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HUMAN TRAFFICKING SHAME

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MBABANE - Swaziland is a source, destination, and transit country for women and children who are subjected to trafficking for sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and forced labour in agriculture.


Swazi girls, particularly orphans, are subjected to sex trafficking and domestic servitude in the cities of Mbabane and Manzini, as well as in South Africa, Mozambique and the United States.
Some Swazi women are forced into prostitution in South Africa and Mozambique after voluntarily migrating in search of work.
This is an analysis by the Trafficking of Persons Report 2013 where Swaziland was classified on the second tier in terms of human trafficking.


This classification means the country had in place most of the legislation to prevent the trafficking of humans but failed in the implementation of same.
According to the report, traffickers force Mozambican women into prostitution in Swaziland, or transit Swaziland with their victims on their way to South Africa.
It also said Mozambican boys migrate to Swaziland to work as car washers, livestock herding and portering. Some of these boys subsequently become victims of forced labour.


The report which was published recently by the Government of the United States of America also claimed that Swazi chiefs coerce children and adults, through threats and intimidation, to work in their fields.


“Swazi boys and foreign children are forced to labour in commercial agriculture and market vending within the country.”
“Traffickers appear to utilise Swaziland as a transit country for transporting foreign victims from beyond the region to South Africa for forced labour; in 2011, Swazi authorities intercepted several transiting Indian nationals and, in 2012, a few cases of Ugandan and Chinese nationals.”


It also reports that during the year, a young Nigerian woman and two Mozambican boys were discovered in forced labour in market vending.
The report also suggests that labour brokers fraudulently recruit and charge excessive fees to Swazi nationals for work in South African mines - means often used to facilitate trafficking crimes.


“Swazi men in border communities are also recruited for forced labour in South Africa’s timber industry,” reads the report in part.
It says the government of Swaziland does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so.
During the year, government initiated prosecution of two suspected trafficking offenders and recalled a Swazi diplomat from an overseas posting for alleged trafficking complicity.


Police and immigration officials intercepted nine potential foreign victims in 2012, though they failed to identify or investigate cases involving Swazi victims.
Moreover, government failed to train any of its officials, including law enforcement personnel, on existing legislation and indicators for victim identification, which stymied investigations and prosecutions.


During the previous reporting period (2012), government allegedly failed to provide adequate shelter and support for victims following their identification, which led to the deportation of six victims in 2011; this deficiency was again highlighted in 2012, when additional victims were not provided sufficient shelter and services—increasing their vulnerability to revictimisation.


While the anti-trafficking task force and its secretariat continued to guide anti-trafficking efforts, a lack of funds hindered progress on all fronts, especially with regard to the provision of adequate protection to victims.
Sicelo Dlamini, Head of the Swaziland Task Force against Human Trafficking, confirmed that human trafficking in the country was rife and had affected the country’s standing internationally.


He said in its efforts to address the problem, the country established a task force about seven months ago with the aim of addressing the problem.
Dlamini said the task force would among other things work hard to improve the country’s  standing by addressing trafficking which he said at times went undictated because of lack of education.


“Our aim is to have Swaziland removed from countries listed as high-risk for human trafficking. I am happy to say we have improved tremendously since we were established a few months ago,” he said.

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