The government demonstrated increased victim protection efforts. The government identified 17 victims during the reporting period, compared to 41 potential victims identified during the previous reporting period when data included trafficking-related crimes. Of the victims identified, 14 were children and three were adults; 13 were female and four were male. Traffickers exploited one woman in sex trafficking and 16 victims in domestic servitude. For the second consecutive year, the government referred all victims it identified to protective services using the NRM to guide the referral process and employ a victim-centered approach. The Department of Social Welfare conducted home studies and counseling with each child’s family prior to reunifying child victims with their families. The government reunified 10 Zambian victims with their families and provided all victims with reintegration assistance, including one foreign national resettled in Zambia. The Department of Social Welfare, in partnership with an international organization, coordinated with Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique to repatriate six victims and ensured victims received protective services upon arrival in their home countries. The government is updating its current standard victim identification form to better guide front-line officials in proactively identifying trafficking victims.
The government partnered with international organizations to offer routine assistance to victims, including medical care and counseling. The Ministry of Community Development and Social Services operated one 40-person shelter for victims of trafficking and victims of sexual abuse in Luapula province and another in Central Province, both of which accommodated male victims of trafficking. The government coordinated with an international organization to refurbish a government-run shelter in Sesheke, a border area known to have a high prevalence of trafficking, which expanded its ability to provide protective services for women and children. In addition, it opened a gender-based violence shelter in Chongwe for women and girls, which could also provide protective services for trafficking victims. Shelters across the country, especially outside Lusaka and Copperbelt Provinces, were heavily constrained by a lack of funding. The government significantly increased funding to respond to trafficking cases; the Department of Immigration reported spending 50,000 Zambian kwacha ($4,200) for victim assistance in 2018, which was used for transportation and temporary sheltering. The Department of Social Welfare provided 1.04 million Zambian kwacha ($87,110) to its designated shelters, homes, and schools to support victims of various forms of violence, including human trafficking. Government officials, in partnership with international organizations, offered court preparation assistance and repatriation or regularization of immigration status. Foreign victims of trafficking were provided with the same protective services as Zambian nationals. The Department of Immigration provided regularization of immigration status and temporary residency for all foreign victims in accordance with the anti-human trafficking act. Regularization of stay was not dependent on the victim’s cooperation with law enforcement, and the government offered legal alternatives to the removal of victims to countries where they may face hardship or retribution. Availability of translators was a barrier to providing timely and comprehensive care for victims. Despite progress since the previous reporting period, the government did not consistently screen potential victims of trafficking in cases that appeared to be smuggling; individuals who reportedly consented to being smuggled, including potential trafficking victims, were sometimes detained, charged, or deported without being screened for trafficking indicators. The government worked with an international organization to increase the capacity of front-line responders to screen for trafficking indicators in such situations.