Middle East/Africa

Swaziland – A Centre of Human Trafficking


Swaziland is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour, according to a 2015 trafficking report released by the US Department of State. Swazi girls, particularly orphans, are subjected to sex trafficking and domestic servitude, primarily in Swaziland and South Africa. Swazi chiefs may coerce children and adults—through threats and intimidation to work for the king. Swazi boys and foreign children are forced to labour in commercial agriculture, including cattle herding, and market vending within the country. Traffickers reportedly force Mozambican women into prostitution in Swaziland, or transit Swaziland en-route to South Africa. Mozambican boys migrate to Swaziland for work washing cars, herding livestock, and portering; some of these boys subsequently become victims of forced labour. Reports suggest labour brokers fraudulently recruit and charge excessive fees to Swazi nationals for work in South African mines, means often used to facilitate trafficking crimes. Swazi men in border communities are recruited for forced labour in South Africa’s timber industry. Traffickers utilize Swaziland as a transit country for transporting foreign victims from beyond the region to South Africa for forced labour. Some Swazi women are forced into prostitution in South Africa and Mozambique after voluntarily migrating in search of work.

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. During the year, the government conducted nine investigations, an increase from three the previous year, and initiated prosecution of an internal child sex trafficking case. Nonetheless, the government did not obtain a conviction during the reporting period. The government continued to assist victims with basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter, toiletries, counselling, and medical care in collaboration with NGOs. It provided repatriation assistance to one Swazi national, and the police cooperated with South African counterparts in the investigation of transnational trafficking cases. The anti-trafficking taskforce and its secretariat continued to effectively guide anti-trafficking efforts in 2014 and increased awareness-raising efforts, introducing a bi-monthly newspaper column and radio program to educate the public on trafficking.

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