Human trafficking: A womens issue

human_trafficking_womenWomen comprise at least 56 per cent of the worlds trafficking victims.

The feminisation of poverty and the feminisation of migration mean that women from poorer and developing countries are particularly vulnerable and the proportion of women trafficked is higher in these countries. Human trafficking is modern day slavery. Its victims are men, women and children in search of better prospects in life. Lured with promises of better jobs or education, they often end up in prostitution or forced labour.

Two major forms of trafficking in this region are:

sexual exploitation

forced labour

Zimbabwe is a country of origin, transit and destination for men, women and children subjected to trade in persons. According to the USA Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report, Zimbabwe did not record or release information on the numbers of trafficking investigations or prosecutions, or convictions over the past year. Public awareness seems sparse. The media does not seem to view it as a serious threat in Zimbabwe, hence it has received very little coverage.

Ten years ago the United Nations negotiated the international standards against trafficking in persons. Since then, some countries that denied the existence of trade in humans now work to help eradicate it The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime: This was adopted by General Assembly resolution on 15 November 2000, and is the main international instrument in the fight against transnational organized crime. It entered into force on 29 September 2003.

The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children: This protocol to the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime was adopted by the General Assembly and entered into force on 25 December 2003. It is the first global legally binding instrument with an agreed definition of trafficking in persons.

The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) mobilizes State and non- State actors to eradicate human trafficking by a three-pronged approach of prevention, protection and prosecution:

What Can be Done in Zimbabwe?

1. Zimbabwe needs to sign and ratify the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children

2. Pass legislation to outlaw human trafficking

3. Have a clear policy on human trafficking:

ensure statistics are kept

raise awareness

take urgent steps to prevent it

provide for the prosecution of traffickers

rescue those who have been trafficked

Legislation in the pipeline

The Zimbabwe Government is working on a Bill on human trafficking, but the draft is not yet available. It is important that the proposed Bill addresses the issue of minimum standards required to eradicate trade in humans.

UN Minimum Standards for Governments

The government of the country should prohibit severe forms of trafficking in persons and punish such acts.

For the knowing commission of any act of sex trafficking involving force, fraud, coercion, or in which the victim is a child incapable of giving meaningful consent, or of trafficking which includes rape or kidnapping or which causes a death, the government of the country should prescribe punishment commensurate with that for grave crimes, such as forcible sexual assault.

For the knowing commission of any act of a severe form of trafficking in persons, the government of the country should prescribe punishment that is sufficiently stringent to deter and that adequately reflects the heinous nature of the offence.

The government of the country should make serious and sustained efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons.

Post published in: Politics

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