Trafficking in Persons Report 2016 - Country Narratives - Tanzania

TANZANIA: Tier 2 Watch List

Tanzania is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Internal trafficking is more prevalent than transnational trafficking and characteristically facilitated by victims’ family members, friends, or intermediaries offering assistance with education or securing employment in urban areas. Impoverished children from the rural interior remain most vulnerable to trafficking. Girls are exploited in domestic servitude throughout the country and sex trafficking particularly in tourist hubs and along the border with Kenya. Boys are subjected to forced labor on farms—including as cattle herders and occasionally as hunters—and in mines and quarries, the informal commercial sector, and on fishing vessels operating on the high seas, as well as in sex trafficking. Some unscrupulous individuals manipulate the traditional practice of child fostering—in which poor children are entrusted into the care of wealthier relatives or respected community members—to subject children to domestic servitude and other forms of exploitative labor. Previous media reports indicate Tanzanian children with physical disabilities are transported to Kenya for forced begging and girls are subjected to sex trafficking in China. Tanzanian nationals are sometimes subjected to forced labor, including domestic servitude, and sex trafficking in other African countries, the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. Trafficking victims from other countries—particularly children from Burundi and Kenya, as well as adults from India, Nepal, and Yemen—are forced to work in Tanzania’s agricultural, mining, and domestic service sectors; some are also subjected to sex trafficking. Citizens of neighboring countries may transit Tanzania before being forced into domestic service or prostitution in South Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

The Government of Tanzania does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government allocated a sufficient budget to its anti-trafficking committee for the second consecutive year and closed 70 recruitment agencies suspected of fraudulently recruiting Tanzanians for employment in the Middle East. Despite these measures, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing anti-trafficking efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore, Tanzania is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for the fourth consecutive year. Per the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, Tanzania was granted a waiver from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because its government has devoted sufficient resources to a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute significant efforts to meet the minimum standards. While the government updated its national action plan to incorporate implementing regulations for the 2008 anti-trafficking law, it did not widely apply the implementing regulations for the 2008 anti-trafficking law to overhaul its victim protection capabilities. The government has not allocated funding to its victims’ assistance fund since its creation in 2008. The government obtained one conviction and sentenced the trafficker to an unprecedented one-year prison term; however, reforms to mandate stringent jail sentences for trafficking crimes in lieu of fines did not progress during the year and law enforcement efforts remained disproportionate to the prevalence of the crime.


Increase efforts to enforce the 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act by prosecuting trafficking offenses, convicting trafficking offenders, and applying stringent penalties upon conviction; amend the anti-trafficking act to remove the sentencing provision of fines in lieu of prison time; operationalize the updated 2015-2017 national action plan to fully implement the protection provisions of the anti-trafficking act, as outlined in the implementing regulations, including by allocating resources to the victim assistance fund; implement policies and procedures for government officials to proactively identify potential trafficking victims among vulnerable groups and refer them to protective services; train judges and prosecutors to delineate differences between trafficking and smuggling; provide training to law enforcement authorities on how to effectively detect and investigate trafficking crimes; compile trafficking-specific law enforcement and victim protection data at the national level; and continue budget allocation for the anti-trafficking committee and anti-trafficking secretariat to implement the national action plan to combat trafficking.


The government maintained its limited anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. The 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act prohibits all forms of trafficking and prescribes punishments of one to 10 years’ imprisonment or a fine between 1 and 150 million Tanzanian shillings (TZS) ($465 and $70,000), or both. For sentences that only include a fine, penalties are not sufficiently stringent or commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. A provision allowing offenders to pay a fine in lieu of serving prison time is insufficient to the gravity of the crime and an ineffective deterrent. The government remained without a system to compile comprehensive law enforcement statistics and relied on press reports or officials’ recollections. In 2015, the government reportedly initiated investigations of 12 suspected trafficking cases, but dismissed 10, in comparison to the four cases it investigated during the previous year. It reported 10 prosecutions in 2015, an increase from five in 2014, and convicted one individual, who was sentenced to one year in prison after the defendant was deemed by the judge to be unable to pay the imposed fine. Four prosecutions initiated the previous year remained pending at the close of the reporting period. The government continued to include human trafficking components into standard police academy training for an unknown number of new recruits. The government also incorporated trafficking information into the curricula of a gazetted training for law enforcement officials, including root causes and effective use of victim referral manuals. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of officials complicit in trafficking offenses; however, general corruption within the judicial system remained an issue.


The government provided insufficient and uneven protective services for trafficking victims. Officials remained without comprehensive statistics to track victims identified or assisted. During the reporting year, officials inconsistently applied the implementing regulations for the protection provisions of the 2008 anti-trafficking law. For example, officials did not establish a statistical database to track and compile information on victims identified and referred for protective services, which the implementing regulations required. In addition, although the implementing regulations required police and immigration authorities to follow standardized procedures for victim investigation, identification, and referral, such procedures were not widely used in 2015. An international organization reported it identified 45 domestic and five foreign potential trafficking victims. The government did not identify any victims during the year, however, which marks a reduction from the 22 foreign victims it identified the previous year. The government relied primarily on NGOs to operate shelters for trafficking victims, though government officials continued to provide psycho-social support for the victims in those shelters and streamlined referral services to enable government officials to more effectively place victims in such shelters. During the previous year the government supported the repatriation of 22 victims and provided them with protection and housing.

There were no reports the government arrested or punished trafficking victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to trafficking. While implementing regulations mandated the government to proactively assess for potential trafficking indicators among vulnerable groups, officials detained a large number of African migrants for immigration offenses without such screening during the reporting year. The 2008 anti-trafficking law provides foreign victims legal alternatives to their removal to countries where their safety or the safety of their families may be endangered. In 2015, the government provided an unknown number of foreign victims with travel documents and safe passage to respective country borders. It diplomatically facilitated repatriation with foreign governments or attempted to resettle victims in a third country; the government did not grant residency or temporary stay to any victims during the reporting period.


The government slightly increased its efforts to prevent trafficking. For the second consecutive year, the government allocated a budget of TZS 80 million ($37,000) to its anti-trafficking committee. In February 2015, the anti-trafficking committee drafted an updated national action plan, effective through 2017, which incorporated the implementing regulations of the 2008 anti-trafficking law; however, the extent to which the government implemented the revised plan or allotted funding for its implementation was unknown, although it did commit in-kind support. During the reporting period, the government closed 70 recruitment agencies that were alleged to be complicit in subjecting Tanzanians to forced labor in the Middle East under pretenses of employment. Local officials in the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar continued to conduct anti-trafficking public awareness campaigns across the island, and immigration officials on the mainland disseminated informational brochures on trafficking for use at public events; however, the government remained without sufficient resources to effectively sensitize the public on trafficking issues. Officials made no discernible efforts to reduce the demand for forced labor or commercial sex acts during the reporting period. A foreign donor facilitated specialized anti-trafficking training for Tanzanian troops prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions. The government provided anti-trafficking training for its diplomatic personnel.

Associated documents

  • Document ID 1031016 Related / Associated
  • Methodology associated with Macau: Annual report on trafficking in persons (covering March 2015 to February 2016)

    Trafficking in Persons Report 2016 - Country Narratives - Macau (Periodical Report, English)