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Zimbabwe centre of trafficking in persons

Zimbabwe was a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children being trafficked for the purposes of forced labour and sexual exploitation, the United States said in its 2009 Trafficking in Person report.

It said large scale migration of Zimbabweans to surrounding countries had increased as people fled a progressively more desperate situation at home.

Non-governmental organisations, international organisations, and governments in neighbouring countries reported that some of these Zimbabweans were being trafficked.

Rural Zimbabwean men, women, and children were also trafficked within the country to farms for agricultural labour and to cities for forced domestic labour and commercial sexual exploitation.

The report said Zimbabwean women and children were trafficked for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation, including in brothels, along both sides of the country’s borders with Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia.

Young men and boys were trafficked to South Africa for farm work, often being forced to labour for months in South Africa without pay before the “employers” had them arrested and deported as illegal immigrants.

Men, women, and children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia were also trafficked through Zimbabwe en route to South Africa.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09STATE60617, ZIMBABWE — 2009 TIP REPORT: PRESS GUIDANCE AND

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09STATE60617

2009-06-12 00:36

UNCLASSIFIED

Secretary of State

VZCZCXYZ0003

OO RUEHWEB

 

DE RUEHC #0617 1630100

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

O 120036Z JUN 09

FM SECSTATE WASHDC

TO AMEMBASSY HARARE IMMEDIATE 0000

UNCLAS STATE 060617

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: KTIP ELAB KCRM KPAO KWMN PGOV PHUM PREL SMIG ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE — 2009 TIP REPORT: PRESS GUIDANCE AND

DEMARCHE

 

REF: A. (A) STATE 59732

B. (B) STATE 005577

 

1. This is an action cable; see paras 5 through 7 and 10.

 

2. On June 16, 2009, at 10:00 a.m. EDT, the Secretary will

release the 2009 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report at a

press conference in the Department’s press briefing room.

This release will receive substantial coverage in domestic

and foreign news outlets. Until the time of the Secretary’s

June 16 press conference, any public release of the Report or

country narratives contained therein is prohibited.

 

3. The Department is hereby providing Post with advance press

guidance to be used on June 16 or thereafter. Also provided

is demarche language to be used in informing the Government

of Zimbabwe of its tier ranking and the TIP Report’s imminent

release. The text of the TIP Report country narrative is

provided, both for use in informing the Government of

Zimbabwe and in any local media release by Post’s public

affairs section on June 16 or thereafter. Drawing on

information provided below in paras 8 and 9, Post may provide

the host government with the text of the TIP Report narrative

no earlier than 1200 noon local time Monday June 15 for WHA,

AF, EUR, and NEA countries and OOB local time Tuesday June 16

for SCA and EAP posts. Please note, however, that any public

release of the Report’s information should not/not precede

the Secretary’s release at 10:00 am EDT on June 16.

 

4. The entire TIP Report will be available on-line at

www.state.gov/g/tip shortly after the Secretary’s June 16

release. Hard copies of the Report will be pouched to posts

in all countries appearing on the Report. The Secretary’s

statement at the June 16 press event, and the statement of

and fielding of media questions by G/TIP,s Director and

Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Ambassador-at-Large Luis

CdeBaca, will be available on the Department’s website

shortly after the June 16 event. Ambassador de Baca will

also hold a general briefing for officials of foreign

embassies in Washington DC on June 17 at 3:30 EDT.

 

5. Action Request: No earlier than 12 noon local time on

Monday June 15 for WHA, AF, EUR, and NEA posts and OOB local

time on Tuesday June 16 for SCA and EAP posts, please inform

the appropriate official in the Government of Zimbabwe of the

June 16 release of the 2009 TIP Report, drawing on the points

in para 9 (at Post’s discretion) and including the text of

the country narrative provided in para 8. For countries

where the State Department has lowered the tier ranking, it

is particularly important to advise governments prior to the

Report being released in Washington on June 16.

 

6. Action Request continued: Please note that, for those

countries which will not receive an “action plan” with

specific recommendations for improvement, posts should draw

host governments’ attention to the areas for improvement

identified in the 2009 Report, especially highlighted in the

“Recommendations” section of the second paragraph of the

narrative text. This engagement is important to establishing

the framework in which the government’s performance will be

judged for the 2010 Report. If posts have questions about

which governments will receive an action plan, or how they

may follow up on the recommendations in the 2009 Report,

please contact G/TIP and the appropriate regional bureau.

 

7. Action Request continued: On June 16, please be prepared

to answer media inquiries on the Report’s release using the

press guidance provided in para 11. If Post wishes, a local

press statement may be released on or after 10:30 am EDT June

16, drawing on the press guidance and the text of the TIP

Report’s country narrative provided in para 8.

 

8. Begin Final Text of Zimbabwe,s country narrative in the

2009 TIP Report:

 

—————–

ZIMBABWE (TIER 3)

—————–

 

Zimbabwe is a source, transit, and destination country for

men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of

forced labor and sexual exploitation. Large scale migration

of Zimbabweans to surrounding countries has increased ) as

they flee a progressively more desperate situation at home )

and NGOs, international organizations, and governments in

neighboring countries report that some of these Zimbabweans

face human trafficking. Rural Zimbabwean men, women, and

children are trafficked within the country to farms for

agricultural labor and to cities for forced domestic labor

and commercial sexual exploitation. NGOs believe internal

trafficking increased during the year, largely due to the

closure of schools, worsening political violence, and a

faltering economy. In 2008, Zimbabwean security forces

consolidated their control of mining in the Marange region,

forcing members of the local population to mine for diamonds.

Between the March 2008 presidential election and the June

2008 run-off, youth militias controlled by Robert Mugabe,s

ZANU-PF political party abducted and held an unknown number

of women and girls, particularly opposition supporters, in

sexual and domestic servitude at command bases.

 

Zimbabwean women and children are trafficked for domestic

servitude and sexual exploitation, including in brothels,

along both sides of the country,s borders with Botswana,

Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia. Young men and boys are

trafficked to South Africa for farm work, often being forced

to labor for months in South Africa without pay before

&employers8 have them arrested and deported as illegal

immigrants. Small numbers of Zimbabwean men are trafficked

for work in Mozambique,s construction industry. Young women

and girls are lured to South Africa and potentially other

countries with false employment offers that result in

involuntary domestic servitude or forced prostitution.   Men,

women, and children from the Democratic Republic of the

Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia are trafficked through

Zimbabwe en route to South Africa.

 

The Government of Zimbabwe does not fully comply with the

minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is

not making significant efforts to do so. The government made

minimal progress in combating trafficking in 2008, and

members of its military and the former ruling party,s youth

militias perpetrated acts of trafficking on local

populations. The government,s anti-trafficking efforts were

further weakened as it failed to address Zimbabwe,s economic

and social problems during the reporting period, thus

increasing the population,s vulnerability to trafficking

within and outside of the country.

 

Recommendations for Zimbabwe: Cease the use by members of

security forces of local populations for forced diamond

mining; prosecute, convict, and punish trafficking offenders;

advance comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation; formalize

procedures for interviewing victims and transferring them to

the care of NGOs; and launch a broad awareness-raising

campaign that educates all levels of government officials, as

well as the general public, on the nature of trafficking and

the availability of assistance for victims.

 

Prosecution

———–

The government did not provide any data on its

anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the year,

including any data on prosecutions and convictions of

traffickers. Zimbabwe does not prohibit all forms of

trafficking in persons, though existing statutes outlaw

forced labor and numerous forms of sexual exploitation.

Forced labor offenses are punishable by a fine or two years,

imprisonment, or both; these penalties are not sufficiently

stringent or commensurate with those prescribed for other

grave crimes. The government reported in 2007 that it was

drafting comprehensive trafficking legislation; however, the

draft was neither publicly available nor introduced in

Parliament during the last year. Parliament was not sworn in

until August 2008 following March elections; the newly

elected parliamentarians have not yet formed the committees

that review and propose legislation. The government failed

to provide information on anti-trafficking law enforcement

activities conducted during the reporting period. The

Ministry of Justice reported that none of the cases

investigated in 2007 was brought to trial during 2008. The

government did not provide specialized anti-trafficking

training for law enforcement officials.

 

Protection

———-

The growing number of illegal migrants deported from South

Africa and Botswana, combined with a crippling lack of

resources, severely impeded the government,s ability to

effectively identify victims of trafficking among returnees.

The Department of Immigration required all deportees

returning from South Africa via the Beitbridge border

crossing to attend an IOM-led briefing on safe migration,

which includes a discussion on human trafficking and IOM and

NGO assistance services. The reception center,s social

workers ) who are employed by the Department of Social

Welfare, but funded and trained by IOM ) screened the

deportees and referred them to NGO shelters; one trafficking

victim was identified through this process in 2008. The

District Council of Beitbridge employed one child protection

officer and convened a child protection committee to

coordinate programs and resources on issues relating to

children. In May 2008, IOM opened a second reception center

at the Plumtree border crossing for Zimbabweans deported from

Botswana. Although the government has an established process

for referring victims to international organizations and NGOs

that provide shelter and other services, in 2008 the

government primarily depended on these organizations to

identify trafficking victims and alert the authorities.

However, the Zimbabwe Republic Police,s Victim Friendly Unit

referred three victims to IOM during the reporting period.

The government generally encourages victims to assist in the

prosecution of traffickers, but is not believed to have

prosecuted trafficking offenses during the year. Likewise,

the government did not inappropriately incarcerate or

otherwise penalize victims for unlawful acts committed as a

direct result of being trafficked. It could have offered

foreign victims relief from deportation while they receive

victim services and their cases are investigated, though

there were no cases of victims receiving such relief in 2008.

With the exception of deportees from South Africa and

Botswana, the government,s law enforcement, immigration, and

social services do not have a formal system for proactively

identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations.

 

Prevention

———-

The government did not conduct anti-trafficking information

or education campaigns during the reporting period, and there

remained a general lack of understanding of human trafficking

across government agencies, especially at the local level.

Senior government officials occasionally spoke, however,

about the dangers of trafficking and illegal migration, and

the state-run media printed and aired warnings about false

employment scams and exploitative labor conditions. During

the year, all four government-controlled radio stations aired

an IOM public service announcement eight times each day in

five languages during peak migration periods. The

inter-ministerial anti-trafficking task force took no

concrete action during the year. Anecdotal reports indicated

that the worsening economy reduced the demand for commercial

sex acts, though there were no known government efforts to

reduce the demand for forced labor or the demand for

commercial sex acts. Information was unavailable regarding

measures adopted by the government to ensure its nationals

deployed to peacekeeping missions do not facilitate or engage

in human trafficking. Zimbabwe has not ratified the 2000 UN

TIP Protocol.

 

9. Post may wish to deliver the following points, which offer

technical and legal background on the TIP Report process, to

the host government as a non-paper with the above TIP Report

country narrative:

 

(begin non-paper)

 

— The U.S. Congress, through its passage of the 2000

Trafficking Victims Protection Act, as amended (TVPA),

requires the Secretary of State to submit an annual Report to

Congress. The goal of this Report is to stimulate action and

create partnerships around the world in the fight against

modern-day slavery. The USG approach to combating human

trafficking follows the TVPA and the standards set forth in

the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in

Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the

United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized

Crime (commonly known as the “Palermo Protocol”). The TVPA

and the Palermo Protocol recognize that this is a crime in

which the victims, labor or services (including in the “sex

industry”) are obtained or maintained through force, fraud,

or coercion, whether overt or through psychological

manipulation. While much attention has focused on

international flows, both the TVPA and the Palermo Protocol

focus on the exploitation of the victim, and do not require a

showing that the victim was moved.

 

— Recent amendments to the TVPA removed the requirement that

only countries with a “significant number” of trafficking

victims be included in the Report. Beginning with the 2009

TIP Report, countries determined to be a country of origin,

transit, or destination for victims of severe forms of

trafficking are included in the Report and assigned to one of

three tiers. Countries assessed as meeting the “minimum

standards for the elimination of severe forms of trafficking”

set forth in the TVPA are classified as Tier 1. Countries

assessed as not fully complying with the minimum standards,

but making significant efforts to meet those minimum

standards are classified as Tier 2. Countries assessed as

neither complying with the minimum standards nor making

significant efforts to do so are classified as Tier 3.

 

— The TVPA also requires the Secretary of State to provide a

“Special Watch List” to Congress later in the year.

Anti-trafficking efforts of the countries on this list are to

be evaluated again in an Interim Assessment that the

Secretary of State must provide to Congress by February 1 of

each year. Countries are included on the “Special Watch

List” if they move up in “tier” rankings in the annual TIP

Report — from 3 to 2 or from 2 to 1 ) or if they have been

placed on the Tier 2 Watch List.

 

— Tier 2 Watch List consists of Tier 2 countries determined:

(1) not to have made “increasing efforts” to combat human

trafficking over the past year; (2) to be making significant

efforts based on commitments of anti-trafficking reforms over

the next year, or (3) to have a very significant number of

trafficking victims or a significantly increasing victim

population. As indicated in reftel B, the TVPRA of 2008

contains a provision requiring that a country that has been

included on Tier 2 Watch List for two consecutive years after

the date of enactment of the TVPRA of 2008 be ranked as Tier

3. Thus, any automatic downgrade to Tier 3 pursuant to this

provision would take place, at the earliest, in the 2011 TIP

Report (i.e., a country would have to be ranked Tier 2 Watch

List in the 2009 and 2010 Reports before being subject to

Tier 3 in the 2011 Report). The new law allows for a waiver

of this provision for up to two additional years upon a

determination by the President that the country has developed

and devoted sufficient resources to a written plan to make

significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the

minimum standards.

 

— Countries classified as Tier 3 may be subject to statutory

restrictions for the subsequent fiscal year on

non-humanitarian and non-trade-related foreign assistance

and, in some circumstances, withholding of funding for

participation by government officials or employees in

educational and cultural exchange programs.   In addition,

the President could instruct the U.S. executive directors to

international financial institutions to oppose loans or other

utilization of funds (other than for humanitarian,

trade-related or certain types of development assistance)

with respect to countries on Tier 3. Countries classified as

Tier 3 that take strong action within 90 days of the Report’s

release to show significant efforts against trafficking in

persons, and thereby warrant a reassessment of their Tier

 

classification, would avoid such sanctions. Guidelines for

such actions are in the DOS-crafted action plans to be shared

by Posts with host governments.

 

— The 2009 TIP Report, issuing as it does in the midst of

the global financial crisis, highlights high levels of

trafficking for forced labor in many parts of the world and

systemic contributing factors to this phenomenon: fraudulent

recruitment practices and excessive recruiting fees in

workers, home countries; the lack of adequate labor

protections in both sending and receiving countries; and the

flawed design of some destination countries, “sponsorship

systems” that do not give foreign workers adequate legal

recourse when faced with conditions of forced labor. As the

May 2009 ILO Global Report on Forced Labor concluded, forced

labor victims suffer approximately $20 billion in losses, and

traffickers, profits are estimated at $31 billion. The

current global financial crisis threatens to increase the

number of victims of forced labor and increase the associated

“cost of coercion.”

 

— The text of the TVPA and amendments can be found on

website www.state.gov/g/tip.

 

— On June 16, 2009, the Secretary of State will release the

ninth annual TIP Report in a public event at the State

Department. We are providing you an advance copy of your

country’s narrative in that report. Please keep this

information embargoed until 10:00 am Washington DC time June

16. The State Department will also hold a general briefing

for officials of foreign embassies in Washington DC on June

17 at 3:30 EDT.

 

(end non-paper)

 

10. Posts should make sure that the relevant country

narrative is readily available on or though the Mission’s web

page in English and appropriate local language(s) as soon as

possible after the TIP Report is released. Funding for

translation costs will be handled as it was for the Human

Rights Report. Posts needing financial assistance for

translation costs should contact their regional bureau,s EX

office.

 

11. The following is press guidance provided for Post to use

with local media.

 

Q1: Why was Zimbabwe placed on Tier 3?

 

A: Zimbabwe is placed on Tier 3 because the government made

minimal progress in combating trafficking in 2008 and its

military and the former ruling party,s youth militias

perpetrated acts of trafficking on local populations. The

government,s anti-trafficking efforts were further weakened

as it failed to address Zimbabwe,s economic and social

problems during the reporting period, thus increasing the

population,s vulnerability to trafficking within and outside

of the country. The government,s anti-trafficking law

enforcement efforts were nonexistent during the year,

particularly with regard to prosecutions and convictions of

traffickers, and it did not conduct anti-trafficking

information or education campaigns.

 

Q2: What have been Zimbabwe,s efforts in the past year?

 

A: The Department of Immigration required all deportees

returning from South Africa via the Beitbridge border

crossing to attend an IOM-led briefing on safe migration,

which includes a discussion on human trafficking and IOM and

NGO assistance services. The reception center,s social

workers ) who are employed by the Department of Social

Welfare, but funded and trained by IOM ) screened the

deportees and referred them to NGO shelters. The Zimbabwe

Republic Police,s Victim Friendly Unit referred three

victims to IOM during the reporting period. All four

government-controlled radio stations aired an IOM public

service announcement eight times each day in five languages

during peak migration periods.

 

Q3: What can Zimbabwe do to further the fight against

trafficking in persons?

 

A: To advance its anti-trafficking efforts, the Zimbabwe

could: cease the security forces, use of local populations

for forced diamond mining; prosecute, convict, and punish

trafficking offenders; advance comprehensive anti-trafficking

legislation; formalize procedures for interviewing victims

and transferring them to the care of NGOs; and launch a broad

awareness raising campaign that educates all levels of

government officials, as well as the general public, on the

nature of trafficking and the availability of assistance for

victims.

 

12. The Department appreciates posts, assistance with the

preceding action requests.

CLINTON

 

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