Trafficking in Persons Report 2017 - Country Narratives - Mozambique

MOZAMBIQUE: Tier 2 Watch List

The Government of Mozambique does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government demonstrated significant efforts during the reporting period by continuing to prosecute and convict traffickers; identifying victims and referring them to care; developing a draft national referral mechanism (NRM); training front-line responders; and coordinating awareness-raising events. However, the government did not demonstrate increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period. While the number of investigations decreased, the numbers of prosecutions and convictions increased. The government did not finalize implementing regulations for the 2008 anti-trafficking law and the government’s funding for and provision of protective services remained inadequate. The labor ministry employed an insufficient number of labor inspectors, and they lacked training and resources to effectively monitor for child trafficking and other labor violations. Therefore, Mozambique remained on Tier 2 Watch List for the second consecutive year.


Increase efforts to prosecute and convict traffickers; finalize and implement the national action plan, and issue regulations necessary to implement the protection and prevention provisions of the 2008 anti-trafficking law; expand the availability of protective services for victims via increased funding or in-kind support to relevant partners in the National Group to Protect Children and Combat Trafficking in Persons; build the capacity of the labor inspectorate and the Women and Children’s Victim Assistance Units to investigate trafficking cases and provide short-term protection to victims; develop a formal system to proactively identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations and finalize and implement the national referral mechanism; institute a unified system for collecting trafficking case data; monitor the reported growth of commercial sex and train officials to investigate and prosecute those facilitating child sex trafficking or adult forced prostitution; and expand training for law enforcement officers in victim identification, particularly at border points.


The government made uneven anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. The Law on Preventing and Combating the Trafficking of People, enacted in 2008, prohibits recruiting or facilitating the exploitation of a person for purposes of prostitution, forced labor, slavery, or involuntary debt servitude. Article 10 prescribes penalties of 16 to 20 years imprisonment for these offenses, which are sufficiently stringent and exceed those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The 2014 penal code prohibits involuntary commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor of men and women.

The government continued to manually compile anti-trafficking law enforcement data; however, it did not provide case-specific details. In 2016, the government reported initiating investigations of 20 suspected trafficking cases, compared with 35 the previous year and prosecutions of 17 defendants, compared with 10 the previous year. It reported convicting 16 traffickers under the 2008 anti-trafficking law, all of whom received prison terms, ranging from eight to 20 years imprisonment; the number of convictions represents an increase from 11 offenders convicted in 2015. As the 2008 anti-trafficking law criminalizes trafficking for the purpose of organ removal, law enforcement statistics likely included such cases, in addition to sex and labor trafficking cases. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking offenses.

In partnership with international organizations, the government trained 30 members of the National Reference Group for Child Protection and Combating Trafficking in Persons (NRG), an inter-ministerial body responsible for coordination of national anti-trafficking efforts, on victim identification. An international organization trained approximately two dozen members of the Maputo Province Reference Group, consisting of officials from the provincial administrative office, attorney general’s office, police, border guards, social workers, and NGOs, trained 24 provincial reference group members on victim identification twice during the reporting period. An international organization also provided training for the Maputo City Reference Group on victim identification. The attorney general’s office worked with an international organization to train 100 provincial reference group members in Gaza, Nampula, and Tete provinces. The Ministry of the Interior trained 60 of its personnel from Gaza, Inhambane, and Maputo on victim identification. Expert reports allege traffickers commonly bribe police and immigration officials to facilitate trafficking crimes both domestically and across international borders.


The government maintained inadequate protection efforts. The government reported referring 11 trafficking victims, including 10 children, to an international organization for protective services. An international organization reported identifying one additional child victim. Officials continued to rely on technical and financial support from NGOs and international organizations to provide protection and rehabilitation services for victims and offered limited shelter, medical, and psychological assistance. In partnership with an international organization, the government developed a draft NRM during the reporting period. The drafting process involved significant coordination among multiple government agencies, law enforcement, and civil society. However, it did not finalize implementing regulations for the protection and prevention provisions of the 2008 anti-trafficking law. Draft implementing regulations for trafficking victim and witness protection were not finalized by the end of the reporting period.

Officials continued to operate facilities in more than 215 police stations and 22 “Victims of Violence” centers throughout the country offering temporary shelter, food, limited counseling, and monitoring following reintegration for victims of crime; however, it remained unclear whether trafficking victims benefited from these services in 2016. The anti-trafficking law requires police protection for victims who participate as witnesses in criminal proceedings against traffickers. The multi-sectoral care mechanism, which coordinates referrals and protective provisions for female victims of violence, remained inadequate and inoperative in 2016. Although Mozambican law provides for temporary residency status or legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they might face hardship or retribution, the government did not use this provision during the reporting period.


The government made modest efforts to prevent trafficking. The NRG met at least twice during the reporting period to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts at the national level and to draft an updated national action plan; however, the plan was not finalized by the end of the reporting period. Provincial-level “reference groups,” consisting of local officials, police, border guards, social workers, NGOs, and faith-based organizations, continued to coordinate regional efforts to address trafficking and other crimes. These groups carried out awareness campaigns throughout the country with support from an international NGO. The labor ministry employed an inadequate number of labor inspectors who lacked training and resources to effectively monitor for child trafficking and other labor violations, especially on farms in rural areas. Mozambican officials remained without effective policies or laws regulating foreign recruiters and holding them civilly and criminally liable for fraudulent recruiting. The government did not demonstrate tangible efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts or forced labor during the year. It did not provide anti-trafficking training for its diplomatic personnel.


As reported over the past five years, Mozambique is a source, transit, and, to a lesser extent, destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The use of forced child labor occurs in agriculture, mining, and market vending in rural areas, often with the complicity of family members. In addition to voluntary migrants from neighboring countries, women and girls from rural areas, lured to cities in Mozambique or South Africa with promises of employment or education, are exploited in domestic servitude and sex trafficking. Mozambican girls are exploited in bars, roadside clubs, overnight stopping points, and restaurants along the southern transport corridor that links Maputo with Swaziland and South Africa. Child sex trafficking is of growing concern in Maputo, Beira, Chimoio, Tete, and Nacala, which have highly mobile populations and large numbers of truck drivers. As workers and economic migrants seek employment in the growing extractive industries in Tete and Cabo Delgado, they increase the demand for sexual services, potentially including child sex trafficking. Mozambican men and boys are subjected to forced labor on South African farms and mines where they often labor for months without pay under coercive conditions before being turned over to police for deportation as illegal migrants. Mozambican boys migrate to Swaziland to wash cars, herd livestock, and sell goods; some subsequently become victims of forced labor. Mozambican adults and girls are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking in Angola, Italy, and Portugal. Persons with albinism, including children, are increasingly vulnerable to trafficking for the purpose of organ removal. Informal networks typically comprise Mozambican or South African traffickers. South Asian smugglers who move undocumented South Asian migrants throughout Africa also reportedly transport trafficking victims through Mozambique. Previous reports allege traffickers bribe officials to move victims within the country and across national borders to South Africa and Swaziland.