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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                           

Republic of Zambia

Zambia's economy has experienced strong growth in recent years, with real GDP growth in 2005-08 about 6% per year.

Zambia experienced a bumper harvest in 2007, which helped to boost GDP and agricultural exports and contain inflation. Although poverty continues to be significant problem in Zambia, its economy has strengthened, featuring single-digit inflation, a relatively stable currency, decreasing interest rates, and increasing levels of trade.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Zambia

Zambia is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Child victims, primarily trafficked within the country for labor and sexual exploitation, tend to be female, adolescent, and orphaned. In exchange for money or gifts, relatives or acquaintances often facilitate the trafficking of a child to an urban center for prostitution. Children are sometimes trafficked as a consequence of soliciting help from strangers such as truck drivers. Many Zambian child laborers, particularly those in the agriculture, domestic service, and fishing sectors, are also victims of human trafficking. Traffickers most often operate through ad hoc, flexible networks of relatives, truck drivers, business people, cross-border traders, and religious leaders.   - 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 Zambia.  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.

HELP for Victims

International Organization for Migration
(0)1 25 40 55
Country code: 260-



Human rights activists shed light on trafficking practices

[Categories – Forced Marriage, Slavery in the Home, Commodification of Children]

Alejandra Martinez/The University of Texas-Pan American, October 31, 2010

[accessed 17 April 2012]

Like Adefolahan, Temba, an activist from Zambia, spoke about what her country is doing to battle human trafficking.  She mentioned that the act of trafficking is highly feminized in Zambia, meaning that women and young girls are the main targets. Ironically, women are also the primary recruiters.

She added that the main types of trafficking women fall victim to include forced marriages, domestic work, and child laundering. This last one is when women, especially young girls, are impregnated repeatedly and forced to give up their children for adoption.

"We're also seeing cases of trafficking in families… fathers and uncles selling children," she said. "A father attempted to sell his 10-year-old son for $200. Also an uncle attempted to sell his nephew for $6,000."

Zambia should save its own children...

[Category – Exploitation of Children]

Japhet Banda, Times of Zambia, 11 July 2003

[Last accessed 3 March 2019]

When Tomaida Tembo received news of her impending trip to Lusaka, she was 500 km away in Katete’s Kathumba village in the Eastern Province.  The 11-year-old did not know how to react.  Lusaka to her, has been a mythical place and according to those that had been to the city, it was a place of “agebenga” (bandits) and the “akapenta” (prostitutes) who patrolled and patronised the streets of the city of ‘lights’.  What had been a mythical place to Tomaida was soon to become reality.

To make her travelling easy, the distant cousin had sent enough money to cover her travelling expenses and a lot more to help her mother settle down after her departure.  That was five years ago since the morning Tomaida left the sanctuary of her mother on a journey that changed her life forever.  Wandering on the cold streets of Lusaka, Tomaida awaits her next client on Addis Ababa drive.

Activists Urge Zambian Government to Crack Down on Human Trafficking

[Categories – Deception of Victims, Exploitation of Children]

Voice of America VOA News, Lusaka, Zambia, 01 May 2007

[accessed 17 January 2011]

Kafukanya says Zambia is also one of the most vulnerable countries to human and child trafficking: "What they do in this recruitment, they use deception, they entice somebody.  And when they go there [the destination country] the ball changes.  They are forced into hard labor jobs.  And for the girl Childs is forced into prostitution while the boys into criminal activities."


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Zambia

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

[accessed 29 June 2021]


The government did not effectively enforce the law. While the government investigated cases involving a small number of victims, it did not investigate more organized trafficking operations potentially involving forced labor in the mining, construction, and agricultural sectors.


Child labor was prevalent in agriculture, fisheries, domestic service, construction, farming, commercial sexual exploitation (see section 6, Children), quarrying, begging and mining. UNICEF noted discrepancies between the right to education and child labor laws in the country; the employment code allows children ages 13 to 15 legally to be engaged in work, which conflicts with the child’s right to education.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 8 July 2020]


Labor exploitation, child labor, and human trafficking remain prevalent despite laws meant to prevent them. The authorities have struggled to sustain efforts to identify trafficking victims and prosecute perpetrators. Most human trafficking in the country reportedly entails the exploitation of women and children from rural areas in economic pursuits ranging from domestic work to mining and agriculture.

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 8 May 2020]

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

[page 1048]

Children trafficked inside Zambia are primarily trafficked from rural to urban areas for domestic work and forced labor in agriculture. (10; 14; 15) Some children in Zambia are forced by Jerabo gangs, which are illegal mining syndicates in the Copperbelt province, to load trucks with stolen copper ore. (16; 2) Along Zambia’s borders, the commercial sexual exploitation of children is common. (14) The government has yet to release information on child labor from its 2008, 2012, or 2014 Labour Force Surveys, although the general Labour Force Survey results, which did not include data on child labor, were released in 2011, 2014, and 2016. (17; 18).

Zambian's plight highlights Texas human trafficking problem

[Category – Exploitation of Children]

Shelly Slater, WFAA-TV, February 7, 2008

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

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[scroll down]

At age 11, Kechepa lived in Zambia, which is a country with no running water in many locations. He roasted mice for food. But with dreams of a better life, he put his trust into Keith Grimes.  Grimes was a missionary for TTT: Partners and Education, which was a non-profit organization based in Sherman. He brought the Zambian Acapella Choir to America with big promises.  "They are like my children," Grimes said while in Africa.  In exchange for touring the choir, the boys would get an education, pay and even monthly salaries for loved ones at home. There was also a promise to build schools in Zambia.  With Grimes' promises, the boys sang, sometimes performing eight times in one day.

"We noticed that all the things they promised in Zambia were not being fulfilled," he said.  Money from churchgoers was coming in by the hundreds of thousands. Meanwhile, the boys felt like prisoners. They were not allowed phone calls, pay and sometimes were denied food.  "We didn't eat for two-and-a-half days," Kechepa said.  But Kechepa said they were threatened deportation if they complained, which Kechepa said would turn them into outcasts in Zambia.  "And if you're deported, your family is going to disown you, saying you shamed our name," Kechepa said.

Director Amy Allais pours her soul into human trafficking ad

[Category – Prevention]

Fresh Eye Film Productions,,  6 Jul 2007

[accessed 17 January 2011]

A gripping commercial for The International Organisation for Migration on human trafficking is definitely a commercial Director Amy Allais, from Fresh Eye Film Productions, poured her soul into.

The commercial focuses on a young girl, in Zambia, being lured into a trafficking ring under the false promise of becoming a model in South Africa. Messages like: “you will be raped” and “you will be a sex slave” become part of the dusty township landscape as the ad unfolds.

“The call centre is now receiving about 100 calls a day. We usually only receive no more than 50 calls a week. Who says advertising doesn't work?”

Human Trafficking - Danger to Social , Economic Growth

[Category – Poverty]

Thomas Changopa, Times of Zambia, 16 April 2007

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

[accessed 13 September 2011]

Many of these children whose parents have died from HIV/AIDS or related diseases lack parental care and guidance, cultural, social and family ties and life skills that are usually passed on from generation to generation. They are deprived of their childhood love and care and many of them lose the opportunity to go to school. They become victims of human trafficking because they tend to be attracted to big cities and towns, with the view of earning a living.

Child Trafficking: Does It Exist In Zambia?

[Category – Deception of Victims]

Charles Simengwa, Times of Zambia, March 2005

[accessed 17 January 2011]

[accessed 3 March 2019]

When 16-year-old Fridah Bwalya (not real name) visited a local restaurant on what had started as a normal day, little did she know that her life would change forever.

He said he liked me, that I was tall and beautiful enough to make it at top model in South Africa. I refused, but he convinced me to accompany him and after three days he organised an air ticket for me, Fridah said in an interview with M-Films Production.

In South Africa, she was met by a group of men who took her to what she described as a beautiful place. There were other girls who initially she did not know had also been lured there in the same way.

Fridah only realised what she had got herself into when a man visited her room one evening and explained to her that he was there to teach her how to model

An African cleansing rite that now can kill

[Category – Religion & Slavery]

Sharon LaFraniere, The New York Times, Mchinji, Malawi, May 12, 2005

[accessed 23 April 2012]

[accessed 19 February 2018]

In Malawi and in a number of nearby nations including Zambia and Kenya, a husband's funeral has long concluded with a final ritual: sex between the widow and one of her husband's relatives, to break the bond with his spirit and, it is said, save her and the rest of the village from insanity or disease. Widows have long tolerated it, and traditional leaders have endorsed it, as an unchallenged tradition of rural African life.

Twelve suspected human traffickers arrested

[Category – Deception of Victims]

Times of Zambia, 17 August 2004

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

[accessed 13 September 2011]

Ms Mbangweta said the suspects were allegedly enticing Zambians by promising them lucrative employment and businesses in various parts of the world.

She said the group had also used fake passports and the department was making arrangements for one-way travel documents to send them back.  She said the ring had set up several command posts where agents were being paid handsomely for facilitating the exit from Zambia of people to go and offer cheap labour and engage in other dubious acts in other parts of the world.

The Invisible people - Africa feeds new slavery

[Categories – Prostitution-Adult, Prostitution-Child]

Sokari, August 07, 2004

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

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[scroll down]  The African Gender Institute has launched a new report based on a study of human trafficking and prostitution in Zambia. Some of the findings:

In Zambia women and children are trafficked by road, rail and throughout Africa to Europe, Australia and the US.  Attached to prostitution and trafficking are violence and sexual abuse.

Massive child labour in Zambia denounced

[Category – Labor-Child]

afrol News, 25 October 2002 -- Sources: ICFTU & afrol archives

[accessed 17 January 2011]

With children working in dangerous occupations including portering, street begging and domestic labour, child labour is a widespread problem in Zambia, ICFTU says. "In contravention of the ILO's two core conventions on child labour, children are still toiling in even the worst forms of child labour such as small scale mining operations, agriculture and stone crushing."

The UN labour agency, ILO, has published figures that estimate that over 550,000 children were working in 2001. 85 percent of these were involved in the so-called "worst forms of child labour." According to the ICFTU report, "as the number of Zambians dying of HIV-AIDS continues to increase, the numbers of orphans, and the number of households headed by a child, increases as well. Nearly all of these children are working."

Neither were children safe from the perils of prostitution. The report states that "there are reports of forced prostitution [in Zambia], particularly of children, of the trafficking of women and children to neighbouring countries for the purposes of prostitution, and of combatants from neighbouring Angola kidnapping Zambians and taking them back to Angola to perform various forms of forced labour."  - htcp

The Protection Project - Zambia [DOC]

[Category – Poverty]

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

[accessed 2009]

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRAFFICKING INFRASTRUCTURE - HIV/AIDS, coupled with poverty, has contributed to the proliferation of street children and child labor in Zambia. About 80 percent of Zambia’s population lives in degrading conditions. Poverty pervades both rural and urban areas, pushing most women, adolescents, and children into the informal sector of the economy, where they sell a variety of goods, their labor, or their bodies. Prostitution is rife in major towns and smaller urban areas. Nearly 1 million children are reportedly orphaned in the country, and 75,000 live on the streets. Nearly half of Zambian children, regardless of orphan status, are not enrolled in primary s.  htsccp


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 – Women from the country were trafficked within the country and to other parts of Africa and to Europe, and the country was used as a transit point for regional trafficking of women for prostitution. Traffickers fraudulently obtained Zambian travel documents for their victims before proceeding to other destinations. During the year there were reliable reports that women were trafficked to the country for commercial sex work.

The government did not keep data on trafficking cases and the law did not define the crime of trafficking, making it difficult to profile the typical trafficker. A 2004 survey of service providers, community members, and children located in four cities indicated that traffickers come from a variety of backgrounds and include family members, truck drivers, prostitutes, and business persons. Foreign traffickers were said to have come from Asia, Europe, and North America as well as from countries in the region.

Traffickers often use promises of employment to entice young girls and women to leave their homes and families and then force them into prostitution.

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 17 January 2011]

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 - Street children are especially vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation, and the problem of child prostitution is widespread in Zambia.  Zambia is a source and transit country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

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