While there was no information that organised groups coerced victims into forced labour or prostitution in Zimbabwe, police had discovered a migrant smuggling syndicate involving Air Zimbabwe employees.
The employees were arrested and prosecuted. There were no reports that government officials were involved.
There were anecdotal reports that Zimbabwe was a country of origin and transit for trafficked persons, but there was no conclusive evidence to suggest that there was a sustained, organised effort to traffic persons.
Viewing cable 05HARARE339, ZIMBABWE ANTI-TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT 2004 –
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 08 HARARE 000339
DEPT FOR G/TIP, G, INL, PRM, IWI, AF/RSA, USAID
AF/S FOR BNEULING
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE, D. TEITELBAUM
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE ANTI-TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT 2004 –
REF: 04 STATE 273089
Â¶1. Overview of a Country’s Activities to Eliminate
Trafficking in Persons:
— A. There continued to be anecdotal reports that Zimbabwe
was a country of origin and transit for trafficked persons,
but there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that there is
a sustained, organized effort to traffic persons. Reports
included anecdotes of Zimbabwean girls exchanging sex for
passage across the South African border, Zimbabwean women
being lured out of the country with false job promises,
children being sexually abused by immigration officials of
neighboring countries during deportation from Botswana and
South Africa, children working as domestic or agricultural
workers in Zimbabwe and neighboring countries, and employers
demanding sex from undocumented Zimbabwean workers in South
Africa, both adults and children, under the threat of
The Child and Law Foundation conducted a study in Plumtree,
near the border with Botswana, in 2004 that reinforced
findings of a CLF report done in Beitbridge, the main South
African border crossing, in 2003: children were spontaneously
crossing the border of their own volition out of economic
necessity and were occasionally being abused during
deportation back to Zimbabwe. A Solidarity Peace Trust (SPT)
study conducted near the border in Musina, South Africa,
found a few Zimbabwean women working as sex workers; none
were minors. Save the Children Norway, Save the Children UK,
Child Protection Society, and UNICEF found evidence of
children working within Zimbabwe or in bordering countries as
domestic or agricultural workers, often unpaid, working
extensive hours, and without access to schooling.
All of the officials from Zimbabwean government, local
non-governmental organizations, and international
organizations interviewed said there are currently no
reliable statistics on the extent of the problem but also
said the problem was not widespread, sustained, or organized.
— B. There were anecdotal reports that victims were
trafficked from throughout Zimbabwe to the border areas and
across the borders into Botswana and South Africa. There
were also anecdotal reports that victims were transited
through Zimbabwe, from Botswana, Ghana, and East Africa, to
South Africa, but there is no systematic or credible
reporting to sustain these allegations. The Government has
launched a crackdown on illegal migrants that includes a
crackdown on trafficking in persons and human smuggling. The
Government arrests all persons identified without legal
documentation and those individuals facilitating their
transit. News reports indicate that illegal migrants are
transferred Tongogara Refugee Camp pending investigation of
their situation and return to their home country. Police say
that, if there is no evidence that the illegal migrants are
victims of a crime or have violated Zimbabwean laws other
than immigration laws, they are deported.
— C. No known changes.
— D. The Child and Law Foundation (CLF), with support from
Save the Children Norway, conducted a study at the border
town of Plumtree, with the cooperation of the Zimbabwe
Department of Immigration, who facilitated access to
officials. The study was completed in November 2004, and
reinforced the findings of CLF,s 2003 Beitbridge study.
Both CLF,s studies were both based on interviews with
children and provided anecdotal evidence of limited, sporadic
The International Organization of Migration (IOM) conducted
an extensive study on trafficking in southern Africa in 2003
that did not include Zimbabwe. IOM has plans to conduct an
additional regional study within the next two years that will
include Zimbabwe. The study will better define the extent
and nature of trafficking patterns in the region, including
in Zimbabwe. IOM is currently seeking funding to conduct
— E. There were no reports that Zimbabwe was a destination
point for internationally trafficked victims.
— F. Anecdotal information suggests that Zimbabweans, who
spontaneously emigrate seeking a better life across the
border, are exploited while in a neighboring country or when
being deported. There is also a problem of child labor within
Zimbabwe, due to the country,s economic difficulties and its
high number of HIV/AIDS orphans.
Save the Children UK says the organization has no evidence
that organized trafficking rings are transporting children
across the border. CLF,s study, based on interviews with
children who had crossed into Botswana, found that several
types of children cross the border looking for employment,
some of whom seek out and receive the assistance of
cross-border traffickers: HIV/AIDS orphans living alone or
who can not access social services due to the lack of a birth
certificate, children with family or friends across the
border, and children who cross with a group. The children
were occasionally victims of sexual exploitation from
neighboring countries, officials during deportation. CLF,s
2003 Beitbridge study found that girls, hoping for better
economic opportunities in South Africa, would hitch rides
into South Africa or the border town of Beitbridge in
exchange for sex with truck drivers. Some girls and women
would remain in the area of Beitbridge after returning from
South Africa and work as prostitutes due to lack of funds to
return to their homes in Zimbabwe.
A November 2004 Solidarity Peace Trust study reports that
Zimbabweans, including minors living illegally in South
Africa are sometimes victimized by employers, police, or
immigration officials who demand sexual favors in order not
to be deported. The study also reports that Zimbabweans are
vulnerable to wage exploitation under the threat of
Officials from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) ) Criminal
Investigative Division (CID) report that Zimbabweans are also
lured to other countries (primarily the UK, but also the
United States, South Africa, and other African countries)
with false promises of jobs. Upon arrival in the destination
country, they are then debt-bonded, have their passports
taken away and their movements restricted, and they are
exploited in sweatshop labor or brothels. Even when these
victims are in a position to seek help, they often hesitate
going to police in those countries, for fear of being
deported. CID officials usually learned of these cases when
the victims were assisted by citizens in the destination
countries and eventually returned home.
— G. The GOZ appears to have the political will to combat
trafficking. Officials in the ZRP, Attorney General,s
Office, Department of Immigration, Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, and Ministry of Social Welfare all expressed in
public the government,s determination to combat trafficking.
NGOs and international organizations that deal with
trafficking in persons and who have studies or projects
planned for 2005 have said the government supports their
efforts and cooperates with them. Immigration officials
facilitated the research conducted by CLF.
Government actions this year increased over last year. The
government initiated a highly-publicized crackdown on
prostitution in 2004 that included publishing the names of
pimps and clients. In the area of prevention, the government
is working with an orphanage that has received funding from
the Government of Canada to provide schooling and vocational
training to orphans at risk of child labor and trafficking in
persons. The government increased the budget for a program to
pay for school fees for other at-risk children. The state-run
media have run articles on trafficking in persons to alert
Zimbabweans to the dangers. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
plans to distribute information to Zimbabweans abroad on
employment scams and how to seek help if they are victims. In
the area of prosecution and law enforcement, the attorney
general,s office is developing a training program for
prosecutors and judges. Police and immigration officials
participated in regional meetings, both for training purposes
and to facilitate regional cooperation. In the area of
protection of victims, the Ministry of Public Service, Social
Welfare, and Labor is constructing a center at the border
town of Beitbridge to assist deportees to return to their
homes, including counseling for those who are victims of
sexual exploitation. Government officials have identified
awareness-raising and identification of the extent of the
problem as necessary first steps for ever greater government
action on this issue.
— H. There was no evidence that any government officials
facilitated or condoned trafficking.
— I. Zimbabwe,s economy remains in turmoil, with
triple-digit inflation and the collapse of commercial
agriculture. With a 25% HIV infection rate, there are an
estimated million HIV/AIDS orphans. As long as the economy
remains in turmoil, there will be limited resources to expand
anti-trafficking activities beyond those undertaken this
–J. The government has designated a single point of contact
in the ZRP for anti-trafficking efforts. ZRP and Department
of Immigration officials participate in regional
anti-trafficking workshops where they discuss government
efforts. It shares information and cooperates with Interpol
and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (see 1.G.).
–K. Prostitution is illegal in Zimbabwe, and the activities
of prostitutes, brothel owners, pimps, and clients are
criminalized. A police crackdown on prostitution in 2004 was
given prominent coverage in the state-run media, with several
articles throughout the year appearing in the newspapers,
including publication of the names of clients arrested in
— A. The government recognizes that trafficking in persons
exists. However, as trafficking is accompanied by other
criminal offenses, many instances were never identified as
trafficking per se but were nonetheless prosecuted. The
government recognizes the need to identify the extent of
trafficking and to conduct a public awareness campaign as
important steps in prevention and is making appropriate plans
to do so.
— B. The ZRP, Department of Immigration (Ministry of Home
Affairs), and Ministry of Justice are responsible for law
enforcement aspects of anti-trafficking efforts. The Ministry
of Public Service, Social Welfare, and Labor and the Ministry
of Education have prevention programs to provide alternatives
to children at risk.
— C. The police have instituted crackdowns against
prostitution in the cities, publishing names of brothel
owners, pimps, and clients in the state-run media. In
addition to prominent coverage of prostitution crackdowns,
the state-run media prominently features articles about
trafficking in persons, describing employment scams and other
types of trafficking in persons. For example, the local press
prominently featured multiple stories about the case of
Zimbabwean women murdered in Kenya after responding to a
false employment scam that promised jobs in Canada.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is developing a notice to
Zimbabwean embassies to inform Zimbabweans abroad of common
types of trafficking and how victims can seek help.
— D. The government has several programs to support children
in groups at high risk for trafficking and child labor. One
problem many children encounter is the lack of a birth
certificate, which is generally necessary in accessing social
services. Parents do not always apply for birth certificates
immediately upon a child,s birth due to the need to travel
to the provincial capital as previously required. Many
orphans have found themselves with no birth certificates and
no way of registering for themselves. In 2004, the government
opened new birth registration centers around the country to
make it easier for parents to register their children.
In 2005, the Government has budgeted 190 billion ZWD
(approximately $30 million USD) for its Basic Education
Assistance Module (BEAM) program, designed to keep at-risk
children in school. Zimbabwe,s public schools, although not
charging tuition, do charge some fees, and students must
purchase their books and uniforms. BEAM pays school fees and
related expenses including books and uniforms for
underprivileged children and AIDS orphans. The program has
been under funded (only 3.5 billion ZWD spent in 2004) and
has not met its targets in previous years.
The Ministries of Education, Home Affairs, and Public
Service, Labor, and Social Welfare also provide support to a
children,s home with a vocational training program funded by
the government of Canada. The home caters mainly for orphan
children and provides both formal schooling and vocational
training to these children, who are deemed at high risk of
becoming victims of child labor and trafficking in persons.
The Ministry of Education accredited the primary school and
has just approved accreditation for a secondary school to be
established at the home. The Ministries of Education, Public
Service, and Home Affairs are developing a curriculum for the
vocational skills program. Police officers refer children
identified as orphans to the Department of Social Welfare
(within the Ministry of Public Service). Social Welfare
verifies the children are orphans and accompanies them to the
— E. The BEAM program has been under funded in the past.
The government relies on other, low-cost methods such as
campaigns in the state-run media, and works with NGOs in
providing social services. (See also 1.i.)
— F. NGOs that run programs such as orphanages and sexual
abuse programs, or that conduct research, require government
cooperation. The Ministry of Education must accredit any
program providing formal education, for example. CLF obtained
Department of Immigration assistance with conducting its
research on child border crossers. In general, cooperation
— G. There are checkpoints at all of Zimbabwe,s major
border crossings. The Department of Immigration monitors
evidence of trafficking but does not maintain statistics. The
ZRP has attempted to investigate instances of trafficking
that have come to its attention (see 3.f.).
— H. An official in the ZRP is designated point of contact
for anti-trafficking efforts. ZRP and Department of
Immigration officials liaise on anti-trafficking issues.
— I. The government participates in an Interpol southern
Africa law enforcement working group that meets quarterly and
discusses trafficking in persons, among other law enforcement
issues. The government co-hosted one regional working
meeting, including police and immigration officials in
neighboring countries and officials from international
organization and local NGOs. The government is participating
in development of a regional action plan. See also 3.g.
— J. The government does not yet have a national plan of
action. However, the ZRP and Department of Immigration are
participating in regional workshops to develop a regional
plan of action. See also 3.g.
— K. The government,s point of contact for trafficking in
persons is in the ZRP-CID. The Ministry of Home Affairs,
which includes both ZRP and the Department of Immigration,
has taken the lead in Zimbabwe,s regional coordination. The
Ministry of Justice is responsible for training programs for
the courts. The Ministry of Public Service, Labor, and Social
Welfare is responsible for all social services programs.
Â¶3. Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers:
— A. Trafficking-related crimes are currently addressed
under other legislation, primarily the Sexual Offences Act,
the Children,s Protection and Adoption Act, and the
Immigration Act. These laws criminalize transporting people
across the border for sex, corruption of children and
allowing children to reside in or to frequent a brothel,
allowing children to consort with or be employed by
prostitutes, and forgery of travel documents. The
constitution provides that &no one may be held in slavery or
servitude or be made to perform forced or compulsory labor.8
In addition, the common law prohibits abduction and forced
labor. No new legislation was enacted in the past year.
Victim Friendly Courts (VFC) were specifically created in
1997 to accommodate children and sexual offenses victims. A
trafficked person has the option to take his or her case
before the VFC.
— B. Corruption of children is punishable by a fine, up to
two years in prison, or both. Procuring a person for
prostitution, inside or outside of Zimbabwe, is punishable by
a fine, up to ten years in prison, or both. Exploitation of
children, inside or outside of Zimbabwe, is a crime, but
there is no specified penalty in the legislation; instead,
the presiding Magistrate decides sentencing. (see also 3.l.).
— C. Incarceration is mandatory for convictions for rape or
forcible sexual assault. There is no minimum penalty.
Sentences usually vary from four years to fifteen years,
depending on the circumstances of the crime.
— D. Trafficking cases in Zimbabwe are prosecuted as other
crimes and are therefore not tracked as trafficking cases,
and there are no reliable statistics. However, the ZRP does
investigate cases of trafficking (see 3.f.), and the
government has prosecuted migrant smugglers and other
traffickers (see 3.e.).
We are unaware of any allegations that the ZRP has failed to
investigate possible trafficking cases that had come to its
— E. There was no information that any organized groups
coerced victims into forced labor or prostitution in
Zimbabwe. There were no reports that government officials
Police discovered a crime syndicate in Zimbabwe producing
fake Congolese and Gabonese passports for migrant smugglers
transiting people through Zimbabwe. Police also discovered a
migrant smuggling syndicate involving Air Zimbabwe employees;
the employees were arrested and prosecuted.
CLF and Solidarity Peace Trust,s findings show that
Zimbabwean victims near the border are often exploited by
truck drivers, employers, and brothel owners taking advantage
of migrants, economic desperation (see 1.f.).
There is no evidence suggesting the involvement of government
officials in trafficking.
— F. Law enforcement investigated an organized crime
syndicate producing fake passports and another syndicate
involved in migrant smuggling (see 3.e.).
The ZRP actively investigates false employment scams with
police posing as job applicants. In each instance, police
reported that they arrived at the location advertised after
the operation had moved. They said they believed that the
traffickers would place an ad and set up shop for only a day
then move on and place a different ad, limiting the risk of
The ZRP also reported a case of two Pakistani girls who were
brought to Zimbabwe where, together with two ethnic Indian
Zimbabwean girls, they were victimized by a pornography ring.
Efforts to investigate foundered when the victims, parents
refused to cooperate with the investigation, apparently to
avoid stigmatization. Police reported that similar
investigations have been thwarted by the uncooperative
posture of putative victims and their families.
— G. Police and immigration officials attended regional
meetings and workshops on the subject of trafficking in
persons. The government, jointly with Interpol,s Subregional
Bureau for Southern Africa, hosted a Regional Working Meeting
on Trafficking in Persons in November, attended by police and
immigration officials from the region and representatives of
international organizations and one local NGO that deals with
children,s issues. The meeting focused on regional
cooperation between law enforcement and NGOs in different
countries to conduct investigations, identify victims, and
provide care for victims, and Interpol presented the
resources that it has available for law enforcement in
Zimbabwe and other countries. At the meeting, the ZRP
presented a list of recommendations for the government on
cooperation, enacting anti-TIP legislation, and conducting
bilateral investigations to track trafficking across borders.
Prosecutors and magistrates in the Victim Friendly Courts
receive special training in handling victims of abuse.
The Attorney General,s office is developing an anti-TIP
education program for prosecutors and judges to help address
TIP-related issues in prosecutions under existing law.
The government sought and received a training manual from
Interpol,s subdirectorate for Trafficking in Human Beings on
carrying out investigations into trafficking in persons.
A local NGO, Connect, plans to provide training to Zimbabwean
police to identify and document cases of trafficking.
The International Organization of Migration (IOM) and
Interpol plan to conduct a series of capacity building
workshops for government officials.
— H. No specific cases were confirmed.
Police and immigration officials interacted with Interpol and
police and immigration from other countries in the region
(see 3.g.). The government is collaborating on a Southern
African Development Community (SADC) effort with IOM and the
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to develop a
regional declaration on trafficking in persons and to develop
a plan of action. The plan of action would focus first on
assessment of the scope and nature of the problem in the
region then on developing anti-TIP legislation that would
facilitate cooperation on investigations.
— I. There were no reports of extraditions or requests of
extradition from Zimbabwe to other countries. There were no
reports of Zimbabweans charged with trafficking in other
countries. The government has extradition treaties with
countries in the region.
— J. There is no evidence of any government involvement in
or tolerance of trafficking at any level.
— K. Not applicable; see 3.j.
— L. There is no known child sex tourism problem. Sections
of the Sexual Offences Act that pertain to children apply to
Zimbabweans, activities outside of the country.
Specifically, a Zimbabwean engaging in activities that, under
the SOA, are deemed exploitation of children, conspiracy to
exploit children, or inciting another person to exploit
children can be prosecuted under the SOA regardless of the
location of the activities.
— M. The government ratified ILO Convention 182 on December
11, 2000. The government ratified ILO Conventions 29 and 105
on August 27, 1998. The government has not signed the
Optional Protocol to the CRC on the sale of children. The
government has not signed the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress
and Punish Trafficking in Persons.
Â¶4. Protection and Assistance to Victims:
— A. The government (through the Ministry of Public Service
and Department of Immigration) is constructing, with funds
from Save the Children Norway, a transit center at
Beitbridge. The center will assist young deportees traveling
from South Africa who, according to anecdotal evidence, are
often victims of abuse and sometimes resort to prostitution
because they do not have the funds to return to their homes.
The center will provide temporary shelter for up to three
days, counseling services, and assistance in returning home.
Workers will also contact the social welfare offices in the
children,s home areas to ensure they return to school. The
Beitbridge Child Protection Community published its plan for
the center in January.
— B. No specific victims of trafficking were identified
within Zimbabwe. The government cooperates with Connect,
which provides family counseling, and is working with Save
the Children Norway on the Beitbridge Center (see 4.a.). The
government facilitated access to CLF for its Beitbridge and
— C. No specific victims of trafficking were identified.
According to news reports, foreigners suspected of being
illegal immigrants, which could include trafficking victims,
are transferred to Tongogara refugee camp (a United Nations
camp run by an NGO) pending further investigation.
The government is establishing a center to assist young
Zimbabweans deported from South Africa (see 4.a.).
— D. Victims of existing laws related to child or domestic
abuse are treated with special procedures in the Victim
Friendly Courts. Suspected illegal immigrants are transferred
to Tongogara refugee camp pending investigation but may have
been arrested initially (see 4.c.).
— E. No victims of trafficking were identified. In at least
one case, suspected victims of trafficking would not
cooperate with a police investigation (see 3.f.).
— F. In the Victim Friendly Courts, the alleged perpetrator
cannot see or hear the victim in proceedings.
— G. The Attorney General,s office is developing a
training curriculum for prosecutors and judges to help
address TIP-related issues in prosecutions under existing law
The Government sought and received training manuals for law
enforcement from Interpol (see 3.g.).
— H. The government is constructing a center at Beitbridge
to assist deportees from South Africa, with special services
for victims of sexual exploitation (see 4.a.).
Police and MFA officials say anecdotal evidence suggests that
victims abroad are reluctant to seek assistance from their
embassies, for fear of coming to the attention of authorities
in the host country that could deport them. Instead, victims
receive assistance within their communities abroad, sometimes
returning to Zimbabwe. Officials sometimes hear about
returned victims but they say they do not receive enough
information to follow up. Both the police and MFA have
identified a public awareness campaign as an important step
in assisting with identification of victims and requested
assistance from Interpol and other international sources with
such a campaign.
— I. Save the Children Norway, the Child and Law
Foundation, Connect, the Child Protection Society, and UNICEF
all deal in children,s issues. They all study the problems
of child labor and/or trafficking. Several small
organizations deal with domestic violence and run shelters.
CLF and Connect report cooperation from the government in
gaining access to officials while conducting their
activities. The International Organization for Migration
office in Pretoria, South Africa has a trafficking in persons
point of contact for the region and coordinates with IOM,s
Harare office as needed. There are plans to add an anti-TIP
position to the IOM Harare office.
Â¶5. Post point of contact for trafficking in persons is
Bianca Menendez; office phone 263-4-250-593, extension 291;
fax 263-4-253-000; e-mail [email protected] The
estimated hours spent per officer in preparation of this
report are as follows: polasst 3 hours, poloff 35 hours,
polchief 15 hours, DCM 1 hour review, AMB 1 hour review.