Counter - Trafficking Programme
The role and function of IOM
In Southern Africa, IOM has been at the forefront of counter-trafficking work since 2002 when the Organization conducted a regional research assessment of human trafficking in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland with the resulting publication, Seduction, Sale, and Slavery: Trafficking in Women and Children for Sexual Exploitation in Southern Africa. The research found that in most cases, women and children were being lured to South Africa with promises of jobs, education, or marriage only to be sold and sexually exploited in the country’s major urban centers. Based on its initial research assessment, IOM began the implementation of the Southern African Counter-Trafficking Assistance Programme (SACTAP) in October 2003 with funding from US State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) and the Norwegian and South African Ministries of Foreign Affairs. SACTAP is built around four mutually-supportive pillars: research, information dissemination, institutional capacity building and victim assistance.
The SACTAP has been implemented in Zimbabwe since 2005 where activities have been focusing on prevention, protection of victims of trafficking and the provision for their return home and/or reintegration. IOM Zimbabwe has been addressing TIP through the following activities: information dissemination, institutional capacity building, victim assistance and research.
Zimbabwe is regarded as a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labour and sexual exploitation (United States, Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2009). Rural Zimbabwean men, women and children are trafficked internally to farms for agricultural labour and to cities and border towns for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation in brothels, along both sides of the borders with Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia. Young men and boys are trafficked to South Africa for farm work, often labouring for months in South Africa without pay before employers have them arrested and deported as illegal immigrants (United States, Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2008).
Furthermore, young women and girls are lured to South Africa, the People’s Republic of China, Egypt, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada with false employment offers that result in involuntary domestic servitude or commercial sexual exploitation. Young women and children from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia are trafficked through Zimbabwe en route to South Africa (IOM case records of victims of trafficking assisted through the Southern African –Counter Trafficking Assistance Program (SACTAP) and suspected cases reported since 2005.).
In addition, the Government of Zimbabwe does not fully comply with the international minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking (Support mechanisms to prevent, protect victims of trafficking and prosecution of traffickers as outlined in the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. ). Zimbabwe is being placed on Tier 3 (United States 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report country ranking, Tier 3 referring to countries not making any effort to comply with the required minimum standards to eliminate human trafficking.) in 2009 from Tier 2 Watch list in 2008 for its failure to provide evidence of increase efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking.
Moreover, Zimbabwe’s geographical position lends itself to be accessed as a transit point for both human trafficking and human smuggling for persons trafficked from Asia and from other African countries. Causes of human trafficking are, amongst others, poverty, inequality in wealth and resource distribution, gender discrimination, recent economic downturn characterized by poverty, rise in unemployment, high levels of inflation and a growing number of HIV/AIDS orphans and child-headed households, traditional practices such as early childhood marriage, conflict, family dysfunction, lack of awareness, and the increasingly globalised sex trade and resulting demand for sex tourism, as well the demand for cheap labour add to this, the porous nature of the borders in the SADC region which greatly facilitates illegal entry.
The methods of recruitment for trafficking are largely through false promises of well-paid employment, marriage or education, and even abduction in some cases. In many cases the recruitment is being done by relatives, family members and friends just like domestic violence the perpetrators are family members. The human trafficking networks in Zimbabwe can be described as small scale, operating at a low level. Operators work as individuals or in small units and coordinate with bigger players in final destination countries. Human smuggling networks on the other hand are well organised and syndicate with the regional and international criminal networks.
In addition, with no anti-trafficking legislation and no definition of the crime in domestic law, law enforcement agencies in Zimbabwe lack the tools necessary to investigate and prosecute cases of trafficking, and do very limited gathering and analyses of human trafficking intelligence.
The SACTAP has been implemented in Zimbabwe since 2005 where activities have been focusing on prevention, protection of victims of trafficking and the provision for their return home and/or reintegration. In light of the above background, IOM Zimbabwe is addressing human trafficking through undertaking various interventions in the following activities:
Information Awareness Raising and Dissemination: Through the general dissemination of IEC materials (posters, brochures, flyers, bumper stickers) aimed for the general public and through airing of anti-trafficking radio and TV ads.
Institutional Capacity Building:Through various training workshops for law enforcement officials, social and health workers, civil society organizations (CSOs), teachers, youth in primary and secondary schools, community leadership and the media.
Victim Assistance Through giving assistance to women, men and children who are victims of trafficking. The following assistance is given; shelter, medical assistance, psychosocial counselling, and either return and/or reintegration options. Currently IOM is supporting shelters in order to enhance their capacity in assisting victims of trafficking. In 2008 IOM established a National Counter-Trafficking Toll-Free Hotline in order to provide assistance to victims of trafficking and/or provide information on the issue of human trafficking. Additionally, the line is being used for people to report cases or suspicion of human trafficking, as well as verifying different job and study opportunities. The hotline operators were trained on all issues related to human trafficking, basic counselling and interviewing skills, and telephone answering skills, as well as the importance of confidentiality.
Help offered to the victims and beneficiaries
Information on human trafficking
Shelter, food and other necessities
Assistance voluntary return
Accomplishments : May - August 2010
A two (2) separate child-trafficking training workshops for teachers, children and students in primary and secondary schools were held in Bulawayo and 24 teachers and 28 students were trained separately.
A total of three (3) child trafficking post-workshops monitoring visits targeting trained primary and secondary schools in Manicaland, Midlands and Matabeleland South Provinces were conducted and 35 schools were visited.
One(1) two-day institutional capacity building of law enforcement and social services providers in Plumtree was conducted in June.
Four (4) counter-trafficking training workshops targeting social service providers, faith based organizations and community leadership were conducted in Manicaland and Midlands provinces and160 participants attended.
As part of the information awareness raising during FIFA World Cup in South Africa, anti-trafficking adverts featuring the national toll-free hotline number (0800 32 22222) were developed and aired on national Television.