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Zimbabwe Still Riddled With Human Trafficking


Despite stellar efforts to completely eliminate human trafficking, Zimbabwe has not yet met the minimum standards for the elimination of the vice that continues to affect women and children worldwide, a new report states.

The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) 2020 report while recognizing local significant efforts to rid trafficking including, investigating and prosecution of traffickers as well as capacity building in the judicial service, says Zimbabwe does not meet minimum standards for elimination of trafficking.

The report by the United States of America’s State Department ‘serves as a roadmap for diplomatic engagement with governments around the world on human trafficking.’

The TIP Report covers country narratives which ‘lays out a justification for the tier ranking’ and recommendations for how the government can better meet minimum standards, laid out under the US law the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000.

For Zimbabwe, some indicators of the progress made, include pending draft amendments to the 2014 Trafficking in Persons Act, aimed at bringing the law in line with international standards to curb trafficking.

These stalled amendments, lack of financial support and coordination with local NGOs, have stalled progress, despite government demonstrating overall increased efforts compared to the previous reporting period.

Zimbabwe remained on Tier 2, for ‘countries whose governments do not fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.’

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“The government (Zimbabwe) identified and referred to care more victims, including one internal trafficking victim exploited in Zimbabwe, and coordinated with international organizations and civil society to ensure all victims received services.

“These efforts included investigating and prosecuting more traffickers and increasing training for law enforcement and the judiciary.

“In partnership with an international organization, the government coordinated with two foreign governments to facilitate the repatriation of three trafficking victims.

“The government approved and adopted a national action plan to combat trafficking and conducted awareness-raising activities throughout the country. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas,” read part of the report.

It said Zimbabwe convicted ‘fewer’ trafficking cases in comparison to the previous year, and the backlog of trafficking cases from 2016 remained, as the government reported no progress on those investigations.

“The government did not provide adequate funding to its NGO partners on which it relied to provide protective services to victims. Women, men, children, and migrants may have been victims of forced labor or sex trafficking, and North Koreans working in Zimbabwe may have been forced to work by the North Korean government,” read the TIP report.

Tier rankings and narratives in the 2020 TIP report reflect an assessment of the following, enactment of laws prohibiting severe forms of trafficking in persons, as defined by the TVPA, and provision of criminal punishments for trafficking offenses and criminal penalties prescribed for human trafficking offenses with a maximum of at least four years’ deprivation of liberty, or a more severe penalty.

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Implementation of human trafficking laws through vigorous prosecution of the prevalent forms of trafficking in the country and sentencing of offenders; § proactive victim identification measures with systematic procedures to guide law enforcement and other government-supported frontline responders in the process of victim identification.

It also assessed government funding and partnerships with NGOs to provide victims with access to primary health care, counseling, and shelter, allowing them to recount their trafficking experiences to trained social counselors and law enforcement in an environment of minimal pressure.

The report also ranks victim protection efforts that include access to services and shelter without detention and with legal alternatives to removal to countries in which victims would face retribution or hardship.

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