Today is World Day against Trafficking in Persons.
In 2018 there were about 50,000 human trafficking victims detected and reported by 148 countries. 50 per cent of victims were trafficked for sexual exploitation, 38 per cent were exploited for forced labour. Women make up 46% and girls 19% of all victims of trafficking. Globally, one in every three victims detected is a child.
In Zimbabwe, traffickers exploit predominantly women in domestic servitude, forced labor and sex trafficking in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. These cases are known to increase during times of economic or other crises, such as the current situation where many Zimbabweans’ livelihoods are impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns. Due to COVID-19 it is also reported that child trafficking and child labor likely increased, particularly in agriculture, domestic service, informal trading, begging, and artisanal mining. Children ages 9 to 14 work as nannies, housemaids, and gardeners in urban areas and mining communities; some employers force the children to work by withholding wages, denying them access to school, and subjecting them to gender-based violence.
The Zimbabwean Government launched its new 2019-2021 anti-trafficking national action plan, however the government did not allocate sufficient funding for the plan’s implementation so there is still a shortfall to adequately address this issue.
The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals include goals and targets on trafficking in persons. These goals call for an end to trafficking and violence against children; as well as the need for measures against human trafficking, and they strive for the elimination of all forms of violence against and exploitation of women and girls.
In 2021-22, the Methodist Development and Relief Agency (MeDRA) and the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe (MCZ) will continue to try to address human trafficking in Zimbabwe as part of the Safety and Inclusion (Leadership) Project supported by UnitingWorld. Over the next year MeDRA and the MCZ plan to achieve the following:
- Church wide inclusion, safeguarding and gender officer appointed
- 50 church leaders and 273 ministers trained on Safeguarding, Disability Inclusion, Human Trafficking, including topics and policies
- New policies and training manual on Safeguarding, Disability Inclusion and Human Trafficking translated to local languages and printed.
- 422 church representatives receive training manual on Safeguarding, Disability Inclusion and Human Trafficking
- IEC materials and bulk messaging on Safeguarding, Disability Inclusion, Human Trafficking, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management distributed among church leaders, ministers and communities (including videos of church leaders promoting the message to be circulated via Facebook or Whatsapp)
- Continued collaboration between the MCZ and other Wesleyan Church Anti Trafficking Taskforce members
The World Day against Trafficking in Persons has been held on 30 July since 2013. Find out more.
- Header: Boys from a rural community in Gokwe, Zimbabwe taking a look at one of MeDRA’s posters about human trafficking. Photo credit: MeDRA
- In-text: Another poster produced by MeDRA to help raise awareness of human trafficking in rural communities. Photo credit: MeDRA