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Human Rights in Tanzania
Flag of Tanzania Tanzania
Population: 36,588,225 (July 2004 est.)
Capital: Dar es Salaam
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Tanzania Human Rights Report
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Trafficking in Persons

The law prohibits trafficking of persons for sexual purposes, but not other forms of trafficking, and trafficking remained a problem. Trafficking for sexual purposes punishable by 10 to 20 years of imprisonment, or a fine of $100 (100,000 shillings) to $300 (300,000 shillings). No one has ever been sentenced under this law. Other laws could be used to prosecute trafficking, such as labor laws against forced and bonded labor.

The Ministry of Labor, Youth Development, and Sport and the Ministry of Community Development, Women's Affairs, and Children, and the police have a shared responsibility for trafficking.

In early October, the police arrested and charged a woman and a man for trafficking five children in the Iringa region; by year's end, there were no further developments. On October 21, Police Spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Aden Mwamunyange, issued a warning in Iringa to parents not to hire out their children as domestic workers. He also announced the police were beginning an investigation into the rise of child trafficking in Iringa region. There was no further information at year's end.

The country was a source and destination country for trafficked persons. Children were trafficked from rural to urban areas for work (see Section 6.d.). The ILO and UNICEF reported that children who left home to work as domestic laborers ("housegirls") in other towns or villages often were subjected to commercial sexual exploitation. Some girls were trafficked to Zanzibar from different parts of the mainland and Kenya to work as prostitutes for Zanzibaris and in the tourist industry. There were unconfirmed reports that the women and girls may have been trafficked to South Africa, the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and the United States. The country was also a destination for trafficked persons from India and Kenya.

There were reports that children in the country's large refugee population were highly vulnerable to being trafficked to work on farms, and some refugees were recruited as child soldiers for participation in armed conflicts in neighboring countries (see Section 5). Children in low-income families were at significant risk of being trafficked, and girls were more vulnerable than boys, as girls were considered more of an economic burden on their families. The country was also experiencing a boom in the number of child-headed households as more adults succumbed to HIV/AIDS-related disease and death, leaving their dependents at very high risk for child labor and trafficking.

Awareness of trafficking in persons in the country remained extremely low, and there were very few estimates or statistics on the extent of trafficking. However, according to KIWOHEDE, a local NGO that provided counseling to abused and exploited women and children, the southern Iringa region was the origin of up to 20 percent of the country's domestic labor or housegirls. Five other regions of the country--Mtwara, Shinyanga, Kagera, Dar es Salaam, and Dodoma--provided approximately 10 percent of the total number of housegirls. Most domestic child laborers were trafficked to Dar es Salaam. Some were sent with assistance from their family; some went on their own to escape life in rural areas; and some were brought by someone who had offered to help them find work in the city, legitimate or otherwise.

Another NGO, the Center for Human Rights Promotion reported that men recruited village girls who had completed primary school but were not entering secondary school. They offered the girls money and employment, and promised a better life if the girls accompanied them to the urban areas. These girls reportedly ended up in prostitution or domestic labor.

One form of trafficking that occurred in the country was the traditional practice of low-income parents entrusting a child to a wealthier relative or respected member of the community who was charged with caring for the child as one of his or her own. Some persons took advantage of this traditional practice and placed the child in a situation where he or she was at risk of being exploited and/or abused. Many parents were unaware of the risk to their children or, because of extreme poverty and lack of education, thought they simply had no other recourse. Most commonly, girls were sent to work as house girls, and boys to work on farms, in mines, and in the large informal sector.

There were reports that government officials employed children as domestic help; on occasion, conditions of domestic employment constituted forced labor, and sometimes placement and transport to households was organized by small scale free-lance agents who recruited children from rural villages. Some police reportedly received bribes from brothel owners for protection from arrest. The Government took no action against government officials engaged in trafficking.

The Government provided short-term medical training and health care supplies to an NGO working with trafficking victims, and in cases where trafficked foreign women were arrested for prostitution, the women were repatriated to their country of origin. However, the Government participated in the ILO's Time Bound Program to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor to help end child prostitution and child domestic labor. To understand the extent of trafficking and remedies for trafficking, the Child Labor Unit of the Ministry of Labor established in May a working group comprised of representatives from the MHA and the Ministry of Community Development, Women's Affairs, and Children.

Small domestic NGOs worked with trafficking victims, including child prostitutes and domestic laborers to provide them with education, shelter, and legal information. There were no government or NGO media campaigns to inform the public about the dangers of trafficking specifically, but there were media campaigns to educate persons about the worst forms of child labor.

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Data Source: US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs.