The government maintained anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. The 2008 Law on Preventing and Combating the Trafficking of People criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking and prescribed penalties of 16 to 20 years’ imprisonment. These penalties were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Inconsistent with international law, the law did not establish the use of force, fraud, or coercion as an essential element of the crime. The government continued to work with an international organization to review draft amendments to bring the 2008 anti-trafficking law in line with international standards; however, draft amendments were awaiting approval by various stakeholders for the second consecutive reporting period.
The government investigated six potential trafficking cases in 2020, determining two cases to be trafficking—a Mozambican boy exploited in forced labor in Mozambique and a Mozambican woman exploited in sex trafficking in Tanzania—involving two suspected traffickers, compared with 13 investigations and eight confirmed cases in 2019. The government initiated prosecutions on both of these cases in 2020, compared with eight prosecutions of confirmed cases in the previous reporting period. The government convicted one trafficker of labor trafficking under the 2008 anti-trafficking law, compared with two convictions reported in 2019. Courts sentenced the trafficker to six years’ imprisonment. The initiated sex trafficking prosecution remained ongoing at the end of the reporting period. With support from an international organization, the government contributed information on the two confirmed cases of trafficking during the reporting period to a national centralized anti-trafficking data collection and reporting tool. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government employees complicit in human trafficking offenses; however, corruption and official complicity in trafficking crimes remained significant concerns, inhibiting law enforcement action during the year. Similar to previous years, alleged traffickers commonly bribed police and immigration officials to facilitate trafficking crimes both domestically and across international borders, especially to South Africa. Officials and civil society stakeholders reported government-imposed restrictions related to the pandemic, such as limited travel within the country, curfews, and border closures, slowed or inhibited law enforcement activity, especially investigations, during the reporting period.
The government conducted various trainings across the country for front-line responders during the reporting period. In partnership with international organizations, the government trained provincial and district reference groups on the anti-trafficking legal framework, victim identification, and investigation skills to at least 250 officials throughout Cabo Delgado, Manica, Nampula, Sofala, and Zambezia provinces. The government, in partnership with an international NGO, also provided training on the differences between trafficking and smuggling, and on victim identification and assistance to border agents in Maputo Province and at the South African border. The government partnered with the Government of Tanzania on the aforementioned sex trafficking case, requesting additional evidence from Tanzanian officials; coordination remained ongoing at the end of the reporting period.