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Forced Labor Ends in the Marange, But Zim Fails to Reduce Human Trafficking

Zimbabwe Does Not Comply With Minimum Standards
Jun 27, 2011 3:17 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Zimbabwe remained a  source, transit region, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking this past year, according to the U.S. State Department's annual "Trafficking in Persons Report 2011." However, the report concluded that "although security forces still maintain control of the Marange district, sources indicate that forced labor abuses, including Zimbabwean security services forcing young men and boys to mine for diamonds, have ended."

The U.S. concluded that  Zimbabwe does not fully comply with the "minimum standards" for the elimination of human trafficking nor is the country making significant efforts to combat the practice.

"While high-level officials showed an increased interest in trafficking issues, others denied the existence of a trafficking problem in Zimbabwe. The government did not report investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of trafficking cases. The government continued to rely on an international organization to provide law enforcement training, coordinate victim care and repatriation, and lead prevention efforts," according to the report.

Zimbabwe is reportedly considering draft anti-trafficking legislation for debate, but this legislation had not yet reached Parliament for consideration at the time the report was published.

"Reports indicate that the exploitation of children and adults in forced labor in the Marange diamond fields has ceased," at least, according to the document. 

Nonetheless,  Zimbabwean men and boys migrate illegally to South Africa, where some are forced to labor for months on farms, in mines, or in construction without pay before their employers report them to authorities for deportation.  Women and girls from Zimbabwean towns bordering South Africa and Zambia are subjected to sex trafficking in brothels that cater to long-distance truck drivers.

''Recent reports indicate that young women from rural areas are recruited into forced prostitution through the guise of beauty pageants held in cities. Some victims of forced prostitution are subsequently transported across the border to South Africa where they suffer continued exploitation. Zimbabwean men, women, and children are subjected to forced labor in agriculture and domestic service in rural areas, as well as domestic servitude and sex trafficking in cities and towns. Children are also utilized in the commission of illegal activities, including gambling and drug smuggling.''

The U.S. recommended that Zimbabwe prosecute, convict, and punish trafficking offenders; finalize and pass draft anti-trafficking legislation; formalize procedures for interviewing victims and transferring them to the care of appropriate governmental or non-governmental service providers. The report also stated that Zimbabwe must incorporate trafficking crimes into police procedures for recording and reporting crime data; and launch a broad awareness-raising campaign on the nature of trafficking and the availability of assistance for victims.

In her foreword,  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stated that the U.S.  defines human trafficking to include all conduct involved in forced labor as well as the trafficking of adults and children for commercial sexual exploitation. ''As we assess ourselves and governments around the world, the true test of a country’s anti-trafficking efforts is not just whether a government has enacted strong laws consistent with that approach, but whether these laws are being implemented broadly and effectively. In short, it’s whether they deliver.''


 

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Tags: boys, diamonds, human, illegal, Jeff Miller, men, mining, trafficking, Zimbabwe
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