Southern Africa

Countries and territories covered: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mazambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe

1. Status of the legislation on trafficking in persons

Mozambique's Anti-Human Trafficking Act was signed into law in 2008, making it the first country in the region with dedicated anti-trafficking legislation. Few other countries in the region have a national policy or comprehensive legislation in place to address this crime, and there was no regional instrument in Southern Africa during the reporting period concerning the prevention, suppression or punishment of trafficking. The Zambian Criminal Code contains a provision criminalizing trafficking in persons, but it does not include a definition of the crime. The South African Children's Bill contains specific child trafficking provisions (for sexual exploitation only), and Malawi has included useful provisions prohibiting child exploitation and has trafficking legislation in the drafting stage

With the exception of Mozambique's Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2008, none of the criminal laws currently in place in the region adequately address all the essential elements o human trafficking as listed in Article 3 of the UN Trafficking Protocol. In the absence of comprehensive legislation, all the countries in Southern Africa have laws in place that could be used to prosecute offenders for crimes commonly associated with human trafficking.

2. The criminal justice response to trafficking in persons

As with East Africa, the combined absence of a specific trafficking in persons offence, the lack of credible data and the low criminal justice response do not allow for the identification of specific regional trends. The only statistic that can be highlighted is that not a single conviction was recorded for trafficking in persons in the entire Southern Africa region, and very few cases involving traffickers have been prosecuted to date. In the exceptional cases where traffickers were caught and prosecuted, they were usually charged with kidnapping, abduction, immigration or sexual offences or were deported rather than prosecuted. As a result, very few convictions were recorded even when trafficking-related offences were considered.

3. Trafficking in persons patterns

No information was collected concerning the profile of offenders during the reporting period. As a result of the lack of legislation, no countries have established policies or mechanisms to identify, refer or assist victims of trafficking, and very few victims were identified by State authorities in the entire region. Data retrieved from information collected by shelters and by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) were the only reliable numbers regarding victims of trafficking in persons. However, very few shelters exist that deal exclusively with trafficked persons. Trafficking victims, when identified, are dealt with on an ad hoc basis and are generally not recorded as a separate group.

The limited information available concerning victims receiving shelter indicates that most are adult women and children of both sexes. Sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery and servitude were the main forms of exploitation experienced by sheltered victims. The recruitment of children as soldiers was identified in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while cases of organ removal for rituals were detected and prosecuted in Malawi.