The government made decreased efforts to assist victims. The government identified one victim and an international organization and an NGO identified 13 potential trafficking victims during the reporting period, compared to the government identifying 192 potential victims during the previous reporting period. It was unclear whether the victim identified by the government was a victim of trafficking, as officials often conflated cases of smuggling and trafficking, and it did not increase its capacity to adequately protect victims for the second year in a row. Of the potential victims identified, 11 were labor trafficking victims and three were sex trafficking victims. The government referred the one victim it identified to protective services. An international organization and an NGO provided care for the victims identified and facilitated the repatriation of 10 victims who received protective services in their country of origin. The government provided increased financial support to organizations providing victim assistance; however, it continued to rely on international organizations and local NGOs to provide the majority of care. The government also increased its anti-trafficking budget by 50,000 new kwacha ($5,043) from the previous reporting period, allocating 100,000 new kwacha ($10,086), an increase of $5,000.
Although the government identified significantly fewer victims, officials and service providers used standard procedures to screen and identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as migrants and unaccompanied minors. The Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (MCDMCH) oversaw the placement of one victim in an NGO shelter 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. The Department of Immigration, in partnership with an international organization, trained officers at ports of entry to identify and interview potential victims of trafficking, but did not report referring any cases for prosecution. The government offered legal alternatives to the removal of victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution; however, the government did not report applying such assistance in 2016.
Government and NGO shelters lacked sufficient capacity to serve victims, especially men. The MCDMCH operated a 40-person shelter for victims of trafficking and victims of sexual abuse in Luapula province, and oversaw two NGO shelters. 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.