Swaziland is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children who are subjected to sex trafficking, domestic servitude, and forced labour in agriculture, the 2014 Trafficking in Persons report revealed.
‘Swazi girls, particularly orphans, are subjected to sex trafficking and domestic servitude primarily in the cities of Mbabane and Manzini; at truck stops, bars, and brothels in Swaziland; and in South Africa and Mozambique, the report from the United States State Department said.
King Mswati III uses forced child labour to work in his fields. ‘Swazi chiefs may coerce children and adults—through threats and intimidation—to work for the king. Swazi boys and foreign children are forced to labor in commercial agriculture, including cattle herding, and market vending within the country,’ the report added.
It added, ‘Traffickers utilize Swaziland as a transit country for transporting foreign victims from beyond the region to South Africa for forced labor. Some Swazi women are forced into prostitution in South Africa and Mozambique after voluntarily migrating in search of work.’
It concluded, ‘The Government of Swaziland does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so.’
The report shows little has changed in Swaziland in human trafficking. In 2009 the US State Department reported that women and children in the kingdom were bought and sold for sex, domestic servitude and forced labour.
Mbabane and Manzini were again identified as the centres of trafficking of girls, particularly orphans, for sex. Swazi boys were trafficked for forced labour in commercial agriculture and market vending. Some Swazi women were forced into prostitution in South Africa and Mozambique after voluntarily travelling to these countries in search of work.
In 2009, the The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) reported that a form of serfdom existed in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. The report said Swazis were forced to work without pay on projects determined by local chiefs (who are appointed by the king). These included agricultural work, soil erosion and construction and maintenance.
Swazis, seven in ten who live in abject poverty and earn less than two US dollars a day, are forced to work under the Swazi Administration Order, No. 6 of 1998, which makes it a duty of Swazis to obey orders and participate in compulsory works; participation is enforceable with severe penalties for those who refuse.
In October 2013 it was reported there were an estimated 1,302 people living in slavery in Swaziland.
The report called the Global Slavery Index 2013 and published by the Walk Free Foundation stated, ‘Modern slavery includes slavery, slavery-like practices (such as debt bondage, forced marriage, and sale or exploitation of children), human trafficking and forced labour.’
SWAZILAND ‘HAS 1,302 PEOPLE IN SLAVERY’