The government maintained inadequate victim protection efforts and decreased overall funding for victim assistance. The government identified 17 victims during the reporting period—the same number of potential victims identified during the previous reporting period. Of the victims identified, at least 11 were children; 11 were female and six were male—the majority of victims were Zambian and at least four were from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The government did not report the number of adult victims it identified, compared with its identification of three adult victims during the previous reporting period. Traffickers exploited 11 victims in domestic servitude in Zambia and Namibia, four victims in cattle herding in Namibia, and two males from the DRC in forced labor in an unknown industry. The government did not report identifying any sex trafficking victims. In coordination with an international organization, the government referred all victims it identified to protective services using its NRM; however, front-line officials routinely neglected to use these methods to identify and refer victims to care, especially in cases involving foreign nationals or in commercial sex. The government repatriated two Zambian victims identified in South Africa, compared to 10 Zambian victims identified in various countries in 2018; however, the government did not provide reintegration services to repatriated victims, as the repatriation lacked close coordination with the national inter-ministerial committee and its secretariat. The government did not report coordinating the repatriation of foreign national victims identified in Zambia during the reporting period, compared to six victims from five countries in 2018. The government continued updating its current standard victim identification form to better guide front-line officials in proactively identifying trafficking victims; however, law enforcement officers did not use forms currently available.
The government partnered with international organizations to offer routine assistance to victims, including medical care and counseling; however, the government did not provide all services across Zambia. 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 other shelters in Central and Western Provinces, all of which accommodated male victims of trafficking. Shelters across the country, especially in rural areas outside Lusaka and Copperbelt Provinces, continued to lack available space, training for shelter staff, education opportunities, and integration services due to low capacity and training of victim support officers, scarce resources, and lack of funding. The government significantly decreased funding to respond to trafficking cases; the Department of Social Welfare provided 50,000 Zambian kwacha ($3,560) to support a shelter in Sesheke in 2019, compared to 1.04 million Zambia kwacha ($74,020) provided to designated shelters, homes, and school across Zambia in 2018. The government did not report spending additional funds for victim assistance in 2019, compared to spending 50,000 Zambian kwacha ($3,560) in 2018.
The government provided foreign victims of trafficking the same protective services as Zambian nationals; however, authorities did not provide interpretation services for foreign national victims. The Department of Immigration provided regularization of immigration status and temporary residency for all foreign victims in accordance with the 2008 trafficking law. 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; however, the government did not report applying this alternative to foreign victims during the reporting period. The lack of availability of interpreters continued to be a barrier to providing timely and comprehensive care for victims, and victims often paid a fee to obtain interpretation services, despite the government reporting interpretation services are available free of charge. The government did not make progress to screen potential victims of trafficking consistently in cases that appeared to involve smuggling; the government detained, charged, or deported individuals who reportedly consented to being smuggled, including potential trafficking victims, without screening those individuals for trafficking indicators. The government regularly held potential victims in detention, alongside traffickers, while awaiting their court case. The government rarely provided opportunities for victim testimony via video or written statements and made no proactive efforts to prevent re-traumatization.