Combating Human Trafficking in Zimbabwe: The role of NGOs in the fight against Human Trafficking in Zimbabwe.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Sch of Sociology & Social Policy

Abstract

Zimbabwe is a source, transit and destination country for trafficking in persons yet the prevalence of different forms of human trafficking in the country are unknown and its conviction rates and victim identification pattern remain a cause for concern. Working in partnership with NGOs in Zimbabwe to analyse the secondary data they hold on human trafficking, the project will gain the much needed insight into this global development issue using a country specific case study.

At an international level, The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons 2000 (Palermo Protocol), which is the legal framework on which governments build their own domestic policy, prescribes the three Ps' of Prevention, Protection and Prosecution as the pillars of anti-trafficking; thus providing a one-size fits all approach to combating trafficking. Yet human trafficking is more complex than often imagined and its dynamics vary according to context, which calls for the need to undertake country specific case studies.

Our recent pilot study (conducted by the PI and the UK-based CI) involving secondary analysis of the human trafficking data held by three Zimbabwe-based NGOs (International Organisation for Migration [IOM], Musasa Project and AFCAST) has revealed gaps in policy and practice as well as in public understandings of human trafficking. The data analysed related to the recent case of human trafficking, involving about 200 Zimbabwean women who were rescued and repatriated from Kuwait between 2016 and 2017. The pilot revealed the misrepresentations of human trafficking as solely a case of transnational organised crime; merely a gendered issue; as well as the conflation of human trafficking with sexual exploitation. The findings further highlighted the gaps in domestic policy, showing that Zimbabwe's current Trafficking in Persons (TiP) law is inconsistent with international law as it defines trafficking in persons as a movement based crime and does not adequately define 'exploitation' which leaves many victims of trafficking without legal protection. In short, the pilot work revealed the invisibility of internal trafficking victims and increasing forms of trafficking(e.g. labour exploitation) involving children, men and women whose plight does not normally attract public, media and government attention.

To address this gap, we have secured the commitment of four NGOs whose anti-trafficking work spans internal and transnational trafficking. We will undertake secondary analysis of the data that these organisations hold in order to gain deeper insight into the human trafficking activity in Zimbabwe. The four organisations are: Love Justice-Zimbabwe, Childline-Zimbabwe, Kukosha and IOM. Love Justice-Zimbabwe has worked with approximately 700 diverse internal and transnational victims of trafficking since its establishment in 2015. It monitors trafficking hot-spots across the country including border posts as well as undertaking interception work. The work of Childline-Zimbabwe centres around child vulnerability and protection and the organisation operates 34 community-based drop-in centres across Zimbabwe as well as a 24 hour freephone helpline. Kukosha works with vulnerable children and their families. We will also engage with our existing partner, Musasa Project, an organisation that works with vulnerable women.

The project will explore four research questions:
RQ1: What do the data that NGOs hold show to be the scale, trends and prevalent forms of human trafficking, where and why?
RQ2: How are the different forms of human trafficking represented by age and gender?
RQ3: What, according to the various datasets, may be the opportunities and constraints that characterise NGOs' anti-trafficking work?
RQ4: How can NGO anti-trafficking activities be strengthened?

Findings will be disseminated to academics, policy makers and other key stakeholders through for example, conferences, workshops and website.

Planned Impact

The project will be the first academic study to map the human trafficking activity in Zimbabwe, through secondary analysis of NGO human trafficking data and will raise awareness of the trends, prevalent of different forms of human trafficking and the impact on gender and age.

The research will have direct relevance for the work of NGOs involved in anti-trafficking work, policy makers, human trafficking activists, religious groups that support victims and survivors of trafficking and the different survivor groups. This will be achieved through user involvement. We have managed to secure the support of four key NGOs involved in anti-trafficking efforts and whose human trafficking secondary data we will be analysing for the project. These organisations have contributed to our research ideas from the beginning and they will be engaged with up to the end of the project. We anticipate that the partnership will serve to strengthen our NGO partners' anti-trafficking work, which in some cases involve overseeing survivals' transition from vulnerability to freedom, including rehabilitation and participation in economic and human development activities, (e.g. movement into paid work, establishment of self-reliant projects and gaining access to further education).

We will also work with these partner organisations to reach out to other organisations that work in the field of human trafficking and these will be invited to our key stakeholder workshop in month 16 to allow for co-production work in order to build a more cohesive multi-agency partnership to strengthen NGO voice in anti-trafficking efforts. This process will also facilitate the development of a policy brief as well as the creation of a collective evidence base for dissemination at the end of project national anti-trafficking workshop to which government stakeholders, academics, survivor groups, religious groups and other interested stakeholders will be invited to participate.

We also have a wider public dissemination plan for activities that make public the significance of our research and we will use different channels to disseminate our research to users.

Policy Brief
We will produce a policy brief based on our research, which will summarise our research findings and make the academic work accessible for policy makers, NGOs, activists and religious groups as well as other stakeholders. Our strategy is to provide an evidence-based and more context specific understanding of human trafficking that enables the development of realistic and context-based strategies of combating trafficking and protecting victims and survivors. Our policy brief will provide such guidance to policy makers, NGOs and communities to tailor practical development work geared towards supporting victims and survivors, taking into consideration that diverse survivors groups will require different support mechanisms and approaches to successful re-integration into the society.

Project website
The project will host a website, which will be used to share information about the project to interested parties, and also as a knowledge hub. This will involve the uploading of working papers, publicised via social media in order to offer early insights into emerging findings and promote dialogue with academics working in related areas.

Dissemination workshop
We plan to end the project with a dissemination workshop in Harare, Zimbabwe. The workshop will be pitched as 'a national anti-human trafficking workshop' to which government stakeholders, academics, religious groups and other stakeholders will be invited to participate.

The project team will at all stages fully engage with key stakeholders involved in anti-trafficking work, and will disseminate the outcomes through stakeholder and academic networks in order to ensure the maximum possible impact for the research.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description 1. The research revealed evidence of gross human rights violation especially among children and women. These cases met the criteria of the Palermo Protocol hence in our analysis we characterised them as human trafficking incidences. The NGOs that generated the data had classified such cases as human trafficking cases.
2. Poverty and lack of opportunities (e.g. employment and education), are featured as accounting for most human trafficking cases in Zimbabwe. Economic deprivation in source areas (mostly rural in cases of local trafficking) juxtaposed with envisaged economic vibrancy in destination areas (urban spaces) has made people more gullible and risk-tolerant in anticipation of improved fortunes. The same matrix applies for those leaving Zimbabwe for foreign metropolis like Johannesburg in South Africa.
3. There is a general normalization of cultural norms that constitute abuses that satisfy the human trafficking category. This dovetails with limited public knowledge of what human trafficking. This is an area of opportunity for civic organizations to engage in advocacy and bring public awareness of the problem of human trafficking so that people will acquire the basic knowledge needed.
4. People familiar to the victims emerged in the data as the main perpetrators which raises fundamental questions about the supposed protective role of the extended family as a trusted safety net for vulnerable groups, especially women and children. We therefore aver that the social fabric of societies has evolved with time and in some cases protective social structures have become risk factors driving human trafficking.
5. With regards to children, family environment plays a critical role in determining levels of vulnerability to trafficking. The weaker the social and family structure, the higher the levels of vulnerability to human trafficking. This has implications for the chosen approaches and targeting methods to fighting human trafficking.
6. There is limited evidence of men as victims of human trafficking. This may confirm the dominant discourse of men as the ideal traffickers and raises questions on the role of culture in constructing gendered perceptions of men who cannot be seen as victims to protect the traditional masculine egos.
7. Gaps exist in the definition of human trafficking as captured in the U.S. Department of States' TIP yearly reports. More work needs to be done to ensure that the TIP is more focused on trafficking occurring in-country than outside the country whilst aligning to international standards.
8. There are no clear structures and coordination systems to ensure the reintegration and rehabilitation of victims of trafficking of all ages and genders. While establishment of centres for victims of trafficking in persons is mentioned in the TIP, this is not yet in existence.
9. There is need to strengthen the multi-stakeholder coordinating structure as currently it is difficult for civil organisations to have a clear knowledge of what has been achieved and what still needs to be done. This is an opportunity for the government of Zimbabwe to create a database that captures the activities of the stakeholders working in the area.
10. Obtaining economic conditions play a critical role in driving people into human trafficking. Without addressing the obtaining circumstances of the survivors means that they are likely to slip back into human trafficking rings.
These findings have informed the co-creation of public campaign activities to help our NGO partner organizations bring awareness of both the human trafficking problem and the work that they do to support communities fight human trafficking. The campaigns are also meant to help activate and strengthen community structures that are sustainable for an effective response to trafficking in persons in Zimbabwe.
Our NGO partner organisations are currently lobbing the government to seek ways of addressing some of the challenges that the research has identified.
Exploitation Route Our research has provided our NGO partners and the related stakeholders with the opportunity to openly talk about human trafficking in a context where human trafficking was treated by the government as a security issue.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Government, Democracy and Justice

 
Description We have used our research findings to co-create public campaign activities with our NGO partner organizations to bring awareness of both the human trafficking problem in Zimbabwe and the work that our partner organisations are doing to support communities fight human trafficking. Childline and Shamwari yemwanasikana (SYS) launched awareness campaigns in Harare and Chitungwiza in February 2022. These were aimed at disseminating information to community members, using a variety of information, education and communication materials. The main aim was to educate communities about human trafficking and how they can work together with the organisations to prevent it or support those who have survived it. The campaigns also featured popular comedians doing skits, challenging especially the normalization of cultural norms that constitute abuses that satisfy the human trafficking category. The awareness campaigns proved to be successful as community members have been phoning both SYS's Toll-free line and Childline's 116 Freephone asking for more information and reporting cases of human trafficking. As part of the campaign, SYS and Childline conducted training on Trafficking in Persons with different stakeholders and frontline work with the aim to equip them with knowledge and information about human trafficking to help them effectively identify and support victims within their areas of work. The training was also meant to help activate and strengthen community structures that are sustainable for an effective response to trafficking in persons in Zimbabwe. A resource Centre was set up at SYS offices in Chitungwiza to make information on human trafficking easily accessible to the general public. This saw people of different ages visiting the resource centre including students from local primary and secondary schools. Both SYS and Childline reported handling an increased volume of human trafficking cases during the month of February. For example, SYS collaborated with the police in assisting victims and a total number of 7 perpetrators were arrested.
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Title Our research involves secondary analysis of NGO data and allows for co-production and co-creation of knowledge. 
Description The secondary data analysis approach has helped us to gain access to very rich data on human trafficking which our partner organisations have been collecting over the years. This is the kind of data which is very difficult to access through other research methods such as interviews and focus groups. At the same time, one of our partner organisations, Childline has been collecting data through its 24/7 helpline (116 APP) over the pandemic period which has provided us with the opportunity to gain topical data which suggest the interaction of human trafficking and COVID-19. This data is very useful in helping us start to see how the human trafficking patterns in Zimbabwe have shifted in response to COVID-19 response measures e.g. border closures, lockdown and social distancing etc. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Secondary analysis of NGO data has not only allowed us access into the NGO world, but has also enabled co-production and exchange of knowledge which undoubtedly will in the long run help to strengthen the NGOs' work with survivors of trafficking. The process of data collection has enabled us to have focused discussions with NGO partners in relation to their own understanding of the human trafficking phenomenon, ways of engaging with victims and survivors and we have been able to make recommendations with regards to how their data collection tools, methodologies and approaches could be improved. In so doing our project has played a major role in supporting NGO's anti-trafficking initiatives. As the project is still on-going and involves working closely with the key government departments responsible for anti-trafficking work in the country, we hope that our research will play a role in influencing government policy and stakeholder practice. 
 
Description This project is a collaboration between the University of Nottingham and Bindura University of Science Education. It also involves working in partnership with one local NGO, Childline; one International NGO, Love Justice International and one UN Migration Agency, The International Organization for Migration - Zimbabwe. 
Organisation Bindura University of Science Education
Country Zimbabwe 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution we have worked with our collaborator and partners to map the human trafficking activity in Zimbabwe. This has involved collecting the human trafficking data that our partner organisations - Childline-Zimbabwe, Love Justice International and International Organisation for Migration hold in order to understand the trends and prevalence of different forms of exploitation associated with human trafficking and the impact on gender and age.
Collaborator Contribution Our partners have provided us with the data that they hold on human trafficking. They have also been very instrumental in linking us up with survivors of human trafficking as well as other organisations working to combat human trafficking in Zimbabwe. Our partners have also launched a public campaign to bring awareness of both the human trafficking problem and the work that they do to support communities fight human trafficking.
Impact 1. Though the project has been delayed due to the covid-19 pandemic, we have been able to collect data from our partner organisations which we have now analysed and drawn out some key findings. 2. Our partnership and close interaction with the stakeholders working to combat human trafficking has helped us to understand the opportunities and challenges that confront NGO anti-trafficking work. 3. The findings from the study have informed the co-creation of public campaign activities to help our NGO partner organizations bring awareness of both the human trafficking problem and the work that they do to support communities fight human trafficking in Zimbabwe. The campaigns have also helped to activate and strengthen community structures which we hope will be sustainable for an effective response to trafficking in persons in Zimbabwe. 4. The campaigns have seen survivors of human trafficking getting in touch with our NGO partners, requesting for help. We anticipate that this will contribute towards the empowerment of survivors to speak for themselves and contribute towards the development of sustainable/durable solutions to their predicament, which in the long-run has the potential to open new doors to their own sustainable development as active and productive citizens 5. The campaigns have also seen the public getting in touch with our NGO partners to report cases of human trafficking within communities and abroad.
Start Year 2019
 
Description As part of the research dissemination strategy, our NGO partner organizations launched a public campaign in the month of February 2022 (this is on-going) to bring awareness of both the human trafficking problem and the work that they do to support communities fight human trafficking. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Our NGO partner, Childline together with Shamwari yemwanasikana (SYS - member of the research advisory group) have embarked on a public campaign - #endhumantrafficking, which involves media streaming and roadshows, as described below, to bring awareness of both the human trafficking problem and the work that they do to support communities in Zimbabwe fight human trafficking.
On-Wheels Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign
SYS held awareness campaigns/roadshows on 19 February and 23 February across the city of Chitungwiza (located about 30km from Harare the capital city). The campaign reached out to about 850 people. This was aimed at disseminating information on human trafficking to community members. Information, in the form of flyers and pamphlets, was disseminated to young men and women as well older women and men. The awareness proved to be successful as community members have since then been phoning SYS's Toll-free line, asking for more information and reporting perceived cases of human trafficking.
As part of the campaign, SYS also conducted training on Trafficking in Persons with different stakeholders as stated below. The aim was to equip the stakeholders and frontline workers with knowledge and information about human trafficking to help them effectively identify and support victims within their areas of work. The training also enabled key stakeholders to set up referral systems within their communities.
Key stakeholder training
24 stakeholders undertook a two-day training on 17th February and 22nd February in Harare. Key stakeholders that attended the training include: Victim Friendly Unit (VFU), Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Family Support Trust (FST), Department of Social Development (DSD), Church leaders, Ministry of Youth, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
Community Cadres Training
20 community cadres from Chitungwiza undertook training on 18th and 24th February. These community cadres are SYS representatives in communities. The training has proved to be very helpful as the cadres have gone ahead to carry out awareness raising activities within their own communities. Some of them have identified a few cases of abuse and exploitation which they have referred to SYS.
Resource Centre
A resource centre was set up at SYS offices in Chitungwiza to make information on human trafficking easily accessible to the general public. The information has been made accessible in the form of flyers and pamphlets. About 54 people visited the centre during the month of February. Most of these were students from local primary and secondary schools.
Trafficking Skits
Popular comedians (such as Bhutisi and Mbuya Piyasoni who are leading comedians in the country) have also been engaged to do skits in Chitungwiza to raise awareness on the human trafficking problem. Among other things, the skits were designed to highlight the general normalization of cultural norms that constitute abuses that satisfy the human trafficking category.
Case Management
During the month of February, SYS responded to about 15 cases of human trafficking. The survivors were offered psycho-social services in the form of individual counselling, support groups and family counselling sessions. SYS collaborated with the police in assisting the victims and a total number of 7 perpetrators were arrested. Their cases are still in courts. Food packs were also provided for the victims and re-integration and reunification services were availed to them.
A total of 2,294 people were reached by SYS in Chitungwiza during the month of February.

Childline has also provided a two-day training (22 and 23 February) to about 25 Child Care Workers (CCWs) including Social Workers from around Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe. This was meant to help activate and strengthen community structures that are sustainable for an effective response to trafficking in persons in Zimbabwe. The training also enabled key stakeholders to set up referral systems within their communities. Childline also ran a one-day workshop in Harare on 26th February which enabled various stakeholders to come together to discuss how best to use community platforms to raise awareness on human trafficking.
Our academic collaborator, Bindura University, through its Human Trafficking Research Centre, has also taken part in the campaign by targeting students for the purposes of raising awareness as well as encouraging the identification of trafficking in persons within HE institutions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://twitter.com/shamwariyemwana/status/1498584741775384578?s=21