Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons


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 is common in agriculture and market vending in rural areas, often with the complicity of family members. 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 prostitution in bars, roadside clubs, overnight stopping points, and restaurants along the southern transport corridor that links Maputo, Swaziland, and South Africa. Child prostitution is increasing in Maputo, Beira, Chimoio, 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 prostitution. Women and girls from neighboring countries voluntarily migrate to Mozambique and subsequently endure sex trafficking or domestic servitude. Mozambican men and boys are subjected to forced labor on South African farms and mines, or as street vendors, 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. Mozambican or South African trafficking networks are typically informal; larger Chinese and Nigerian trafficking syndicates are reportedly also active in Mozambique. South Asian people smugglers who move undocumented South Asian migrants throughout Africa reportedly transport trafficking victims through Mozambique. Reports allege traffickers bribe officials to move victims within the country and across national borders to South Africa and Swaziland, and prison officials force women to provide sex acts in exchange for provisions.

The Government of Mozambique does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government sponsored the establishment of coordinating bodies, known as “reference groups,” in three additional provinces and reported its investigation of 27 trafficking cases. The government reported maintenance of strong law enforcement efforts, prosecuting 44 suspected traffickers and convicting 32—a continued increase from 24 convicted in 2013 and 23 in 2012. However, the government did not finalize its national action plan or the implementing regulations for the 2008 anti-trafficking law. Furthermore, the government did not report its identification or protection of victims during the year. Despite enactment of a victim protection law and development of a referral mechanism for victims of all crimes in 2012, the government’s funding for and provision of protective services remained inadequate.


Increase efforts to prosecute and convict suspected trafficking offenders; finalize and implement the national action plan, and issue regulations necessary to implement the protection and prevention provisions of the 2008 anti-trafficking law; institute a unified system for collecting trafficking case data; investigate reports of official complicity in trafficking crimes and vigorously prosecute cases against those implicated in trafficking offenses; build the capacity of the police anti-trafficking unit, 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 identify proactively trafficking victims among vulnerable populations; monitor the reported growth of commercial sex in Tete and Cabo Delgado provinces and train officials to investigate and prosecute those facilitating child or forced prostitution; expand the availability of protective services for victims via increased funding to the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Action and NGOs; continue training law enforcement officers in victim identification, particularly at border points; consider establishment of an inter-ministerial body to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts nationwide; and launch anti-trafficking awareness campaigns in additional municipalities and provinces outside Maputo and Beira.


The government maintained strong 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. In 2014, the government enacted a new penal code, which includes prohibitions on 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. During the year, the government initiated investigation of 27 trafficking cases and began prosecution of 44 suspected traffickers. It convicted 32 offenders under the 2008 anti-trafficking law, all of whom received prison terms from two to 20 years. These efforts are indicative of the government’s continued commitment to hold offenders accountable, given the conviction of 24 trafficking offenders in 2013 and 23 in 2012. As the 2008 anti-trafficking law includes prohibitions against organ trafficking, which is known to exist in Mozambique, these law enforcement efforts likely included cases beyond sex and labor trafficking.

The government, in partnership with international organizations, continued to offer an anti-trafficking course for all newly recruited police officers, border guards, customs and immigration agents, and rapid intervention (riot) police. The course covered recognition of trafficking cases, protection of victims, child rights, and child custody law, and became a permanent component of the training curriculum during the year. Mozambican officials hosted a national debate on combating trafficking for traditional leaders, border authorities, police, and NGOs; however, investigative techniques, training, capacity, and forensic abilities continued to be weak, particularly outside of the capital. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in trafficking. During the year, Mozambican officials held cross-border meetings with officials from South Africa’s Mpumalanga provincial anti-trafficking task team to discuss the repatriation of child trafficking victims.


The government maintained limited efforts to protect victims of trafficking. It lacked formal victim identification procedures and did not report the number of victims identified and assisted during the year. Officials continued to rely on NGOs to provide shelter, counseling, food, and rehabilitation to victims, and offered only limited in-kind government support. The government assumed direct budget responsibility for the country’s only permanent shelter for child trafficking victims, including staff salaries, and provided psychologists to coordinate family reunification and assistance for an unknown number of trafficking victims, but continued to utilize technical and financial support from international organizations for victim support.

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 2014. The anti-trafficking law requires police protection for victims assisting in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenders; however, it is unclear if such protections were utilized during the year. The Ministry of Justice’s 2013 draft action plan to guide the efforts for victims’ protection and outline implementation of the 2012 witness protection law—including trafficking victims who cooperate with law enforcement—remained unfinished and unimplemented for the second consecutive year. The multi-sectorial care mechanism, approved in 2012 to coordinate referral and protection for female victims of violence, appeared to remain inoperative in 2014. The government did not provide temporary residency status or legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they might face hardship or retribution. The lack of formal identification procedures precluded the government from ensuring no trafficking victims were inadvertently penalized detained, fined, or jailed for unlawful acts committed as a result of having been subjected to trafficking.


The government demonstrated modest efforts to prevent trafficking in persons. During the year, the government did not make progress in finalizing or submitting for approval the national anti-trafficking action plan or implementing regulations. Although the government lacked a single national body to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts across ministries, the attorney general’s office continued to demonstrate leadership in overseeing national anti-trafficking efforts; it partnered with provincial governments to establish inter-ministerial “reference groups” in three remaining provinces, which enabled complete national coverage. Consisting of local officials, police, border guards, social workers, NGOs, and faith-based organizations, the “reference groups” served to coordinate regional efforts to address trafficking and other crimes. In 2014, government officials, in partnership with an NGO, conducted an awareness campaign for 150 members of a transportation association on how to recognize and report suspected trafficking cases. It also hosted seven anti-trafficking lectures for 600 government and civil sector personnel, which were coupled with training sessions on organ trafficking. Although the Ministry of Labor acknowledged that child labor is pervasive and often abusive, it employed an inadequate number of labor inspectors, who lacked training and resources to adequately monitor for child trafficking and other labor violations, especially on farms in rural areas. The government failed to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts during the year. It did not provide anti-trafficking training or guidance for its diplomatic personnel.