Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Tier 2 Watch List

Tanzania is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The incidence of internal trafficking is higher than that of transnational trafficking and is usually facilitated by family members, friends, or intermediaries of victims who offer assistance with education or finding lucrative employment in urban areas. Some unscrupulous individuals manipulate the traditional practice of child fostering—in which poor children are entrusted into the care of wealthier relatives or respected members of the community—to subject children to forced labor. The exploitation of young girls in domestic servitude continues to be Tanzania’s largest human trafficking problem, though child sex trafficking, particularly along the Kenya-Tanzania border, occurs as well. Girls are exploited in sex trafficking in tourist areas within the country. Boys are subjected to forced labor, primarily on farms—including as farm laborers, cattle herders, and occasionally hunters—but also in mines and quarries, in the informal commercial sector, in factories, in the sex trade, and possibly on small fishing boats operating on the high seas. Smaller numbers of Tanzanian children and adults are subjected to domestic servitude, other forms of forced labor, and sex trafficking—often by other Tanzanians—in other countries including Mozambique, Ethiopia, South Africa, Uganda, Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Italy, and possibly other African, Middle Eastern, and European countries. There are media reports that Tanzanian children with physical disabilities are transported to Kenya for forced begging and that Tanzanian girls are subjected to sex trafficking in China. Trafficking victims from other countries—typically children from Burundi and Kenya, as well as adults from Bangladesh, Nepal, Yemen, and India—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 voluntarily migrate through Tanzania before being forced into domestic service and prostitution in South Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

The Government of Tanzania does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Government representatives participated in donor-funded meetings to draft and review regulations and procedures for the implementation of the 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and finalized these texts for stakeholder input near the end of the reporting period. The government repatriated two victims of international labor trafficking, and police reported referring 11 victims to NGOs for support. Despite these measures, the government failed to demonstrate overall increasing efforts to combat trafficking from the previous year; therefore, Tanzania is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. For a fifth year, the government failed to allocate funding to the victims’ assistance fund established by the 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act. Tanzanian authorities did not prosecute any new cases or convict any trafficking offenders during the reporting period. Insufficient efforts to protect victims left them with a lack of incentives for participating in investigations, limiting the government’s ability to pursue successful law enforcement action against traffickers. Officials’ inability to distinguish between trafficking and smuggling led to some victims being punished.

Recommendations for Tanzania:

Increase efforts to enforce the 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act by prosecuting trafficking offenses, convicting trafficking offenders, and applying stringent penalties—including jail time, as appropriate—upon conviction; implement the act’s victim protection and prevention provisions, including by allocating resources to the victim assistance fund; establish policies and procedures for government officials to identify and interview potential trafficking victims—including adults—among vulnerable groups proactively and transfer them to local organizations providing care; begin compiling trafficking-specific law enforcement and victim protection data at the national level; contribute government resources to train judges, prosecutors, and police to clarify the difference between human trafficking and human smuggling; provide specialized anti-trafficking training to all Tanzanian diplomats prior to their departure for overseas posts; allocate a budget for the anti-trafficking committee and anti-trafficking secretariat to implement the national action plan to combat trafficking; provide additional training to law enforcement authorities on the detection and methods of investigating human trafficking crimes; and implement or update the 2012-2014 national action plan.


The Tanzanian government made limited law enforcement efforts during the year. The 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act outlaws all forms of trafficking and prescribes punishments of one to 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both. These penalties are sufficiently stringent, but not 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 allows for a penalty that is not proportionate to the crime and does not provide an adequate deterrent to potential perpetrators of trafficking offenses.

The government reported investigating three cases of suspected trafficking; details of those cases are unknown. The government reported responding to three additional tips received concerning international trafficking cases, but failed to prosecute or convict any offenders. Two of the latter three cases involved male Tanzanian victims; one victim was subjected to forced labor in Italy, and another was lured to Uganda on the promise of playing soccer and subsequently subjected to forced labor. Following a lead from INTERPOL, authorities investigated a case of a Nepali girl believed to have been subjected to trafficking within Tanzania, but her whereabouts were not discovered. Law enforcement and judicial officials’ lack of understanding of trafficking continued to create an environment of impunity; at best, the crime of trafficking was treated as a minor offense. The government did not allocate funding to provide specialized anti-trafficking training to officials during the year. The government made no progress in compiling trafficking-specific law enforcement and victim protection data at the national level. The Government of Tanzania did not report any investigations or prosecutions of public officials for alleged complicity in trafficking-related offenses during the reporting period.


The Tanzanian government made few efforts to protect victims of trafficking during the year. The police reported referring 11 victims to local NGOs for support, and civil society organizations reported identifying and assisting an additional 11 victims in 2013. Government officials did not typically take measures to proactively identify victims among vulnerable groups. In one incident, authorities in Zanzibar identified two suspected victims, children en route to Oman for domestic work, and prevented them from departing on the basis that they had insufficient travel documents. Authorities failed to refer the girls to social service providers and their subsequent whereabouts are unknown, leaving them at risk of re-trafficking. A systematic referral method which calls for police, Department of Social Welfare, and NGOs to notify each other of all potential cases remained in place, but often did not function effectively. Police cooperated with an international organization to develop a directory of NGOs that could provide support for victims. There were no procedures in place for the referral of adult victims to service providers.

Key victim protection provisions of the 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, such as allocating funding to the victims’ assistance fund, remained unimplemented. The government continued to rely on NGOs to provide care for victims, and NGO-run facilities were limited to urban areas. There were no shelters dedicated solely to trafficking victims. The government repatriated two Tanzanian male victims of forced labor abroad—one who had been exploited in Uganda and one in Italy. The government failed to ensure that victims were not punished for crimes committed as a result of their being trafficked. The absence of national procedures for victim identification, and law enforcement officers’ failure to distinguish between trafficking and smuggling, often led to foreign victims being arrested, convicted of immigration violations, imprisoned, and deported as irregular migrants. In June 2013, to satisfy a 2008 U.S. court judgment levied against a Tanzanian diplomat who had been posted to the United States, the government facilitated the payment of $170,000—a negotiated sum equivalent to back wages—to a victim of domestic servitude. In a separate case, a Tanzanian diplomatic mission failed to expeditiously process a victim’s travel documents. The government neither encouraged nor discouraged victims from participating in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers, but many were pressured by family members not to testify or provide information to authorities. The 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act provides foreign victims legal alternatives to their removal to countries where their safety or the safety of their families may be endangered; no foreign victims received this immigration relief during the reporting period.


The government made some efforts to prevent human trafficking during the year. The government’s anti-trafficking committee and anti-trafficking secretariats still lacked budgets and full-time staff, but government representatives participated in three donor-funded meetings and a meeting funded by the Ministry of Home Affairs to draft and review regulations and procedures for the implementation of the 2008 law. These texts were finalized for stakeholder input near the end of the reporting period. Local officials in the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar conducted a public awareness campaign across the island using printed brochures and radio announcements. The Minister of Foreign Affairs met with journalists to condemn reports of Tanzanian girls being subjected to forced prostitution in China, and to warn the public to be cautious about accepting offers of sponsored travel abroad. The government made no discernible efforts to reduce the demand for forced labor or commercial sex acts during the reporting period. Tanzanian troops received specialized anti-trafficking training from a foreign donor prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions.