¶1. (U) SUMMARY: An overview of current state of human trafficking in Zambia and methods utilized by the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ). END SUMMARY.


¶2. (SBU) The primary sources of available information on human trafficking are the GRZ’s interministerial committee and secretariat on human trafficking (headed by the Ministry of Home Affairs), the Zambia Police Service’s Victim Support Unit (VSU), Zambia Immigration, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and NGOs such as YWCA, African Medical Educational Support Program (AMESP), and the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ).

¶3. (SBU) Zambia remains a country of destination, origin and transit for international trafficking in persons. Its geographic position (Zambia shares land, lake and riverine borders with eight countries) makes it attractive for traffickers. Zambia is sometimes a destination country for trafficked labor from Malawi and Mozambique. Contacts in the Copperbelt region of Zambia report increasing numbers of Chinese laborers coming to work in the mines and present unsubstantiated anecdotal evidence of Chinese and Indian worker exploitation. Local contacts report indications that refugees are both trafficked to Zambia and serve as traffickers. During the reporting period, there were instances of Zambians being trafficked to South Africa, Congo and Namibia. As a transit country, Zambia’s geographic location, numerous porous borders and immigration enforcement challenges make it a nexus for trafficking from the Great Lakes Region to South Africa. Local contacts observe that increasing numbers of South Asians are trafficked through Zambia. Internal trafficking, mainly of women and children from rural to urban areas for labor, remains a challenge and likely the dominant form of trafficking in Zambia.

¶4. (SBU) New trafficking trends identified in Zambia during this reporting period include possible exploitation of Chinese and Indian mine workers, South Asian males trafficked for labor, the involvement of refugees as both trafficker and victim, and male Somali youth trafficked through Zambia for unconfirmed purposes.

¶5. (SBU) As noted in a TIP report, working conditions for victims of trafficking vary. Some are placed in private homes and receive adequate room and board, but others are starved and beaten, deprived of sleep, and/or overworked to the point of exhaustion. Many are not paid even a fraction of the wages they are promised, and some are not paid at all for long hours of work. Local contacts note that victims being transited through Zambia are often held for weeks at a time in remote locations without their passports and with very little food.

¶6. (SBU) Trafficking affects both males and females. Local officials believe that men are more frequently trafficked for labor. Women and children are trafficked for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation. While orphans and street children are vulnerable groups, a UNICEF-sponsored outreach exercise yielded information that children of more affluent members of a village are also vulnerable to trafficking.

¶7. (SBU) GRZ counterparts believe that trafficking through Zambia is becoming increasingly organized and linked to money laundering efforts based largely in South Africa. Traffickers establish front companies associated with the mining supply, garment or other industries, as well as fake NGOs. Internal trafficking is generally perpetrated by individuals, including family members, of the victim. Recruitment methods include promises of work or scholarship, invitations to church conferences or workshops, family reunions and offers of a better life and education for rural children. Traffickers often supply victims with fake documents, and the same travel document is sometimes used for multiple individuals.

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¶8. (SBU) The GRZ has acknowledged that trafficking is a problem in Zambia and passed a comprehensive anti-trafficking act. The GRZ has made progress in establishing the National Committee on Human Trafficking, which is headed by Home Affairs and comprises 12 ministries as well as an NGO specializing in children’s issues.

¶9. (SBU) The GRZ is assessed by IOs and NGOs to be proactive in the fight against human trafficking. However, financial constraints and lack of technical knowledge prove real impediments to concrete action. Government offices routinely lack vehicles or fuel to conduct investigations or transport victims. While petty corruption at both sides of border posts, at police stations and at other government offices remains a problem, the anti-trafficking Act provides harsh penalties for officials who facilitate trafficking. The GRZ continues to reach out to IOs and NGOs to advance anti-trafficking efforts and relies on international partners for most material support.


¶10. (SBU) According to the GRZ anti-trafficking secretariat, the GRZ successfully prosecuted two cases under the new Act . Both cases involved Zambian men who had sold their children to Tanzanian individuals. The convicted men are being held in prison pending High Court sentencing, and the children were rescued. There are currently nine cases pending under the new anti-trafficking legislation. Victims include South Asians being trafficked through Zambia for labor exploitation in South Africa and male Somali teenage youth being trafficked for unknown, but possibly nefarious, purposes.

¶11. (SBU) While the above cases are a positive sign of the GRZ’s willingness to apply the new Act, immigration and police officials note that traffickers are often convicted under immigration violations for lack of sufficient evidence to prosecute under anti-trafficking legislation. A well-publicized case of a Namibian immigration official who was accused of trafficking Zambian children for labor falls into this category. Prosecutors are generally able to show transportation of a victim and sometimes able to prove recruitment, but often lack information on exploitation that may be planned for when a victim would arrive at the final destination. Another obstacle to prosecution reported by Zambia Immigration is the fact that traffickers often flee the scene before they can be arrested.


¶12. (SBU) The GRZ plans to secure land for a Lusaka-based shelter this year and start construction next year, but acknowledges that it may still lack means to transport victims to the shelter once it is constructed.

¶13. (SBU) GRZ officials interviewed by Emboff in Lusaka, Livingstone and Copperbelt border posts acknowledge that lack of adequate victim protection so that they may serve as witnesses is a primary stumbling block to securing convictions. These officials recognize that victims are not criminals and do not belong in jail, but lack adequate resources (including fuel, transportation, counseling facilities and shelters) to provide for victim protection. Victims unable to be transferred to IOM are most often temporarily jailed and then repatriated.

¶14. (SBU) The new anti-trafficking law prohibits the summary deportation of a trafficking victim and allows victims to apply for a non-renewable permit to remain in Zambia for up to 60 days. The victim may also apply for a visitor’s permit and temporary residence status. The anti-trafficking secretariat referred to one such case to which the GRZ is currently devoting high-level attention. The secretariat was unable to provide details on other possible cases. In practice, it appears that the GRZ cooperates with neighboring countries to secure repatriation of a victim for lack of adequate shelter and transportation mechanisms to provide protection in Zambia. The GRZ does not provide long-term benefits such as housing to victims of trafficking.

¶15. (SBU) Due to current data collection impediments, the GRZ is unable to provide comprehensive statistics on trafficking victims. Emboff’s queries to immigration officials in Lusaka, Livingstone and the Copperbelt region indicate that Zambian Immigration encounters a steady stream of potential trafficking victims. A cursory review of a month’s worth of logs will typically yield multiple examples of large groups of individuals detained based on suspicion that they are being trafficked. Asked to elaborate why the officials believe the victims are being trafficked rather than smuggled, immigration officials note that the victims appear to have been fed a story but lack further details on where they are headed.

¶16. (SBU) Due to lack of adequate shelter and counseling facilities in Zambia as well as insufficient GRZ transportation and fuel, victims are sometimes placed in detention facilities before they can be repatriated to their home countries. Officials interviewed by Emboff acknowledge that detaining trafficking victims is both wrong and counterproductive in terms of securing prosecutions, and lament the current lack of victim protection infrastructure.

¶17. (SBU) The GRZ actively encourages victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers. Officials were able to cite two specific open cases where the victims are working with authorities and agreed to serve as witnesses. In another case, however, the victims reportedly disappeared from a temporary shelter before the case could be concluded. GRZ officials are concerned to ensure that eventual shelters have the appropriate level of security, which temporary shelters run by NGOs are often unable to provide. The Act allows courts to order a person convicted of trafficking to pay reparations to victims for damage to property; physical, psychological, or other injury; or loss of income and support.


¶18. (SBU) The GRZ works closely with international organizations and NGOs active in anti-trafficking. Partners include IOM, ILO, UNICEF, and NGOs such as YWCA, AMESP, and CCZ. Zambia is a developing country and lacks sufficient resources to carry out a robust anti-trafficking program on its own.


¶19. (SBU) COMMENT: While the GRZ has put in several measures to combat human trafficking (specifically the Anti-Trafficking In Persons Act) it remains to be seen if it has the resources to be truly effective. In addition, its current reliance on NGOs and other partnerships, while currently necessary, leave it open to many vulnerabilities. In order to be truly effective in the future, the GZM will have to form stronger relationships with bordering governments and countries. END COMMENT.

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