003. 14 ―Zimbabwe: Shocking Child Labor Statistics,‖ Herald, 22 March 2002.
reports of the abduction and murder of children in Zimbabwe for use of their body 15parts.
Recently, a BBC documentary reported that ZANU PF (Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front) had set up training camps to drill youths on methods of torturing and killing opponents in anticipation of the next general election. Half the women interviewed at the so-called job training centers said they were raped there. A ZANU PF spokesman maintains that the allegations were false, and the government claims these centers are meant to teach children vocational skills. The documentary reported that six camps housed Zimbabweans, ages 11 to 30 years, and approximately 1650,000 youths had already been trained. Furthermore, there is reportedly evidence that
young women have been forced to work on youth militia bases, where they perform 17household work and provide sexual services to militia members.
The Criminal Code penalizes any person who is loitering or is in any public place 18for the purpose of prostitution or solicitation. Punishment is a fine or imprisonment for 19up to 6 months.
The Criminal Code prohibits the corruption of children and young persons. The code penalizes any person who allows a child or a young person to reside in or frequent a 20brothel. Similarly, the code penalizes any person who causes the seduction, abduction, 21or prostitution of a child or young person. The code also prohibits allowing the child or
young person to consort with or enter into or continue in the employment of any 22prostitute or person of known immoral character. Punishment for those offenses is a 23fine, imprisonment for up to 2 years, or both.
The Sexual Offences Act (No. 8 of 2001) criminalizes sexual exploitation of 24young persons outside Zimbabwe and conspiracy or incitement abroad to exploit young 25persons in Zimbabwe.
Under the Sexual Offences Act, permitting a young person to use a place for 26purpose of extramarital sexual intercourse is an offense. If a person is younger than 12 27years of age, punishment is a fine, imprisonment for up to 7 years, or both. If a person is 2812 years of age or older, punishment is a fine, imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both.
15 ―Zimbabwe: Probe Human Discoveries Thoroughly,‖ Herald, 15 December 2003. 16 ―Zanu PF Refutes BBC Torture Camp Reports,‖ Zimbabwe Independent, 5 March 2004. 17 Nicole Itano, ―Sex Assault Now a Political Act in Zimbabwe,‖ Women’s ENews, 5 September 2003. 18 Article 1. 19 Article 1(a). 20 Article 8(1). 21 Article 8(2). 22 Article 8(3). 23 Article 8(4). 24 Article 5. 25 Article 6. 26 Article 7. 27 Article 7(1)(a). 28 Article 7(1)(b).
A person accused of such a crime who has ―reasonable cause to believe‖ that the young 29person was older than 16 years of age may use this factor in his or her defense.
Under the Sexual Offences Act, anyone who keeps a brothel, knowingly lives wholly or in part on the earnings of prostitution, or solicits another person for immoral purpose is subject to punishment by a fine, imprisonment for up to 2 years, or both. The act imposes the same punishment for demanding money from a prostitute in consideration of (a) keeping or managing a brothel in which the prostitute lives for immoral purposes, (b) having solicited other persons for immoral purposes with the prostitute, (c) having effected the entry of the prostitute into a brothel for the purpose of prostitution, or (d) having brought or assisted in bringing the prostitute into Zimbabwe 30for immoral purposes.
Detaining a person for sexual purposes is punishable by a fine, imprisonment for 31up to 10 years, or both.
Anyone who procures another person for purposes of having extramarital sexual intercourse or becoming a prostitute inside or outside of Zimbabwe is a subject to punishment by a fine, imprisonment for up to 10 years, or both. In addition, procuring a person to leave Zimbabwe with the intent that this person become a prostitute, or procuring a person to leave his or her usual place of residence, not being a brothel, with the intent that this person become an inmate of or frequent a brothel, is punishable by a 32fine, imprisonment for up to 10 years, or both.
Anyone who threatens, intimidates, or administers a drug to another person or causes that other person to take any intoxicating drug, liquor, matter, or thing with the intent to enable himself or herself or anyone else to have extramarital sexual intercourse with such a person is subject to punishment by a fine, imprisonment for up to 10 years, or 33both.
Under the Sexual Offences Act, keeping or using any leased premises, with the consent or acquiescence of a lessee, as a brothel causes the lease of the premises to 34become void. In addition, a magistrate can order summary eviction of any person who 35is using or keeping a place within the magistrate’s province as a brothel. 36The Miscellaneous Offences Act (No. 18 of 1964) makes it an offense to loiter 37or be in a public place for the purpose of prostitution or solicitation. For a first 38conviction, punishment is a fine or imprisonment for up to 6 months. For a subsequent 39conviction, punishment is a fine, imprisonment for up to 12 months, or both.
The constitution provides that ―no one may be held in slavery or servitude or be 40made to perform forced or compulsory labor.‖
29 Article 7(2). 30 Article 9. 31 Article 10. 32 Article 11. 33 Article 12. 34 Article 13. 35 Article 14. 36 As amended by Act No. 6 of 1992, chapter 9:15. 37 Article 4(1). 38 Article 4(1)(a). 39 Article 4(1)(b). 40 However, the following forms of labor are not to be regarded as forced or compulsory labor for the purposes of this section: (a) labor required as part of a sentence or order of a court; (b) labor that is required
The Immigration Act (No. 18 of 1979, as amended) considers a ―prohibited 41person‖ to be anyone who is a prostitute; anyone who lives or has lived on, or anyone 42who knowingly receives or has received, any part of the earnings of prostitution; or 43anyone who has procured persons for immoral purposes. A prohibited person may not 44enter or remain in the country. The act explicitly penalizes any person who by bribery
induces or attempts to induce an immigration officer to violate his or her duties under the 45act.
The act criminalizes forgery of travel documents for the purposes of entering, 46remaining in, or departing from the country in contravention of the act. The act
penalizes anyone who hinders or obstructs any police officer or immigration officer in 47executing his or her duties under the act.
The Ministry of Justice’s Vulnerable Witnesses Committee established nine child-
friendly courts in order to improve the treatment of child victims of rape and sexual abuse 48by the judicial system.
The Ministry of Public Service, Labor, and Social Welfare; the Central Statistics Office; and the International Labor Organization (ILO) carried out a National Child Labor Survey, the results of which were released in spring 2002. The survey was the first 49of its kind to examine the overall magnitude of child labor in the country.
Nongovernmental and International Organization Responses
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Pretoria recently launched a US$1.9 million 2-year program (the Southern African Counter-Trafficking Assistance Program) to prevent trafficking in persons, protect victims, and provide them with rehabilitative assistance, as well as return and reintegration options. The Southern African Counter-Trafficking Assistance Program, which is, funded by the U.S. Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration and the Norwegian government, covers Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The program focuses on research and dissemination
of a person who is lawfully detained and that, although not part of a sentence or order of a court, is reasonably necessary in the interests of hygiene or for the maintenance or management of the place where the person is detained; (c) labor that is required for a person under the age of 18 years who is lawfully detained, where the labor, although not part of a sentence or order of a court, is reasonably required for the person’s education, training, or discipline; (d) labor required of a member of a disciplined force in the performance of his or her duties as such a member; (e) labor that an act of Parliament requires a person to perform instead of serving as a member of a disciplined force; (f) labor reasonably required by way of parental discipline; or (g) labor required by law during a period of public emergency or in the event of any other emergency or disaster that threatens the life or well-being of the community, to the extent that this requirement is reasonably justifiable by the circumstances. 41 Article 14(1)(f)(i). 42 Article 14(1)(f)(ii). 43 Article 14(1)(f)(iii). 44 Article 17. 45 Article 33. 46 Article 36. 47 Article 36(1)(i). 48 End Child Prostitution, Pornography, and Trafficking (ECPAT) International Online Database, May 2004, http://www.ecpat.net. 49 ―Zimbabwe: Shocking Child Labor Statistics,‖ Herald, 22 March 2002.
of countertrafficking data throughout the region, as well as on building capacity of law enforcement agencies and nongovernmental organization (NGO) service providers to enable them to identify and assist potential victims. Working with governmental and NGO partners, IOM will also identify victims of trafficking, provide them with some 50rehabilitation options, and assist them with voluntary repatriation and reintegration.
In 2002, Terre des Hommes launched a campaign against child abuse in southern Africa. Terre des Hommes and its partners in Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, 51Zambia, and Zimbabwe work against child trafficking and exploitation.
The African Regional Labor Administration Center conducted a workshop in October 2003 on child labor in the agricultural sector. The workshop aimed at building on the commitment of participating countries to tackle child labor and develop action plans toward that end. Participants from Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe attended. The workshop was supported by the ILO, the government of the Netherlands, and the International Association of Labor Inspection, while the Ethiopian Ministry of Labor and Social 52Affairs facilitated the organization of the workshop.
The National Association of Nongovernmental Organizations and UNICEF organized a 4-day conference on child participation in government programs, with a particular focus on rampant prostitution among schoolchildren. At least 50 Zimbabwean 53children attended the conference.
At a March 2004 meeting in Maputo, Mozambique, police chiefs from member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) decided to take strong action against trafficking in children and in organs in the region. The decision came at the end of the 5-day meeting of the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation 54Organization, under the theme of ―Violence against Women and Children.‖ SADC
includes Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, the Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, 55Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
50 ―Southern Africa—Counter-Trafficking Programme,‖ IOM Press Briefing Notes, 27 January 2004,
http://www.iom.int/en/archive/PBN270104.shtml. 51 Heike Spielmans, ―Launch of the Regional Southern Africa Campaign against Child Abuse,‖ South Africa Regional Campaign against Child Abuse, Maputo, Mozambique, 16 June 2002,
http://www.againstchildabuse.org/article/articlestatic/6/1/7/. 52 ―Regional Workshop on Combating Worst Forms of Child Labor Concludes,‖ Xinhua General News
Service, 17 October 2003. 53 ―Zimbabwe, Concern over Prostitution by Schoolchildren,‖ Herald, 10 December 2003. 54 ―Mozambique: Police Chiefs against Trafficking in Human Beings,‖ Africa News, 20 March 2004. 55 ―Globalization Fueling Crime in Southern Africa,‖ Agence France Presse, 4 September 2003.