Source: Zim improves in human trafficking rankings – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 28, 2017
ZIMBABWE’S rankings in human trafficking have improved this year, moving from tier three to tier two, a United States diplomat, Lisa Krista, told journalists in Harare yesterday.
by VENERANDA LANGA
Tier three ranks the worst cases of human trafficking, while tier two lists countries that are not meeting the minimum standards set by the Polamo Protocol to fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and tier one is for countries with the best practices
“The Zimbabwean government does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. However, it is making significant efforts to do so,” Krista said during a roundtable discussion on the 2017 trafficking in persons report released by the US government on Tuesday.
“The government made key achievements during the reporting period, and, therefore, Zimbabwe was upgraded to the tier two watchlist, and these achievements included increased efforts to investigate and prosecute alleged trafficking crimes.”
The report reads: “Some of the notable achievements by Zimbabwe include co-ordinating with Kuwait to repatriate and refer to care 121 female trafficking victims, and also repatriating five victims from Sudan, as well as launching its first national action plan and implementing several key activities in the plan.”
Other achievements by the Zimbabwean government were that government investigated 72 potential cases of trafficking, an increase from one investigation in the previous reporting period.
“The government reported prosecuting 42 trafficking cases in 2016 after reporting zero prosecutions in 2015; it prosecuted 21 new defendants for alleged trafficking crimes, while another 21 defendants were involved in ongoing prosecutions.”
The US trafficking report said corruption in law enforcement and the judiciary impaired the effectiveness of anti-trafficking efforts.
“Victims reportedly refused to report or pursue cases of trafficking due to fear their traffickers could bribe police or judges. Anecdotal evidence indicated limited government involvement in, and tolerance of, trafficking on a local level and at border crossings.”
Krista said Zimbabwean was still regarded as a source transit point for trafficking, and destination country for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour.
“Women and girls from Zimbabwean towns bordering South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia are subjected to forced labour, including domestic servitude, and sex trafficking in brothels catering for long-distance truck drivers on both sides of the borders.
“Zimbabwean men, women and children are subjected to forced labour in agriculture and domestic service in the country’s rural areas, as well as domestic servitude and sex trafficking in cities and surrounding towns.”
The report said family members recruit relatives from rural areas for work in cities where they were often subjected to domestic servitude or other forms of forced labour and some children, particularly orphans, lured with promises of education or adoption.
“Reports indicate that adults have recruited girls for child sex trafficking in Victoria Falls. Children are subjected to forced labour in the agricultural and mining sectors and are forced to carry out illegal activities, including drug smuggling,” read the report.
Economic hardships are also said to have lured Zimbabwean women and men into exploitative labour situations in neighbouring countries.
International Organisation for Migration project manager Daniel Sam said journalists play a role in exposing human traffickers and in warning people of the dangers and signs of human trafficking.