Zambia Passes New Comprehensive Anti-Human Trafficking Law
IOM welcomes the passing of Zambia's first law that comprehensively
addresses human trafficking in the country.
Newly elected president, Rupiah Banda, signed The Anti-Human
Trafficking Act (No. 11 of 2008) which enables the prosecution of
human traffickers and commits the government to providing
protection services to victims of the crime.
"This comprehensive new law is far-reaching since it addresses
Zambia's specific concerns of recruitment, transportation and
harbouring of persons – particularly young people and women
– for the purposes of exploitation," says Monty Mulikita,
Director of Research and Information (HARID) at Zambia's Ministry
of Home Affairs.
The new law gives greater authority and prosecutorial ability to
police officers, immigration officers, and customs officials.
Customs officials are now able to search and arrest those suspected
of transporting human trafficking victims. The government is also
required to provide protection and compensation to victims of human
IOM has been working closely with the Zambian government on
anti-trafficking legislation since 2006 as well as with the Zambia
Law Development Commission (ZLDC) which helped author the
"The law requires the government to lay a solid foundation for
prevention, prosecution and protection," says Maxwell Mainsa, of
the ZLDC. "We now have the legal framework to ensure that justice
The Zambian Penal Code did not previously reflect the
internationally recognized definition of human-trafficking in the
Palermo Protocol, making it difficult to prosecute
"The sale and exploitation of victims often take place outside
of the country – in South Africa, Europe and North America,
for example" says Elizabeth Barnhart, IOM's counter-trafficking
officer in Zambia. "This new law will help law enforcement here to
prosecute those who are recruiting and handling the victims."
IOM has been training law enforcement officers at Zambia's
borders to identify potential victims of trafficking before they
cross the border. In addition, IOM provides shelter and
services to victims of trafficking, and raises community awareness
on safe migration and human trafficking.
The southern African country is a source and transit country for
victims of human trafficking. Victims are recruited from villages,
as well as urban and peri-urban areas, and often taken to South
Africa's urban centres. Once there, they are forced into domestic
servitude or sexual exploitation. Other African and Asian victims
also transit through Zambia including nationals from East and
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