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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                         

United Republic of Tanzania

Tanzania is in the bottom ten percent of the world's economies in terms of per capita income. The economy depends heavily on agriculture, which accounts for more than 40% of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs 80% of the work force. Topography and climatic conditions, however, limit cultivated crops to only 4% of the land area. Industry traditionally featured the processing of agricultural products and light consumer goods.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Tanzania

Tanzania is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. The incidence of internal trafficking is believed to be higher than that of transnational trafficking. Tanzanian girls from rural areas are trafficked to urban centers and the island of Zanzibar for domestic servitude; some domestic workers fleeing abusive employers fall prey to forced prostitution. Tourist hotels reportedly coerce some girls employed as cleaning staff into prostitution. Boys are trafficked within the country for forced labor on farms, in mines, in the informal business sector, and possibly on small fishing boats. Smaller numbers of Tanzanian children and adults reportedly are trafficked to surrounding African nations, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and possibly other European countries for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation.   - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here and possibly a full TIP Report here



CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Tanzania.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Helping Children Reclaim Their Lives [PDF]

14 February 2006

[accessed 28 December 2010]

In rural Tanzania, one out of three children between the ages of 10 and 14 work outside the family. They labor as farm workers, miners, domestic servants, and prostitutes, often under abusive and exploitive conditions.

DETRIMENTAL WORKING CONDITIONS - Commercial agriculture in Tanzania employs large numbers of these youngsters. They provide much of the manual and machine-based labor on tobacco, coffee, tea, sugarcane, and sisal plantations. (Sisal is a fibrous crop from which rope is manufactured.) For example, in one area of the coastal region, 30 percent of the sisal plantation workers are children aged 12 to 14. They labor up to 11 hours per day with no specific rest periods, six days a week. Their wages are half that of adults, while nourishment and lodging are inadequate. Only half have completed primary school. Some plantations require as much as 14-, 16-, or even 17-hour work days. Mines and quarries also employ large numbers of youth who spend most of their days toiling above or below ground in very hazardous conditions. They risk injury from dust inhalation, blasting, mine collapse, flooding, as well as illness from silicosis.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Who is to blame for human trafficking, government or agencies?

Victoria Nyeko, Daily Monitor, 11 August 2019

[accessed 13 August 2019]

Recently, The EastAfrican newspaper reported that human trafficking is on the increase in the region. Since travel between the East African countries is now easier with passports no longer required, the neighbouring countries of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania are said to be the main transit locations for trafficking. Although the most common form of human trafficking is sexual exploitation and forced labour, there is also a growing market for human organs ...

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Tanzania

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 28 June 2021]


The ILO reported unspecified instances of forced labor, including those involving children from the southern highlands forced into domestic service or labor on farms, in mines, and in the informal business sector.


On the mainland children worked as domestic workers, street vendors, and shopkeepers as well as in agriculture, family-based businesses, fishing, construction, and artisanal mining of gold and tanzanite. According to Human Rights Watch, children as young as eight worked in mining. In Zanzibar children worked primarily in fishing, clove picking, domestic labor, small businesses, and gravel making. In Micheweni and Mwambe villages, for example, children engaged in stone crushing, exposing them to being hit by rock fragments. In fishing villages such as Matemwe, children’s work at fish markets prevents them from attending school.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 7 May 2020]


Sexual and labor exploitation remain problems, especially for children living in poor rural areas who are drawn into domestic service, agricultural labor, mining, and other activities. Child labor in gold mines, where working conditions are often dangerous, is common.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 22 April 2019]

[accessed 7 May 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 934]

Tanzania is a source, transit, and destination country for child trafficking for forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Child trafficking is often facilitated by victims’ family members, friends, or intermediaries promising assistance or employment. (29; 31; 32; 6; 12) Girls are often trafficked for domestic servitude or commercial sexual exploitation, including along the Kenya border and in tourist areas. (29; 30; 6) Although most children are trafficked internally, children from Burundi and Rwanda are also trafficked to Tanzania for involuntary servitude. (33) Impoverished rural children and those orphaned by HIV/AIDS are particularly vulnerable. (32; 34; 6; 12)

Children working in mining are exposed to many hazards such as mercury poisoning and entrapment when tunnels collapse, especially in smaller unlicensed operations. (35; 22; 21).

Diverse Human Trafficking Trends in East African Region Highlights Urgent Need for Greater Protection

International Organization for Migration IOM, 12 October 2010

[accessed 10 February 2016]

In Tanzania, IOM found evidence of child trafficking from Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda for sexual exploitation, fishing, domestic servitude and agricultural labour.

Adult victims were identified in the domestic sector, as well as the mining, agricultural and hospitality industries.

The IOM assessment established that Ugandan children are trafficked to all the countries in the region with Uganda also a destination for trafficked victims from Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.

Trafficking in humans: Another threat calling for public intervention

Bilham Kimati, Guardian, 17 December 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 12 September 2011]

Habiba Shegere, 14, (not her real name also an orphan) from Dodoma is one of the victims of human trafficking brought to Dar es Salaam by a man who went to her village making all good promises about prosperity in town.

The man said he would take care of the girl and enroll her with a tailoring vocational training college to help her become a competent tailor, earn a living to support the grand parents back in the village.

She was taken to a strange family instead of a tailoring school where she worked as a house maid for eight months without being paid anything.  She worked for 18 hours a day no payment in return for explanation that she took meals, shelter and better looking second-hand cloths from the host family.  After sometime someone advised her to be bold enough to register complaints to the police.

Unfortunately she ended up in more misery than ever as the policeman found on duty was spiteful. He kept her waiting for hours and finally advised her to accompany him to his house for the night.

After two weeks a concerned neighbour reported the matter to the police and local leaders as she always heard someone weeping in the house of the policeman.  The local leaders forced open the door to rescue Habiba who was found terribly depressed.  She complained of serious abdominal pains. She was taken to hospital only to be discovered that she had already been infected with syphilis.

IOM Launches Campaign to Stop Human Trafficking in Tanzania

Lisa Schlein, Voice of America VOA News, Geneva, 20 December 2007

[accessed 23 June 2013]

[accessed 16 January 2020]

Spokesman Jean-Philippe Chauzy tells VOA most of the victims are young boys and girls that are trafficked from rural to urban areas.  "They are routinely abused and exploited either as domestic workers or working in commercial agriculture, in some cases, in fishing and mining industries," said Jean-Philippe Chauzy.

Migration body to monitor human trafficking impact

[access information unavailable]

"Many girls are taken from Iringa and brought to major cities to work as housegirls but they end up being subjected to prostitution and other works which they did not expect, this is internal trafficking," she said.

Many young boys, she said, are taken to work in the mining companies, something which not only denies their rights but also are psychosocially affected.

Tanzania blacklisted over human trafficking

The Guardian, 25 June 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 12 September 2011]

Geoffrey Ijumba from UNICEF in Dar es Salaam had wanted to know how the US could assist Tanzania with resources to conduct research, surveillance and monitor TIP in the country.  He said economic sanctions for failure to curb TIP was not good, adding: “It will do more harm than good to the same people we want to rescue.  Instead, Ijumba proposed more investment in education and legal system to ensure that the problem of trafficking in persons is checked.

Wanyenda: A New Life for a Child Victim of Prostitution

Rose Haji, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs

[accessed 28 December 2010]

[accessed 19 February 2018]

[scroll down]

Wanyenda’s* ordeal dates back to 1997 when she was in her third year at the Igawilo primary school in the Mbeya region of the southern highlands of Tanzania. Only 13 at that time, she decided to drop out of school and leave home, like many of her friends before her, to escape difficult living conditions.

It happened one day when she was going to school and met a boy from a nearby village who persuaded her to escort him to the town where he lived. This boy, who was jobless, took her to a slum area called Mabatini and she never came back.

The boy would bring home two or three of his friends and force Wanyenda to sleep with all of them for cash payment. She was tortured, sexually abused and sometimes beaten by the boy if she refused to provide the services. Whenever the boy was away, she received customers on her own in order to earn some money for food.

TANZANIA: Focus on child labour

U.N. Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Dar es Salaam, 13 August 2003

[accessed 9 March 2015]

Kena, 13, left her home in the northeastern Tanzanian port town of Tanga two years ago. Coming from a poor family, she was excited at the prospect of travelling, especially to a distant place. Not only was she going to the country's commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, but she had also been promised an education - something her family could not afford.

At first, life in Dar es Salaam was good, and she was treated as one of the children in her new family, Kena said. But not long after arriving in Tandika, one of the city's poorer suburbs, she soon realised that she would not be spending her early mornings walking to school. Instead, she was made to wash clothes, sweep the house and cook for the two adults and four children she lived with.

Despite being frequently abused and beaten, Kena endured this treatment for 15 months, earning 2,500 shillings ($2.50) a month until she fled, eventually coming across a shelter run by an organisation that cares for children who escape labour.

MODERN-DAY SLAVERY - Mwaituka added that there was also an increase in the number of girls being trafficked from various parts of the country to Dar es Salaam, where they are sold to work as domestic workers, sometimes for as little as 20,000 shillings ($20).

TANZANIA: Child labour common in Zanzibar

U.N. Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Dar es Salaam, 4 June 2002

[accessed 9 March 2015]

A recent rapid assessment by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), an associate organisation of the United Nations, has found that child labour is "common" in Zanzibar, with prostitution, fisheries and seaweed farming among the "most hazardous" sectors in which children are involved.  The report also found evidence of child labour on clove plantations in Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous island chain within Tanzania, and in the hotel and tourism sector, for which it is also famous, although the levels of child labour in these sectors were classified as "moderate".

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 8 June 2001

[accessed 28 December 2010]

[64] The Committee notes with concern that there have been reported incidents of the sale, trafficking and abduction of children, especially girls, primarily for domestic labor.

The Protection Project – Tanzania

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 13 February 2019]

A Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children


Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 7 May 2020]


Sexual and labor exploitation remain problems, especially for children living in poor rural areas who are drawn into domestic service, agricultural labor, mining, and other activities. Tanzanians are also vulnerable to trafficking for work under exploitative conditions abroad.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 11 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Most victims were trafficked internally; boys were trafficked for exploitative work on farms, in mines, and in the large informal sector, while girls from rural areas were trafficked to the towns for involuntary domestic labor. Many of these domestic workers have fled abusive employers and turned to prostitution for survival. Most victims came from the regions of Iringa, Mwanza, Dodoma Kigoma, Dar es Salaam, and Arusha. Girls were reportedly trafficked to South Africa, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and possibly other European countries for forced domestic labor. Indian women--who entered the country legally to work as musicians, singers, and dancers in restaurants and nightclubs--were at times exploited as prostitutes after arrival. On Zanzibar some hotels sponsored girls--for hotel work--who then become prostitutes; hotels were used by traffickers for prostitution activities.

Children in low-income families were at significant risk of being trafficked, and girls were more vulnerable than boys since girls were considered more of an economic burden on their families. Girls who completed primary school but did not enter secondary school were at particularly high risk. The country was also experiencing a boom in the number of child-headed households as more adults succumbed to HIV/AIDS-related disease and death, leaving their dependents at very high risk for child labor and trafficking.

Trafficking methods varied. Some trafficking victims left their homes with assistance from their family; some left on their own to escape life in rural areas; and some were transported by someone who had offered to help them find city work, legitimate or otherwise. There were reports that men recruited village girls who had completed primary school but were not entering secondary school. The men offered the girls money and employment and promised the girls a better life if they accompanied them to urban areas; however, these girls reportedly ended up in prostitution or domestic labor. Another method of trafficking involved low-income parents entrusting a child to a wealthier relative o

r respected member of the community, who was charged with caring for the child as one of his or her own. Some persons took advantage of this traditional practice and placed the child in a situation where he or she was at risk of being exploited or abused. Sometimes placement and transport to households was organized by small-scale freelance agents who recruited children from rural villages.

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 28 December 2010]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Children are reportedly trafficked internally to work in the fishing industry, mines, commercial agriculture, and domestic service.  Children are trafficked from rural areas for exploitation in the commercial sex sector.  It is reported that girls are trafficked from Tanzania to South Africa, the Middle East, and Europe for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.  Children are also trafficked from Tanzania for the purpose of forced labor.  Children are reportedly trafficked into Tanzania from India, Kenya, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to work in forced agricultural labor and prostitution

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