An Assessment of Legislation and Policy on Human Trafficking in Zimbabwe
Lydia Chibwe recently completed her Master’s Degree in Development Studies at Midlands State University (MSU). She received a B A Special Honours degree in Economic History from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ). Her research interests are in migration, human trafficking and other contemporary issues.
This paper looks at human trafficking in Zimbabwe. Its main argument is that victims of human trafficking in Zimbabwe for a long time were mainly targeted for labour exploitation, except for a few cases where some women were sexually exploited leading to the creation of the early coloured community. It traces the phenomenon from the colonial period when the colonial governments were deeply involved in labour recruitment which could be viewed as organised human trafficking. However, the paper argues that today’s human trafficking is carried out mainly by non-government agents, especially private individuals and groups, most of whom are criminals. Although it is an old practice, human trafficking in Zimbabwe became a cause of concern in 2003 when the Organisation of Migration (IOM) launched a Programme called the Southern African Counter Trafficking Programme. Researches done by other individual scholars and organisations show that Zimbabwe was identified as one of the countries in southern Africa that was affected by human trafficking. The recent Kuwait issue further showed that human trafficking hitches were heightening in the country. It estimated that more than 200 women were trafficked to the Gulf country. This paper, therefore, looks at the new legislation and policy on human trafficking as a way of revisiting and confronting the challenges of African development in general and Zimbabwe in particular to strengthen its fight against the crime. This was done by looking at the Trafficking in Persons act of 2014 and the National Action Plan against human trafficking. This was done by analysing Zimbabwe’s legal framework within the field of human trafficking. Information was gathered through conducting interviews with responsible authorities to curb trafficking, former victims of trafficking country reports among other sources. The conclusion in the paper is that the Zimbabwean policy and legislation towards human trafficking have got pitfalls which are hindering effective elimination of the problem. This is mainly seen in the definition of human trafficking in the Trafficking in Persons act of 2014 which emphasises the transportation aspect and ignoring other important aspects such as exploitation which is essential in a definition to enable elimination of all forms of human trafficking.