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ZAMBIA: Tier 2 Watch List

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 demonstrated significant efforts during the reporting period by investigating 23 potential trafficking cases. The government increased its budget for the provision of protective services and conducted multiple awareness campaigns in border regions but did not offer any specific details regarding their scope. However, the government did not demonstrate increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period. The government did not prosecute any defendants or convict any traffickers compared to nine prosecutions and five convictions during the previous reporting period. The government did not amend the 2008 anti-trafficking act, which does not comply with international standards. It identified and referred to care one victim compared to 192 victims during the previous reporting period. The government did not improve the condition of its shelters and did not have shelters available to male trafficking victims. Although the government doubled the amount allocated for victim services, it referred the only victim it identified to an NGO. The anti-trafficking inter-ministerial committee did not meet during the reporting period. Therefore, Zambia was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List.

Proactively identify trafficking victims and refer them to protective services; amend the trafficking law to define child sex trafficking as not requiring force, fraud, or coercion be used and to define trafficking as a crime that does not require movement of the victim; vigorously investigate and prosecute sex and labor trafficking cases within Zambia involving both children and adults; formalize and implement victim identification and referral procedures, and train law enforcement and social welfare officials on their use, including in vulnerable populations; expand the availability of shelters and ensure alternative services are available for male victims; 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; improve coordination among service providers to prevent detention of male victims; strengthen coordination and collaboration efforts between relevant ministries; develop and adopt an updated multi-year national anti-trafficking strategy and action plan and continue to conduct public awareness campaigns; and compile and make public information on trafficking cases and trends.

The government decreased anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. The anti-trafficking act of 2008 criminalizes some forms of trafficking but requires cross-border movement, which does not comport with international law; further 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 reported 23 trafficking cases from five provinces, involving nine adult victims, five men and four women, and 14 child victims, five of whom were boys and nine of whom were girls. The government did not convict any traffickers and did not report initiating any prosecutions, compared to initiating nine prosecutions in 2015. The government did not investigate or prosecute companies for labor trafficking in the mining and agricultural sectors and had limited capacity to monitor these sectors; allegedly, large or foreign companies and foreign governments exerted influence over officials, preventing investigations. Despite these allegations, the government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking offenses. 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 national police academy trained 600 recruits on trafficking. The paramilitary police training school trained over 1,000 trainees on trafficking. The government maintained a database to track trafficking case data with other countries in the region. The government continued its partnerships in the region through routine coordination of anti-trafficking efforts with Zimbabwe and South Africa.

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.

The government decreased efforts to prevent 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. The government did not review or update the 2012-2015 national action plan to combat trafficking, which expired in June 2015. It did not host its annual National Symposium on Human Trafficking during the reporting period, which focused on protecting migrants from trafficking and exploitation. The Ministry of Home Affairs Research and Information Department reported it conducted multiple awareness campaigns in border regions but did not offer any specific details regarding their scope. During 2016, MLSS employed 110 labor inspectors, compared to no labor officers employed the previous year. 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.

As reported over the past five years, 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 and sex trafficking in Zambia. Nationals from South and East Asia are exploited in forced labor in domestic servitude, 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. South African criminal groups subjected Southeast Asians transiting Zambia to forced labor in construction in South Africa. Potential trafficking victims from Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Syria were identified in Zambia.

U.S. Department of State

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