Recruitment Video

Check out this cool human trafficking hiring video from Coalition Against Trafficking in Women


Mapping Human Trafficking in Southern Africa

Trafficking in Persons Mapped: It is evident that there is a lot of work that needs to be done to counter and combat trafficking in Southern Africa as most of the countries in the SADC bloc are in Tier 3/Tier 2 Watch list/Tier 2.

Date: 06/16/2009 Description: Trafficking in Persons Report 2009 Map of Africa. © State Dept Image

Source: US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2009

A Birth Certificate as a Life-Saver


You wouldn’t necessarily think that something as simple as a birth certificate can keep a child safe from traffickers, but it can. In fact, birth registration is the front line of defense against child slavery around the world. And Plan International is making it their job to count every last child.

The over 40 million people — mostly children — in 32 countries who Plan has registered since beginning their project a few years ago now have access to health care, employment, and other government benefits that they lacked before. They also have a powerful tool to protect them from human trafficking and other forms of exploitation.

One of the reasons traffickers more often target children from rural areas of developing countries is not because the children there are any more gullible or make better slaves than children from cities. It’s because these areas have lower birth registration rates. It’s far easier to snatch a child who doesn’t, according to the local government, “officially” exist.

Other benefits to having a birth certificate: in many countries, registered children enjoy greater access to education than unregistered ones, and education is a key component in protecting kids from exploitation now and throughout their lives. In addition, the ability to access health care or government benefits later in life will keep them out of desperation, which makes people vulnerable to human trafficking as adults. And upon having their own children, they will be more likely to get them registered, ending a multi-generational cycle of invisible children in much of the developing world.

So if birth registration is so beneficial, why wouldn’t a parent get a birth certificate for their child?

In some places, the cost of registration is more than a family can afford. In other areas, hospitals and registration sites may be far away from where the baby was born (at home) and inaccessible. Parents’ illiteracy, immigration status, and other factors pose further barriers to registration. In some conflict-torn areas, parents might be suspicious of identifying their child to the government. However, despite the host of barriers to registration, the benefits outweigh the challenges.

This increase in birth record registration will even help children who weren’t previously registered and have been trafficked find their way back home. While kids trafficked at a young age are often unable to identify their home town or region, they might remember a sibling’s name. If that sibling is registered, it helps the trafficked child discover other information about his identity, and hopefully eventually be reunited with his family.

Congratulations to Plan on their good work, and best of luck in the future.

Photo credit: dtcchc

Trafficking in Persons Report: Tier Placings Explained

As promised in an earlier post, SAAHTT will now explain Country Tier Placings in the Trafficking in Persons Report and what they mean.

TIP report

TIP report

So what is the Trafficking in Persons Report anyway?

The United States Department of State is required by law to submit a report (trafficking in persons report) to the US Congress on foreign governments efforts to eliminate all forms of human trafficking. The report seeks to raise global awareness of human trafficking and encourage foreign governments to take effective action against all forms of trafficking in perosns.

Tier 1

Countries whose governments fully comply with  minimum standards of the United States’  Trafficking Victims Protection Act (will breakdown this landmark US legislation later). Basically these are countries taking the most progressive steps to deal with human trafficking.

Tier 2

Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance. There is evidence of will and action towards full compliance/ towards efforts to combat trafficking.

Tier 2 Watchlist

Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards AND:
a) The absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is
significantly increasing; or
b) There is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year; or
c) The determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year

Tier 3

Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.

This is the understanding (sort of….):

Tier 1=Good

Tier 2=Okay-ish

Tier 2 watchlist=Bad

Tier 3= Worse

News-IOM Press 6/11/2009

MOZAMBIQUE – Raising Awareness of Human Trafficking in Flood Affected Areas – IOM is launching a series of special meetings to increase awareness of human trafficking among vulnerable flood-affected communities living in the central Sofala , western Tete and coastal Zambezia provinces in Mozambique.

The group discussions will take place from 9 to 20 November in eleven locations in the districts of Caia, Mutarara and Morrumbala including Chilomo, Tengane, Muriri, Mponha, Gera, Gaute, Ndambuenda, Mapulango, Canga, Caia and Morrumbala Sede.

They will bring together IOM counter-trafficking experts alongside hundreds of beneficiaries and community leaders from areas where existing vulnerabilities to trafficking have been exacerbated by recent flooding.

An assessment carried out by IOM in May 2007 clearly established that the regular destruction of livelihoods increased the vulnerability of communities to human trafficking.

“Tailor-made approaches engaging communities through their leadership can considerably reduce vulnerabilities to trafficking,” says IOM’s Nely Chimedza. “IOM is also providing funds to the most vulnerable to help them start income generating projects, so they can become self-reliant and therefore less exposed to trafficking.”

Group discussions will focus on the various forms of trafficking, on preventive strategies and practices and on setting up informal community protection mechanisms in times of natural disasters.

Income generating activities focusing on farming will be carried out in partnership with the NGO Oikos-Cooperação e Desenvolvimento and in coordination with the Mozambican Department of Agriculture.

Seeds for maize, beans, cassava and sweet potatoes, which can be grown in flooded areas will be distributed as will fertilizer and agricultural tools as part of efforts to reduce vulnerabilities and increase local food security. Business management training for beneficiaries will also be made available.

This Japanese funded initiative falls under IOM’s regional Southern African Counter Trafficking Assistance Programme (SACTAP) that addresses human trafficking across Southern Africa.

Mozambique is a source and to a lesser extent, a destination country for men, women and children trafficked for the purpose of forced labour and sexual exploitation. Children are regularly trafficked from rural to urban areas with promises of employment or education, as well as to South Africa for domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation. Young men and boys are also trafficked to South Africa for farm work and mining.

IOM’s SACTAP is funded by the Norwegian Embassy in South Africa and the US Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM)

For more information, please contact Nely Chimedza at IOM Maputo, Tel +258 21 310 779, Email:

Trafficking in Persons Report 2009-Zimbabwe

The US State Department produces a The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report every year. The report details human trafficking challenges in countries across the world. The report places countries into tiers and we will explain tier placing in next post. Below is the Zimbabwe country report as contained in the TIP report. For the full report follow:


Zimbabwe is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Large scale migration of Zimbabweans to surrounding countries has increased – as they flee a progressively more desperate situation at home – and NGOs, international organizations, and governments in neighboring countries report that some of these Zimbabweans face human trafficking. Rural Zimbabwean men, women, and children are trafficked within the country to farms for agricultural labor and to cities for forced domestic labor and commercial sexual exploitation. NGOs believe internal trafficking increased during the year, largely due to the closure of schools, worsening political violence, and a faltering economy. In 2008, Zimbabwean security forces consolidated their control of mining in the Marange region, forcing members of the local population to mine for diamonds. Between the March 2008 presidential election and the June 2008 run-off, youth militias controlled by Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF political party abducted and held an unknown number of women and girls, particularly opposition supporters, in sexual and domestic servitude at command bases.

Zimbabwean women and children are trafficked for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation, including in brothels, along both sides of the country’s borders with Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia. Young men and boys are trafficked to South Africa for farm work, often being forced to labor for months in South Africa without pay before “employers” have them arrested and deported as illegal immigrants. Small numbers of Zimbabwean men are trafficked for work in Mozambique’s construction industry. Young women and girls are lured to South Africa and potentially other countries with false employment offers that result in involuntary domestic servitude or forced prostitution. Men, women, and children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia are trafficked through Zimbabwe en route to South Africa.

The Government of Zimbabwe does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The government made minimal progress in combating trafficking in 2008, and members of its military and the former ruling party’s youth militias perpetrated acts of trafficking on local populations. The government’s anti-trafficking efforts were further weakened as it failed to address Zimbabwe’s economic and social problems during the reporting period, thus increasing the population’s vulnerability to trafficking within and outside of the country.

Recommendations for Zimbabwe: Cease the use by members of security forces of local populations for forced diamond mining; prosecute, convict, and punish trafficking offenders; advance comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation; formalize procedures for interviewing victims and transferring them to the care of NGOs; and launch a broad awareness-raising campaign that educates all levels of government officials, as well as the general public, on the nature of trafficking and the availability of assistance for victims.

The government did not provide any data on its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the year, including any data on prosecutions and convictions of traffickers. Zimbabwe does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, though existing statutes outlaw forced labor and numerous forms of sexual exploitation. Forced labor offenses are punishable by a fine or two years’ imprisonment, or both; these penalties are not sufficiently stringent or commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes. The government reported in 2007 that it was drafting comprehensive trafficking legislation; however, the draft was neither publicly available nor introduced in Parliament during the last year. Parliament was not sworn in until August 2008 following March elections; the newly elected parliamentarians have not yet formed the committees that review and propose legislation. The government failed to provide information on anti-trafficking law enforcement activities conducted during the reporting period. The Ministry of Justice reported that none of the cases investigated in 2007 was brought to trial during 2008. The government did not provide specialized anti-trafficking training for law enforcement officials.

The growing number of illegal migrants deported from South Africa and Botswana, combined with a crippling lack of resources, severely impeded the government’s ability to effectively identify victims of trafficking among returnees. The Department of Immigration required all deportees returning from South Africa via the Beitbridge border crossing to attend an IOM-led briefing on safe migration, which includes a discussion on human trafficking and IOM and NGO assistance services. The reception center’s social workers – who are employed by the Department of Social Welfare, but funded and trained by IOM – screened the deportees and referred them to NGO shelters; one trafficking victim was identified through this process in 2008. The District Council of Beitbridge employed one child protection officer and convened a child protection committee to coordinate programs and resources on issues relating to children. In May 2008, IOM opened a second reception center at the Plumtree border crossing for Zimbabweans deported from Botswana. Although the government has an established process for referring victims to international organizations and NGOs that provide shelter and other services, in 2008 the government primarily depended on these organizations to identify trafficking victims and alert the authorities. However, the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s Victim Friendly Unit referred three victims to IOM during the reporting period. The government generally encourages victims to assist in the prosecution of traffickers, but is not believed to have prosecuted trafficking offenses during the year. Likewise, the government did not inappropriately incarcerate or otherwise penalize victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. It could have offered foreign victims relief from deportation while they receive victim services and their cases are investigated, though there were no cases of victims receiving such relief in 2008. With the exception of deportees from South Africa and Botswana, the government’s law enforcement, immigration, and social services do not have a formal system for proactively identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations.

The government did not conduct anti-trafficking information or education campaigns during the reporting period, and there remained a general lack of understanding of human trafficking across government agencies, especially at the local level. Senior government officials occasionally spoke, however, about the dangers of trafficking and illegal migration, and the state-run media printed and aired warnings about false employment scams and exploitative labor conditions. During the year, all four government-controlled radio stations aired an IOM public service announcement eight times each day in five languages during peak migration periods. The inter-ministerial anti-trafficking task force took no concrete action during the year. Anecdotal reports indicated that the worsening economy reduced the demand for commercial sex acts, though there were no known government efforts to reduce the demand for forced labor or the demand for commercial sex acts. Information was unavailable regarding measures adopted by the government to ensure its nationals deployed to peacekeeping missions do not facilitate or engage in human trafficking. Zimbabwe has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.