Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

MOZAMBIQUE: Tier 2 Watch List

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. 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, in addition to voluntary migrants from neighboring countries. Mozambican girls are exploited in prostitution in bars, roadside clubs, overnight stopping points, and restaurants along the southern transport corridor that links Maputo with Swaziland and South Africa. Children exploited in prostitution 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 prostitution. 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. Persons with albinism (PWA), 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, and prison officials force women to provide sex acts in exchange for provisions.

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 launched a national reference group to coordinate inter-ministerial anti-trafficking efforts with civil society stakeholders and sustained nationwide coverage of its regional “reference groups.” It also published four guides to assist police officers in the identification of potential trafficking victims and disseminated trafficking awareness materials across social media channels. Despite these measures, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing anti-trafficking efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore, Mozambique is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. Although the government increased investigations of potential trafficking cases, it prosecuted 35 suspected traffickers and convicted 11 offenders compared with 44 prosecutions and 32 convictions in 2014. It did not finalize its national action plan or the implementing regulations for the 2008 anti-trafficking law. The government did not report identifying or protecting victims during the year, and 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; 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; 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; monitor the reported growth of commercial sex 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 relevant partners in the National Group to Protect Children and Combat Trafficking in Persons; continue training law enforcement officers in victim identification, particularly at border points; and expand anti-trafficking awareness campaigns.


The government decreased its 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 2015, the government initiated investigations of 95 suspected trafficking cases, a three-fold increase from 2014, and prosecutions of 35, compared with 44 prosecutions initiated the previous year. It convicted 11 offenders under the 2008 anti-trafficking law, all of whom received prison terms, ranging from one to 22 years’ imprisonment; the number of convictions represents a decrease from 32 offenders convicted in 2014 and 24 in 2013. As the 2008 anti-trafficking law criminalizes trafficking for the purpose of organ removal, law enforcement statistics likely included those cases, in addition to sex and labor trafficking cases. The government arrested 50 people nationwide for engaging in trafficking PWA for the purpose of removing their organs and other body parts and courts applied substantial prison sentences to the convicted defendants. In one such case, a court in Cabo Delgado province sentenced two individuals convicted of trafficking in persons for the purpose of organ removal to 35 years in prison for murdering a child with albinism to sell his body parts.

The government, in partnership with international organizations, sponsored trafficking-related trainings for an unknown number of immigration officers posted at heavily traversed border crossings with Swaziland and South Africa. It also sponsored, in conjunction with an international organization, anti-trafficking legislation training for 30 magistrates and published four guides to assist police officers in identifying trafficking victims. During the year, Mozambican and South African authorities cooperated on one case, originating from the previous year, involving five children subjected to trafficking in South Africa. NGO reports allege traffickers commonly bribe police and immigration officials to facilitate trafficking crimes both domestically and across international borders. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking offenses.


The government’s efforts to protect trafficking victims remained inadequate. Although the government lacked formal victim identification procedures and did not report the number of victims identified and assisted during the year, an international organization stated that it assisted four trafficking victims in 2015. Officials continued to rely on technical and financial support from NGOs and international organizations to provide the majority of protection and rehabilitation services for victims and offered limited shelter, medical, and psychological assistance, which was sporadic nationwide. During the previous reporting period, the government assumed direct budget responsibility for the country’s only permanent shelter for child trafficking victims and staffed psychologists to coordinate family reunification; however, officials did not disclose details of its funding allocation for victim protection measures over the current 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 2015. The anti-trafficking law requires police protection for victims who participate as witnesses in criminal proceedings against trafficking offenders; however, no such provisions were utilized during the year. The Ministry of Justice’s 2013 draft action plan to guide victim protection efforts and outline implementation of the 2012 witness protection law—including trafficking victims who cooperate with law enforcement—remained unfinished and unimplemented for the third consecutive year. The multi-sectoral care mechanism, which coordinates referrals and protective provisions for female victims of violence, remained inadequate and inoperative in 2015. Although the 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 did not repatriate the five Mozambican children subjected to trafficking in South Africa, during the previous year, due to an ongoing investigation of the vulnerabilities to their being re-victimized in Mozambique. During the year, the government summarily detained and deported 36 foreign nationals who arrived in Maputo with forged visas; the lack of proactive screening procedures precluded the government from ensuring these potential trafficking victims were not inadvertently penalized for unlawful acts committed as a result of potentially being subjected to trafficking.


The government made uneven efforts to prevent trafficking. It did not demonstrate progress toward implementation of the national anti-trafficking action plan or finalize implementing regulations for the second consecutive year. In 2015, the attorney general’s office continued to demonstrate leadership in overseeing anti-trafficking efforts by launching a national reference group for the protection of children and sustaining provincial-level “reference groups” throughout the country. 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 2015, the government, in conjunction with local NGOs and an international organization, proactively launched an unknown number of educational media campaigns using celebrities and former high-ranking government officials to target the trafficking of PWA for the purpose of organ removal and emphasize the importance of protection by local communities. In 2014, the government hosted seven anti-trafficking lectures and facilitated an awareness campaign for approximately 750 government and civil sector personnel. 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 during the year. It did not provide anti-trafficking training for its diplomatic personnel.