Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Women and children in Swaziland are bought and sold for sex, domestic servitude and forced labour, and the Swazi Government is doing nothing about it, according to an international report just published.

The cities of Mbabane and Manzini are the centres of trafficking of girls, particularly orphans, for sex.

Swazi boys are trafficked for forced labour in commercial agriculture and market vending. Some Swazi women are forced into prostitution in South Africa and Mozambique after voluntarily travelling to these countries in search of work.

The report from the US State Department also says Chinese organized crime units get victims in Swaziland and traffic them to Johannesburg, South Africa, where they ‘distribute’ victims locally or send them on to be exploited overseas.

Mozambican boys travel to Swaziland for work washing cars, herding livestock, and portering; some of these boys subsequently become victims of trafficking.

According to the US State Department, ‘The government of Swaziland does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so.

‘The government believes that trafficking probably does occur, but does not know the extent of the problem.

‘Its limited resources were directed towards other issues because the government does not judge trafficking to be an “important” problem, a judgment which significantly limited the government’s current efforts to eliminate human trafficking, or to plan anti-trafficking activities or initiatives for the future.’

The report goes on,The government made no effort to investigate or prosecute trafficking offenses during the year. While Swaziland has no law specifically prohibiting trafficking, existing statutes prohibiting acts such as kidnapping, forced and compulsory labor, confiscation of passports, aiding and abetting “prohibited immigrants” to enter the country, brothel keeping, procurement for prostitution, sex or solicitation of sex with an underage girl, and employing children under the age of 15 could be used to prosecute trafficking offenses, but were not.’

The report adds, ‘There were no government programs which provided services specifically to victims of trafficking, and the government continued to depend on NGOs to provide shelter, referral, counseling, and other care for victims.’

The US has now placed Swaziland on a ‘watchlist’ and the kingdom might face sanctions unless its record improves.

To read the full report click here.

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