[ Human Trafficking, Country-by-Country ]

ZIMBABWE (Tier 2) Extracted in part  from the U.S. State Dept 2023 TIP Report

The Government of Zimbabwe does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore Zimbabwe was upgraded to Tier 2. These efforts included investigating and prosecuting human trafficking cases, including cases of official complicity. The government identified trafficking victims for the first time in two years and referred trafficking victims to services. The government supported repatriation and reintegration of Zimbabwean victims exploited abroad. The government increased training for law enforcement, immigration officials, and other key anti-trafficking officials. The government finalized and began implementation of a new 2023-2028 Trafficking in Persons National Plan of Action. The government developed SOPs for oversight of labor recruitment agencies. Additionally, the government established task forces in six provinces to investigate trafficking and coordinate victim services. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. The government did not amend its anti-trafficking law to criminalize all forms of trafficking. Reports of low-level official complicity in trafficking crimes persisted. The government did not provide sufficient resources for victim protection, relying on NGOs and international organizations to provide the majority of services to trafficking victims. Additionally, significant backlogs of pending trafficking investigations and prosecutions remained.

Prioritized Recommendations

Amend the anti-trafficking law to criminalize all forms of trafficking in line with the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

Expedite trafficking cases in courts to address the significant backlog of cases.

Increase collaboration with civil society organizations assisting trafficking victims, including through efforts of the Anti-Trafficking Inter-Ministerial Committee (ATIMC).

Implement and consistently enforce strong regulations and oversight of labor recruitment companies, including by eliminating recruitment fees charged to migrant workers, holding fraudulent labor recruiters criminally accountable, and implementing SOPs for ethical recruitment.

Provide more financial or in-kind support to NGOs that assist trafficking victims.

Increase efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes, including complicit officials and perpetrators of child sex trafficking.

Adequately fund and provide specialized training to law enforcement, labor inspectors, prosecutors, and judiciary officials to conduct human trafficking investigations and prosecutions, particularly as distinct from labor law and immigration violations, using a victim-centered approach.

Train front-line workers to proactively identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, including orphaned children, migrant workers, and Cuban medical workers, and refer them to appropriate services using the NRM.

Establish shelters for trafficking victims in each province and actively refer identified victims to care.

Develop mutual legal assistance treaties and other agreements to facilitate information gathering and sharing with foreign governments.

Collect data on human trafficking trends within Zimbabwe to better inform government anti-trafficking efforts.