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Cablegate: Zimbabwe - Trafficking in Persons Report 2002 -

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Overview of Zimbabwe's
Activities to Eliminate Trafficking in Persons:
--------------------------------------------- --

A. There continued to be infrequent anecdotal reports that
Zimbabwe was a country of origin and transit for
internationally trafficked persons, particularly women and
children. Unlike in previous years, there were no reports
that Zimbabwe was a destination country. These reports
suggested that trafficking might also occur within the
country,s borders. There were no reliable numbers or
estimates regarding the magnitude of the problem. At the
writing of this report, a local NGO, Connect, was compiling a
report of approximately twenty cases of trafficking of girls
within Zimbabwe; the report was not expected to give
comprehensive statistics on trafficking in, through, or from

B. A South African NGO, Molo Songololo, claimed that Zimbabwe
was a transit point for children being trafficked from third
countries such as Asia and Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe to
South Africa; however, they could provide no specific cases
or numbers of cases.

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C. Connect suggested that in the current economic downturn,
more families had accepted some form of payment in exchange
for allowing their teenage daughters to be commercial sex
workers in other towns within Zimbabwe, notably the border
town of Beitbridge. Unlike in previous years, there were no
reports that Zimbabwe was a destination country.

D. The Connect report is expected later this year.

E. There were no reports that Zimbabwe was a destination
point for internationally trafficked victims. There were no
details available about the conditions into which victims
were allegedly trafficked within Zimbabwe.

F. Infrequent anecdotal reports suggested that female
teenagers were targeted primarily. There was no information
available concerning traffickers, or their methods.

G. Officials in the Ministry of Justice, and Ministry of
Education, Sports and Culture were willing to address
whatever trafficking may be occurring, but they had no data
on the scope of the problem for which to design a response,
and were relying on NGOs to alert them to any specific cases.
In August 2001, Parliament passed and signed into law the
Sexual Offenses Act, which makes it a crime to transport
persons across the country's borders for the sex industry.
Traffickers also can be prosecuted under other legislation,
such as immigration and abduction laws. A trafficked person
has the option to take his or her case before the Victim
Friendly Courts (VFCs).

H. There was no indication that government authorities
facilitated, were complicit in, or condoned trafficking in

I. While the government seemed willing to address the
problem, in the current economic downturn, there are very
limited government resources to gather comprehensive data on,
or respond to anecdotal reports of trafficking.

2. (SBU) Prevention:

A. The GOZ recognizes that some trafficking in persons
occurs, but without specific data had not addressed the issue
as a large-scale problem.

B. The primary government authority that would combat
trafficking is the Zimbabwe Republic Police. The Ministries
of Justice and Education, and the Victim Friendly Courts, all
play a role in combatting trafficking.

C. In September 2002, the Child and Law Foundation of
Zimbabwe held an international conference entitled,
"Protecting the Sexuality of our Children - Southern Africa
Regional Meeting" in Harare. A High Court judge opened the
conference, and representatives from the Ministries of
Justice, Education, and Social Welfare also attended. The
South African NGO Molo Songololo presented research
methodologies for data gathering on sexual exploitation.
Participants acknowledged the need for additional research
and data-gathering on trafficking in southern Africa.

D. The GOZ supports programs that promote the rights of and
opportunities for women and children. The Ministry of Social
Welfare in particular runs three programs focused on enabling
children to stay in school.

E. The GOZ's capacity to effectively support prevention
programs is badly hampered by a shortage of resources.

F. The GOZ and civil society groups communicate on the issue
of trafficking in persons, but there have been no joint
programs or proposals to date.

G. Zimbabwe's borders are porous; the Department of
Immigration exercises little control over who crosses into
and out of Zimbabwe. Provided with evidence of trafficking,
we suspect law enforcement agencies would respond

H. The GOZ has no multi-agency working group or task force on
trafficking. It has a public corruption task force which is

I. See 3. C.

J. The GOZ does not have a national plan of action to address
trafficking in persons.

K. The GOZ has not designated a responsible official to
develop anti-trafficking programs.

3. (SBU) Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers:
--------------------------------------------- ---------

A. While no laws specifically address trafficking in persons,
common law prohibits abduction and forced labor, and the
August 2001 Sexual Offenses Act makes it a crime to transport
persons across the border for sex.

The Zimbabwe constitution provides that "no one may be held
in slavery or servitude or be made to perform forced or
compulsory labor."

The Zimbabwe Criminal Code prohibits corruption of children
and young persons, and penalizes any person who allows a
child or a young person to reside in or to frequent a
brothel. Similarly, the code penalizes any person who causes
the seduction, abduction, or prostitution of a child or young
person. The code even prohibits allowing the child or young
person to consort with, enter into employment, or continue in
the employment of any prostitute or person of known immoral
character. Punishment for these offenses is a fine or
imprisonment for up to 2 years or both.

The Zimbabwean Immigration Act penalizes any person who by
bribery induces or attempts to induce any immigration officer
to violate his or her duties under the Act. The Act
criminalizes forgery of travel documents for the purposes of
entering, remaining in, or departing from the country in
contravention of the act. The Act penalizes anyone who
hinders or obstructs any police officer or immigration
officer in executing his or her duties under the Act.

B. There is no penalty specific to trafficking in persons.

C. There is no minimum penalty for rape or forcible sexual
assault. Individuals convicted of one of these crimes must
be imprisoned, but the length of incarceration is determined
by precedent. Sentences for rape convictions typically range
from four or five years to fifteen years, depending on the
circumstances of the particular crime.

D. The GOZ has not prosecuted any cases of trafficking to

E. There was no information available concerning traffickers.

F. No specific cases of trafficking were reported.

G. See 4. F.

H. See 4. F.

I. There were no reports of extradition from Zimbabwe of
those charged with trafficking in other countries.

J. There was no indication of government involvement in, or
tolerance of trafficking, at any level.

K. See 4. J.

L. The GOZ ratified ILO Convention 182 on December 11, 2000,
Conventions 29 and 105 on August 27, 1998. The GOZ has not
signed or ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on
the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child
Prostitution, and Child Pornography. The GOZ has not signed
or ratified the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish
Trafficking in Persons.

4. (SBU) Protection and Assistance to Victims:
--------------------------------------------- -

A. No specific victims of trafficking were identified.

B. See 5. A.

C. See 5. A.

D. See 5. A.

E. See 5. A.

F. There was no indication that the GOZ provided specialized
training for government officials in recognizing, protecting
or assisting trafficking victims within Zimbabwe or through
Zimbabwe's foreign missions.

G. See 5. A.

H. No NGOs reported working with trafficking victims. At the
time of writing, Connect was researching anecdotal reports on
trafficking and reported that local police had been very

6. (U) Post point of contact for Trafficking in Persons is
Political Officer Audu Besmer (office phone 263-4-250-593
extension 291; fax 263-4-253-000, e-mail: The estimated hours spent per officer
in preparation of this report are as follows (Ref): Polfsn
15 hours, Poloff 8 hours, Polchief 0.5 hour review, DCM 0.5
hour review, AMB 0.5 hour review.

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