Scripta Varia

Tanzania - Imani Daud Aboud

Trafficking In Persons (as an Organised Crime in Tanzania).

Imani Aboud


Trafficking in persons is a serious and grave violation of human rights, which affects individuals, families, communities and societies at large, and Tanzania sees it as another advanced form of slavery. Tanzania, as a country, has not been excluded from this tragedy, for it has been termed as an origin, transit and destination country of victims of human trafficking. Children, women and men have fallen victims.


Tanzania is said to be the origin of human trafficking in different forms, mainly from the rural areas to the urban areas, and from the urban to rural and/or to borders for domestic jobs, prostitution, begging and servitude. Other forms include working in plantations and in the mining and fishing industry, ending up with low wages or without being paid, this being the case within the country. And for those being trafficked outside the country to mainly Middle East, especially Oman, Yemen, Dubai and India, they are being exposed to forced labour, domestic jobs and prostitution in an exploitative way, while boys and men are subjected to drug trafficking, weapon smuggling, debt bondage, terrorism and criminal gangs.


To an extent, Tanzania is also a transit area where victims from other countries come and make their arrangement to other destinations. A good number of victims have been noted from neighbouring countries such as Somalia, Ethiopia, Burundi, West Africa, and from Pakistan, India, Nepal, Syria and Bangladesh. Those from Pakistan, India, Nepal, Syria and Bangladesh are en route to Europe and Australia.


This is another form of trafficking in persons in Tanzania, where victims of human trafficking are found subjected to forced labour, prostitution, begging, cultural dances, selling of coffee and groundnuts; further, others fall victims as a result of debt bondage. This group involves victims from Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Burundi, Kenya and Malawi.

Trafficking in persons has always aimed at exploitation and in all these three categories is criminally organized and conducted in a secret way, making difficulty for law enforcers to combat this tragedy. Therefore, training on how to combat trafficking in persons is highly needed for law enforcers, public prosecutors, social workers and the public as well.

Generally, poverty has been a pushing factor and poor knowledge of human trafficking adds to it, as well as corruption of responsible leaders. The desire for high standards of living and the perception that the good life is found in urban areas, in Europe and in Asian countries are other contributing factors. Still other factors that facilitate the vulnerability are family conflicts, political instability and oppressive culture in different societies.

Tanzania’s Response

Following the signing of the Palermo Convention in Italy in the year 2000, the international community demonstrated the will to respond to the global challenge of transnational organized crime, which was followed by the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. So, Tanzania being part of the international community, it responded and ratified this protocol. Tanzania has taken this step with the aim to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, protecting and assisting victims of trafficking with full respect of human rights, and to strengthen cooperation with other stakeholders to reach the goals of the Protocol.

Measures that have been taken by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to implement the Purposes of the Protocol include the following:

1. Legislation and Policy Measures

In the area of legislation and policy measures the Government has done the following:

a) Enactment of Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act No.6 of 2008

b) Developing Anti-Trafficking in Persons regulations

• The Anti-Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Protection and Treatment) Regulations of 2015

• The Anti-Trafficking in Persons (Centre for Protection and Assistance to Victims of Trafficking in Persons) Regulations of 2015

c) National Action Plan (2011-2014 and 2015-2017)

d) Standard Operating Procedures for Identification and Assistance to Victim of TIP (SOPs) and Standard Operating Procedures for Protecting, Assisting and Referring Trafficked Children

e) Established Directory of Service Providers for Victims of Human Trafficking

f) Manual for Civil Society Organizations of the Tanzania Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act is in place

g) Developed the Training Manual for Law Enforcement

h) Developed the guidelines for safe Family Unification for Children Victims of Trafficking

2. Investigation and Prosecution

In collaboration with Police, Immigration and DPP Office some of the information relating to trafficking in persons has been investigated and the accused traffickers prosecuted. For instance, from 2015 to 2017 there were 15 trafficking in persons cases.

3. Victim Support and Witness Protection

The Anti-Trafficking Regulation 2015 (Centre for Protection and Assistance to Victim of Trafficking in Persons) provides the guiding principles to operate shelter for victims of Trafficking in Persons (TIP).

The Government, in collaboration with some of the NGOs, has been supporting and protecting victims of TIP.

4. Prevention and Awareness-raising

The Government, in collaboration with IOM, which is the technical advisor, has been giving awareness-raising campaigns to different groups, including law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders.

5. Skill Enhancement and Capacity Development 

The Government, in collaboration with other International Organizations and NGOs, has been conducting training and workshops for various TIP stakeholders and law enforcement agencies

6. Establishment of Labour Exchanges

The Ministry of Labour, Youth and the Disabled has established a Labour Exchange Unit. This unit deals with coordination of employment opportunities for office work, industrial work, and domestic work. The government took a deliberate move to get domestic workers recognised like any other groups of workers by setting their minimum wage and clustering in their own group with their salary scale, minimum working hours and other working conditions. The aim is to implement a program that centralises, monitors and controls informal migration from rural to urban areas, hence reducing trafficking.

7. Universal Primary Education Policy

This is a government policy which requires all eligible school-going children to be in schools. Primary school is compulsory, and more secondary schools have been built to increase the number of children in those schools. Local government bylaws are in place to compel parents to send children to school. This has been a great achievement in preventing children, especially girls, being lured to work in urban areas and has reduced trafficking in the country.

8. Coordination and Regional Cooperation

The Government has been attending various training, workshops and meetings to share good practices and useful lesson on national anti-TIP.


The United Republic of Tanzania, since the enactment of the law, the Anti-Trafficking Act No. 6 of 2008, has tried its best to fight human trafficking in the Region, though different challenges have been inescapable. The government does its best to make sure, through stakeholders’ efforts, that the tragedy is stopped. The government believes it cannot win this battle by a one-man show.

According to the TIP Report by the US Department of State, this year 2017 shows how Tanzania has tried to move forward in combating Trafficking in Persons and reach Tier 2, compared to the previous three years (2016-2015 and 2014) when was in the Tier 2 Watch List. The United Republic of Tanzania, however, still believes there is human trafficking and increased efforts are made.

In fact, the reports of the US Department of State have helped the government of the United Republic of Tanzania, which is why the level of combat has increased. It is also believed that the next TIP Report by the US Department of State will mark another advanced stage.

Way Forward

The United Republic of Tanzania, through its Secretariat, needs to continue supervising the implementation of the law and to highlight some issues to reach the goals of the Protocol. Some of the issues include:

i. Amendment of the Law.

Though the law has been enacted and put into practice, some lacunae have been noticed. The Secretariat has joined efforts with other stakeholders to identify the lacunas and propose a possible reformed provision in the Anti-Trafficking Act of 2008. Last year the Secretariat submitted the Petition to the Attorney General’s Office on the Amendment of the Anti-Trafficking Law. Recently, the Secretariat continued its cooperation with the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) based in the US, where they discussed and received the researched provisions for amendment of the particular. For example, the current law provides the option of the fine, whereas the RTI strictly rejects the option of a fine in human trafficking offences.

ii. Database

There have been sometimes confusing statistics or reports on cases of human trafficking from different stakeholders. The government, through the Secretariat, has organized an instructional training on how to make a database, which will be controlled by the Secretariat so that the proper report and information on human trafficking is compiled together, to help the government to understand the exact gravity of the tragedy and help the government find the proper way of combating it. The UNODC has conducted training to different government officials and law enforcement on databases and systems. This effort will bring changes and is expected to raise the level of combating, protecting and assisting the victims of trafficking.

iii. Raising awareness

The government will continue to cooperate with other stakeholders to raise awareness in individuals to help increase human trafficking knowledge; this will definitely reduce the number of cases. Efforts are made to use the media to reach many people at once.

iv. Training of Judicial Officers

There must be sensitisation and training programs for Judges, Magistrates and other Judicial Officers on trafficking and the consequences thereof. This will strengthen their capacity in dealing with the relevant issue before them.

v. Use of Operating Procedures

The government will increase its effort to adopt standard operating procedures, so that victims of trafficking are treated well and human rights are followed in attending them. This will help reduce or eradicate re-victimisation.

vi. Partnership

Tanzania has been working closely with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and regional partners to ensure there are sustainable efforts in preventing and combating trafficking in person. Trafficking is a global tragedy, so we believe we cannot combat it alone. Colin Powell, the former US Secretary of State, made the following remarks about Trafficking: “In our 21st century world, where freedom and democracy are spreading to every continent, it is appalling and morally unacceptable that hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children are exploited, abused, and enslaved by peddlers in human misery”.

Trafficking touches many countries across the globe, including my own. An estimated 800,000 to 900,000 people are trafficked every year. Nearly 20,000 of these victims enter the United States. The transnational character of this crime means that countries of origin, transit and destination must work in partnership to prevent trafficking, protect victims and prosecute those who are responsible for trafficking.


Tanzania is moving towards the right direction in addressing trafficking, despite the concerns that its trafficking legislation has not been effective in curbing this atrocious crime. The main concern is that there is much more to do, especially on the trafficking of women and girls who are being brought from the rural areas as domestic workers. So it is the responsibility of all the stakeholders, including our Association of Women Judges in Tanzania (TAWJA), to ensure that the legislation on trafficking actually works.



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